Creating Beautiful Graphics In Your Social Media

by CHERYL GNAD on July 6, 2015

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Creating Beautiful Graphics

In Your Social Media

 

I never knew how important the graphics were to social media when I first started out as a social manager over 4 years ago. It seems that in the last 2 years graphic content has taken an all important high! If you haven’t yet, go to your Facebook Insights and take a look at your posts types and see with type of post gets the most clicks or engagement. You will see that your graphic posts are the largest group, with maybe VIDEO coming up near the lead if not already there.  In this article, I will show you some things for you to consider to put into your marketing toolbox – tools that keep your social media presence in the fore-front on the desktop computer AND, most importantly, on mobile!

Where Do You Start?

Writing a “simple?” blog on this isn’t going to be easy. Do I start with the simple rules or tips to creating appealing graphic art that attract your potential customer? When you can truly comprehend that visual content is processed 60,000 times faster than any text, then you realize you had better have visuals that communicate! After all, you only have about 3-8 seconds to get someone’s attention! Our world is smothered with information and visual content. Your content will need to stand out!

“Every two days we create as much info as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003″. ~ Eric Schmidt

via http://www.webmarketinggroup.co.uk/why-every-seo-strategy-needs-infographics/

As a student of Kim Garst, I often hear, “Creating visual content for  content’s sake is not the answer.” Unfortunately, many in social media believe it is. They are stuck with doing one kind of graphic and it is generally very ordinary if not worse!

The Benefits of Creating Your Own Visual Graphics!

By having your own graphics you can increase your audience retention! Create images that are emotional and are memorable. Have graphics that your audiences likes and wants more of. How will you know? By doing lots of graphics and seeing what they engage on! Test, test, test!

Feature your customers! They love to see their content being shared! It brings them recognition and appreciation. This is hard to ignore! They will keep coming back, hoping that again they are being featured.

Humanize yourself! By making your own graphics you seem more REAL and personal, not commercialized.  Often times it may not even feel like an ad but it will still be an effective form of promotion of your services or products. So go ahead and share YOUR experiences!

You are the marketer of your product or service. Create the “culture” that you have around your product/service and match the visuals to that culture.

What kind of visual graphics are we talking about?

You may be familiar with doing 2 of these 5 visual contents that are most common.


Pictures - art suppliesPhotos
: Be your own photographer. Now-a-days many of us have photo taking capabilities and they take great pictures. However, even these can be poor quality.

Here is a great tip: Avoid having your subject in front of a bright background or light. It will darken the subject and create a “glow” or halo affect which diminishes the subjects image. Do keep a good contrast of color or texture between the subject and its surroundings.

 

Video graphics in social mediaVideos: More and more apps are including ways to make video easy. Facebook has upped the REACH of videos that are taken “directly” into Facebook, not linked in from platforms like YouTube. YouTube provides great editing tools too. SnapChat does videos, but from what I see it is only for the immediate use and not for rebroadcast in social media. Vine (phone app) might be a good place to create your library of videos, much like YouTube or Facebook. If you are an Instagram-er then most certainly use videos on Instagram (phone app). This platform will allow videos of 3-15 seconds long! This is enough to keep any audience interested. This is also easy to share to Facebook too! (I’d like to do a class on video making for social media!! So much to talk about!)

Quote graphicsImages: These consist of pure “graphic” styled images. Quotes make a great images to share! Engagement is usually easy. People love to read uplifting, inspirational quotes. You don’t have to make quotes though. You can utilize these for offer announcements, CTAs (calls to action), and Tips, just to name a few!

 

 

Info-graphicsInfo-graphics:  You as a regular poster may look at the info-graphic and say “I could never do that!” But you can. There are online program help to help you do just something this easy. All you have to provide is a color scheme, and … data! The message conveyed is absorbed much faster than text (remember 60,000x faster!?).  Need help? Go to http://piktochart.com/  for free creation help.

 

 

 

 

PowerPoint exampleSlideshows/Presentations: We live in the information age. Nearly anything can be found online. After all, how often do you “Google it” to successfully find out some kind of information? Slideshares or Presentations are a tool often used to disperse information. I am often finding these especially on Linkedin. All you need to do is create a PowerPoint and link it into your social media platform. Colorful and filled with value. Just like what your audience wants!

One tidbit of warning!

