Did you know that 66 per cent of all social media posts are visual or include visual content? Yes – it is true. Looking at the way we are moving towards videos and GIFs, this study result is not surprising at all! After all, all-text posts can only boost brand visibility to a certain extent.
You see humans are visual beings by nature. Nearly 30 percent of the cortex of the brain is dedicated to visual processing as compared to just 3 percent for hearing and 8 per cent for touch. Hence, social media graphics designs have become a vital part of the marketing strategy
According to a 2014 survey by Adobe and software service, the use of images is the third most important tactic for social media optimization. So for social media marketers, creating stellar images has become the need of the hour to drive customer engagement. They are now required to be innovative not just with their copies but also with their images which have started to hold more power than other kinds of content.
Till about 5 years ago, photo-shopping images and creating cool graphics posed a challenge for social media marketers. But not anymore. Today, we have a wide range of amazing photo editing tools, online image editors and mobile apps to help us craft the best graphics possible for our brands. Visual marketing is on a rise, and that also for the better!
This eCommerce store made it big solely with images
In 2014, when Justin Kelly had just started his own home and furnishings online store in New Jersey, the demand for social media graphics was on the rise. While he had an attractive website and a dedicated team of marketers and writers to manage content and social media, the audience engagement was still less.
Moreover, he had also hired a team of photographers but the pressure on them to do frequent photoshoots for the website was too much and hence they were not able to give time to the graphic requirements of the marketing team. Kelly and his team then found out the easy way: he Googled and shortlisted photo editing tools that could help his team craft attractive images for their use.
And once the team finally picked the photo editing tool that was most feasible for them, there was no looking back for them as far the marketing activities were concerned. They managed to create stunning graphics not just for their content strategy but also for their social media. With time, they achieved a strong fan following across all of their active social channels.
They got such a hold on the visual element that when they started their newsletters, they observed a steady rise of 25% in email subscriptions in just one month – wow!
Naturally, the sales of this eCommerce firm also impacted in a positive way and soon, Kelly’s online store topped the charts for having the most engaging and savvy marketing strategy.
Will any photo design tools work?
Nope – it doesn’t work like that. Most of the time, it is important to research properly, try a couple of tools and then arrive at a decision. Not all tools will sate your graphic designing requirements. Some may have the best photo bank and easy-to-learn features and some might be just cost-effective and not have the best user interface.
There are a lot of permutations and combinations you need to apply before circling in that one tool. So without further ado, here are those two social media graphics designing tools that will help your team in boosting the brand’s visibility and customers’ engagement:
The main aim of this tool is to help social media marketers create quality designer images in just a fraction of time! Started by Adam Rotman and Oliver Nassar a couple of years ago, Stencil promises to make the process of creating visual content a simple, fun and light-weight activity for marketing professionals.
It doesn’t matter what your requirement is – a blog image, an email banner, a paid social media advertisement, an Instagram post, etc. – this online tool will make sure you have plenty of options to play around with and you are just as happy with the end result. It is every social media marketer’s weapon for creating quick images.
So yeah – Stencil is an online tool. It is also available in Google Play and Apple stores, so if you are looking to work on the mobile device – while on the go – you can use Stencil without much hassle. If you’d like to install its extension, you can do that too as it supports two web browsers – Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.
And if you are one of those social media marketers who work mostly on a desktop, then there is also a free web version of Stencil that you can try just to get a look-and-feel of the tool, before buying a package of your choice.
Trust me – creating and sharing engaging, unique and tastefully branded content with your customer community in just a matter of minutes is now a reality. Beat the time crunch and hop on the Stencil brandwagon. I assure you will not regret using it one bit.
11 awesome Stencil features to rock your design game
See; Stencil is designed to craft social media graphics designs quickly. The online tool goes to great lengths to make sure you are able to learn using it quickly. The shorter the turnaround time is, the happier you will be. The Stencil team boasts of continuously improving this photo editing tool and adding new cool stuff – which means you will always have something new to work with.
1. A never-ending photo bank
Literally! Stencil currently has more than 95,000 background photos – which are all royalty-free CCO images. New photos are dedicatedly added to the pool each week. Social media marketers will have a blast picking the most relevant images to go with their posts. More options, better designs, quality work!
The photos are high-resolution in nature, and you can create a photo bank of your own over time so that you don’t have to go looking around for images when you are in the process of making social media graphics designs. They are all right there at your fingertips – whenever you need them! Stencil will also let you download 10 images every month for free!
2. Varied design templates
If you don’t want to create an image from scratch, you can pick up any of the 296 templates offered by Stencil – all ready to be edited. But please note that you will not be able to access any of these templates if you don’t use PRO (the most popular package of Stencil!) – which means the web version won’t allow the user to even try out this feature if he or she is using Stencil for free.
3. Logos and watermarks
So what about them? Well, all you have to do is upload and store every variation of your logo if you are creating a series of visuals for your brand. This means that you not only can create images quickly but also brand-proof them, so that your brand identity gets consistency.
