John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher and this is Digital Marketing Madness. This podcast is brought to you by McDougall Interactive. We’re an Internet marketing agency in Danvers, Massachusetts. Today, my guest is Meghan Williams. Welcome, Meghan.
Meghan Williams: Hi, John.
John: Today, our topic is how to use Canva to make social media graphics that pop. Meghan, maybe you could start off with explaining a little bit. What is Canva?
Meghan: Canva is a free Web‑based graphic design tool. It also has some simple photo editing tools in there that I think are new. It started out as a really simple, very basic, graphic design tool where you can pop in there, put in some dimensions, they have a bunch of free backgrounds, some fonts, drop some text in there, change the color app, and you have quick, beautiful little graphic you could drop anywhere, in a blog post, on your social media channel.
Using Canva for Simple Photo Editing & Graphic Design
John: I’m thinking something like Photoshop, but easier to use than Photoshop, which has tons of tools for doing every aspect of any photo manipulation that you could possibly think of?
Meghan: We’re not talking about designing a magazine cover. We’re talking about really simple, basic stuff. But what’s beautiful about it is that you can sign up for a free version, it’s online, you do it anywhere, and you can create whatever you need really, really quickly.
It launched also with this awesome mini training camp. If you have no graphic design experience at all, you could get familiar with the tool. It’ll walk you through how to do certain things and find different elements in the tool itself.
But it’ll also give you guidance on how to be a graphic designer, like where in a three‑by‑three grid you should place different elements in order to have the most impact, or how to balance text and visual in a design.
John: Because you don’t always want to center things right in the middle of the picture. Sometimes, you want to offset it a little bit, off to the side, to give it a little more punch or something like that.
Meghan: Right, I was trying it as a beta product in 2013. It was amazing. I’m not a graphic designer, but I created these really beautiful invitations for my son’s birthday party.
John: There you go.
Meghan: They’re awesome. Now, they’ve launched a bunch more features and elements. They have simple photo editing software and they have much more training camp stuff.
I think that you can even buy elements made by other graphic designers who are selling it on their platform, tons of resources there. You should definitely check them out.
Include Custom Photos and Graphics in Your Social Media
John: Should people just use Canva or a similar tool like it instead of using a graphic designer?
Meghan: I wouldn’t say it replaces it. I could rave about it until the cows come home, but it does have limitations.
For one, it’s very lightweight, which is probably it’s number one perk, but it also doesn’t have a lot of the features you might need. Depending on what the project is you might need a lot more tools, mocking up a design for a landing page you’re doing or your website design.
If you are placing ads and paying to display those ads, either online or in print or whatever, you’re not going to want to mock this up in Canva. You’re going to want to hire a professional to do a really good with those designs. What Canva is ideal for is when you have to churn out content on a regular basis for social media especially, like Pinterest maybe, or your blog needs a graphic to spice it up and you need one everyday.
It makes it too complicated to go to a graphic designer and say, “This is what I’m looking for,” and then them to interpret it and come up with something. It takes days and whatever.
It’s much easier if you’re creating content on that scale. Pop in, do it really quickly, and get something beautiful out of it.
John: If you don’t have a graphic designer in‑house, which a lot of businesses don’t if they’re working on social media or writing blogs for their company or something like that, then hiring somebody to do these graphic designs for you, like you said, it might take days to get something back from them. Then maybe it’s not very good, and then you have to send it back for a second revision or something like that, but you needed this three days ago.
It would be a really good tool for somebody who’s really not a graphic designer, but who needs to be able to create some basic graphics, like you said, for some social media, blog posts, or things like that, and to churn them out quickly and easily.
Meghan: To get a high quality product at the end. You’re not talking about Microsoft Paint where it’s going to look like an amateur did it. It’s going to look really nice, and not require a lot of effort on your part.
John: You talked about social media marketing. Why are graphics so important in social media?
Meghan: I would say, in my experience, Canva is perfect for social media. I think that one thing we, as an industry, have learned in the last few years with social media marketing is how it’s not just about the content you’re pushing out in terms of making sure you always have fresh content from your blog, you’re hooking it up to all of your social media channels, and it’s going out everywhere.
It’s about engagement. It’s about giving your users, your audience, a variety. Like the rise of video recently, Facebook just rolled out a video embedding software. You can’t just be sharing links from your blog or sending out coupons on Twitter or whatever. You can’t just do that, you need to create real content and real variety.
We had a client sign on for a social media package. We were analyzing their competitors and we found two that had the most engagement in their Facebook channel, specifically.
One was a national player and one was another small local business, and they were blowing the other competitors away in terms of engagement. The thing that they both had in common was that 30 percent of their posts on Facebook were images, photographs, graphic designed images. They may have had a link or some text along with them, but they were graphical in nature. That was driving it.
John: Because they really capture the eye of people as they’re maybe scrolling up and down on their mobile phone or something like that. They’re looking at their Facebook wall, and then they come across one of these pictures and it grabs your attention, whereas the text, you can scroll right past it and never see it.
Meghan: What’s that saying? A picture is worth a thousand words. You can communicate a lot in a graphic or a photograph that you put on Facebook.
Having a free Web‑based really lightweight photo editing tool or graphic design tool can help you create a lot of content for your Facebook or social media channel and have it be beautiful and eye catching.
John: Great. Well, I’m going to go to try Canva right now and see what I can do.
Meghan: [laughs] You should.
John: Thanks for talking with me. I appreciate it.
Meghan: Thanks for having me.
John: For more information about digital marketing, visit mcdougallinteractive.com. Make sure to subscribe this podcast on iTunes and on Stitcher. Thanks for listening. I’m John Maher. See you next time on Digital Marketing Madness.