• How to Create Cool Graphics for Your Business

Being a small business doesn’t mean that you can’t have great visual marketing graphics. But unless you’re a graphic designer, you might be intimidated by the thought of creating your own graphics for social media. The good news is that you don’t have to be a professional artist to get visually appealing graphics to market your small business.

With the help of free tools on the internet, such as Canva, and inexpensive apps on your smartphone, like Over, it’s easy to make professional looking graphics. The key to having your graphics look professional is knowing some basic design tips like these.

graphics twitter (1)

Brand Consistency

Your business has a brand. Whether you worked with an agency to create the brand or you developed it over time, the look and feel of your business is what is represented by the brand. Stay consistent with your graphics. This will enable your audience to recognize your brand faster and help build you a following on social media.

For example, many companies, ThriveHive included, post #motivationmonday pictures on Facebook and Twitter to jump start the week with motivational quotes and sayings. Doing this every Monday gives your audience something they look forward to – a tiny nugget of inspirational wisdom first thing in the morning.

Some brands use humor or feature customers in their marketing graphics and have created a following based on this theme. It doesn’t matter what you choose to do, as long as you stick with it! Play around with graphics to see what works to engage your customers.

Use Business Colors in Graphics

You probably already have colors that represent your brand and your business. These are the colors that you came up with that likely exist on your website or in your store front. Color is an important part of visual marketing because it creates different feelings in the viewer.

  • Blues and greens are calming and often used in spas or massage businesses.
  • Yellows, reds, and oranges are bright, high energy  color are good for restaurants or fitness centers.
  • White, greys, and blues are good for professional services such as law firms, medical and dental offices, or consulting companies.

There are many different ways you can use colors in your graphics. Complimentary colors that are on the opposite sides of the color spectrum go well together but using different shades of one color is also a nice visual technique. With Valentine’s Day coming up, you can use different shades of reds and pinks in a graphic.

Use Words and Different Fonts in Graphics

Fonts are also important to your brand. Fonts should be used consistently in print marketing, but fonts have a place in visual online marketing as well. Professional services businesses like a law firm or accountants don’t need to use the same font in all of their graphics but they should use professional looking fonts. However, businesses geared toward children like daycares and artistic businesses like photographers or art galleries can use more creative fonts and colors.5 min marketing fb

It’s good to use different styles of fonts together in one graphic to emphasize certain words. In addition to using different fonts, you can mix up font styles of the same font and make certain words bold, or italic, or all capital letters like this example.

 

How to Use Photos in Graphics

When creating your own graphics, make sure to use quality high resolution photos. Bad image quality can distort images or make images look blurry when used on social media. People want to share great looking graphics so make sure your photos are clear!

Photos that you take from a good camera or even from an iPhone are generally good enough to use for graphics. Another option is to purchase stock photos from a website like Getty Images or download free stock photos from websites like Unsplash.

Industry Appropriate Graphics and Photos

In addition to being good quality and high resolution, graphics should represent the feel of the industry. Photos should evoke feeling of what your business can offer or how your business makes customers feel. For example:

  • Pictures of nature or calming rooms are appropriate for yoga studios or spas
  • Hair salons can use high fashion types of photos to show off cutting edge styles
  • Graphics that evoke a feeling of strength and power are best for fitness centers or personal trainers
  • Restaurants and catering companies can use images of kitchen utensils or food to market their business

Follow the Rule of Thirds

When taking your own photos, try to adhere to the rule of thirds. This means that the focal point of your image is off-center, either on the left or ride side of the photo, or in the upper or lower third of the photo, like this example where the cheetah is on the left third of the image:

rule of thirds zuckerman

Experiment with Opacity

You can adjust the opacity of pictures and shapes using tools like Canva. Opacity gives you the opportunity to tone down an image by making 5 minute guide to seo thrivehiveit slightly transparent. Doing this will bring any words on the image stand out, like in this example.

You can see that that background image and the white box behind the text are slightly transparent. By adjusting the opacity, the image is still in the background and the words, which would have been lost on the clock, pop out!

 

Using Business Icons in Graphics

If you have a business icon, you should add it to the graphics that you make. Adding your business icon is like stamping your name on the graphic you created. It tells someone that this icon belongs to your brand and it gets the name of your business out more. The point of social media is to shrae content so the more your icon can be shared, by adding it to social media graphics, the more buzz your business can get!

Optimize Graphic Size for Social Media

In the world of visual marketing, size matters but it’s not always a case of bigger is better. In many cases, graphics that are too big can get lost in the shuffle.

What do I mean? Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all have different sizes for displaying photos and graphics. A photo that looks good on Facebook is often cut off on Twitter. Instagram uses square dimensions which will get cut off on both Facebook and Twitter. This might not seem like a big deal, but it is if you have text on your photo or your business icon gets cut off. Take a look at your current posts, if any of them look cut off, then you probably didn’t use the right size.

When posting photos or graphics to social media, use the guide below for optimal size of images:

  • Facebook: 940px x 788px
  • Twitter: 1024px x 512px
  • Instagram: 640px x 640px

Get starting making professional looking graphics for your small business with these tips today!

Photo Credit: Jim Zuckerman

3 Comments

  1. […] of the marketing trends for 2014 for small business owners is the rising importance of visual content and the following statistics show […]

  2. Guy Mazzeo says:

    as always, Emily,you are highly informative and easy to understand. thank you very much for your efforts.

    • Emily Weisberg says:

      Thanks for the kind words, Guy. I’m glad you’re finding our information useful to marketing your business. Please let me know if you have any questions!

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