4. Flexibility to use different fonts
Marketers have the option to choose from over 2000 web fonts from Google for their images. They can choose the perfect font that totally matches their brand identity and tonality, and sometimes even the occasion!
5. The right size for each channel
Now that every marketer posts an image on so many channels that customizing the size of each image is a hassle and a rather time consuming process. Thankfully, Stencil pre-loads the optimal sizes for all the social media channels, blog posts and even social ads. You can even create as many custom sizes as you want. All you have to do is create the image and then choose the right size – and then you are good to go!
6. Use your own fonts
…if you don’t like the pre-loaded Google web fonts. You can upload your own fonts directly on the online tool to use them in your images. It’s an easy process and will give you remarkable results once you get a hang of it.
7. Too many icons and graphics!
The Noun Project is a creator community that specializes in icons. It has a user base of graphic designers and Stencil has partnered with it. And guess what? You can experiment with its icons without any extra charge provided you are using its paid version.
The icons are completely royalty-free and are safe to use for both personal and commercial purposes. There are more than 2,00,000 of icons and related graphics for your use, so all your work and home needs are taken care of!
8. Play with the magic of quotes
Quotes are huge on social media right now. Every B2B and B2C brand seems to be leveraging its effectiveness against social media. If you don’t believe me, open any Facebook or Twitter account of a particular brand, and you will find at least one quote out of 6 FB posts and 12 Twitter posts on your timeline. Thankfully, at Stencil, you can choose from more than 1,00,000 quotes on the tool, and stay ahead in the social media race.
9. See a live preview of the images
You may have created an image and you think it’s great but just to be on the safer side, Stencil allows you to take a live preview of your creations just before you share them on social media. This way you will always know how the images look once shared, and if you want to make changes to them, you can do so in a fraction of time.
10. Directly share on social platforms
Liked what you read on a particular website and you think it is apt to be shared on your company social networks? Quickly the highlight the text and right-click it to plaster it on an image on Stencil. Once that is done, post it on social media.
11. Integration with Buffer
This means you can easily schedule any image you have created on Stencil and schedule it with Buffer in a flash. You can save a lot of time by doing this – trust me.
Intuit, Nascar and Coca Cola are just some of the brands using Stencil. Join the bandwagon by choosing the PRO package – which is also the most popular option. You just need to pay $9 per month if you take the annual package. You can create up to 50 images and also get premium support for that.
You also get a 7-day money back guarantee which means if you have paid for the tool but still don’t like it, Stencil will return all of your money (and still stay friends with you)!
This is an online tool that specifically creates graphics for marketing, and is one of the online Photoshop alternative. That’s right – Snappa was founded two years ago in the Canadian capital by Christopher Gimmer and March Chouinard with a vision to support those small businesses who were having a hard time creating quality social media graphics designs and giving their online brand a proper identity.
Since for such businesses hiring a full-time graphic designer is a costly affair and people who don’t know where to start to create graphic designs – the overall process of creating images can be long, tedious and downright repulsive. So to make this an easy activity, Snappa was founded to give some sort of respite to marketing professionals.
From social media posts and display ads to blog posts and banners – one can create a multitude collection of images in just a jiffy! The mission of this Ottawa-based company is to make sure you don’t waste any time and your workflow doesn’t get affected just because you have to create numerous images in a day! Whipping up social media graphics designs has never been easier, thanks to Snappa – which is why I think you should learn more about it.
12 stellar Snappa features you must know about
1. User-friendly graphic editor
Snappa uses the drag-and-drop feature and allows you to create highly engaging designs in a flash. You can even add effects to the images by moving the slider. The editor is quite easy to use. So even if you are a novice and have never used a photo editing tool before, you will not take much time to start using Snappa like a pro!
2. Stunning templates
You can choose from a variety of pre-uploaded templates that have been designed by Snappa’s team of in-house designers. If you are in a rush and want to quickly upload an image, you can do so in a matter of minutes. These templates are top-quality and come in different sizes. They also serve too many kinds of industry backgrounds, so it doesn’t matter which industry you function in or what clients you deal with – Snappa has got your social media graphics designs covered from all ends!
And this means you don’t have to start anything from scratch. You never have to deal with a creative block, and just sit and wonder what your ideal social post of the day should look like! Just pick any template you like, customize it, and share! More likes, more conversions and more happy customers are guaranteed by Snappa!
3. Lots and lots of photos
There are more than 20k photos, 35k graphics and 200 fonts all for your use. They are all royalty-free. Additionally, they are properly licensed for commercial use. You will find an image for every occasion and purpose as the photo library is so extensive and the Snappa team keeps adding fresh images to the bank. You will never be out of options – trust me!
The Snappa team boasts of high resolution and top quality photos. So you will never have to worry about the background images anymore. These images are not the usual cheesy stock images.
