Effectively using colours on social media

In a medium where communication is everything, translating your ideas to others cleanly and directly over social media is important. This does for everyone, from casual users to social media marketers. There are many things social media users can do to get their message across, but there are also several pitfalls they could fall into along the way.

Whether you use pictures, videos, text, or a combination of all three, it can be tough to balance everything out. It’s not even a question of quality most of the time – there could just be a tiny mistake that is throwing everything off. A good example is when an advertising campaign created in one culture goes to another. In Italy, the hand gesture we recognise as the “Rock on!” devil horns is actually an offensive gesture, suggesting the person it is directed at has an adulterous partner!

One such tiny detail you could be glossing over is the use of colour. Psychologists have long been fascinated with extracting meaning from colours, even down to the meanings associated with different tones of the same colour. So one of the reasons your social media posts are living up to expectations is down to a subconscious incorrect use of a certain shade of colour.

In this article, we’re going to show you 6 basic colours, and the connotations that people typically associated with both. These will change culture to culture, but in the western world, this tends to be the same everywhere. This post will be very useful for social media marketers; colours can also help you increase conversions!


Effectively using colours on social media pic 2

Emotions: Anger, excitement, power, passion.

The colour of blood is one human instinctively react to by getting pumped. We’re not saying everybody that sees it becomes overwhelmed with emotions when they see it like bulls do when presented with a red rag, but it has been shown to increase heart rate and metabolism. It stretches right across the extreme ends of the emotional spectrum, from burning anger to romantic love.

How it applies: Using red in you posts denotes excitement, and urgency. It’s why a lot of “Sale” signs incorporate the colour. If you want to invoke love, use lighter tones. If violence is what you are after, use darker tones.


Emotions: Intelligence, loyalty, cold

In comparison to red, blue has a calming effect. Not associated with big, intense emotions, blue conjures up thoughts of relaxation. It also has strong ties to intelligence. But it is for these two reasons that it is also something of a cold colour – not an inclusive one, but rather an exclusive one.

How it applies: Blue is best utilised when the product you are mentioning isn’t meant to excite, but to relax. Use it for something functional and practical, as it portrays reliability and intelligent design.


Emotions: Vitality, freshness, harmony, illness

The standout colour of the natural world, green is so synonymous with the great outdoors, that most eco-friendly products are just called “green” for shorthand. This has obviously lead to it becoming the colour best connected with health and wellbeing. But it also has connections with the other end of the spectrum, often being associated with sickness.

How it applies: Simple – want to promote something healthy? Want you post to denote something as good for the environment? Make it green!


Effectively using colours on social media pic 3

Emotions: Energy, happiness, caution

A colour always likened to the sun, yellows have ties to happiness, joy and energy. In fact, it’s one of few colours with few negative connotations. It is used for warning signs because of its eye-catching nature, and can be associated with negative aspects of the sun (burning, deserts, etc.)

How it applies: If you need to create energy and an inviting nature without denoting the intensity of red, yellow is ideal.


Emotions: Exotic, invigorating, distrust

Similar to yellow, orange is connected to the sun, so brings up similar emotions such as joy and exotic things. The negative side comes from dark oranges, which have traditionally been associated with deceit. This is likely due to it being tonally similar to gold, with thoughts of wealth = corruption.

How it applies: Tropical holidays, vesty food and drinks, anything supposed to be exciting – orange is ideal for all of this. Or use its connections to wealth positively!


Emotions: Regality, power, luxury

As it is often used by royal families, purple is a high-class colour. Lots of luxury brands use it, ranging from cars companies to chocolate bars. Once again, the flip side of that in people’s consciousnesses is the negative aspect of power and ruling.

How it applies: Nothing denotes “high class” like purple. You’d be hard pressed to find a better-suited colour for conveying luxury, royalty, and the sense of domination than purple.

Effectively using colours on social media pic 1