We are always looking for ways our clients can do much of their own marketing and content. We encourage our clients to set up a dedicated Instagram account to promote their business by sharing photos. It’s easy to take a pic with the Instagram camera, add a description and a couple of hashtags, then share it. But Instagram also lets you upload interesting brand graphics to any social media app, and I want to share an easy and free way to do that—especially if your eye for design gets ahead of your design abilities.
By brand graphics, I mean several things. Perhaps you could post the images from your blog posts with the title of the post on the image. If you have an online store you can create collages of your products or product images with text over them. Or you might want to create a template, using your brand colors, to use when you want to post tips or pithy words to live by like these by Nathalie Lussier.
Those of you proficient with Photoshop can easily create your graphic images; share them to your phone’s media library, bring up Instagram, upload and post them.
If you don’t want the expense or learning curve of Photoshop, don’t despair! You can make really great graphics for Instagram as well as slideshows, social media images, Facebook Covers, collages, presentations and with a program called Canva.
A free version of Canva has been around for a couple of years and has most of what you need to make graphics. It has a number of templates, design ideas and images that are readily accessible to help you build new designs. Some of its images and templates require a small fee that is no more than you would have to pay for a stock image company. It’s totally worth the time savings.
The paid version of Canva ($100 per year) has some extra cool features. One of my favorites is the brand kit, which allows you to upload your logo, brand colors and fonts. This means your exact design tools are available for creating business graphics that professional and consistent across platforms. A distinctive look and feel for your company’s marketing materials is critical, and if you don’t have brand colors and fonts yet, you can use Canva to create them. Upgrade your company’s look and feel just like that.
Here’s an example of how easy this is. I originally asked Aaron to take a look at Canva for Work to create an image for our blog post on nostalgia marketing. It wasn’t quite as simple as we thought it would be, and it was Aaron’s first time using it. Still he was able to create some images for our post in no time. Since then, we’ve been using Canva almost every week. We often use a combination of images we have on file or use stock images from sites like Big Stock Photo or Adobe Stock to create our weekly blog post image.
To help people get the most from all of its features, Canva also launched Design School that includes tutorials, blog posts, and interactive videos—free of charge. I suggest taking a little time with it on the front end to save time later.
Of course, you can always call us or your local designer when you need graphics for your projects. Keep Canva in mind though, especially if you have an eye and ideas for the designs you want and not enough time or ability to execute them. Canva can give you the chops to have your social media and other online marketing look polished and professional.
Power to the people! Go for it.