In our last blog, I talked about where to find images for your social media posts. I highlighted the importance of using images in your social media posts to increase the engagement of your posts.
I’ve spoken with a lot of business owners and many of them are put off by creating their own graphics because they have no clue (and no time to invest in learning) how to use a fancy design package.
Which is why I want to debunk the myth that a fancy design package is the only way to create graphics!
TOP TOOLS FOR CREATING SOCIAL MEDIA GRAPHICS
These tools will enable you to create strong visual imagery, even if you have no design experience. Each one is intuitive to use (think no steep learning curve!) and friendly on your bank balance (in fact all of them have free options!) so there are no excuses not to get started! (Shameless plug: If even looking at these options still terrifies you, get in touch and we can show you how!).
So, without further ado, here are the options.
Imagine a world where you can create all of your business collateral (not just social media posts) in one place and you’ve pretty much described Canva.
Pros: Canva offers the ability to create everything from a social media image to a PDF brochure. The options are vast with this platform. The best part is that you get a lot of choice on the free plan! So much so, that you can create some great practice examples before deciding whether it’s a tool that suits your business needs and budget.
With access to a library containing millions of free & $1 premium photos, you’re unlikely to run out of options. On the off-chance that you do exhaust the image selection, then the ability to upload your own imagery, allows you to continuously create designs that are unique.
There are also tons of templates available (over 8000), or you can customise your own creation, depending on your design flair and time constraints!
Canva has some helpful training and tips designed to guide you through the process of creating your masterpiece. So if you’re a complete novice, don’t panic, there’s help available.
Once you’ve finished, you can store your design in the 1GB storage area for photos and assets. Oh, and did I mention that you can allow your team members to have access for free?! That’s right; up to 10 team members can access your design assets, so you can start collaborating and creating on a larger scale.
Cons: Of all of the options, Canva has the steepest learning curve as it gives you the most flexibility.
The video function is not that great (yet!) and some of the features on the free plan can be limiting. Resizing for example, isn’t possible on the free service. This means that if you create a graphic that you want to use on multiple platforms with native image sizes, you would need to create a new design for each platform.
UPGRADE OPTION: CANVA FOR WORK
If your budget allows I can highly recommend Canva for Work (no we’re not affiliated, just a massive fan!). Canva for Work costs $12.95 per user / per month (less if you pay annually) and the additional features making creating professional, on-brand graphics even easier! They also have a free 30-day trial, so you can see first-hand what upgrading is like.
Additional benefits include: Unlimited folders for your designs, invite up to 30 team members, unlimited storage for photos and assets, resize your designs, upload custom fonts for your brand, set colour palettes for your brand, save templates for you and your team, organize your photos with folders, easily find your designs with search and priority support.
PABLO BY BUFFER
If all that talk of possibilities with Canva left you feeling a bit overwhelmed then Pablo will steady your nerves! Pablo by Buffer is a lovely, ‘what you see is what you get’ design platform for social media posts.
Pros: If you’re only designing social media imagery, it’s simple, straightforward and fun to use. The platform has templated sizes, so you never have to worry about your design being the wrong size and you can get your message out to the masses quickly and easily.
Probably one of the best things about Pablo, is that it’s completely free. If you’re looking for something simple and straightforward, you know that you will only need basic functionality and you’re only looking to create social media imagery, then it’s a really strong contender. Simply search for your image, change your text/font and share. It really is that simple.
Cons: For those of you looking for something a little more extensive or robust, with more added extras, you may not find it here. Pablo has limited capabilities, templates, fonts and no video options.
Finally, from the creators of one of the best-known design packages, comes Adobe Spark. They’ve taken lots of the functionality from their premium programs and created a platform that allows you to design simple videos and posts.
Pros: There are some lovely features with Adobe Spark. If you’re looking for the ability to design professional video posts, complete with the option to include background music and/or talking, then it’s definitely in front of the other contenders. What’s more, the professional looking template designs and drag and drop functionality are quick, easy and really effective visually.
For more static social media posts, Spark has a range of options from Facebook posts to Eventbrite headers. They’ve got your social media needs covered.
The magic layout option allows you to explore layout options, whilst automatically moving your text. This is a really nice feature and allows you to easily test different layouts until you find something that works visually.
Adobe Spark is available on your iPhone, iPad and desktop, which means you can create posts on-the-go. A nice great feature for those occasions when the inspiration comes knocking and you laptop isn’t by your side.
You can upgrade to premium for £10.10 per month and enhance the functionality that Spark offers. Premium allows you to replace the Adobe Spark logo with your own logo, select colours and fonts that reflect your brand, use personalised branded templates and themes, update branding across templates and themes in one click and gives you access to live phone and chat support.
Cons: There are only a limited number of templates available and the colour scheme options aren’t very extensive. Also, if you’ve not used design tools previously, the functionality could easily be confusing. Whilst the video creation element is fairly straightforward, it can be a bit fiddly when creating static posts. What’s more, there aren’t clear tips or instructions for maximising the functionality.
SO WHAT IS THE BEST TOOL FOR CREATING SOCIAL MEDIA GRAPHICS?
My winner is ‘Canva’ and in particular ‘Canva for Work’ for its versatility, ease of use and functionality. Having worked with all three platforms, the ability to cater to such a variety of design needs in one place and to do this on a manageable budget makes Canva a winning solution for me.
…Plus, if you’re a control freak, like me, you’ll love being able to easily change every little detail! 🙂
OTHER TOOLS FOR CREATING SOCIAL MEDIA GRAPHICS
These days there are an array of platforms, catering to different aspects of design. I didn’t want to cause death by analysis, so I’ve stopped at my top 3. If you’re looking for alternative options for specific projects, here are some extra recommendations:
Pop us a comment on Facebook to share your favourite tool (especially if it’s not one I’ve mentioned here).