Copyright laws DO exist for ALL media – visual and written – whether stated or not. Choose media that gives you permission! Just giving attribution MAY not be enough. Once called on for copyright infringement, once was enough. You’d wish you didn’t do the easy grab and attribute! The best/safest way to find images is to create your own! I must clarify, I am not a lawyer, so I can’t specify what is legal or not. I just can tell you what is safe and that is your own! This includes what you images you BUY the right to use – even if within their rules, usually time limits and how used. If all else fails, if you are not sure, produce your own graphic. Be safe.

Let Your Visual Graphics Add Value or Lead to More Value!

As a business owner, you have a different reason to use visuals than the common person using it for personal reasons only. The person who uses it for personal reasons will post family and pet pictures and tell about their vacation. The person in business will –

  • – show behind the scenes at work
  • – share trade or industry statistics or data (info-graphics)
  • – share inspiration quotes
  • – tips to improve on ________
  • – dates to remember for a special event
  • – highlight and cheer on a team member or their favorite FAN
  • – show How To’s
  • – provide colorful interesting check lists

The list of visual content ideas for you is endless! But remember, to provide value! Value to YOUR target audience. The audience that wants more from you in the form of VALUE – i.e. “what’s in it for me?” value.

An Opportunity for BRANDING Yourself

If you are small business, just starting out, you may not have given much thought about Branding. I know when I worked for the Coleman Company, I didn’t understand branding. It seemed like a code word for “this is who we are”. True it was, but it was STRATEGIC! Strategic? I didn’t get that and I am sure books are written on how to be strategic. Here, I just want to bring it to your attention. Branding is a way for you to be recognized quickly and easily PicMonkey Brandingfor “who you are” and “what you do”. Branding utilizes the visual and even the written. What makes a brand? – logos, color,  graphics,  emotion,  placement in media, just to name the most common areas. Have you developed your brand? Most likely, you have a logo. Branding your images with your logo would be instant recognition for who this image is from and who is providing the value. Insert your logo into the image.

 

Logo Type MakerIf you don’t have a logo – get one. Visit – Logo Type Maker http://logotypemaker.com/

Perhaps you like a Font to “be you”. Choose one from Google at – https://www.google.com/fonts.

Pictaculous Color SchemePick a color scheme to use in your website and for various visual “series” that identifies you. Find your scheme choice at – http://www.pictaculous.com   

 

 

 

 

 

Tools to Create Your Best Visual Content From Your Computer

This is a quick list for you to check out . Depending on the amount of time you wish to spend on your project or how program savy you are that will determine which program you wish to use.

  • Canva.com – I find this the most versatile of the popular programs. Ready to go templates for great design already done and basic images ready for you to use even. Inexpensive images are available for only a dollar too!

Canva

  • Pixlr.com is a photo editing tool that works similarly to Adobe Photoshop. Photoshop users will enjoy this without owning the expensive program.

Pixlr.com

  • PicMonkey.com – easy and fun. Backgrounds are available as is a variety of fun texts and stamps! Great for matching with your seasons or holidays. They also offer many tutorials on using this program creatively.

PicMonkey.com

  • PowerPoint – if you are using your Microsoft Office, you already have this program. With it are lots of variety of images and custom sizing for your images. Adding a variety of text designs is possible too. Images are common but useful. Learning the program easy once you explore and practice on it.

PowerPoint example

Optimize Yourself for the Mobile Consumer

One of the best ways to keep yourself in the forefront of social media is to make yourself seen well on mobile. Your own website MUST be mobile-friendly, because even Google penalizes your websites internet ranking if you are not. Meaning, you won’t be seen at all! For the various social media platforms – create images that look great on the different sites! Know your sizes that work and won’t be chopped off! Twitter is more horizontal than Instagram. Your image may not work for both!

There are several Mobile Apps

To help with your graphic designing when you are on the go and just took that fantastic picture that you want to put a special message on, you need a few great tools to choose from! These are currently very popular and easy!

  • For iPhone , consider WordSwag
  • Rhonna’s Designs, for the Android phones
  • InstaQuote for either phone types, very easy!

In conclusion:

As you can see. Creative visual design or graphic design for your social media is wide open to whatever you can imagine! There are tools that fit your level of expertise and they will make you look like an expert! No more excuses for dull, unimaginative, non-communicative art! Make sure you have a message and give that message away in stunning color! There is so much to share – watch a few videos and become addicted to visual or graphic design, just like I did! Happy creating!

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Get Past Your Excuses – Part 2

by CHERYL GNAD on February 23, 2015

Getting rid of excuses.

Being aware of why the excuses exist is the start of making change! Listen to your heart!

