7 Free Tools You Could Use to Design Striking Social Media Images

7 Free Tools You Could Use to Design Striking Social Media Images


7 Free Tools You Could Use to Design Striking Social Media Images

As a marketer, you surely know that content with visuals drives far more engagement on social media than content without pictures. Marketing statistics say that 80% of marketers use visuals in their social media marketing strategies. By adding images to Tweets, you can increase the number of retweets by 150%, while on Facebook, posts with visuals can get about over two times more engagement.

There’s no doubt that the effectiveness of visual imagery added to your content works. So, the question that naturally comes next is – is there a way to create great images affordably and quickly? Yes, it is possible with these free tools you can use to create vivid and exciting images for your social media profiles.

1. Canva

This tool makes it to the number one place of every list of platforms for creating social media images. Canva is one of the most versatile tools for creating great imagery and can cover a wide range of image types. However, because it’s not specialized, it may take you longer to develop certain kinds of images.

Canva has the preset image sizes for Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest (which is vital for Pinterest as their images have unique dimensions.) Canva is the tool, to begin with, to create a broad social media image. However, if you need a more customized quote image or an infographic, you’ll probably make more use from the other tools on our list.

2. Pixlr

Pixlr is a tool that comes with powerful editing tools. Although, it is not as user-friendly as some other tools here. But if you need a tool for complex images, you should know that Pixlr works with effects and layers. They can help you get the most out of your finished pictures in a few minutes.

3. Piktochart

With this infographic creator, creating infographics and reports has never been easier. Sign up, open your dashboard, pick a template, and start messing around to get familiar with the image editor. It has everything you need to create the perfect infographic, so if you’re a non-designer, you’ll find it extremely useful. It is full-featured, intuitive, and free. Sign up, start with a template, upload photos, add graphics and charts, and everything else you’ll need to build your infographic from the ground up.

4. Infogram

One of the best tools out there for creating graphs and charts. When there is no need for a full infographic, you can use graphs and charts to enhance your social media posts. With Infogram, you can choose from 35 different chart types to represent your data. With this kind of diversity, you can create fresh and different images for every social media post.

5. Recite

Quote images have their place in marketing – they can boost social media engagement by appealing to your followers emotionally. If you’re thinking about creating quote images, you should try Recite. The tool is pretty straightforward – type in your text, pick one of the live previews, and hit Create. You’ll get a new quote image instantly (actually it takes about 20 seconds), and proceed to share it on your social media.

6. Stencil

This social media image creator is intended for bloggers and marketers specifically, and you can see that in their templates. Stencil comes with a massive library of images (royalty-free) that you can drag and drop to the workspace, edit, filter, and manipulate them in many other ways. It also provides templates, quotes, and icons. The free version of Stencil allows you to create ten images per month.

7. MakeaMeme

A completely free online tool for making your memes. You can choose an image from their library, add your caption, and download the image without even registering. You should bear in mind that they may get you in some legal trouble, especially if your meme goes viral because the website doesn’t specify whether the images are under copyright. If you want to avoid this, you can always go with Meme Generator, where you can use a royalty-free stock photo or your images for commercial use.

The ever-increasing importance of great visuals tells us that we need strong images for our social media marketing campaigns. However, not everyone is savvy with graphic design, while hiring a professional can be expensive. Utilize these easy-to-use tools to create compelling images, graphs, charts, infographics, memes, or quote images to enhance your social media posts and boost more engagement.


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How to Build a Community with Facebook Groups

How to Build a Community with Facebook Groups


How to Build a Community with Facebook Groups

Last year, Facebook started turning its focus towards the development of Facebook Groups (shifting away from the News Feed.) An average Facebook user is a member of about thirty groups. However, not many groups are providing content relevant and valuable enough to bring these communities closer together. If you haven’t noticed yet, you probably will, because this change will affect how you interact and share with your community and content. It is also relevant for your social media marketing efforts.

To support group owners, Facebook has added some helpful new tools and features that allow them to build and manage their communities more effectively.

