Slide Makeovers: Buffer’s Social Media Guide

Given the popularity of the last Slide Makeover, I’ve decided to offer up another example for your learning and education. This one comes to us from our friends at Buffer, and their guide for how often to post on social media. The deck has gotten more than 38,000 views, but we think it could have gotten more with a more powerful design.

Consistency & Logo

The original slides were dark with the exact same background, which can quickly lose a viewer’s attention. For for the redesign, we chose to make it fun and exciting by utilizing photography-based backgrounds. Even though we used a photo on every slide, it was a different photo with different graphic treatments to help keep things fresh and vibrant. Also, we chose a simple color scheme and utilized varying shades of colors to add increased visual interest.



For the cover slide, we chose to feature young people looking at a tablet to infer that they could be looking at something related to social media. We also made sure to include the Buffer logo.

The Lesson: The original deck Buffer did not have their logo on the first slide. In any situation where your information might be spread virally, you should at least have your name or logo for viewers to reference.



Photos and Text

In this situation, we used big typography in conjunction with photography to make the message stand out. In addition, you will notice throughout the deck we used multiple layouts to break up the monotony.

The Lesson: Your presentation can still be consistent and on brand without having the same layout and background on every slide.



Data Visualization

The “before” presentation featured a small pixelated screen shot of the above graph. We made the graph take up the whole page so the information could be easily absorbed.

The Lesson: You should be able to look at a graph for just a few seconds and find out what you need to know. For the background, we still used a photo but we dropped down the opacity and put a color on top of it with a light pattern. We also highlighted the most important information.



Split Screen

For this slide we chose to change up the layout by featuring the words on one side and the chart on another.

Lesson: This approach helps keep things exciting and interesting while still keeping things consistent.



Same But Different

This slide has the same layout as Slide 2 to keep things consistent. In the original deck they kept all their break slides exactly the same.

The Lesson: It is good to use multiple layouts in your presentation, but you should not use so many different ones that there is no familiarity throughout the deck. We suggest that you use the same layout but with different pictures and alternative sets of colors.



Change It Up

On this slide, we chose to use a completely new layout for an exciting break. The text is very large and easy to read, making it very engaging.

The Lesson: Differentiate your style every now and then to shake things up while still maintaining a level of consistency.



End With a Bang

For the final slide, we made it memorable with the screen shot of the blog and the web address. In this specific case, Buffer wanted to drive traffic back to their web site, so it was the logical choice.

The Lesson: Don’t neglect opportunities to always include a call to action.

The redesigned deck:

I hope you enjoyed this presentation design makeover. It’s my hope that it empowers you to continue pushing your presentations one step further.

READ MORE: Slide Makeovers: Presentation Design Lessons from Real Slides

Author Bio

Scott Schwertly is the author of How to Be a Presentation God and CEO of Ethos3, a Nashville, TN-based presentation boutique providing professional presentation design and training for national and international clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to branded individuals like Guy Kawasaki. If Scott is not working with his team building presentations, you will find him in the pool, on the bike, or on a long run. Scott lives in Nashville, TN with his wife and three dogs. He has a B.A. and M.B.A. from Harding University. Find Scott on Google+.

Photo: CHAINFOTO24/Shutterstock

13 Responses to “Slide Makeovers: Buffer’s Social Media Guide”

  1. John Hepburn

    Would it not be better to avoid obscuring the eyes of people in the background picture? As they’re the first things we look at, there’s a sense of uncompleted business if they’re hidden, distracting from the slide’s message. The “Twitter” slide is a good example.

  2. hatrick

    How so you achieve the block layout for text, where several lines with different font sizes have exactly the same width? Can’t figure out how to do that in PowerPoint without manually adding 1pt-spaces after every single letter (which is a mess to do)…

  3. kimsangjin78

    Horrible advice. Stop trying to make fancy slides and focus on audience and content.

  4. ACK IT Consulting

    Do you disagree with both presentations or simply the “after” presentation? I think the after demonstration displays an understanding of the audience.

  5. California Web Designer

    So, pretty much add a background of 20-something smiling Xanax-riddled hipsters staring blankly at a mobile device that has nothing to do with the presentation, then mix some really large and really small fonts to pretend that what you’re talking about is interesting, and then skew all your graphs so it’s hard to read the scales and make any sense out of them because the people watching don’t really care anyway, and you’ve got a winning slideshow! 😉

  6. Bjarne Iversen

    Agree with kimsangjin78 though “horrible advice” is too strong an expression. Slides will never be the objective itself, but a tool to make the audience understand and accept your message.

  7. Lorrie

    I love the background picture. I saw a neat trick for how to do this: insert a white shape on top and increase the transparency!

  8. Cathym1016

    I agree that the after has more visual impact, but don’t think the text and graphics are as readable they should be. There may have been too much emphasis on color and shape, but less on good old readability, size and and contrast. Is the new one attractive? Yes! Is it easier to read? I think there’s a way to go there.

  9. Jen Patton

    Try the Character Spacing button – in 2010 it’s just below the font size, a button that has “AV” with a double arrow line under it. They have a couple of default settings but the last option opens a menu where you can customize it. You’ll still have to play around with it, but much better than playing with all those spaces :)

    You could also try “justify” (next to the left/right alignment options) but I like the control of Character Spacing better.