To have an engaging social media presence has become an essential part of any brand. However, it is not merely enough to have a ‘large’ reach; it is also important that your content is aesthetically pleasing and resonates with your audience. The easiest and most effective way to do this is through the use of eye-catching and attractive images that perk up your brand. As more and more up-and-coming businesses realise how to use such graphic content for their benefit, there is also a rise in the availability of different tools and platform to serve this purpose.
However, if like me, you have negligible experience and skills in image editing, editors like Photoshop become next to impossible to use, especially in terms of time needed. Therefore, it becomes more prudent to use editors that are more beginner-friendly, and get the job done in much less time.
This is where Canva comes in handy. An easy-to-use graphic design tool, Canva has built-in layouts and templates, making it an optimal tool to design for different social platforms. It is a drop-and-drag tool, making it accessible to beginners, who might not have prior experience in graphic design. Finances Online says, “You simply cannot go wrong with Canva”.
Before getting started on how to use this platform to the fullest, let us look at the very basics. While the process might be different for different people, this is how I got started with Canva
- Get Canva for your device: Canva is a free platform, which means you can use most of its features without spending a penny. There is also no need to download any additional software for you to able to run this program. While there is a ‘Canva Pro’ version, most of the design templates and layouts are provided free of cost. Hence, you can just download the app for your device (at www.canva.com) and get started!
- Take a look around: Canva offers a variety of different styles and layouts for a variety of purposes. For instance, if you are interested in social media management, there are different styles offered for various platforms, such as Instagram posts, Facebook posts, etc. There is also a folder where you can save all your works and another option to view works that other people have shared with you. Once decided, you can look at the specifics of your design and work on it.
- Select an image you want to work with: While there are a lot of templates one can start with, it would be more interesting to work with an image that excites with. It can be anything – ranging from a book cover to a movie still – that you want to change into something that brings out its aesthetic. Simply download an Open Source Image from Google, and upload it to Canva. You can then add font, colour, and even music to make it as attractive and fun as possible.
- Save your work and keep revising: if you are happy with your work, you can simply download it to your device. You can go back to it and make necessary changes anytime you want. It is important to work with other templates as you go, as it helps you to understand how colour and design schemes work in different kinds of posts. To work with templates, you can simply drag a layout to your working board and add or delete elements from it. The primary thing to remember is to keep exploring and editing as you go, and making your work perfect to the minute detail.
Now that you have some idea about how to get going, here are a few things to remember while creating engaging graphic content for your audience.
So here are 5 useful ways to make the best out of this free design platform:
- Design for your target audience: One aspect of social media is that it caters to a variety of people, distinct in age, sex, economic status, and geographical location. As such, their tastes and preferences also vary. Thus, it becomes pertinent to identify your target audience and create content that would keep them engaged. There are also other related questions as to the best time and platforms to post such content. Know more about the ‘best time to post on social media’, here.
2. Use attractive Display Images: Be it your Facebook cover photo, or the tiny Profile Picture icon on your Instagram page, your display picture is the first one that your audience sees. It is essential that your images immediately link to your brand, and is also amiable to look at. Data also shows that is advisable to keep changing your images, as it shows that the brand is active and. It further allows you to highlight specifics, and grow your brand personality through the use of colour, fonts, and themes.
3. Don’t overdo: While it is easy to go all-out with colours and designs, it is more befitting to have a clear image of what your company or brand stands for. An overwhelming amount of images and themes might make your page look ‘crowded’, and take away credit from it. It is more prudent to follow a singular design, giving your presence a uniform, clean, and elegant look.
4. Design according to platform:Different social media platforms have different aesthetic value, and have different things that ‘sell’. When you design for your target audience, keep in mind the specifics of the platform that you are working for. For instance, Pinterest usually has multiple colour themes and fonts in posts, while Twitter has more simplified graphics. Canva has multiple designed layouts for various networking sites.
5. Use a Watermark: Using a watermark for your business from the very beginning can be crucial. In Canva, you can either use a simple text box to add one, or use one that you have already created. However being or small your brand might be, always use a watermark to ensure that your images don’t get shared or saved without getting you the due credit.
With a platform that offers so much of variety, there is a lot to learn and master. This is how I got started with Canva, and some of the things I have learned subsequently. With image editing, there is always scope for improvement, and perfecting one’s work. Canva is user friendly enough to keep beginners captivated, and hence was the perfect option for me. Get your own app and try out any ideas you might have. Get going now!