Whether you like it or not, social media is pretty much here to stay and as far as I am concerned, you have two choices, get on the boat or swim! I chatter a lot about how we as businesses large or small should be using social media in our marketing strategies. Surveys, reviews, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Google Maps, Bing Local, Pinterest, Foursquare etc… You’ve heard it all before the value of being connected. Well what if I told you this is in fact just one small part in the this big machine of marketing. Innovation creates uniqueness, there is more to social media than posting and copying and pasting URL’s that appear interesting or relative to your cause, business or products. Whatever you are selling, social media is not the end all be all of product marketing, it is an amalgam of things, working parts we can create as business owners to make our message more effective, louder and more noticeable. It is the difference between taking the time to be creative and thoughtful and being complacent and unimaginative.
Social media was not born out of necessity it was born out of creativity and people’s need to be connected to, well, everything! When I began my business I wanted to help everyone discover his or her online influence through marketing and content. Quite honestly, in the beginning, I didn’t know how to go about this effectively and on a large scale. I mean I had an understanding of marketing and communications and with my background in Graphic Design I had untapped resources, resources I didn’t even know I had available to me. Over time and research I made a assessment about how I sought to present social media marketing to clients and give them a blueprint about how this strategy would make their particular market appealing, effectual and visible. I wasn’t looking to reinvent the wheel but I was looking to reinvent the uniqueness of content and find a way to use Graphic Design to do so.
You see info-graphics all over the web, but who’s to say you can’t create your own? You don’t have to be a graphic designer to use Photoshop or Illustrator, you just have to have time and now with the expediency of YouTube, you now have all the learning potential right at your fingertips, literally. It’s like saying you have to be photographer to take great photography. However, if you take the time to hone in on a new skill and work with awesome gear that is accessible to you, you make yourself a resourceful entity.
When it comes to creating exceptional content for your social media sites and websites, there are some tricks and programs that can help out. Once again, all you need is time, an idea and some imagination. I was told once by a professor that when it comes to graphic layout there is no copyright law that keeps you from copying a layout, however it is up to you to make it your own and re-create it uniquely.” So make it your own!
Most of the tools in my toolbox are nominal. To start with, think about the big picture, literally. When looking to post a poster on your Facebook or Google+ page make sure it is optimally formatted for the accurate dimensions for the specific timelines. Chances are if you post something and it is not optimally formatted, you’re your content below the fold disappears and now you’ve missed your opportunity. Always, always, always, maintain the most vital content above the fold. Granted, individuals can click on the photos and enlarge them, but why miss out on the demographic that will not? This is where custom designing comes into play. There are two ways to proceed with creating your own poster graphics for social media, check it out:
Utilize to access all CS programs for a low monthly membership fee or purchase to own at full price. If you don’t want to make the initial $900 investment in something you might not like over time, then get the month-to-month membership. It’s worth it, especially when you are starting out novice or pro, the new CS programs are vastly different from previous versions. Additionally, you have access to all the new Adobe programs such as Photoshop, In Design, Dreamweaver, Illustrator, Muse and so on. It will cost you around $49 p/month and if you decide that you like it, then you can purchase the full version. The only caveat to all of this is the fact that Adobe is incessantly altering their programs and with CS you are always in contact with the latest and newest programs/support they offer. You can also sign up for 30 day risk free membership as well.
There are all sorts of great YouTube “how to” CS tutorials. I personally like Terry White and Christian Perello, but honestly it comes down to you personally and what your needs are. Adobe also has a myriad of educational videos on their website for all of their entire product lines. Basically if you learn one you can learn them all, as they are seamlessly functional and integrated universally.
If you are just starting out with designing custom graphics for your SM sites, PicMonkey simplifies all of this for you. With PM you have a starting graphic whether it is picture or text. They have various filters to choose from, text overlay, cloning, borders, filters, graphics; the list goes on and on. They also have cropping and sizing options in addition to the option to save a png or jpg file type as well (we’ll get to that next). The only caveat is you cannot work with a blank slate on PM you have to bring some to the art board. I use PM in conjunction with CS. If I have a text graphic I am creating in AI, or PS I can save this for web (jpg. or png.) file types and then open in PM to add filters or quick graphics, borders etc… There is a free version of PicMonkey and a paid version. The paid version is $4.99 a month and you have access to everything whereas the FREE version is limited access.
Keep your graphics to spec, don’t lose out any below the fold content designs. Below is good quick reference to follow for sizing your graphics so they show up in their entirety on your SM timelines/feed. Or you can click here and see the entire SM sizing chart.
- Posts: 403×403 px
- Cover Photo: 851×315 px
- Posts: 800×600 px
- Coverphoto: 646×220
- Board: 222×207
QUICK TIP: When saving your graphics save them as a png file type and when creating your graphic in CS create as an RGB format. RGB can be saved for monitor and the lowest resolution such as 72 dpi is your best graphic result with minimal pixilation. You do not need high resolution for small graphics. Create in RGB and save fro web as a PNG and if you transfer an Adobe graphic to PicMonkey for quick graphics PicMonkey also allows you to re-save as a png. IF you have several colors in your graphic, jpg will show up grainy and pixilated, keep it simple, keep it png.
Regardless of whatever you are designing for your social media posts, just the simple fact that you are keeping your content unique is effectual. Make sure to always sign or copyright your graphics so you and you only have the rights over those graphics and why not give yourself credit! Designing custom post graphics is fairly simple and a great way to start. Start small with a picture on PicMonkey, add a filter, text or simple graphic to spruce it up. Take the time to be authentic because in the end it’s our creativity that wins out when it comes to unique vs. unimaginative. Be original!