The Role of Color Theory in Digital Marketing and Social Media
When you think about digital marketing and social media, what pops into your mind? If you’re like most people, you think about profile pages, status updates, content, and engagement. But if you aren’t considering seemingly small details like color theory, you’re missing out on the chance to be truly successful.
How Color Influences the Brain
Color is one of those aspects of life that’s ubiquitous and seemingly simple, yet nearly impossible to describe. After all, what is color and why do we care so much about it?
While much of the research done on the connection between color and the human brain is inconclusive, this much we do know: Color has a deep and profound impact on the way people view objects – including brands and their products.
Not only is color closely tied to our memories – increasing our ability to recall certain objects – but it’s also tied to our first impressions and decision making. Research shows that people make up their minds to buy something within 90 seconds of forming a first impression. Roughly 62-90 percent of the assessment is based on colors alone.
Using Color Psychology to Win at Social Media
There are plenty of differing opinions on the specifics of color psychology, which confuses some and discourages many marketers from delving too deeply into its more intricate theories.
“As research shows, it’s likely because elements such as personal preference, experiences, upbringing, cultural differences, context, etc., often muddy the effect individual colors have on us,” Gregory Ciotti writes for Psychology Today. “So the idea that colors such as yellow or purple are able to evoke some sort of hyper-specific emotion is about as accurate as your standard Tarot card reading.”
So instead of focusing on how you can use very specific colors – such as red, green, blue, purple, pink, and yellow – we’re going to take a look at some of the various strategies that can be implemented into a social media/digital marketing strategy to produce successful results. Take a look:
1. Use Color Contrast to Grab Attention
There’s ample evidence to suggest that major contrasts between colors draw eyes to the specific element that stands out. You can use this to your advantage on social media, as well as in traditional web design and content strategy.
T-Mobile is the perfect example. As you’ll notice on all of their social media platforms – Instagram in particular – they use their bright pink color to contrast predominantly white backgrounds.
2. Be Strategic with Color Combinations
Are you familiar with the idea of complementary color combinations? These are colors that are opposites of each other, which allows them to stand out.
“They are geographically and color-wise the opposite, and provide a kind of visual tension because they are so opposed to each other,” marketer Ashton Hauff writes. “You might even notice that some of your favorite sports teams use complementary colors. From football to hockey, opposite colors are used for some great color combinations.”
Examples of complementary color combinations include blue and orange, red and green, and yellow and purple.
While you probably don’t want to use complementary colors all the time, they can be effective when used as an occasional way of garnering attention on a crowded social media feed. The trick is to feature the primary color in a 7:3 ratio to the complementary color (rather than 1:1).
3. Offer Consistency in Content You Share
A very large percentage of your brand’s identity is forged in the way it looks. So while it’s important to have consistency in your brand voice and how you write copy, it’s far more significant to have a well-integrated color scheme that immediately connects people to your brand.
Regarding social media, there should be consistency in the visual appeal and color scheme of the content you share. Pepsi’s Instagram page is a good example. Notice how almost every post has some red and blue in it – either in tint or color. This is purposeful and draws an immediate connection, even when a logo isn’t readily identifiable.
You should never share a post on any social media platform with at least thinking about it in terms of color theory as it relates to your brand. The connection doesn’t have to be super strong, but there should be a consistent relationship.
Boost Your Social Media Efforts
Color psychology is just one element of social media marketing, but it’s an important and often overlooked one. By reshaping your view on color theory, you can use some of the technical principles to give your marketing efforts a visual makeover that resonates with your target audience.