When we talk about social media marketing, color psychology certainly isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. At least, not for us. Instead, we think about pictures, impressions, engagement, calls-to-action (CTAs), content planning, and content creation.
Yet, at the core of all that (especially for visual-based platforms like Instagram), lies color! You experience color in images and videos, the juxtaposition of different posts, chosen hues in fonts, and other design elements.
So, it only makes sense that color plays a vital role in marketing. It gives cues to emotional intent and supports your brand’s narrative and messaging.
This blog post will explain what color psychology is and the role of color in your social media marketing strategy. We’ll also share how you can use color more intentionally for your social media by explaining what various colors mean and more.
What Is Color Psychology?
Color psychology is the study of how colors affect humans’ decision-making, choices, and behavioral responses. It looks at how different color shades evoke particular emotions, mental responses, and memories that can impact decisions.
In marketing, colors can influence how audiences perceive your brand and its products. It plays a vital role in guiding your viewers to engage in particular ways with your brand, much like a subconscious call-to-action (CTA).
How Does Color Affect Your Social Media Marketing?
Design plays an essential role in modern marketing, in general, and even more so in social media marketing. Businesses need to consider many areas when creating their digital brand including their style guide and brand personality.
The colors chosen by a brand say a lot to potential customers and viewers. They help audiences interpret messages and organize information quicker than other formats. They also direct the viewer on where to focus their attention, what to look at, and how to respond.
It helps users understand what is most important in a social media post. But, to send the right message across, you need to know what different colors say.
What Do Different Colors Mean?
As with other aspects of psychological research, color psychology is highly subjective. Different people’s color interpretations and associations are influenced by their experiences, personal history, memories, mental states, and more.
However, some standard color meanings govern design choices. In social media marketing, these are some of the popular meanings and uses of a basic color wheel:
Red is a strong, evocative color with many associations and different uses. Think Valentines Day and everything love but also consider how scary and terrorizing it can be when used in horror flicks.
Yet, it is also the perfect color to use if you’re trying to draw attention to something or be commanding. Red says, “STOP and take note!”
Using red is about striking the right balance as it swiftly shifts from a loving or commanding tone to an aggressive and scary one.
Sunflowers, sunshine, smiley faces, and emojis…
Yellow is the color of joy, happiness, excitement, warmth, and fun. Depending on the shade used, it can say “Hi, I’m bold!” or “Rest easy and stay calm.”
Its familiarity can be a source of comfort and bring out joyful memories and emotions. However, if used too much, it can also have a nauseating effect and make one more critical, increasing feelings of anxiety and fear.
Some of the most soothing things we experience are blue. Imagine sitting beneath an endlessly azure sky, staring into the ocean as it shifts from bright cyans to turquoise and indigos. The calm and restful feelings this can give are exactly the power of using blue.
Color psychology suggests that using blue increases dependability, trustworthiness, responsibility, and reliability. It soothes and calms. On the other hand, it can also seem distant and cold, detached and clinical if used unsparingly.
As a combination of yellow and red, orange also mixes the color psychology of both these primary colors. It has the evocative power of reds as well as the friendly fun and warmth of yellow.
Orange is a color symbolic of warmth and comfort with tones commonly found in nature- autumn leaves, fruits, fire, etc.
When used in social media content, it can draw on these feelings of security and motivational and positive feelings, too.
Green is an abundant color in nature. Found in trees, plants, grass, fruits, and more, we often associate it with success, growth, and bountiful harvests.
It’s commonplace in nature also makes it a color of balance and peace, dominant when all is well and life is good (everybody knows no farmer wants dry, dead crops).
Even when we think about money and how we see wealth, green features a lot. Think packed bags of dollars and lush gardens in beautiful estates (this can also have negative connotations of materialism and overindulgence.).
The positive emotional effects of using green include stress relief, restfulness, and better health. That’s why you find so much green in health products or brands, of course.
The last secondary color is purple. This is a magical color full of mystery and spirituality, infused into many imaginative and creative visuals. As a mixture of red and blue, it is both powerful and strong, as well as reliable and calming.
When using people, you can pull feelings of luxury, royalty, loyalty, and bravery. It is the color of possibility and creativity, but can also be distracting.
Using Color Psychology In Your Social Media Posts
Now that you understand what basic primary and secondary colors mean, you can think about how to use them for your social media.
Let’s see how you can mix and match and play with color!
Understanding contrast is important for how viewers receive your posts and content. Contrast means choosing stark and distinct but complementary colors to guide eye focus. It clarifies what viewers should read or what is most important in an image and reduces eye strain.
Common practice is to use light backgrounds with darker text or images or vice versa.
This is the use of colors on opposite sides of the color wheel. This can make for a vibrant, bright design but can also pull from the color psychology of the opposing colors, creating balance.
Using monochrome tones means using different shades of the same color. This can have a relaxing effect as there are no contrasting colors to distract you. This is also a popular take on color as a lot of social media gurus and influencers like minimalist, monochrome tones, especially nude or white tones.
Another way to work with monochrome is by using analogous colors. These are three colors that lie next to one another on the color wheel, including tertiary colors. This can create a rich look, taking same-old monochrome to the next level.
Triple Color Schemes
This is the use of three colors on the wheel that are equidistant. You can use it to create bold variety on your social media.
Bring Some Color To Your Feed!
Time to play with color! With the techniques above and this new knowledge of color psychology, you can master the use of color on your social media.
A great way to do this is by planning your posts, that way you can visualize what different colors will look like next to each other. This is especially important on visual social media platforms like Instagram.
Luckily, Preppr has you covered. You can see exactly what your feed will look like with new posts with our feed preview tool. This lets you see how each post complements the next. You can then schedule each post and share them in that order.
For individual posts, use super cool tools like Canva, Photoshop, and even IG stickers, presets, filters, etc. These can help you design color-rich and dynamic content.
On the whole, it’s always a great idea to have a branding style guide where you document all your brand’s colors and other style choices. This makes it easy for all posts to stick to a cohesive color scheme or vision. You can develop a brand palette using Canva’s color palette tool.
Your social media is your playground – literally! And you can play to your heart’s content. It is much easier to do this when you understand how.
Use color psychology, techniques, and tools to take advantage of the power of color and take your social media marketing to the next level.