Matching Games 2.0
For the past several weeks I have done social media content creation for a non-profit company called The Family Place. In order to create these posts, I had to follow the style and tone of the existing social media campaign. My goal with this project was to increase their social media engagement, especially on Instagram. I experimented with different photographs, content on graphics, content in captions, and hashtags to see what was the most effective for engagement.
I gained good experience creating content and messaging for an existing, established company, learning how to align my work with their messaging and branding. I also hoped my skills would help the company grow and increase their social media performance. I haven’t seen a lot of direct results of my efforts, but I did gain good experience along the way!
Graphic Design & Content Creation
As I mentioned above, a goal I had in implementing this project was to match my graphic design and content creation with their existing branding. My supervisor gave me the style guide, which included colors and fonts, and then let me do the rest. I spent hours looking at their website and Instagram posts to get a feel for their tone, design principles, and visual schemes. Then I set to work. I did everything in Canva.
These (outlined in yellow) were the first round of posts I made for their Instagram. It took a lot of experimenting to figure out what worked. I started by at least matching the colors and fonts, and then I moved to really figuring out how they designed their posts and using the same visual ideas and design patterns.
On the left is the first post I made for them. A simple blue rectangle, a simple yellow rectangle, simple text, on a photo background. On the right is the last post I made for them. It includes a different font, more of a design, and it still only took me about the same amount of time. I just had learned ways to create better content by the last one.
One good example of how I created visuals to match theirs were posts about a class for stepfamilies. In my analysis of their Instagram, I’d noticed that this particuar class had the same design for each post about it, just with different photos. So when it came time for me to make a post about this class, I followed the same design.
I will admit that I didn’t get the size of everything exactly the same, but I kept the same overall principles in line with what they were already doing.
Here are a few of my favorite posts that I felt came from true creativity and helped me devleop my graphic design abilities:
These are a few of the last stories I made, which I really liked as well!
Falling Short, Not Seeing Success
This was a learning process, and I enjoyed my time with The Family Place a lot! A couple things were hard though.
One thing that was hard for me to accept was that while I started out writing captions for my posts to the best of my ability, when I sent my posts and captions in I’d see my graphics being posted with a completely different caption. Writing captions and coming up with hashtags was something I was asked to do when I started this job, so this was a little hard for me to swallow. My supervisor never said anything to me about it though, but kept telling me I was doing a fantastic job. I could, and maybe should, have asked her about it and asked how I could improve, but I was worried that they really just wanted someone else to write them and were too nice to tell me. I didn’t want to overstep my bounds.
Another challenge came when I didn’t see my posts getting any more engagements than their posts had been getting. I was hoping that I could create new and interesting visuals that people would interact with more, but I didn’t see much of that. They have started doing Instagram reels, which are really good, but my posts have still only received an average low amount of likes and comments.
In addition to creating posts, I also had the opportunity to do some research for them. One thing I did was research email marketing services and compare prices. Here is just a small example of my spreadsheet, since there were too many things to be able to get a good screenshot.
Another thing I researched was Facebook groups in the Logan, Utah area where they’re based. I had less success there, but I did spend some time looking for groups they could join and post in.
A Good Experience
In my time with the Family Place I created a total of 136 graphics for social media, including both posts and stories. I tried new design techniques, experimented with visual appeal, and faced the challenge of continuing to come up with ideas after I ran out of things I knew. I worked with a wonderful supervisor who was helpful, encouraging, and constructive. I gained good experience and learned what it’s like to work with a company.
Things I’ve Learned
The biggest thing I’ve learned is that it’s okay to jump in and learn as you go. Creating content for an established company without being a full-time employee or knowing an exceptional amount about them previously can be nerve-wracking. As a fledgling designer I was terrified that my designs wouldn’t meet expectations, and I lived in fear every time I got an email from my supervisor, thinking I must have done something wrong. But as it turned out, each time I opened the email she was just telling me how much she appreciated the job I was doing! Nobody commented on the posts I made saying they looked terrible, and honestly, looking at their social media posts, I think mine blend in pretty well! I was able to overcome my fear of failure and always doing something wrong by jumping in with both feet, doing my best, and finding out that my best was good enough!
Another thing I’ve learned is that it’s okay to not be perfect – or even do your best – 100% of the time. As a designer I know that honestly, not all my work for this project was my best work. Sometimes working with a midnight deadline meant I left a post imperfect instead of re-working it like I normally would. Sometimes I tried and tried to get an idea from my head onto the Canva artboard and couldn’t achieve what I envisioned. But that’s okay. Were any of these posts terrible? No. They were still professional, if not exceptional, and they still met the purpose of the post.
Now my brief time with the Family Place is finished, and I can continue forward with the experience I’ve gained and the lessons I’ve learned. I feel more confident in working with a company, creating on-brand content, designing eye-catching social media posts, and working with others to further a brand. It’s an experience I will look back on moving forward!