I know not everyone can afford to pay a designer to create Instagram graphics for their business. Lucky for you, there are great free tools out there to create social media graphics! Obviously, as a professional, I don't use these tools, but I want to give you a quick walk-through on how to create better Instagram graphics.
Ah, a blank canvas!
Canva has some free backgrounds available to use, and some cost $1. Personally, I love the photos available on Unsplash.com, so I uploaded one I found there. Two tips for picking a background image:
- Try to choose a background that is relevant to whatever text you're putting on top of it. Doing this will help your audience connect with your images more - more intentional graphics = more credibility.
- Choose one that's not too busy.. Depending on the amount of text being used, only part of the image may need to be simple (i.e. - the sky in a landscape photo). But, if you'll have larger amounts of text, an overall simpler photo would be better (i.e. - a simple wood grain photo). Three good examples:
Related: Mistakes to avoid on Instagram
Canva also has some basic photo editing capabilities. I'd steer clear of the filters (#cheesey), but a slight blur on the photo may help the contrast between the background and the text.
Canva has several pre-made text layouts (bottom left), or you can simply just add your own lines of text (top left). For this example, I used a pre-made text layout. One of the most common problems I see on graphics is people choosing the wrong color of text. Sometimes it's dark text on a dark backgound, light text on a light background, or just simply the wrong color that makes it hard to read. As you can see below, the pink text looks pretty bad on the photo.
Utilize the pre-made layouts if it works for your message. Something you will notice on the pre-made layouts is that most of them have contrasting fonts (both in style and size).
To make the text easier to read, I changed it to white. Often I see people creating graphics with the text all the same size, in one font. While this is okay in certain scenarios, using contrast with your typography will help create more visual interest in your images. With that in mind, I also changed one of the fonts.
Graphics on social media may seem frilly and fun, and that's why many people don't put much thought into them. Yes, images will get higher reach and engagement on social media - but why not make yourself look more professional?
Don't make the mistake of putting a bunch of money and effort into your brochures and websites and leaving the social media graphics behind. You've probably heard and read about how social media marketing can have a huge impact on your business, so why would you just "wing it" on such an important part of your business?