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! 

 

 

New Instagram Features for Social Media Managers!

Sweet New IG Features for Social Media Managers by HighleyDesigned

Instagram has finally introduced an awesome feature for social media managers! I mean, it’s about time you can switch accounts without logging out and logging back in… (Both Facebook and Twitter have had the feature for years.) That’s right – account switching is here.

Whether you have a bunch of IG accounts you manage or you simply want to be able to switch between your personal and business accounts more easily, here’s how you do it. And as of now you can add up to 5 accounts… Bummer if you have more, but at least it’s a helpful step!

Step 1. Login to one of your Instagram accounts and click on your profile at the bottom right.

Step 1 - Login to your IG account and click on your profile at the bottom right

Step 2. Click on the “options” dots at the top right.

2016-02-08 19.46.01

Step 3. Scroll all the way down and click “Add account.”

New IG Features for Social Media Managers!

Step 4. Simply login to your next account and repeat the process to add additional accounts.

New IG features for Social Media Managers!

Step 5. Toggle between accounts by holding the profile image at the bottom right – a menu will pop-up and you’ll see a check next to the account you’re currently using.

New IG Features for Social Media Managers!

Now that your accounts are added you can post pictures and manage your accounts more easily! For more tips and tutorials be sure to follow me on Facebook and keep posting great content.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Using Facebook to Generate Leads for Your Business

Facebook Lead Gen

Facebook ads can be highly effective for more than just page likes – did you know you can generate high quality leads using a new feature in Power Editor? That’s right – whether you’re a salon owner, a graphic designer or a plumber, Facebook ads can work for you and help to drive your sales!

My hubby’s family owns a septic business so we run Facebook ads on a regular basis to reach new people. When we reached over 400 page likes I started experimenting with different types of Facebook ads to see what is most effective. We had established an active, engaged audience so I wanted to see what would drive sales.

Using Facebook Ads Manager you can run basic campaigns to increase page likes, increase website clicks or promote an offer or event. Keep in mind – for any campaign, less is more. For a small business spending $100 or less on ads each month, stick to a budget of $5-$10 per day. This will allow you to run ads for a number of days before hitting your budget so you achieve maximum visibility.

Running a basic ad for website clicks I did see a spike when I reviewed our Google Analytics, but I found that using Local Awareness and Lead Generation Campaigns was more effective for creating customers. Both options are available when you use Power Editor to create your campaign. Simply login to Facebook, click on Ads Manager, then at the top menu click on Power Editor. This will open in a new window and allow you to create highly customized ads.

In Power Editor, click on Create Campaign to get started and follow the steps provided. Power Editor makes it simple to schedule your ads ahead of time and now you can save your audience so if your ad is successful you can target those people again! To generate quality leads, choose the Lead Generator option from the “campaign type” drop down. You can then customize your campaign – choose a photo that showcases what you do, add a description that clear and tells people why they should click on your ad, and most importantly, select your lead gen form or create one. This is the form that potential customers will fill out when they click on the call to action button. For the service industry, I suggest using “Get a Quote” as your call to action.  My ad description usually says something like, “Request a quote today and save $5 on your septic pumping! One of our technicians will be in contact within 24 hours.) Notice I was to the point, I offered incentive and I gave instructions.

When a potential customer clicks the “Get a Quote” button, instead of being directed to the business website, the lead gen form pops up. They are prompted to enter their name, email and phone number and answer up to 3 questions. You can customize this any way you like! We use the questions – “How can we help you?” and “What services are you interested in?” Facebook allows you to create multiple choice answers and when a potential customer fills out the form you can download their responses as an Excel file. You can also customize the info you need – we stick to name, phone number and email but you can ask for other demographics like address, age or gender. Not only does this work – it’s effective! Instead of seeing that you got a bunch of clicks to your website or new page likes, the lead gen form collects specific information for you so that you can contact potential customers directly and set up service! Last week we spent about $40 and scheduled over $400 in pumping jobs.

Local Awareness campaigns don’t have the contact form feature, but they allow you to target people who live within your service area. This is another effective type of campaign for small businesses. Using Power Editor, simply select the Local Awareness option and then follow the steps provided. I suggest using this type of ad if you have an event, a sale or you simply want to increase your reach. You can spend as little as $5 per day and see results.

If you have questions about running Facebook ads or you’re not sure where to start – contact me today for a free consultation! Hope this was helpful.

~ Rachel