Tips for creating awesome visual content

This blog post is part of our Lessons from SMSS15 series. Legendary Social Media is taking part in Social Media Examiner’s Social Media Success Summit, which is the world’s largest online social media marketing conference. This blog series covers the points and ideas we’ve taken from the course that we’ve deemed to be eye-opening and highly useful for other marketers and for small- and medium-sized businesses. To discuss any of the ideas in these blogs or other ideas about social marketing, please don’t hesitate to contact us here.

Whether you’re a marketing professional, a small business or just looking to have fun with some of the cool new tools out there on the interweb, one thing to keep in mind is that visuals absolutely rule the world. People process images faster than text or audio, so having strong images can work miracles for whatever it is you’re creating, be it ads, infographics, blog post images, Facebook posts or even book covers. During yesterday’s Social Media Success Summit 2015, presenters Donna Moritz and Rebekah Radice gave some handy tips on how to create awesome visuals – with major impact – easily.

First, the tools. Here are Moritz’s picks for the coolest new visual content creation apps that you probably want to play with. I know I do.

(These are in my order of love/want to test out, from most to least)

Canva. Can’t live without it. Canva turns averages Joes like myself into wannabe graphic designers and the stuff I’ve churned out since I started using Canva even impresses my own picky self. Canva lets you combine images, text and shapes into graphics. And those graphics come with pre-sized templates so they’ll fit properly into whatever platform you’re using them for, like Facebook ads (beware – there’s no template for Page Like ads), infographics, Facebook cover photos and more.

Videolicious. Apparently makes it easy to whip up mobile video, which goes nicely with Amy Porterfield’s talk on video ads from the previous day. Definitely a must-try.

Hyperlapse. An Instagram app that puts video into fast forward. Perfect for tours, behind-the-scenes videos and events.

Piktochat. Makes it easy to create infographics.

Wordswag. Adds funky/trendy text on top of images, especially for Instagram.

Blab/Periscope/Meerkat. Is this the future of social media? Probably. Each of these is a live-streaming video app. I’m one of the ones who’s terrified of the live-streaming trend, but also interested it give it a whirl.

Legend. An app for turning video into GIFs.

Relay. Like Canva, but less customizable, which is great if you’re not super keen on creating visuals from scratch. It supplies the template, you plug in the images and text. Bam.

Stop Motion Studio. Just in case you feel like creating some claymation (or any kind of stop motion video).

Now, when it comes to the content within your visuals, it’s crucial that you consider the purpose of what you’re creating, before you create it. According to Radice, your visuals should very clearly solve your customers’ or clients’ pain point or problem. It should show them quickly that you know what they want, and you’re offering a way to solve that. That’s what the “purpose” is all about.

Use fonts that are easy to read.

And most importantly, be consistent. Keep the feel of your visuals consistent, not only with each other, but with your brand. Be consistent with the colours you use, and the fonts.

And finally, each piece of visual content you create should go beyond the purpose of the post it’s destined for. Instead, content that’s highly sharable should have a longer-term purpose. It should grab attention, be useful and fit in with your brand’s goals.

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