For most companies, social media is an absolute necessity as part of their marketing strategy. In fact, according to research from Statista, 91% of businesses will use social media by the end of the year.
It’s not a news flash that your prospects and customers expect you to stay connected. They want to get to know you and your company on a more personal level before making new or repeat purchase decisions.
Coming up with social media content, and that includes graphics, is often time-consuming, and creating a consistent brand image may look more difficult than it really is. One of the easiest solutions to create a social brand is to design templates for your posts. With templates, you can change the image and copy, but your brand style or personality stays the same.
The good news is, you don’t have to be a graphic designer to make these templates. That means, if I can do it, you can do it too.
Here Are 5 Free Design Tools to Create Your Social Media Posts (and their upgrades)
Most people have heard of Canva, and with good reason. You can choose which platform you’re posting to, and it will set up your image with the optimum size. There are 8,000 free templates to start with or you can customize your own with pre-loaded fonts and graphics. There are even some basic add-on design elements like photo grids, icons and animated stickers.Canva has an easy drag-and-drop platform that novice designers love. You can easily add and move images and text, and customize fonts and colors. Another bonus is that you can add multiple members of your team to edit designs (up to 10), so you can all work together seamlessly.Note: Create a system for approval and save your fights for who gets the last chocolate chip cookie.While it’s free to sign up and the tool does offer lots of flexibility, there’s also a Pro membership to get access to more features like premium design elements and images. One perk to Pro is that Canva can automatically transform your design for multiple platforms. It’s a time-saver, but you have to decide if you’ll use it enough to spend $12.95 per month.
- Adobe Spark
Like Canva, with Adobe Spark, you choose what you want to create, then select photos and edit your text. Overall, it’s easy to use, and offers more options because it’s an Adobe product. There’s also more opportunity for customization, plus a vast royalty-free library, which could save you tons of time.The best part is that Spark allows you to easily switch platform templates. Want a new post for Facebook, but need it formatted for Instagram? No problem. Select that template from the menu, and Spark automatically changes it — though you may have to move things around a bit to get it just right.
As always, there are some downsides. Unlike Canva, you can’t upload your own graphics to use or your logo. And one feature I’m not crazy about is that the Adobe Spark logo is in the bottom corner of all your posts. (Tip: click on it. It will say “remove one time” and redirect you to an upgrade pop-up. You can do this as many times as you want.) With Spark’s paid plan of $9.99 per month, you’ll have the ability to create custom templates with your logo, brand colors, and fonts (and more).
Desygner is best for the small business owner on-the-go. The mobile app is the friendliest I’ve seen as far as usability on a small screen and is available on both Apple and Android devices. Like other tools, you can start with a template or from scratch, choosing the best royalty-free image, font, etc. to fit your brand and message.There’s also the ability to transform your design for multiple uses and platforms. One convenient feature about Desygner is that you can post directly from this tool and automatically share your completed posts to Facebook, Twitter and more. And all of that is on the free version.The paid version, like Adobe Spark, allows you to add your logo, colors and brand fonts, and it’s also $9.99 per month. While it doesn’t have as many free options as Canva, the app is seamless and perfect for managing and creating social posts from your phone while catching up on your shows, between appointments, or as a break from those long scrolls on social media.
- Gravit Designer
If you need more customization, but Photoshop is way out of your comfort zone, Gravit Designer is your happy medium. It allows you to use layers, drawing, font effects, and more advanced design tools, but with an easier interface.Created for the more savvy “designer” who prefers even more customization, Gravit has a smaller library of templates, images, shapes, and other design elements. One key benefit is that you can sync it with the Gravit Cloud to automatically save your designs as you go, but you only get 500MB storage on the free version.The paid version is the most cost-effective at $49 for the year and includes unlimited cloud storage, offline work mode, advanced exports, and other features. Gravit Designer is versatile and makes creating graphics fairly easy, even in the free-mode with both preset size templates or custom options.
- Design Wizard
The Design Wizard tool is a little different. You can still choose your post type and build your own posts from uploaded images. And, you’ll find free templates there too. On the basic version, you have to pay for most templates, but once you buy them, you can format them to work for all social media platforms. The templates in Design Wizard look more custom, so you won’t have to make many adjustments.There are several paid levels of DW, starting at $9.99 per month. Each gives you more options than the last, including social media templates and even video templates, something no other tool offers. Only need a few templates? You can purchase them as a one-off instead of getting a monthly package or use your 14-day trial. I’m most interested in the video aspect of the tool and have been offered an extended trial for my team to offer feedback.
As you can see, each tool has its pros and cons. I suggest playing around with all of them and deciding which one you like best. Then, build out your templates all in one place. Pretty soon you’ll be creating graphics that will make you happy and your posts too, with all the attention.
Want to learn more about social branding? Check out this blog on Social Branding and PR Guidelines for 2020. If you want to explore working together, now’s the time. Book a 20-minute complimentary call and let’s talk about your business and where you want to go.