Do you procrastinate or not publish on social media networks because you don’t know how to create graphics that will represent your brand in the best way? Do you not want to pay a graphic designer for every single Facebook post you draft? You’re not alone and that’s why we want to tell you, step-by-step, how to use Canva to create crowd-pleasing social media graphics.
(We are not being paid by Canva for this guide. We just really like the software and think you will too.)
We teach a lot of classes to local attendees here at Squishy Peanut Marketing and we also do a lot of one-on-one business training and consulting. In almost every class or every planning session with clients, social media graphics become a hot topic. Faced with overwhelm, businesses typically don’t want to invest a lot of time or money to create graphics for their social media accounts. After all, it can be expensive and sometimes, you don’t get your return back on your investment.
Because of this, we wanted to create a guide for you to make creating graphics simple using our favorite program – Canva.
Step 1: Create an account at Canva.com
Canva does have a free version, but after using the software for a while, we’ve upgraded to their paid Canva for Work account. The cost is minimal at just $12.95/month, but the paid version allows you to resize designs easier, collaborate with team members, save brand design guides, and more. We especially appreciate the resize feature and branding elements so we don’t have to redo designs or dig through files to find color codes. The paid version also comes with a free 30-day trial period so you can try the software before you buy it.
Step 2: Choose your image size
In our example, we’ll create a basic square social media graphic. This size of graphic works for most Facebook posts (it’s not great for ads or blog articles that you want to link) and it can also work on Twitter and of course, Instagram.
Step 3: Create a background for your graphic
While you can create images in Canva with transparent backgrounds or use the native white background, most graphics you create will need some sort of photo or texture in the background. Canva includes several free backgrounds or solid colors to choose from.
We had our graphic designer create a standard background template for posts we share with quotes, so we’ll use that for an example. You may consider having a designer brand out some templated designs that you can easily update within Canva like we’ve done. It can keep your brand more consistent and make it even easier to update different versions of similar graphics. You are able to upload your own images, as well, by selecting Uploads on the left and following the prompts after selecting “Upload your own images”. To incorporate our background, we had previously uploaded the background graphic that we’ll be using.
Step 4: Resize your background
Select your background and hover over it to get the arrows to appear. This will allow you to resize your image. If your image isn’t the exact dimensions of the graphic you are designing, you can resize it and Canva will give you guidelines to help you center or adjust the positioning of your image.
Step 5: Add text or additional photos
In our example, we’ll be adding simple text over our photo, but you could optionally use the Elements feature in the left-hand options within Canva to choose shapes, photos or other templates to include. You could also upload additional files to lay overtop of your background. We do this a lot with adding logos to our photos. To add text, simply press the text button in the left panel and choose an option. We chose “add subheading” for ours.
Step 6: Adjust your elements
Since we’re just doing a simple quote, we selected the text and copied and pasted the quote we wanted. From there, we chose a new color, new font, and adjusted the size using the options just above the graphic. You’ll likely need to do similar things with whatever images or text you apply.
Step 7: Save and download your design
Once your design looks how you want it to, unselect it and you’ll see options to download it at the top of your screen. We usually save our image as a .png file. If you want a transparent background in your Canva design, this is where you’ll select that option, as well.
Step 8: Use your graphic on social media
Now that you’ve downloaded your graphic, you can use it on your social media sites. If you are using your graphic on Instagram, you’ll want to email yourself the photo or share it via the cloud so you can access it from your mobile device.
And that’s it! Now you know how to use Canva to create crowd-pleasing social media graphics. Don’t be afraid to click around Canva and test out the features the functionality. It’s a pretty robust software for how functional it is to use.