Designing for Social Media: Tips & Tools for Creating Beautiful Posts Fast

/ design
Vrinda Singh

Social media is an inherently visual medium. A recent study found that users are more likely to engage with brands if they post pictures and videos than any other media.

You may think you lack the skills, budget and resources needed to design stunning social posts at scale. However, thanks to a hoard of helpful tools, it's easy to create the posts you admire on social with minimal investment of time and money. Here's a breakdown of our favourite tools for curating a beautiful social feed in no time.

Top Tools for Social Media Design

  1. Infogr.am
  2. Canva
  3. Pexels
  4. Placeit
  5. The Noun Project
  6. Logaster
  7. Paperform

#1 Infogr.am

Source: Infogr.am

Pricing: Free (Basic Plan) - $149/month (Team Plan)

Best for: Designing Infographics

A governing principle for success on social media is to show not tell. That sounds harder than it is, especially if you already have written content that can easily be re-purposed for social.

We don't mean posting screenshots of your blog posts or linking to them in captions. The best way to easily turn blog posts into social-friendly, visually engaging posts is by turning them into bite-sized infographics.

Infogr.am is our tool of choice here for it's ease of use, high picture quality and huge library of templates. Even a design novice can create stunning posts using Infogr.am's range of typography, colours and graphical element options (including charts, symbols, maps and shapes).

If you're a data nerd, you'll be impressed by how easily you can incorporate complex data sets with Infogr.am. The Basic version will also take you far. Here's an infographic the Infogr.am team created from a Best Places To Work 2018 blog post:

Source: Infogr.am

Other notable mentions:

  • Biteable for creating motion infographics.
  • Easel.ly for allowing you to use the editor without having to sign up for an account.

#2 Canva

Source: Canva

Pricing: Free for 8000+ templates and up to 10 users

Best for: Combining multiple visual elements into one image

No social media article is ever complete without the mention of Canva. It's the go-to design tool for all design novices, and with good reason.

Canva has a rich asset library and 300,000+ professional templates that are ready to customise and share on social. With it's flexibility and versatility, it can easily be described as an Adobe Photoshop for novices. You can create unique images using Canva's photo library, add typography, icons or graphic elements to your images, create charts and even upload your own graphics - the possibilities are endless.

Here's one of the 5666+ templates Canva has available for Facebook:

Source: Canva

#3 Pexels

Source: Pexels

Pricing: Free.

Best for: Royalty-free, non-Stocky Stock Images

Pexels is a lifesaver for anyone with limited access to brand assets or photographers.

With Pexels, you can access thousands of free images and videos to use as backdrops for your social media posts. The best part? The images are far from being the generic Stock images you might be accustomed to seeing on websites for elaborate  pyramid schemes. Pexels receives its content from real, talents photographers, ensuring a great level of originality and variety.

Here's a sneak peek into the eye-catching photos you'll find on Pexels:

Source: Pexels

Other notable mentions:

  • StockSnap.io
  • Pixabay
  • Negative Space

#4 Placeit

Source: Placeit

Pricing: $7/post or $29/month for unlimited posts

Best for: Showcasing your product with mockups

Placeit is hands down the easiest way to create brand assets and mockups. In minutes, you can create mockups of your website or app within an iPhone or desktop or design brand t-shirts to showcase your company culture on social media.

Placeit has 12,000 templates for you to choose from. Since we're a website, we love using Placeit to showcase our web editor in new ways through social. Here's a mockup we created of the Paperform website in 1 minute:

#5 The Noun Project

Source: The Noun Project

Pricing: Free (no customisation features and includes the artist's name below icons) - $2.99/icon (royalty-free)

Best for: Customising your posts with symbols, icons and clip art.

Don't have a graphic designer of your own? No stress. The Noun Project has a huge icon library curated by graphic designers from all around the world. The platform is dedicated to providing beautiful, modern symbols for every noun in the English language. With more than a million icons ready to be downloaded, you can customise these to change colours, rotation and background.

These icons make for great social content. Here's how The Noun Project took a simple photo and turned it into the perfect Instagram post for International Women's Day:

Source: The Noun Project (Instagram)

The Noun Project's assets can also make for beautiful Instagram Story Highlight icons.

#6 Logaster

Source: Logaster

Pricing: First small complimentary logo for free, $19.99 for a web logo.

Best for: Creating a stunning logo for your social profiles.

This is Social Media 101. Having an attractive looking profile picture or thumbnail for your social pages is crucial. Ideally, this should match your brand logo, but if you don't have one that's social-friendly, Logaster is the easiest way to create something attractive that will look great on all social channels.

Logaster's logo generation tool means that you barely have to put any effort into creating the beautiful logo of your dreams. Simply enter in your brand name, choose a design style and Logaster will generate a huge range of customized, stylish logos for you to choose from.

#7 Paperform

Source: Paperform

Pricing: Starting from $12.50/month (Free trial for 14 days)

Best for: Engaging with your audience using personalised quizzes

Good design is a pivotal factor for success on social media. The only thing that outranks it in importance is interaction. With users facing sensory overload on social platforms everyday, an easy tactic that can really help you stand out is interactive content that engages your users on a psychological level.

Think about the infamous quizzes that Buzzfeed promotes on Facebook. They don't go viral because the content of those quizzes is of particularly high-quality; they're viral because they help Buzzfeed engage with their audience by asking them the questions they want to answer.

Asking questions on social media is proven to boost likes, shares and comments, and the best part is that it's a really easy tactic to implement at scale. With Paperform, you can create a quiz or questionnaire to share on your social channels in minutes. Easy to use and fully customisable, it's the perfect tool for design novices to create beautiful social content.

Here's a personality quiz template you can use and post to your social channels in less than a minute: https://paperform.co/templates/personality-quiz

Try Paperform for free for 14 days (no CC required).

Tips for designing social media posts fast:

  • Define your brand and voice. Once you have a strong understanding of your brand and the kind of content you want to post, you'll have an easier time separating your ideas into 'yes' and 'no' piles.
  • Settle on colour schemes and typography. Once you define a colour palette and typography set for your profiles, you can create templates of your own that can expedite your post creation process. By standardising your branding across all channels, you won't end up spending deciding on the right colours or fonts for your posts.
  • Create a hitlist of profiles for inspiration. Again, this will help you solidify a direction for your social content and make it easier for you to derive inspiration for content ideas and angles.
  • Alternate between fresh and re-posted content. Did you know that 80% of pins on Pinterest are re-pins? That means only 20% of content on the platform is original, while the rest is reposted content that others have discovered. It's good to be on both ends of the spectrum. While original content will help you attract a fanbase of followers, re-posted content will help you maintain a consistent posting schedule with less time invested.

And there you have it. You're all equipped to charge into the social world with your newly-found design skills. Keep in mind that most people who succeed on social media aren't designers; it's the right tools and attitude that will take you everywhere.

Try Paperform Now!

14 Day Free Trial, No CC Required

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