The Benefits of Facebook Groups for Businesses

With a Facebook group that you have and manage, you can build an entire community. In return, it will give you many opportunities for:

  • Increased website traffic
  • Increased industry authority
  • Product feedback
  • Customer acquisition
  • Customer retention
  • Customer service
  • Direct communication with your target audience
  • Increased sales and bottom line

How to Grow Your Facebook Group

When creating your Facebook group, you need to:

  • Give it a recognizable name
  • Choose its privacy setting (Public, Closed, or Secret)
  • Write a group clear and compelling description
  • Add a persuasive cover photo

After that, it’s time to start growing it by adding members. You can do that by:

 1. Add people from your network.

Start from your existing Facebook connections. Add those that are, or may be interesting, to join your group. But before you do that, be sure to ask them for permission.

2. Invite people from other networks.

Add the link to your Facebook group to your different social media profiles. This way you’ll create a bridge between your Facebook group and audiences from other platforms. Also, let them invite and add their connections. As the group’s admin, you can give other members the power to add people and approve member requests.

3. Send a newsletter or an email to your existing customers and subscribers

If the group you created is Public, send a newsletter or an email to your connections and ask them to consider joining your group. Also, add the link to your Facebook group to your email signature. It’s a CTA for those that you’re communicating with via email.

Ways of Increasing Engagement in a Facebook Group

Expanding your community further is something that should develop into a habit. After you have added enough people, it’s time to facilitate and encourage engagement. With more engagement comes more value.

  • Ask, answer, participate

Facilitate engagement in your group by asking specific questions to your group members. You can ask them for their opinions on current industry trends, the issues they’re facing at the time, or for feedback on different products on the market. Remember that all the members of a group share a passion towards something, and that’s what makes your group a community. The focus should be on that topic, and you can quickly start a discussion by asking specific (topic-related) questions.

On the other hand, group members will also start conversations on their own. So, don’t fail to participate in them. Answer their questions, give your best to provide solutions and relevant data sources, and share insights.

  • Share content

The content you share, whether yours or from external sources, should be relevant, informative, educational, entertaining, or useful to your audience in some way. Share Q&A sessions, videos, helpful articles, case studies, infographics (an excellent format for boosting engagement), and other types of content. Don’t just share your content, because you will appear too self-promotional and that won’t help you to position the group as a valuable community and resource.

  • Give your group members a name

For example, if the group focuses on the motorcycle industry, motorcycle reparation, or two-wheel traveling, you can call your group members Wheelers. Start referring to them with that word. It may sound funny, but it is quite helpful for solidifying that sense of community.

  • Share exclusive content

By “exclusive content” we mean material that can be found exclusively in your Facebook group. It’s a great way to reward its members for being a part of the community. That will help prevent people from leaving (because if they do, they’ll miss the exclusive content), but will also boost the value of being a member of your group.

How to Maintain a Facebook Group

A Facebook with a thousand members does mean that you have a larger community and audience, but it is also the perfect place for spam. It is your job to make sure your group is a safe and positive environment where its members will feel supported and comfortable.

Therefore, you should maintain your group by:

  • Establishing group guidelines and rules
  • Deleting posts and removing users that violate the rules
  • Having several group admins or designating a community manager
  • Filtering new member requests by using an application form
  • Posting friendly reminders

People have always felt the desire to be a part of a community. We managed to survive and prosper as a species by living in communities. Today, technology enables us to be parts of multiple locales simultaneously. They don’t need to be physical or local anymore. With social media platforms like Facebook, we can create or become members of online communities. As for your business, it’s one of the best things you can do to build your reputation, boost your online presence, engage with your current and attract new customers. Also, you can use your group for social listening and improve your customer experience.


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The Importance of Vertical Visuals for Mobile Audience

The Importance of Vertical Visuals for Mobile Audience


The Importance of Vertical Visuals for Mobile Audience

About ten years ago, there was no mention of anything similar to vertical content. Today, Cisco reports that mobile video traffic makes up 60% of total mobile traffic. People spend about 3 hours on average on their mobile phones every day, mostly using different apps. YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook are playing vertical videos, which has become a crucial element in any successful video marketing strategy.

Smartphones and vertical content are inseparable as smartphones became so ubiquitous. Let’s see why people need to mention vertical videos whenever they talk about mobile.

The Convenience of Vertical

Smartphones and other rectangular devices can easily read and present vertical content. People spend a lot of their time watching videos vertically, and people find it easier to watch videos while holding their phones vertically. And even though they sometimes have to turn them sideways (to play games or watch feature movies), the default position is upright.

Let us walk you through three most important types of vertical visual content that can help you boost your reach, build an online reputation and trust, and boost conversion and sales (among many other benefits.)

