Engagement is the key to building and maintaining a social media following, and visuals can play a crucial role in enhancing and growing engagement. In fact, a study of the MIT Facebook Page found that posts with images have a 37% higher engagement rate.
You don't need to be a graphic artist to come up with engaging images for your social media posts - use some of these tools and resources to help your engagement rates climb.
1. Canva - The Perfect Design Program for People Who Can't Design
Are you lacking when it comes to design skills? If so, Canva is the perfect tool for you - you can't go wrong when you have access to pre-made templates and a drag-and-drop interface. You can even use custom image sizes for various social media channels. Plus, it has some fun fonts that will help your images stand out.
If you have an idea but don't know how to turn it into reality, go to Canva's website and get started. You'll be able to create beautiful images quickly and easily.
2. Recite - Create Quotable Images
There's a good chance that you've shared a quote on social media a time or two. There's also a good chance that if you added a quote to your social media accounts, people have shared it. Of course, if the quote is an image, it's even more likely that people will share. This is where Recite can help. This tool is incredibly simple to use.
Find a quote, type it into the editor, and select your layout. After finding the template that you want to use, the program will turn your quote into an image. Then, you can share it with the world.
3. Ease.ly - Create Infographics with Ease
Infographics are all the rage right now, and you can get in on the action with Easel.ly. The idea of creating infographics might seem daunting, but you can use templates with this tool. You can go with a standard template and customize it to your liking or you can build your infographic from the ground up. Regardless of which option you choose, you'll have objects, icons, and shapes at your disposal. Just drag and drop them into the tool and watch your infographic grow right before your eyes.
4. Omnicore's Social Media Cheat Sheet - Find the Best Sizes for All Sites
Image sizing is almost as important as creating the perfect image. Get the sizes right with Omnicore's Social Media Cheat Sheet.
From avatars to updates, it has all of the essential information that you need. Keep this tool handy so you never use the wrong image size again.
5. CloudApp - Simple Screencast GIFs for Mac Users
If you have a Mac, you'll love CloudApp. You can use it to create GIFs and take screenshots. Just open up the app and hold Cmd+Shift+6 to create a GIF of your screen. The app will give you the download URL and put it on your clipboard for you.
What if you don't have a Mac? You can still use this app, but you won't get as much out of it. Instead of creating GIFs, you can use it for image sharing. The app stores images online for you so that you can shoot them around the office or over to your friends.
6. PowerPoint - The Old-School Power of Microsoft
PowerPoint might not be flashy, but it can get the job done when it comes to creating images.
There are tons of templates available, so you can click, drag, and position your way to the perfect image. You can also use third-party templates to create infographics with PowerPoint.
It's always a good idea to start with a photograph for the background and then add additional features, such as text, icons, graphics, and colors. Save the slide as an image and then upload it to your social media accounts.
7. Skitch - Capture Screens and Create AnnotationsSkitch - Capture Screens and Create Annotations
Screenshots also count as images, which you can take with abandon by using Skitch. You don't even have to look for the icon on your desktop or your start menu - just click Cmd+Shift+5 on your keyboard and it will pop up. You then choose the area you want to grab. After you take your shot, feel free to use annotation tools. You can blur, circle, point, add text, and more.
This tool is even better if you use Evernote. You can store all your screenshots right in an Evernote folder for easy access.
8. Placeit - Feature Your Website Inside an Image
Promote your website or app while creating images with Placeit. Placeit has a library of background images available - select an image and add your website's URL into the system. You can also upload a screenshot if preferred. It then combines the images, enabling you to promote your site while engaging your audience.
You can take it to the next level by using the interactive video feature - that way, instead of just embedding a picture of your site, you'll embed the full site. People can scroll through the site when they interact with the image.
9. Social Image Resizer Tool - Create the Perfectly Sized Image
You need to resize images for various social networks - if you're uploading a picture to Pinterest, it's best to create a vertical image, when uploading to Facebook, choose a square image and for Twitter, images should be at a 2:1 ratio. Fortunately, you don't have to create a new image for each network, instead, just use an image resizer like Social Image Resizer Tool.
You don't even need to know the dimensions required when using this tool - just upload the image and choose where you're going to use it and it'll do the rest. it. You can also create custom sized images by dragging the borders with this tool - that way, you can create perfectly sized images for your blog posts.
10. Page2Images - Share Websites to Pinterest the Easy Way
Marketers often like to share websites with people on Pinterest - this is a great way to show people what works and what doesn't. If that's something you like to do, use Page2Images - it takes full screen captured websites.
You can download the image or share it directly to Pinterest. There's a bookmarklet for each option, so install them both. That way, you can download or share to Pinterest with a click of the mouse.
