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Picture Perfect

Picture Perfect

Social media expert Nicky Kriel offers her top tips on how to create impactful images for social media without a graphic designer

A picture is worth a thousand words, and the same is true on social media. Images give you better engagement and more shares. Visual content is 40 percent more likely to be shared than any other type of social media content. Images make up 63 percent of all social media content. But how do you create unique branded images without spending a fortune on design?

Tools for Creating Social Media Images in the Office
You don’t want your DIY design tools to make your visual content look amateurish. You could spend hours finding the most recent sizing guidelines for each social media post before fiddling with design. Don’t waste your time! Head straight for either of these design tools: Canva and Easil. Both have an array of professionally designed templates in the perfect dimensions for you to use.

Canva.com
The best-known DIY design tool that is used both by pro designers and social media managers around the world and is a good place to start creating professional looking social media visual content. It’s easy to learn how to use it and there is a brilliant design tutorial course so that you can fast track your ability to create awesome designs. The free version is great for getting started, but if consistent branding is important to you, use the paid-for Canva for Work to save your pantones and fonts. It will also allow you to resize your designs for different social media networks.

Easil.com
Easil is like Canva but offers slightly edgier designs. Their infographics are beautifully designed and work well for outdoor enthusiasts whether you want to create infographics showing tips for choosing socks or great walks near your location. You can also create eye-catching gifs easily for exclusive offers and sales. They offer a free trial to get you started.

Whichever tool you decide to use, follow the following steps:

  1. Choose a template.
  2. Change the photo to your own.
  3. Customise your text.
  4. Add your branding.
  5. Change an element like the font, colour or filter to make it make it uniquely yours.

Free Resources for Powerful Photos to Use for Visual Content
Here are some great resources for finding stunning photographs that are free from copyright restrictions. Who has time for legalese, right? The images are free to use without needing attribution.

Unsplash.com
Breath-taking photographs on Unsplash can be used for free for personal or commercial use. You do not need to ask permission or provide credit to the photographer or Unsplash, although attribution is encouraged.

Deathtothestockphoto.com
This site has stunning outdoor pictures taken by professional photographers from around the world. Subscribe to their email list and you will get sent a set of free images each month. Can’t wait to build up a library of images? They have an inexpensive premium option which gives you instant access to over 2,000 images.

Pexels.com
Another reliable source of great photos that are free to use. 

Tools for Creating Social Media Images on the go
If you are at a trade show or an outdoor event and taking pictures on your smartphone, you want tools that you can use quickly from your mobile device. Here are a few apps that you will find very helpful to give your images a wow-factor.

Snapseed
This app is a professional photo editor that for getting the best out of the snaps you take on your smartphone. You probably don’t need to learn how to use all the features, but it will help you make the most of your pictures. It has substantially more editing features than Instagram.

WordSwag
This app allows you to add custom text overlay on your images with a few taps on your smartphone. It’s not free, but it’s a small cost considering what it can do and the amount of time it will save you.

  1. Choose one of their backgrounds or use your own photos.
  2. Crop the image to the right size for the social media platform you want to use.
  3. Choose the text overlay from a wide selection.
  4. Double tap on the text to change it to your words.
  5. Post to social media.

Alternative Apps
TextSwag and Textgram are free alternatives to WordSwag that allow you to add professional looking text overlay.

Now that you have tools to help you create professional looking social media content without needing a graphic designer, your only limits are your imagination.