1. Stories

Publishing stories on Instagram is an excellent choice for vertical content. Instagram has more than 1 billion users, with 400 million of them using Instagram Stories daily. To use them effectively, you need to:

  • Allow your followers to share. Go to your Instagram profile settings, tap on Story Setting”, and turn on “allow sharing.” It will enable your followers to share your stories and broaden their reach.

  • Use stickers. Capturing the best video or photo sometimes isn’t enough. By using stickers, you can customize your slides with crucial information that your viewers may find entertaining or valuable in some way. Stickers can also complement the attractiveness or overall design of the story. Customize them to fit your story by changing their size. Add a poll, hashtag, or location sticker to connect with your target audience better.

  • Use the “mention” option. With this option, you can get the attention of relevant influencers. Tap the square A button and type the name of an Instagram account that you want to mention.

2. Infographics

One of the oldest types of vertical visuals, infographics weren’t initially created for mobile users. However, their format is perfect for vertical content. There are a few essential things to consider when trying to incorporate infographics into your marketing strategy.

  • Make sure that the data presented into your infographic is relevant and valuable to your audience.

  • Your infographics need to be branded, so use your brand color scheme and add your logo, so your audience can associate the relevant information with your brand.

3. Live streaming and Videos

Since July 2018, YouTube started to support vertical videos (without black bars on the side.) Facebook already favors vertical visual content, while Instagram became a serious competitor to YouTube with its IGTV feature (which supports only vertical videos.) When creating vertical video content, you need to:

  • Invest in creating original content. The content you create needs to adapt to your target audience’s preferences. Before you start designing, research your target audience and find out what kind of video content resonates with them the most. You should aim to create content that informs, educates, or entertains your target audience.

  • Storytelling. Great stories told in an authentic voice has always been the best content. Instead of focusing on your products or services, use the vertical video format to tell a story and humanize your brand.

  • The first 10 seconds are crucial! In the first 10 seconds of a video, the viewers decide whether they’ll abandon it or continue watching. People aren’t so patient nowadays as they were ten years ago when they would patiently sit through the first three minutes of a video (on average.) If you don’t capture your viewers’ attention in the first 10 seconds, you’ll be losing engagement.

If you consider that (at least) half of people access content via their smartphones or tablets, not using vertical visuals could be preventing you from maximizing your marketing efforts. As a marketer, you need to adapt to the newly-created environments (which change fast in the digital world.) Going vertical is a necessary step in all quality content.


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4 Tips for a Successful Instagram Giveaway

4 Tips for a Successful Instagram Giveaway


4 Tips for a Successful Instagram Giveaway

If you’re looking for a way to boost your Instagram following, Insta giveaways may be the right thing for you. The giveaways allow you to offer a benefit your current and potential followers. The more people follow you, the more engagement you’ll get, and engaged followers are the ones who are most likely to buy from you. These people will get a favorable view of your business and can become your brand’s ambassadors, which makes these giveaways perfect for increasing your visibility as well.

Why are Instagram giveaways successful? It’s plain and simple – people like winning and getting free stuff. They also like to share things about themselves, so it’s a win-win situation in which they get a prize and recognition, while you get user-generated content, more hype around your products and services, and increased sales.

So, how to run an Instagram giveaway? Check out these tips and ideas for making it happen.

1. Set Your Goal

Whatever strategy you’re about to implement, the first step is always the same – choose your goal. You may want to produce user-generated content, grow your following, grow your email list, or boost the engagement on your posts. If you’re about to launch a new product, a giveaway can help you increase interest and excitement. In general, they are best for expanding your reach, growing your audience, and boosting your post engagement. These goals are all interconnected, so they result in multiple benefits.

2. Plan Your Instagram Giveaway

Once you’ve determined your goals, it’s time to start planning.

  • How will your users participate?

To get users to participate, they may need to like a specific post, follow your account, post something with the giveaway #hashtag, @mention a user, visit your website, and other things. It is called the entry requirement, and you can combine any of these criteria for that purpose (but limit the entry to only two or three steps.) It is essential because you’ll be able to follow the content your users are posting about your brand, and acquire it as your user-generated content (UGC).

  • Choose the incentives or prizes

The giveaway prizes should be related to your brand or business. Choose the ones with enough value to warrant the entrant to participate. The more valuable the rewards, the more participation you’ll get. Ask the users to record a video or take a photo of them using your products, and post it on their feeds with the giveaway hashtag.

