Whether you’re a business owner or a marketer looking for new growth opportunities, having a strong social media presence can be pivotal in building brand awareness, trust, and even lead generation.
However, social media is a fluid platform with constant algorithm updates and new “content types” arriving regularly. Even as a professional marketing agency owner, I’ve found that what once worked great on Facebook or Instagram doesn’t work as well as it used to.
This decline in our average performance led me on a journey to find a better way. But it was tough — most of my clients struggle producing photo content, let alone video. They’re either too busy, too removed from the end product, or too inexperienced to generate social media-worthy content.
What I found was a way to use photos — and even lower quality video — in a new and exciting way that has improved our average engagement and reach. I’m talking about producing fantastic social media content with Canva.
Why Does Stunning Social Media Content Matter?
As the big social media companies continue to reduce the reach of organic posts in the hopes that you’ll “cave” and spend advertising dollars to regain what you’ve lost, it may feel hopeless that your organic strategy can ever produce good results again. But not every business can afford to pay advertising dollars to social media giants, nor is it the best strategy for many companies to pursue.
Regardless, every business can use a strong organic social media strategy to build their brand. Doing so provides many benefits, including the following:
- Increasing brand awareness
- Educating prospects about your products or services
- Building trust by engaging with questions and comments
- Learning more about your market through prospect feedback
Graphics-based posts are a key element in a strong social media strategy. This is especially true for companies who do not have the resources to generate a significant amount of truly organic content like photos, videos, live videos, and more.
Step 1: Create and Set Up Your Canva Account
First, I want to disclose something: this article is going to feel like a giant commercial for Canva. In one sense, it is.
But I’m not writing it in the hopes that you’ll click a referral link for my benefit. In fact, I intentionally am not including my referral link as a testament to my authenticity about how life-changing Canva’s “services” are.
Now, onto the good stuff. Canva is basically a graphic design tool for people with little-to-no graphic design experience. In short, Canva makes it incredibly easy to produce branded content for your social media pages!
Create a Canva Account
Once you create your account, you’ll have access to the free version of Canva. Surprisingly, there’s quite a bit of functionality you can use without paying them money.
I used the free version for more than a year for basic graphic work. I even fought purchasing it simply out of spite. Finally, the data told me that the best social media content was being graphically designed, so I caved and purchased a Pro Plan.
Don’t be like me. It wasn’t worth saving $120/year. Upgrading sooner definitely could have saved me more time than the couple hours it would take me to earn that amount selling work to clients.
Set Up Your Brand Kit in Canva
Part of the simplicity of Canva is that if you set things up beforehand, the actual designing becomes very easy!
Begin with your Brand Kit. This is the toolbox that drives your colors, logos, and fonts:
By setting this up ahead of time, all your brand assets will be available at the click of a button. This saves you time and allows you to use tools like Shuffle Colors, which will automatically apply your brand colors to the current project. More on that shortly.
Part of a strong social media strategy is building brand awareness, so always incorporate your brand colors in your graphics!
Step 2: Find Canva Templates That You Can Repurpose
Once you’ve created your Canva account and set up your Brand Kit, all the options before you may seem a bit daunting. But fear not; it’s actually extremely easy to use!
Let’s begin by finding a pre-made Canva that we can repurpose into something amazing:
I searched for Instagram posts in portrait orientation (tall), and I’m going to turn the circled one into a perfect graphic for my social media!
Once I’ve selected that Canva, I can begin modifying it. As you can see, my brand colors are showing because I set them up ahead of time:
I’m going to keep Shuffling my brand colors by clicking the Shuffle button on my colors until the combination is absolutely perfect. This is also a great time to drop a new photo into the background and change the details to fit my needs. The text bubble covered some of my image, so I highlighted all the components and dragged it up further. I happened to like the hashtag in the original Canva, so I left that in place:
There you have it. This Canva took me less than five minutes to design!
From here, hit “Share” and download your image. Or, if you want it to be even easier, you can connect your social media channels and schedule this to be posted directly through Canva!
Step 3: Use Canva to Create Stunning Collages, Reels, and More
The example above was relatively easy, but you can apply the same steps to many different content types. Some will be more complex, but ultimately the result will be content that’s engaging and perfectly branded to your business.
One big breakthrough for me was that we could easily use Canva to produce Instagram Reels, even if we don’t have a lot of (or any) video content to work with. Simply search Instagram Reel, select a Canva that has the basic components you need, and modify it using the steps above.
Collages are another great content type, as they can easily show multiple angles or options of a product. I use them extensively to convey multiple ideas in a single post, such as for a company that produces a variety of similar yet varying products.
Canva is also a great place to find templates for one-off graphic items like these:
- Facebook and YouTube cover photos
- Profile pictures for all major social media platforms
- Flyers and presentations
- And more!
Measure and Improve Over Time
There you have it — three steps to producing stunning graphic content with ease! Your job is done, right?
Not quite so fast…
The key to a successful long-term social media presence is consistent growth. Check your metrics weekly, taking the time to inspect each post’s performance. Test new ideas and ask your audience what they love and don’t like about your content.
Social media is a long investment, but it’s one that you’ll be able to look back on with joy as you see how far your business — and yourself — have grown!
Start Creating Beautiful Content With Canva Today
Now it’s your turn to take this theory and put it into reality.
I’ve given you the steps and shown you the basics. Don’t be scared like I was for so long. Embrace this reality and watch your social media feed come to life.
If you need to learn the basics of successfully growing a social media account, our Facebook and Instagram Growth Guide will be an informative resource!