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!¬†

 

 

Facebook Posts that Increase Engagement

Want to increase your Facebook engagement? Here are some tips to get your fans commenting and liking like crazy!

  1. Ask a Question
  2. Make it Visual
  3. Make it Fun

One of the best ways to increase engagement is by posting great content. When you want a commenting or liking boost consider posting a fun question or ask your fans for their feedback. People love when you ask for opinions!

Make sure anything you post to FB includes a link or a photo. Photos perform better in the FB Newsfeed algorithm than a text-only post so I can’t stress enough how important it is to have great pictures! You can find free stock photos on a variety of sites or you can make your own graphics with apps like Canva and PicMonkey. I prefer Canva because they have a variety of pre-made templates that make choosing fonts and colors easy!

Here’s a great resource for stock photos if you need them for social media or for your website, courtesy Entrepreneur.com – click here!

Increase your Facebook Engagement with Creative Question Posts and Eye Catching Graphics

It’s also important to keep your questions timely and relevant to your page. Holidays are great talking points and it’s also fun to check out “weird and wacky” events that are happening everyday like National Donut Day or National Spring Cleaning Week etc. I also love to ask people “Would you Rather” type questions because they don’t even have to think of an answer – they just pick A or B and it’s easy!

It’s important to make sure your questions are fun and won’t incite a FB debate on your timeline or offend any potential customers. If you have a fashion site and you want to ask – “Who wore it better: ¬†Hillary Clinton or Carly Fiorina?” – that’s fine, but don’t go asking people who they’d rather vote for etc.

People love to talk about their family, kids, pets and to share their opinions so when you’re coming up with questions keep those topics in mind, then tailor them to your brand and use your own voice!

When it comes to creating graphics make sure your text is easy to read and I recommend using no more than 2 fonts. If you use Canva take note of the fonts in their pre-made templates (these are made by professional designers); if you change the fonts keep in mind what made them work – was one tall and thin and the other was curvy and bold? There’s a reason those fonts were chosen – because they complimented each other. Unless you have design experience stick with suggested fonts or similar options that will also compliment each other.

Keep in mind colors that will compliment your brand and your social media pages or website when creating branded graphics. Did you know when a magazine goes to print the entire 100+ pages must contain the same color scheme and fonts? Imagine your FB page and website are going to print – will they compliment each other?

These are just some pointers for creating graphics that will stand out. The question part is up to you! Good luck increasing your engagement and getting more likes! Here are some of my most popular graphics of 2015.

 

 

Who is the hardest person to shop for on your Christmas list-

Are you team Apple or Android

Would You Rather