  • Set the rules

Everything depends on your objectives. If you only want to increase your follower count, then asking users to follow you would be enough. But if you’re going to boost brand visibility, then you should ask them to post Instagram giveaway photos or tag their friends. A combination of 2-3 of the following requirements would be an ideal giveaway:

  • Like a photo
  • Follow your Instagram page
  • Tag friends
  • Use the giveaway #hashtag
  • Post a comment
  • Re-post a photo

To avoid confusion, write the rules, so they are easy to understand, and make sure that the rules, deadline, and prize are easy to read. Also, hashtags need to be related to your brand, product, or theme, and easy to spell and recognize. This hashtag campaign is vital for your analytics and measurements.

  • Choosing and notifying the winner

How will you select the winners? And how will you inform them? Are the entries judged or will you use a random generator app? Are you going to DM them on Instagram or email them? Make a campaign post to announce the winners on your Instagram profile publicly. You could do it with a photo with a caption or maybe a simple and effective short video.

3. Instagram Giveaway Promotion

To promote it on Instagram, post a graphic with accompanying text so that Instagram users won’t dismiss it as another random photo while scrolling. Use an image that’s related to the campaign content or theme.

Will you post once daily or several times a day? Find out the best hours and days to post, and know that you’ll have to run a few giveaways before you build momentum for your brand. Be consistent and repeat. Cross-promote it to your Stories feed, Facebook page or group, or newsletter.

4. Measure and Analyze the Results

To measure the increase in followers clicks to your site, participation, and other changes, you need to track the results of each of your giveaway contests. Compare the data from each of them to find out what kind of participation brings the best results.

Publicly announce the winner(s) and congratulate them. Then politely ask them to post a photo with the prize. That will reinforce the trust by showing to your audience that the giveaway was real. After it ends, the buzz about your brand will increase the overall engagement and make sure it stays high.


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6 Ways to Improve Your Instagram Captions

6 Ways to Improve Your Instagram Captions


6 Ways to Improve Your Instagram Captions

By writing the right Instagram captions, you could significantly improve your marketing strategy, as well-designed captions lead to an improvement of several aspects on Instagram.

Captions with hashtags can bring you some new followers. You can use them to describe yourself and your brand in the best possible way, and they can include a call-to-action where you can direct your followers on how they should interact with your posts. Captions represent a link between you and your followers, which is why you should consider these simple ways to improve your Instagram caption strategy to boost engagement on your Instagram profile.

1. Share Your Story

Every type of brand has its unique story to tell. Stories allow brands to connect with their followers on a personal level. With a good brand story, you tell people about yourself, what type of work are you into, what motivates and inspires you, as well as why and how they should use your product. These types of posts aren’t something that most brands regularly use because they are most effective when they stand out from your regular content by representing something different. The key is to create stories with positive messages that are related to your line of work.

2. Include Humor in Your Captions

It is an excellent way to define your brand’s identity on Instagram. Showing people the funny side of your brand is great because it’s not about being super serious and professional all the time. Including humor in your captions can be valuable as people quickly get bored with content that appears as spam and too salesy. It will surely help you stand out if you give them something to laugh about. It’s not necessary to make humorous captions on a regular basis, and some now-and-then funny material will do fine.

3. Ask Questions

Whenever you find yourself out of ideas or notice that your followers are getting bored, you can always make a caption with a question. It will help you to learn something about your them because captions with questions encourage people to like and comment posts that might seem boring to them. Ask people to share something. Don’t think they won’t do it, as they want to share opinions and attitudes. It’s social media, and the word Share is in the core of it. But remember that asking random questions that are irrelevant to the visual or don’t align with your business’ goals won’t generate any meaningful engagement or feedback.

When done right, asking questions is an excellent engagement booster but also a way to conduct research about your followers and gain insights. It will help you when you’re ready to improve your Instagram strategy.

4. Include Your Hashtags

You will get more engagement by using hashtags in your captions than without them, and it’s a simple philosophy. It only takes a couple of seconds but can get you a long way. Also, it’s not that hard to choose the right hashtag for your brand. You can choose between non-branded and branded hashtags, or even combine the two. Although their primary purpose is to increase the visibility of your posts and engagement, hashtags can also beautify your photos when you place it on a colorful sticker. They can be something new that you have invented which connects to you and your brand, which makes it more original.

