In today’s digital world, most, if not all, marketing, communications, and public relations jobs involve social media work. Most companies have multiple social channels, from Facebook and Instagram to LinkedIn. Though social media does have the enormous benefit of consumer engagement and reach, it can be overwhelming to produce quality content that appeals to all audiences. Thankfully, there are many free, helpful tools that are beneficial for those just starting in social media work to seasoned professionals.
Design Softwares and Tools
One of the most intimidating factors about social media is that it sometimes seems like every graphic, photo and post has to be expertly designed. I know for me personally, while I enjoy working in graphic design, it is certainly not my area of expertise. Below are some user-friendly design and software tools that anyone can use to make their post more visually appealing.
Canva is one of my personal favorites. It is one of the most user-friendly free design softwares there is. With thousands of ready-to-use and editable templates, Canva can help you design posts and graphics across web and social platforms. With Canva, you can easily create great visual content for blogs, Instagram (both posts and stories) and Facebook. These options are all readily available under their “social media” tab on their homepage. However, there are premium options that come at a cost, so just be sure to double-check that you’re utilizing their free options.
- The Noun Project
The Noun Project is an incredibly useful website that offers amazing free icons and stock photos that can really add something extra to your social media posts and presence. The use of icons and small photo art not only adds a nice aesthetic element to your posts, but it is also great for accessibility and clarity. Check out their archive of icons and see what fantastic options they have for free on their website.
Finding Free, Open-Sourced Photos
One of the trickiest parts about finding and posting content to social media is whether or not it is open-sourced, or accessible to the general public. Sometimes these photos can be found via Google, but they tend to be low-resolution and not great for reproduction. Here are a couple of web options that provide free photos and stock images that you can use in your social media and blog graphics.
Unsplash offers thousands of free, high-resolution images that anyone can download and use when creating content for their social channels. In addition to their homepage search bar where you can specifically search for the type of image you’re looking for, they also offer helpful category options and highlight trending searches. By utilizing Unsplash, you can incorporate great photos into your posts while saving yourself and your employer time and money.
- Creative Commons
Creative Commons is another organization dedicated to sharing photos and creative work with the public at little to no cost. They offer users over 500 million images that can be reused. Again, this can help save you time and money when trying to find high-quality images to include in your social media, blog, and web posts. Check out this amazing non-profit and its image library here: https://creativecommons.org
Trends in social media are constantly changing, and with the demand for consistent content, it can sometimes be a daunting task to post across multiple platforms multiple times a week, or even multiple times a day depending on your industry. Thankfully, there are now scheduling applications that you can use to pre-plan your posting and take some of the stress off your shoulders.
Later is a popular, easy-to-use scheduling tool for your photos, videos, and other visual content. Users can create an account for free in a matter of minutes and start scheduling their posts. This way, if you have a post you want to come out at noon on a Friday, you can set it up earlier in the week and diminish the chances of missing deadlines. So many large, household name brands use Later in their social media marketing, and so can you!
Social media is becoming more and more of an integral part of today’s workforce. It is becoming increasingly common for consumers to interact with businesses and brands via social media, and many companies are looking for talent that knows how to leverage social media as an organic marketing tool. Though there are so many social media platforms, trends, and tools to keep up with, I hope these listed are some great resources to get you started. Anyone can become a social media expert with time and practice!
Written by: Olivia Hanline