[Explained] The Psychology of Color in Social Media Marketing

Rai MasudaOctober 13, 2021Design

Since kindergarten, we have been asked ‘what’s our favorite color’? The answer to this question helps us choose our clothes for work, pick out a new cereal in the grocery aisle, and even gets us to stop the endless scroll on our social media newsfeed.

Visual stimulation is one of the biggest influencing factors affecting purchasing decisions. Color plays a large part in this, with the ability to invoke intense feelings that translate into our social media buying habits. Color can be used to represent brands, social and political conversations, and even global themes, like strength and hopefulness (the words used by color experts Pantone when they chose their Color of the Year for 2021 ). It can also be used to send a message, get a customer to take action, or even encourage interaction.

How Does Color Affect Social Media Marketing?

Visual storytelling is an important part of social media marketing. Social media is a crowded space and images are critical because they are almost always the first thing a user sees. Marketing managers know that on most platforms, a post containing an image sees almost 2.5x the amount of engagement as a text-only post. The desire for visuals is there, but are you providing the right visual content for your audience?

When looking to create a “scroll stopper ,” or a piece of content so visually appealing it jumps off your newsfeed, it’s important to keep color trends in mind. Does your visual have a Call to Action (CTA) button? Hubspot found that certain colors are more likely to be clicked on than others. When they tested between green and red buttons, the attention-grabbing red button garnered 23% more clicks than the non-threatening green button.

Utilizing options like dynamic ad testing on Facebook can help you determine what is right for your particular audience. When you’re looking to make an instant connection, build brand loyalty, and especially inspire your online audience into action, color psychology can play a big part in all of these goals.

A Little Color Theory

Color psychology dives into the emotional and behavioral effects that a certain color can have on a person. The emotional weight that color carries can work to a brand’s advantage (or disadvantage if they’re using a scatter-shot approach to choosing colors). It’s important for brands to understand cultural, generational, and historical associations people have with particular colors. This understanding is vitally important and can become a factor in the success of a social media campaign or ad, or just in how someone perceives your brand as a whole .

The idea of “green marketing ” is a great example of how color (or one color in particular) has been used to represent an entire movement towards sustainability and environmentalism. Now, it’s not unusual to see green products, packaging, and advertisements to help declare a brand's commitment to “going green.” It’s not enough to just use the color green in a graphic, however. A color palette choice should be followed up with a change in company behavior as well.

Color Trends for 2021 and Beyond

Color trends, just like marketing campaigns, aim to predict the moods and behaviors of an audience. When color experts Pantone, Dulux, and Coloro predicted their top color contenders for 2021 , their list included colors meant to elicit feelings of joy and adventure after a year spent indoors or social distancing. Brands from all industries took note of these natural, sophisticated colors and we saw them used in numerous campaigns. Design platform Canva predicts that going into 2022 , fresh color choices will still reign supreme.

Whether it’s to make a big statement , drive sales, or stop someone in their scroll just long enough to follow through on a CTA, understanding the psychology of color can only make your social media marketing better.

Have you used color psychology to distinguish any of your latest social media campaigns? Let us know!

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