Your social media strategy isn’t complete without visuals. We’ve already covered the basics of social media, how to create a content calendar, and how to schedule your posts, but there’s another significant piece to this puzzle. You’re going to need to make your social media presence both visually appealing, and cohesive.
The type of graphics you’ll need for your small business social media accounts will vary depending on several factors. Different platforms favor different types of posts and they are all going to come in different shapes and sizes. It’s important to know which platforms you’ll be utilizing and create your visuals accordingly.
Of course if you’re creating YouTube videos, you’ll need at the minimum, and intro and outro template. The remaining content of the videos will be entirely up to you. If you’re posting on Twitter, you may not need many graphics at all. If you’re posting on Instagram, you’ll need an image for every post. Facebook puts you somewhere in the middle. Again, it’s important to know your strategy and where you’ll be posting content before diving in to create your visuals.
Now let’s say you planned to share a famous quote as part of your content calendar. You’re posting to Instagram, so you’ll need an image to go along with the caption. You will likely want to make an image featuring the quote. If you’re wondering how; read on.
If you haven’t heard of Canva.com before, you need to head over there as soon as you finish reading this post. Canva is my absolute favorite tool for creating social media visuals and more. Though it will take a little time to learn, it really is user-friendly. They also offer a ton of free training, so you don’t have to go it alone.
If you follow me, you’ll know I try to only recommend free or inexpensive tools to get you started when starting up your small business. Canva’s free plan is extensive and you can do so much with the free version. (With the Pro version, you’ll have access to more images and advanced tools, plus the cost for a basic pro plan is reasonable. But you can get by just fine without it for the most part.)
Canva gives you pre-sized templates for the social media platform you’re looking for. And if you can’t find the right size, you can always create your own. You’ll get tons of free templates that are being updated all the time. And it’s a snap to add your own brand colors and elements. (If you don’t have those yet, check out this post.)
To create a visual of your famous quote, select the correct size image for the platform you’ll be sharing it on. Start with a background color in one of your brand colors. Add in a text box, type the quote, update it to your brand’s font family and now you just have to save it or post it. Can’t get much easier than that!
If you want to re-size the quote to fit a different social media platform, you can do so with a click on the Pro plan. You can do so manually with the free plan by copying and pasting. You can use Canva from desktop, or get the app for your phone or tablet. It will save all your designs so you can access them from anywhere.
It’s an excellent choice for making a quick graphic from your phone, in a hurry.
Adobe Express (Formerly Known as Adobe Spark)
Adobe Express Social Media Graphic is another great resource for making your social media visuals. Spark is another one that you can use on the computer or from your phone or tablet with an app. Again, it will remember your work, so you can pick up right where you left off easily.
You also get pre-sized templates ready-made for the social media platforms of your choice. The free plan has a lot of options, though the paid plan, again, has many more. Spark is also user-friendly and after playing around, it won’t take you too long to figure out how to do the basics. It’s easy to edit. One complaint is that the free doesn’t have a ton of fonts to choose from, though you do have the ability to add your own.
While Spark makes it easy to bring in your own images, one of the my frustrations is that when searching for royalty-free images to add, you have to search Unsplash, Pixabay, or Adobe Stock each separately. You can’t see results from all three at the same time. It makes it a little more time-consuming, though it is a nice feature and it works well.
Another resource for creating social media visuals is Over. Over is only available as an app, though it is available for both iOS and Androids. Over is similar to Canva in that you can use pre-sized templates to create quick, yet stunning visuals to go along with your social media content.
Over has a little bit of a steeper learning curve; it’s just not as easy to navigate in my opinion. My biggest complaint about it is that though there is a free version, they make it much harder than Canva to find the free templates and you have to sort through a lot of Pro images, fonts, and templates, since they’re all mixed together. Another complaint is that, even though it has these really amazing fonts, they don’t match up with WordPress fonts (my website platform of choice), or many other programs. You’ll get some really great looking fonts, but you’ll have to pay to get access to using them in any other software or platforms, if you can even get them at all. Just another reason it makes things more complicated.
Over’s basic Pro plan is similar in price to Canva’s, and it pretty much gives you limitless possibilities. But for me, because it’s a big harder to use, know, and love (plus I found it after I already had fallen in love with Canva), it’s not my favorite choice. I also wish you could access it from a desktop as well. It can be harder to manipulate things on such a little screen.
Overall, my favorite of these three tools is Canva, but I’d suggest taking each one for a test drive and seeing which one works the best for you. Or maybe using a combination will keep your creative juices flowing.
This is certainly not a comprehensive list of all the tools you can use, though these are some the of best, free and accessible options. I’d love to know what you’re using right now to create your own social media visuals. List your top three in the comments below.