Images are so important on social media. They can increase your reach, your engagement, and generally how much people love looking at your stuff. Too many people either don't take the time to create images, or do it wrong.
One reason is they think they don't have time, another is that they don't know how as a non-designer. Either way, let's solve both those problems right now. First, what not to do...
The Wrong Way to Make Social Media Graphics
Here is what a lot of people do. They go to Google, type in what they want, click images, and then right click to download what they want. There are a bunch of problems with this method including:
Ditto for a direct copy and paste from someone else's website, blog, social media feeds (it is totally okay to share, just not to download and repost as your own work), etc.
The Tools I Use
So what is the right way? Create your own images, of course! Not only is this better from a legal/ethical standpoint, but also allows you to customize for your brand and needs. Back in the olden days of the Internet, the only way to make cool graphics was to learn something like Photoshop, but now thanks to the wonders of technology you can make beautiful amazing images in a few clicks. There are a bunch of really cool tools out there, but here are the five that I use most commonly.
Canva is absolutely my go-to tool for all things graphic. My favorite part is their regularly updated templates that make it easy to make sure the beautiful new Twitter header or Facebook cover I am creating will actually fit. It is a good all around tool that will solve most of your graphic needs. You can upload your own images to work with as well.
The downside to Canva is that if you are a total graphics novice then the options may still be overwhelming. Stick to the templates as much as possible to keep your images looking amazing if you are not sure about the rules of design.
It does have a free version, as well as a professional version that has more options (like adding team members and saving branding rules). You can also pay for individual images on a one time use basis if you don't have your own photo to use. (Don't worry, there are a TON of free graphics included as well.)
Formerly called "Share As Image," Stencil is another tool that gives you templates and amazing images to work with, and then let's you tweak it to work for your brand. I love all the free photo options. You can easily resize to the type of graphic you need.
If you are only creating a few graphics, then the free version will be fine (up to 10 per month). To get access to all the images available, along with more features, they have a paid version for $9/month, which is a great deal.
As a bonus, if you are a blogger looking for options to recommend that have an affiliate program, this one does!
Recite is SO simple, and makes fun and fast images. Their options are a little more limited than some of the other tools I use, but that is not always a bad thing when I want a fast option. It is completely free, and they make their money from ads. This means you have to put up with the ads, but that is a small price to pay.
Because it is so simple, this is usually the first one I recommend to someone just getting started too. It is almost impossible to mess it up, even if you have never made an image in your life.
My favorite thing about this one is what it does with the text. In any of the other tools, manually changing the size and font of every word can be time consuming. Sometimes it is nice to switch it up a bit, and Quotes Cover is the only tool that does it for you. You can click through until you find a font and color combination that you love, and then add your own background image too if you want. This one is also completely free and supported by ads, so is a great one for anyone getting started in their business with a small budget for social media graphics.
Pablo by Buffer
One of my all time favorite social media tools is Buffer, so I was very excited when they added an image creation option to their available tools. I haven't gotten the sharing to sync up to my Buffer quote right yet, but the speed of making simple text on image graphics has made it something I still really like using. I actually blocked off a couple hours and did about 100 graphics that I could use on my social, and then loaded them all into my scheduling queues. This one is also totally free!
How Do You Use Visual Content?
All of these tools show quotes as the default image to create - but start thinking outside the box too. What else can you turn into a visual image? Questions? Testimonials? Fill in the blanks? Trivia fact or product tips? Be creative and watch the social rewards roll in!
Share with me your favorite picture you made using one of these tools! I would love to see it!