The role of a social media manager has evolved enormously in just a few short years.
It is no longer simply a case of posting regular updates. In recent years, social media marketers have had to evolve their efforts to be in line with constantly-changing algorithms. Not only that, but all content output has had to up its game to keep audiences interacting.
Where marketing teams traditionally consist of competent writers to craft catchy ad copy and thoughtful tweets, only the top brands have the luxury of in-house designers working amongst the wordsmiths to make those social pages pop.
To compensate for the lack of design input, many marketers have had to dabble with graphic design software just to get their content to stand up in the raft of newsfeed posts.
While we strongly believe enlisting the services of a graphic designer is a worthwhile investment, and there are some jobs you should always hand over to a pro, for day to day social updates there many fantastic easy-to-use products that allow marketers to develop professional-looking content in a short space of time.
This post provides you with five stages to becoming a content creating whizz with all the tools you wish you had known about before.
STAGE 1: INCLUDE IMAGES IN YOUR NEWSFEED AND BLOG POSTS
Images are a must – As 65% of people are categorised as “visual learners” it makes sense to add images to social media updates and blog posts.
The first step to this is the humble photograph. Whether that means you take your smartphone and go out on a snapping spree, or if you make use of stock imagery, this will break up your otherwise “wall of text”.
You have to be careful sourcing images from the web, so make sure the images you select permit you to reuse them for commercial purposes.
Pixabay, Pexels and Stocksnap.io are free stock image sites that use a Creative Commons CC0 license that lets you: “copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.”
Check the licenses of any stock site you use in case anything changes.
STAGE 2: CREATE YOUR OWN QUOTES, TESTIMONIALS AND BANNERS
The next step to making your pages more “content rich” is to adopt visual posts such as quotes, testimonials, facts and statistics presented on a themed template or tile.
One website that is the life saver of many a frazzled social media marketer is Canva. If you register for just one tool, this is the one it should be.
Canva is a flexible, simplified graphic design interface with a drag-and-drop editor offering a vast range of professional templates. You can accomplish a lot with its free version, and even more with the paid subscription, Canva for Work.
Not only can you design an excellent range of social media visuals and banner images, you can also create photo collages, infographics, ebooks and more.
It also has a handy mobile app so you can easily create graphics on the go.
STAGE 3: JAZZ UP YOUR STATS WITH AN INFOGRAPHIC
Infographics are the best way to present statistics and facts and are perfect for tapping into the logical side of people’s personalities.
Written down or presented in tables, data does little to inspire, but bring bright colourful charts into the mix and you have numbers that excite.
Piktochart enables you to create your own infographics using a plethora of easy-to-style templates. “Level up” your subscription to take advantage of extra features and get rid of the watermark.
STAGE 4: CREATE AN EBOOK WITH SOME OF YOUR BEST BLOG POSTS
Is there a theme that keeps coming up on your blog? Why not gather these posts and curate an engaging ebook?
Creating one doesn’t require any special software. You can use Word, Google Sheets or even Powerpoint to make life simpler. Just save your document as a PDF or ePub and you are good to go.
If you want help with design, however, these tools won’t help you as much as other online editors out there.
Some of our favourites include:
Canva – As mentioned earlier, Canva has everything in one place, and is a foolproof software to begin with, even for ebooks. Here is a tutorial for getting started: https://www.canva.com/create/ebooks/
Adobe Spark Page – This is available on desktop and as an iPad app. With this feature, you can quickly create a professional looking webpage style ebook incorporating photos, text and a fascinating “glideshow” scroll effect.
Lucid Press – A traditional editing interface, it might take some time to figure out the functions, but there are a wealth of templates you can opt for. Unless you upgrade, you will be limited to only three pages, but it is a good start.
If you are really serious about creating ebook content, and want to produce a product catalogue or a company magazine, you could think about subscribing to a site such as FlipHTML5 for the multi-sensory look and feel of a flip book.
STAGE 5: ADD MOVEMENT WITH VIDEO
Video is the best-loved content-type on the Internet. Facebook prioritises it, and it generates much more engagement than static content alone.
With Animaker, you have access to software that lets you create animations and whiteboard layouts. You can implement transitions, add voiceovers and music, and even upload your own graphics for personalisation.
In order to use your video for commercial purposes, make sure you have the appropriate subscription.
Adobe Spark Video is another fantastic app that lets you combine video clips, images and text with sound, so you can curate a wonderful presentation in a few minutes. The basic features are free, but to brand your video, you will need to subscribe to the Premium price plan.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES TO GIVE YOUR DESIGNS THAT PROFESSIONAL TOUCH:
ColourZilla – This is a browser extension that quickly tells you the hex code from any webpage and copies it to your clipboard so you can stay on brand when you don’t have access to your company guidelines.
Adobe Color / Coolers.co – These sites help you create colour schemes depending on the hex code you put in, so if you add a brand colour, you can see the best shades to match it with on your social media posts.
LAST MINUTE TIPS
- Try one tool from each section; you will soon become confident at creating rich content.
- Don’t do everything at once – This is the best way to become overwhelmed. Small, consistent improvement is the key!
- Don’t subscribe to any service until you have looked at the different options available.
- Do your own research before committing to avoid getting locked into a contract and then finding an editor software you like even better.
Been inspired? Show us your work on Twitter using the hashtag #boldonlinechallenge