Today’s social media universe is more crowded than ever, with more than 31 million Facebook posts and 350,000 tweets occurring every single minute. In this fast-paced environment, you often have only seconds to capture your audience’s attention before they scroll past your post onto other content in their news feed.
One of the best ways to make sure your social media posts get the attention they deserve is to include strong visuals that will help them stand out from the clutter. Simply put, images help to convey your brand in a way that words usually cannot—and statistics show that social media posts with quality images drive up to 650% higher engagement than text-only posts.
If you’re a small business owner or someone looking to spice up your personal social media profiles, you may think creating social media images that stand out is too time-consuming or cost-intensive. However, that is simply not the case! Check out some of these great free (or inexpensive) resources that will help you create the stunning visuals you need to take your social media game to the next level.
Often considered a “gold standard” when it comes to creating stunning social media images, Canva is an online tool that allows you to make beautiful designs and documents using an easy drag-and-drop interface. The templates on Canva are pre-sized for different social media needs (e.g. Facebook posts, blog headers, etc.), and the tool comes pre-loaded with million of stock photographs and vector graphics—so all you need to do is let your creativity run wild! The basic version of Canva is free to use; users can also pay $12.95 per month to subscribe to “Canva for Work,” which includes additional features made with social media managers and graphic design professionals in mind.
FotoJet is an all-in-one online tool for graphic design and photo editing. FotoJet has an extensive amount of templates to help you fill a wide range of design needs, from Facebook cover photos, Twitter headers, and YouTube banners to other projects such as magazine covers, posters, and flyers. A highlight of FotoJet is its fantastic photo editing suite, which allows you to perform advanced editing techniques that would normally require a more expensive platform like Photoshop to complete. FotoJet’s basic features are free to use, but there is also a premium option that includes even more advanced editing tools, additional templates, extra fonts, and more for $4.99 per month.
There’s a pretty good chance that you already have Microsoft PowerPoint sitting on your desktop, but did you know that with just a little bit of creative thinking it can also be used to make fantastic social media graphics? Create a single slide in the app, and then experiment with other tools such as text boxes, transparency effects, and textures to make your image really come alive. When you’re finished creating your masterpiece, go to File —> Save as Pictures and save the slide as either a .jpg or .png file (.png will produce a higher-quality image, but .jpg results in a smaller file size). When you’re finished, you’ll have a finalized image perfect for posting on any social media you choose! If you don’t already have PowerPoint, you can look into a desktop-based version or even get PowerPoint for your mobile device.
Adobe Spark is an app that can be downloaded to your iOS device (or accessed via the desktop version) that allows you to create social media graphics, web stories, and animated videos in minutes. A highlight of Adobe Spark is the app’s ability to create “Themes,” which allow you to develop a visual identity for your brand that can then be easily applied to every image you create. Other excellent features include “Magic Text” that automatically adapts to fit the size of your image as well as a handy tool that will resize your images to fit all of the social media profiles they are needed for. When you’re done, Spark also makes it easy to instantly share your images to social media. Best of all, the app is completely free and can be integrated with other products in the Adobe Creative Cloud.
If you’re interested in measuring how well your snazzy graphics are performing on social media, you can’t beat RELAY—an online image design platform with several game-changing features that make it worth your time. For example, a standout feature of RELAY is the inclusion of templates for less-common social media needs, such as Snapchat filters, YouTube channel art, mood boards, and more. However, the best part of RELAY is that it lets you do more with your social media images after you create them, including tools to help you schedule and measure the results of your posts, a “one click resize” feature that will instantly optimize your creation for every platform, and SEO keyword assistance to ensure your post is seen by as many people as possible. The free version of RELAY includes 1,000+ smart layouts and the ability to schedule content, whereas the Pro version includes additional content and unlimited downloads for $16 per month.
Using these free and inexpensive tools, creating social media graphics doesn’t have to be the daunting task it might seem. Choose the tool that best meets your needs and start designing—you’ll be making social media magic happen before you know it!