5. Let Your Followers Know You Care for Them

If your followers are satisfied with you and your brand, you should give them some credit. Be sure to mention them in your captions and show them that you care for them. Every brand, can and should, do this, regardless of their size. It’s important to tag your followers’ correctly and ask for their permission before using their content as a way to promote yourself. Creating a good caption means appreciating those followers who are sharing your product and encourage others to do the same.

6. Encourage Your Followers to Tag People

Besides rewarding your followers, tagging will help you bring some new people to your Instagram profile. Posts that include “tag a friend” encourage your followers to introduce your brand to their Instagram connections. These types of posts often go hand-in-hand with topic-related hashtags. They represent a fun way to engage your followers, and it can also give you some new ideas for your Instagram captions.

As mentioned above, there are no limits when it comes to creating captions. If they are well crafted, captions can improve your brand awareness on Instagram, so be creative, combine these types of strategies, and help your posts stand out in the feeds. Also, it is an excellent idea to pre-create your captions when you plan and schedule your posts.


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5 Ways to Find the Best LinkedIn Prospects

5 Ways to Find the Best LinkedIn Prospects


5 Ways to Find the Best LinkedIn Prospects

What separates LinkedIn from other networks is that it is a networking site for professionals and business people to connect. There are prospects, workers, business owners, and executives, all scrolling through, looking for some fresh, valuable content as well as for ways to market themselves. If you’re out there, trying to figure out how to expand your business, you can assuredly do it by using LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is a low-cost way of finding new clients, customers, and potential partners. If you want to get more value from LinkedIn, you better get ready to find out how to search for your target prospects.

1. Start by Making a List

Who is an opportunity? It is any person in an organization, company, business, or industry who could be interested in what you have to offer. So, first make a list of potential prospects by writing who they are, their age, gender, and education level. These can be the people you’re already working with, employers (if you need a job), employees (if you have open job positions to fill), strategic partners, and mentors. Once you complete the list, start looking for those people.

2. Use LinkedIn’s Search Filters

You can search for prospects by using the platform’s simple search filters in combination with Boolean logic. With Boolean logic, you can perform more detailed searches by combining or limiting search terms. There are 5 Boolean search operators:

  • “This NOT that” – lets you exclude particular terms when performing a search.

  • Add NOT before the term, and you will get the wanted result.

  • “This OR that” – gives results that include one or more terms by adding OR before the terms

  • “This AND that” – used to get two or more terms. This type of search will give you the results of people who have both of those terms in their LinkedIn profile.

  • If you want to search for an exact phrase, type in words in quotation marks. It is necessary to use quotation marks to get the desired search results.

  • Complex search can be done by combining terms and parentheses.

3. Advanced Search

If you want to take your search for prospects to the next level, you can use LinkedIn’s Advanced Search. This way, you can narrow down the search for a needed level. It can be done by using advanced search filters or search operator.

To use LinkedIn’s filters, click on All Filters (located on the search results page) and enter your search details in the appropriate field.

LinkedIn’s search operator has five field commands: first name, last name, school, company, and title. Now, you only need to type in these commands in a followed colon in the search bar. Remember not to use spaces when performing a search query.

4. Search by Company, Alumni, or Group

You can search for prospects based on a company, alumni or a group. For example, if a company has its LinkedIn page, you can look for prospects who are already working for that company, and see whether you’d want to work with them. That allows you to send paid messages to people you want to get in touch with. They are called InMail, and each time will cost you $10 (if you have the free LinkedIn account.)

When performing an alumni search, the search results will show you where your potential prospects live, what school they attended, what they have studied, their skills, and how you are connected with them.

When searching by a group, you search for people with whom you have something in common. Now you have more reasons to connect and work with them.

5. Found Any Prospects? Now Connect

When you see your target prospects, try to communicate with them. One of the ways you can do that is to send them a customized invitation. Ask them for an introduction so you can get to know them better. Find out about people that your prospect knows, trusts, or like by clicking on Connection in their bio section. Then you can get in touch with those connections and expand your network.

When performing a search, keep in mind that you can’t invite everyone (LinkedIn has more than 500 million members) as the number of invitations is limited to 3,000 in total. Use this method of search to find people that are best suited to fit your ideal prospect. Always try to develop relationships, both personal and professional because when it comes to expanding the business, it can benefit both sides.


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