Get Past Your Excuses – Part 2

 

In my last blog, I talked about the fact that we believe our excuses too quickly for the lack of our success by putting our BIG BUT(T)s out there.  In this article I will share ways to counter that voice of our excuses and to replace it with that voice you crave to hear! The of EMPOWERMENT!

One thing I must point out. THESE BUTS are not exclusive to happening in an  MLM/network marketing business. It happens in ALL business types, and in living your own life! Keep reading…

Yes, now I had a couple BUTs still looming over my head even recently and you know what? I heard them when I said them!! I was AWARE of them! What does one do when the “BIG BUT” or excuse shows up? What does it do to you when you hear others down grade themselves by saying they ” but I can’t because….”? My mentor could catch me in a second! She heard it! I didn’t…and I asked her how come she could hear it and I couldn’t? She replied that “it hurt too much to hear me degrade or take away my own gifts in such a way that I couldn’t live bigger and better!” She believed in me more than I did in myself!

I asked how do I get over this habit? Since then, in the past 2 years, I’ve come to learn more about what was happening to me. Once I learned that, then I “heard” my BIG BUT(T)s, my excuses, and my own negative thinking. Now I can practice EMPOWERED THINKING and so can you.

Today I read an email from my social media mentor – Sandi Krackowski – who wrote from her book #BEMORE: 77 Secrets To Your Powerful (find it at: http://amzn.to/1wYGdht ) on this very subject.  Her suggestion was to record yourself for 2 hours during the first part of the day and listen to it later in that day. Yes, it can be embarrassing to hear your own voice, but it could be more embarrassing to hear your way of speaking! This is what Sandi wrote:

 When I did this it was a rude awakening. I felt the barometric pressure around me change. “This is my life?” I asked myself. The two hours were filled with: “I’m so sick and tired of this!” and “God has made a great mistake and this is so unfair. No matter how hard I try I can’t get ahead!” and “I can’t do this. Seriously, who the hell does God think I am anyway?” (Yes, I said hell and God in one sentence and He didn’t strike me. Keep reading.)

Does this sound familiar? Would this speech coming from you surprise you? If you heard this come from your own child, how would you react?! You would feel the pain of it, yes? NOW, I knew why it hurt my mentor so much. So, time for change!

When you encounter yourself or the other being negative, offering excuses or saying “but” to something –

 Ask yourself:

– Is it true?

– Is it in your power to change it?

–  Does it really matter?

–  Did I make it easy for me/them to say No?

–  What is the worst thing that could happen? Can I live with that?

–  What do you/they gain from not changing or trying?

–  What do you/they need in order to reach that goal or desire?

 3 Steps to erasing those excuses (those BIG BUTTs)

Step 1 to making changes in your life or others is to  – recognize the problem, i.e. – the big BUT, the excuses.  Become aware.

The next big step – Step 2 is to truthfully find answers to the above questions or some similar. What might make it workable? Take a backwards step – can you do that? No? Take another backward step – can you do that? Keep doing until the answer comes or the excuses stop! Simply the awareness of the excuses way of thinking that is going on and how it is painful to live in such a way will make big changes.

Step 3 – make the decision to change. Simple. Really it is just a decision. Also, know that God understands the decision to change. He created you to be powerful in such a way that all you have to do is SAY and it shall be! God did it that way! Can you imagine if God would have said as He created Man “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth…” but then adds “oh, but….maybe not, man is going to be ____ and I will have to ____.  Then I just know that ____ etc.” NO! God spoke it into being!  He made us in HIS image, and look how powerfully He spoke! It happened! True, we aren’t God, but He has blest us to have power in our own words! Speak “as if”! Even if you don’t believe in Him, you can believe in the powerful way you were made! Be EMPOWERED! It begins with being aware, asking yourself why, and making the decision to just “do it”. MAKE THE DECISION TO WORK OUT THE CHANGE IN YOU!

Mentor-ship  –  being accountible for your excuses

I have a mentor, actually more than one, who helps me to be accountable for my words and my decision to change. Do you have one? They are a very important part to sticking it through to the end for making the changes you want. Change won’t happen though UNLESS you really want it, and know WHY you want it! Find a trusted business friend or mentor or coach to help you with your own EMPOWERMENT!

This article is in conjunction with Part 1 which is Get Your Big But(t) Excuses Out of the Way. 

Social Focus by CG is committed to your success, but in the world of marketing AND in your own self. If you need more, just contact me via the opt-in on the side or in the comments below. I will find you! I am here to help you build that wonderful you! #BeMore!

 

Photo by:

Listen to your Heart
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