Do you want to produce consistent, quality social media images in half the time? Here's how to do it.
Create some guidelines
You’ll never manage to produce consistent, quality images for social media if you don’t have a clear idea of what you’re aiming for. So make yourself some guidelines. Create a visual reference of what you want your images to look like.
Already have brand guidelines?
It might be that you already have some brand guidelines. If so, that’s the perfect place to start. If they already give you clear direction on how you’d create images for social media for your brand, then you can probably stop reading this now and jump to the next section.
Don’t have brand guidelines?
If you’re a solopreneur and haven’t developed visual guidelines for your brand, now is the perfect time to start. Take the time to look at your own website, at your competitors, look at their social media feeds and generally on Pinterest, Twitter. Try to get a sense of how you want your social media images to look. Then start writing some rules to try and follow. It might be “always use font x in colour y” or “always use colour x on top of a photo”. This is easier to do if you’ve already got brand guidelines because you’ll know what fonts and colours to use. If not, make those decisions now.
Create an image library
With those decisions made, now go and find some images that you can work with. If you work for an organisation that’s got an existing image library, that’s the perfect place to start. If you’re working on your own, starting from scratch, then start looking online for suitable images to use. A great resource is Unsplash.com, where you have access to thousands upon thousands of great looking images that you can use for free. If you have the talent to take your own photos to use or the budget to have some taken for you, so much the better. When choosing photos, remember that what you choose will somehow convey the essence of your brand, so choose with care.
Create a text grab file
Are there frequent straplines or slogans that you use time and time again? Put them in a single text file that you can easily find.
Get everything organised
Now you have your brand guidelines, your images and text all ready to use, do yourself a favour and put them all in a folder so you can easily get what you need when you need it.
Create templates to work from
Now’s the time to bring everything you’ve decided together into a template. Create a template that’s the perfect size for whatever platform(s) you’ll use, whether that’s Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or something else. You can find an up to date guide to the sizes you need here.
Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign and Adobe Photoshop (as well as other programs) could all be used to create your template – use whichever program you’re most comfortable in. I’d recommend Adobe Illustrator as the perfect tool for creative entrepreneurs, as you can create so many of the things you need (logos, icons, adverts, infographics, lead magnets…) all in one place. You can read more about Illustrator here and try our Illustrator for Creative Entrepreneurs course here. There’s also a downloadable, editable social media sized template in Illustrator format here.
Batch your work
Once you’ve got your template set up, get thinking about the posts you’re going to create. When you’ve got a list, you can create them all at once using your template. That’s the benefit of having worked through all of the steps of this guide. With the extra time you’ve saved, put your feet up and have a cup of tea.