Why should you care about creating branded social media posts? A few reasons:
1) Sharing fresh, new content enhances your business and provides value to your followers. Sharing other people's content (hence known as OPC) should be only half of your social media strategy. If you don't add your own content, you'll start to look like a copycat, or worse, a freeloading socializer.
2) If you are a creative entrepreneur (interior designer, color professional, window treatment specialist, remodeling company, etc), creating your own social media graphics is a sneaky way to show off your work, your design skills, appreciation for color, and desire for originality. It shows your fans that, not only are you absolutely freakin' amazing at what you're selling, you also happen to rock at delivering hand-crafted content. Followers notice this (and the lack thereof).
By now you might be asking, "Can't I just post photos of my work [e.g. design projects] and call it good?"
Yes, you certainly can, if you like effort that is "good enough." I don't--I prefer mind-blowing creativity, as do my clients and their social media followers.
Designing a social media graphic from scratch sounds much more intimidating than it is. In this post, I'll show you my efficient, simple process for creating social media posts that both represent your brand and appeal to your followers.
Let's get started on your design.
First, go to www.canva.com. Create an account (it's free!) if you don't already have one. Take a moment to be in awe over all that Canva has to offer.
See those options across the top of my screen? Canva makes it easy for you to create an image that is the correct size for your specific social media. In this example, I will select the size required for a Facebook image.
Note: If you are creating a post for Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, etc., choose your size accordingly. On social media, size DOES matter.
Choosing a Background
Don't let the big white square intimidate you. It's going to look fabulous in a couple minutes. To start your design, choose a background. Your background can be a solid color, a pattern (use with discretion), or a high resolution image. Right now, we're going with a solid background.
Click "Background" in the left column and choose your color. For this example, I chose a minty blue.
You'll notice that some patterns are priced at a dollar each. Should you purchase any? That's up to you, but here's a tip: Don't. You can create amazing social media graphics without paying a dime--or a dollar--on Canva. This is why I love them to pieces.
Now that you've chosen your solid background color, let's add some text. Meaningful text. Say something worth saying, or don't say anything at all. It doesn't have to be serious. It doesn't have to be a quote from someone famous (but it could be).
Your text simply needs to be relevant to your ideal customer. If you aren't sure what is relevant to your ideal customer, you need to pause your social media campaign until you confidently understand the details of who you are trying to reach and why.
Here's the text that I chose, since I am creating this post for a wealth management company:
Choosing a topic and verbiage
Notice that I present one idea: Women don't participate in financial conversations as much as they should. I also presented this company's opinion (or branding) on that idea: Women need to have their say in money topics. This is a problem-solution post. (I'll go into the many different types of posts in a different tutorial.)
For sake of learning, please present a problem in your industry and your brand's opinion or solution to that problem.
Using the power of beautiful typography
Notice the font(s) and font size. While typography is a vast topic, it can be boiled down to this one statement: Aside from alphabetical meaning, fonts portray emotions and, when combined appropriately, they can turn words into art. If combined inappropriately, the final design won't be attractive, triggering emotions like disgust and irritation in your followers. Don't do that.
As a basic rule, combine an elegant flourish with a minimal bare-bones font. Canva has many fonts within those two categories, but if you aren't sure what looks best, use one of their pre-made typography sets.
Click "Text" in the left sidebar. Select "Add a..." or choose a pre-made template. I chose "Add a heading" for both fonts. Change the color of your font by clicking the text and selecting a color bubble. When clicked, that bubble will expand into more colors and customization options.
Because cursive fonts can be difficult to read, I use them sparingly. My main statement was made with a legible font, and my brand positioning got the extra-pretty font. I offset both fonts to the right in preparation for my next step.
Images or graphics should enhance the overall feel and tone of the final design while echoing your brand and audience. (Yes, designing Facebook posts require a significant amount of mindfulness.)
Conveniently, Canva has a plethora of graphics for you to use. For free.
Click "Elements" in the lefthand column. Several categories will appear. Select the most appropriate one for your post and start browsing. This is fun! For my post, I chose the seasonal category (it's the very first one in the list). Since it's spring at the time of this post, Canva is all about Easter. Perfectly adorable.
I chose flowers as my sole graphic for two reasons: First, I don't want my graphic to detract from my text, and second, cute flowers are appealing to who I am trying to reach: Women. (Is that sexist? No, it's about knowing your customer in minute detail. This customer freaking loves flowers.)
Select your graphic and position it wherever you'd like. Drag a corner in or out to resize. Are the colors clashing with your background? No worries, nearly all graphics can be re-colored.
I didn't like the pink, yellow, and green against my mint blue background, so I went with a lighter shade of blue and pure white.
To re-color your graphic element, click the image and select the colored circle that you want to change. All primary and recent colors will appear. Click the "+" to create your own color and shade. Repeat as needed for all colors in your graphic element.
After finalizing your color choices, reposition any text or graphics as needed. Proofread for typos.
Adding Your Logo
Adding your logo to a social media post is critical. Not only does it look professional, it also ensures that your post will drive users back to you no matter where it ends up in the big, crowded internet.
To add your logo, click "Uploads" in the left column. Find your logo on your computer and drag-drop it into the queue. Your logo, and anything else you upload, will remain here for future use and is listed in chronological order, from newest to oldest.
Click and drag your logo onto your design. Resize and position as needed. Keep it smaller (the logo resolution will stay sharp and clear) to avoid creating distraction. For this example, I used my company's logo instead of my client's logo--to protect their identity.
Pro Tip: Make sure your logo has a transparent background. If it doesn't, don't use it. Your final product will look tacky. Instead, use a small font size (of the same basic font you already used) and type your web address at the bottom of the graphic. This connects the post to you without relying on a logo. Here's what that would look like:
Proofread the graphic (again) for accuracy. Make any final adjustments. Your design is auto-saved by Canva every few minutes. If you try to close Canva "between saves," a warning will appear and ask if you want to save your design. Thank goodness!
Save Your Design
Now you're ready to download your design. Click "Download" in the upper right corner. A drop-down menu will appear. Save as a JPG. A JPG file has the appropriate resolution for social media use. A PNG file would work as well but is not necessary.
Wait for Canva to compile your design, then follow the prompts to save the design on your computer.
Tada! You have hand-crafted your first branded post for Facebook. While this tutorial is lengthy, don't sweat it. Have fun with the design process. You will become more efficient the more you do it. In fact, you'll create some really unique and beautiful designs.
Pro Tip: Use the same or similar font pairings each time you create a graphic. When possible, use the same colors as well. Design consistency makes your brand more readily recognized across social media.
Alternate Design: Using a Photo as a Background
Sometimes solid colors don't cut it, especially if you have an amazing, relevant photo to show off (like a photo of your work). If the photo has high resolution, at least 800 x 800 pixels, it's a great alternative for your background.
Choose your photo from your computer or download from a stock photography site. Upload the photo to Canva the same way you uploaded your logo.
To add the photo as a background, simply click and drag the photo onto your design. Resize as needed by dragging the corners in or out. DO NOT resize by dragging the sides. This will distort your image.
If the image is covering your text, click the image and select "Back" in the image editor until all of your text appears. If the photo is too dark or too light for your text, consider changing the color of your fonts or adjusting the lighting of the photo by clicking "Filter."
The Final Designs
Time to add one of these beauties to your Facebook content schedule!
Kate Greunke is a social media manager, writer, and web/graphic designer for home professionals. She is a published fiction author and the founder of Socialite LLC.