FREE Tools for Creating Social Media Graphics and Videos

FREE Social Media Tools for creating standout visuals and videos! Learn more via @HighleyDesigned

One of the things I have the most fun doing as a social media manager is creating graphics and videos! Most of the apps I use are absolutely FREE, so I figured I’d pass along the savings and share some of my secrets.

Canva

If you use PostPlanner you are probably already familiar with Canva, but if not that’s okay. For newbies, PostPlanner is an awesome tool for finding viral content to share on your social networks and it has an integrated Canva app so you don’t even have to leave the PostPlanner website to create a custom graphic. If you’re not using PostPlanner, simply visit Canva.com to get started. You can create a free account and all features are free but some designs contain special elements (fonts, backgrounds, layouts) that do cost extra. The good news – the extras are all $1 a piece so the most I’ve ever paid for a not-free graphic is about $3. And most that aren’t free use only 1 or 2 paid elements so you’re looking at $1 or $2 for an awesome, professional custom graphic.

What sets Canva apart from other apps is that they have pre-designed templates for almost any social media site! This includes templates designed to the right dimensions for posts, ads, cover photos, you name it. This is a huge time saver for me! I use Canva for custom Facebook and Twitter posts, blog graphics, ads, and even full page flyers and more. I typically use InDesign if I have a big project that requires lots of detail but what’s awesome about Canva is you can download your designs as JPGs, PNGs or PDFs. So, if I need to create a simple flyer to print copies of and I don’t have lots of time, I can create something with Canva and download it as a high quality PDF. See below, a flyer I recently created for a client of mine.

Beautifully designed flyer using Canva free elements!

Not only could I download a JPG for online use, with Canva you can download high quality PDFs for print!

 

PicMonkey

PicMonkey is very similar to Canva but it does not include all of the pre-designed templates. PicMonkey is great if you want to edit or add effects to an existing photo or use their awesome overlays and themes to create something original. I like PicMonkey for creating custom images that feature quotes and original photos. The site is really easy to use and that’s part of what makes it so great! You can download JPGs and PNGs but no PDF feature (at least not yet!). Also similar to Canva, PicMonkey does have a “Royal” plan which allows you to use any premium features for a low monthly price of about $4. So if you are using sites like these a lot the cost is comparable.

Legend

Legend is an awesome app for creating short GIFs and Videos. Simply take a quote or expression, select a photo and then choose from tons of awesome animations that bring it to life! This is an app for mobile only so it’s great for making videos that stand out on Instagram. You can download your animation as a GIF or Video so keep in mind you can now upload GIFs to Facebook and Twitter but for IG you need to download your animation as a video.

Filmora

Filmora is an awesome app for desktop that allows you to create professional looking amateur videos! You can create a full video or use photos and simply add background music or text overlay. I am not a filmmaker but video is such a big part of social media, and apps like this allow you to compete with the big guys that do have a budget to hire the professionals. Filmora allows you to create standout video shorts for Facebook and I find them especially effective as ads! Have you tried a video ad yet? What are you waiting for? Video isn’t a luxury anymore, it’s everywhere and with the tools at your fingertips it’s time to dive in or be left behind.

The only downside to Filmora is that it isn’t free, but for just $29.99 you can download the software and start making your own videos! Below is a simple video ad I created for Facebook using Legend and Filmora. It performed really well and I spent about 50 cents per page like during the campaign which is awesome! Enjoy and have fun creating custom graphics and videos this week. For more tips be sure to subscribe or like my Facebook page! 

 

 

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Facebook Ads for Beginners

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A lot of my clients ask me about Facebook ads. What do I recommend, are they worthwhile, how do they work? I definitely see a value in running Facebook ads, so I recently broke things down for a client of mine who has little experience with social media.

Boosting a Post v. Page Promotion

Boosting a post is a great way to get more people to see that specific post and when it features a link to your store, it’s a great way to get more clicks to your website. Another great way to increase your page views and let people know about your store is with a page promotion. A page promotion is just that. You select your audience and Facebook will serve your add to those people with a photo and a button that says, “like page.” The more people like your page, the more people yours posts will reach organically.

Local Awareness Campaigns

Another type of promotion that’s great if you’re hosting an event or if you have a physical store, is a local awareness campaign. This type of promotion targets only people in a specified mile radius of your location. You can even make it specific so it will only be served to people who have recently purchased similar items or looked for the type of service you provide. For example my husband’s family has a business, they do septic pumping. Local awareness ads are great for them because people don’t always know a septic company off hand. If they need one, they’ve probably Google searched one recently and Facebook can use that information to target them. For this type of ad to be effective, you need to know your audience. If you’re in retail think about the kind of shoppers who frequent your store. If you’re a service provider think about the people who need your services. For the septic business, a great filter is homeownership. I target people who are homeowners or first time home buyers. It’s also important to think about age. Don’t waste money advertising to people who are 18-25 if your store sells products for parents of school aged children, or your clients are generally affluent adults. There will always be outliers, but try to target your stereotypical client or customer.

What Kind of Ad Should I Run?

If you’re having a sale or a promotion, a great way to reach more people is to boost the post that has the sale info etc. Another option is to create a special paid promotion via Facebook. I haven’t had as much success with this – I think boosting a post is more effective.

How Much Should I Spend?

As for pricing – I have a lot of experience with ads and I’ve always had best results when I spend a small amount each day, but run the ad for more days. For example, a $5 budget per day for 10 days will perform better than a $10 budget per day for 5 days. Both will equal $50 total, but when it comes to daily budget – less is more.

I hope this is helpful!

~ Rachel