4. Resizing the graphics is simple
Customizing the size of your posts is easy. Whether it is a Facebook cover or a Twitter header, you can easily resize the graphics in just two clicks. Snappa understands how each social media platform has a different image requirement, and so it lets the user get the perfectly sized image quickly.
You can resize images for a variety of platforms such as display ads, emails, blog posts, social, and infographics. Basically – it takes care of all your marketing requirements. Your posts will never go without quality images.
5. Upload your own images easily
Yes – besides using the amazing pool of graphics and photos that Snappa provides to its users, you can also play with your own set of photographs. This features comes in handy when you want to upload company logos and corresponding graphics to create a sense of brand consistency.
And of course, there will be times when you would want to put office get-togethers and celebrations on social media with your logo and branding. How will you achieve that? With Snappa!
6. Use the folders to organize your creations
This serves the purpose if you want to save your customized social media graphics designs or favourite templates for future purposes. The interface of Snappa is just like that of your laptop – wherein you can make folders to store your photos that gives you the capability to easily go back and refer those designs whenever you want to. Editing your older designs has never been easier thanks to this user-friendly feature.
7. Solid customer support
Learning a new tool or software is an exciting challenge. But the whole process becomes a lot easier, if you have access to its highly supportive customer care team! Here at Snappa, that is what exactly happens!
Wherever and whenever you get stuck, you have the option to watch and learn from video tutorials, scan through their comprehensive list of FAQs and even write an email to the support team if the problem is bigger than your understanding and you need someone to sort it out for you.
You have unlimited access to the support system. So don’t hesitate to experiment with the features to create the best social media graphics designs, and if you get stuck, appropriate help supports you.
8. Integrate it with social media
Yup – this means you can connect your multiple social media channels with Snappa to instantly share the social media graphics designs you have prepared on the tool. But please note that as of now only Facebook and Twitter can be integrated with the tool. But still – that is more than enough to get started with not just Snappa but also with a consistent social media strategy.
Another good news is that Snappa has collaborated with Buffer to make your social media scheduling smoother and faster. Just connect your buffer account to your Snappa account and you can save the time and energy to schedule your social posts without even leaving the dashboard. So if you want to quickly upload an image on social media, you know where to go!
Two solid pricing packages
Okay – so there are just two packages to choose from. One is the free version that allows to download 5 images from their photo bank, and connect just 2 social media accounts. It also gives you access to a limited number of templates. This is a good deal if you want to test the waters and then take a call on whether or not you even want to use Snappa.
Second is the PRO version where you are billed $10 per month but you have to pay the entire amount on an annual basis. You have access to unlimited photo downloads and templates. You can connect unlimited number of social media accounts. You can upload your own fonts. You can save your custom designs in folders and even integrate the account with Buffer. Basically – 90% of its features are available to only PRO users.
My advice is to buy the paid version for a month, use it properly and then take a call. The free package is also great but only if your social media graphics design requirements are limited in nature. If you want to do more with your graphics and experiment a bit more, then go for the PRO version without hesitation.
Wow your target audience with stellar social media graphics design
If GetStencil and Snappa are not your cup of tea, then there are other online tools too that can sate your design requirements. My two other favourites are Canva and Pablo – which are also the most popular tools around. They are extremely easy to use and are widely known among individual marketing professionals and small businesses alike!
I personally love Canva! First of all, it offers templates beyond the usual social media designs. You can make Facebook ads, banners, resumes, Etsy covers, logos, blog images, etc. – anything to boost your visual marketing and beyond. If you want to create an image with custom dimensions, you can do that too!
Inside the dashboard, you can select frames, grids, stock images and font types to prettify your images. There is a lot of scope in terms of designing on Canva. If you love to play with colours, this tool will keep you busy for hours! Canva also produces fresh templates frequently, which means you are never out of options, and you can simply go on and on with your design experiments.
Canva is available for desktop and mobile use. And the tool works just fine on the mobile phone as well. So it doesn’t matter where you are – traveling in train, waiting at the airport, or sitting in a coffee shop – you can create images while on the fly instantly.
If you do end up using the premium version, you can even bring your entire marketing team on board, so that all designs can be created and viewed at one place. It is in the pro version that you can create folders to store your work.
This is a free online editor which has been introduced by Buffer ( Hootsuite alternative ). If you want to whip up social posts real quick, Pablo is the best option! You have the option to pick from over 25,000 fonts and access more than 600 stock photos. You can apply multiple filters and even select the custom size – depending upon the social channel you want to post on.
Pablo is preferred when the user wants to create shareable quotes on social media. Although its features are not as expansive as Canva, it still is a hot property because of its direct integration with Buffer and because it lets the user create images quickly!
So if you are still honing your design skills or are not comfortable getting lost in the realm of multiple features, use Pablo. And as you get a hang of the tool, you can look at other design tools to create the best of the best social media graphics designs. Winning visual marketing is not as difficult as it seems. It is rather fun and exciting.
So which social media graphics design maker would you go ahead with? Do you have any other suggestions in mind? Let’s exchange notes, please?