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It’s not easy being a small business owner or solopreneur, trying to do everything yourself to get your business off the ground.  If you are reading this, I’m guessing that you are handing your own social media marketing and struggling with the massive amount of time it consumes!  Or maybe you’re frustrated because while you know you have to do it, you’re not a graphic designer and feel like you’re just sharing everyone else’s content.

So here are a few things you need to know before we move on…

  • Awesome images and videos are what stop people in their newsfeed, so you have to figure out how to make that happen!
  • If your image isn’t the right quality or size for any given platform, you lose credibility and potential engagement.
  • The images and videos you put in social media are part of your brand development and need to reflect it.

Those things being said, it’s time you start creating images that grab your audience’s attention, encourage engagement and are reflective of your brand.  It sounds like a pretty big job! And while it is extremely important, it doesn’t have to be difficult, even for non-graphic designers.

It’s time you start creating images that grab your audience’s attention, encourage engagement and are reflective of your brand.Click To TweetThere are tons of incredible apps and online programs available to you to create visually appealing custom graphics. I wanted to share the 3 we use most often while creating content for our clients and ourselves.  Each of these is a little different, but each of them will allow you to create high quality and creative images without having a creative bone in your body. They will also help you to work quickly so you can get back to the other tasks you have in your day.

Let’s jump in…

How to use CanvaCanva

canva.com

I’m placing this at the top because it’s what we use the most. Be sure to watch the video for a demo of each of these for a better understanding of what they do. Canva has every feature I would look for in an image design program:

  • Pre-created design templates
  • Preset images sizes for all social media platforms and more
  • Formatting and editing tools for image and text
  • Ability to download your own images and logo
  • A built in library of free and $1 stock photography
  • A file system for organizing your work

One of my favorite features is the ability to create a graphic for 1 platform, then use their magic resize feature to change it into the perfect size for other selected platforms.

Canva has a free version for those of you operating on a small budget. The paid version “Canva for Work” is only $12.95 a month per user and includes enhanced features such as the ability to create a brand. Having a brand set up allows you to keep all your graphics consistent in font style, color, etc.

RelayThatHow to use Relay That

relaythat.com

I absolutely love this program because it takes your photo, message, hashtag and website and does all the heavy lifting for you.  The program literally takes your design elements and creates over 1000 variations of them, broken down into the right size for each social media platform and more.

Each image that is created for your has a few options for customization by toggling specific design elements on or off for the perfect message. But the design is done for you and you just get to make minor tweaks.  Huge time saver!

The learning curve is a little bit longer in RelayThat, BUT, I just spoke with the creator/developer, Craig Carpenter, and he passed along the exciting news that RelayThat 2.0 is coming out in a couple of weeks. The new version is going to have a new look that I think is more user friendly and intuitive (yep, I got a sneak peek!)

RelayThat is free to use and you can upgrade for additional features.

Adobe SparkHow to use Adobe Spark

spark.adobe.com

Right now Adobe Spark is FREE and loaded with stock images that are guaranteed to create gorgeous graphics!  Again, you can choose pre-loaded design templates and then customize them and are also able to upload your own images.  You can modify designs by adding text boxes, additional images and more.

From my perspective, the only downside to Adobe Spark is that you can’t overlay your logo to brand your images.  But just last week we were asked to become part of a testing group that will offer that feature. So I’m pretty sure it’s coming! Now whether they will then charge for the platform when that feature becomes available is yet to be seen.

But the bottom line is that you get access to a library of high quality stock photography and are creating graphics specifically for the platforms you are posting to.  You no longer have to grab images online that are likely the intellectual property of someone else, are poor quality or display pixelated and incorrectly sized.

Your social media footprint needs to be reflective of the quality of work your potential clients can expect. Click To TweetThe images you put out into the digital world are a direct reflection of your business, your brand and even your values.  Your social media footprint needs to be reflective of the quality of work your potential clients can expect. Every post you publish should be done with that in mind. Ask yourself:

  • Is this image going to stop my audience when they are scrolling through their feed?
  • Is the image quality in line with my brand?
  • Is the image quality in line with the high level of service I offer?
  • Does the image tell a story or enhance the message I am sharing?

I’d love to hear about your experiences with these programs in the comments below! Or if there is anything else you use frequently that you think should be on the list, give it a shout out. As always, we’re happy to answer questions, offer a little support to talk more about helping you develop your online marketing strategy. Leave us a note below or reach out via our contact page, via email, or find us on any social media platform @thinkbiggolocal.

Happy Designing!!

 

Bobbi Baehne

Bobbi Baehne

President, Think Big Go Local, Inc.

My mission at Think Big Go Local is to create a “buzz” around our client’s businesses online and in social media platforms so their message reaches their desired audience.  We know that relationships are built and maintained online each and every day and work to make sure our clients are building credibility, authority and attracting new followers and clients .  We don’t work in a cookie cutter environment, each of our clients is unique and their accounts are fully managed using their voice, talking to their specific audience and sharing value that keeps them coming back.

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