11. Over - Add Text to Photos
Make your images more interesting by adding text to them with Over. This iOS and Android app lets you pick any image that you have saved on your device and add text to it.
Customize the font, color, and text size to get the best results.
12. Iconfinder - Find Icons Quickly
Icons are perfect for social media images, but they can be hard to find. At least, they're hard to find if you don't have Iconfinder. Type in a keyword related to the icon that you want and the tool will get to work.
You can also refine your search to narrow down the results. Free and premium icons come up in the search results - if you choose a free icon, you'll need to give attribution.
13. Infogr.am - Charts and Graphs Made Easy
Charts and graphs don't have to be complicated - simplify the process with Infogr.am. It has an assortment of charts and graphs available, so you can select what you need to get started. Then, populate the cells with your data and share it.
14. Blurgrounds - The Easy way to Create Blurred Backgrounds
Blurred backgrounds look great in images - but unless you are a graphic designer, you probably don't know how to create them. You can choose from around 200 blurred backgrounds with Blurgrounds.
And best of all, the backgrounds are free, so go crazy with this tool.
15. Subtle Patterns - Free Patterned Backgrounds
Do you know what stands out even more than a blurred background? A patterned one.
You can draw a lot of attention to your images by using the backgrounds available from Subtle Patterns. These backgrounds were created for websites, but you can use them for anything.
Screen capture the background and use your image editor to add it to your image.
16. Pattern Library - Fun and Wild Backgrounds
If you feel like being a little wild, you can use Pattern Library. You'll need to screen capture the images and edit them in your photo editor. Then, you'll have some wild and fun images to use.
17. Photovisi - Make Attention Grabbing Collages
Do you remember back in the old days when you used to make collages with your favorite pictures? When finished, you would put them on cardboard and hang them up in your room.
Collages are still really popular, but the days of using physical pictures and cardboard are long gone.
Now, you can use a tool like Photovisi to make your collages.
Start by selecting a template, then you can customize everything, including the text, background, and graphics. Once you are done, share your collage to your favorite social network and watch your engagement levels skyrocket.
18. Noun Project - Glyph Style Icons
The Noun Project has icons for just about everything - and they're available in every color.
Type a keyword into the search bar and look through the icons. Click on the color you want and download it - while black and white icons are free, you'll need to upgrade to NounPro if you want a color icon.
NounPro is available for a monthly or yearly fee.
19. COLOURlovers - Get Inspired with Colors and Patterns
Inspiration is important when creating images, and COLOURlovers can help - it has all of the tints, hues, and shades available in one spot. COLOURlovers also has an active community that creates color patterns and palettes.
This is an excellent resource to use if you need a little inspiration.
20. Pictaculous - Create Your Own Color Palette
Some people have an eye for color, but most have a hard time creating color palettes. Because of this, they don't know how to create fun images that use vibrant colors - you can change that with Pictaculous.
Simply find an image that you want to use, upload it to the program, and then watch it work its magic. Pictaculous will come up with a list of color palettes that'll work with your image. Select the preferred palette and get to work.
21. Aviary - Editing from your Phone
You likely spend a lot of time away from your computer, but you always carry your phone. Get more done when you're on the go with the Aviary app. This robust editor includes drawing and straightening tools, as well as frames, memes, and stickers. You can also use it to crop and rotate your images.
All of this can be difficult to take in, so check out the following example - this'll help you understand how to use these tools together. This example doesn't include all of the tools, but it still gives you an idea of how you can use different programs to create a single image.
Let's start with Canva. Open up Canva and choose the Twitter template.
Next, switch over to Iconfinder. You'll need to search for an icon that represents your image. Refine the search so the results only bring up flat styles. Look through the icons and find one that you like. Choose the highest resolution available in .png format.
You'll see guidelines for adding an attribution when you download the icon - go ahead and add the attribution now so you don't forget.
Go to the download location for the icon and drag it over to Canva. You'll then go over to the left-hand menu, where you'll find the icon under "Uploads."
Click on it and Canva will put it into your design. You'll need to resize the image, and you may be required to pull it into the center of the editor.
After doing that, you'll be ready to add a background. Download a background from one of the background tools and add it to Canva - just drag and drop it in. Then, move it to the back using layers - if that doesn't work, you can go to the left-hand menu and click on "Backgrounds." Choose a background and Canva will automatically set it up for you.
Finally, head over to the left-hand menu and add the text. Consider using different fonts for the header and sub-header to make them easily distinguishable from one another.
And that's it, your image is finished. You just need to download it and you'll be ready to go.
Get Started Today
Now you're ready to use these tools to create your own images. Use them on a regular basis to keep your audience engaged.
As you know, engaged users become engaged customers, so this is just the beginning of what you can accomplish through your social media channels.