How to Create Social Media Content That is Engaging, Easy to Produce, and Affordable
Social Media Management Doesn’t Have To Be Intimidating or Expensive
Prefer to watch instead?
Here’s the 3-minute video
Table of Contents
- First and Foremost: Consumers Will Investigate You Online
- Social Media Doesn’t Have To Be Intimidating or Expensive To Produce
- Free and Low-Cost (Freemium) Social Media Tools
- Wrapping Up
- Do you need assistance?
List of Resources
- Facebook’s Creator Studio
First and Foremost: Consumers Will Investigate You Online
Before initiating contact, consumers and potential prospects will check you out on the internet.
To reach and connect with those buyers, you need to produce and maintain original and engaging social media content. If your small business’ social media is lacking or absent, you are missing out on a crucial opportunity to capture these leads.
So strive to establish a consistent online presence with simple content that authentically shares your brand’s story and offers helpful insights. And yes – you can accomplish this yourself easily and affordably. Read on to find out how.
Social Media Doesn’t Have To Be Intimidating or Expensive To Produce
Today, any business requires a solid and active social media identity. This means:
- planning a social media content calendar in advance
- creating relevant graphics and text
- scheduling and publishing consistently
However, if you are managing this process internally, you may be unsure of where to start, what to post on social media, how to produce it, and how to manage the entire process.
You may see colleagues sporting professional-looking social media graphics and videos along with hip and quirky copy.
If you’re new to social media or striving to gain a better understanding, this can be an intimidating endeavor; even more so if you are a small business without in-house social media, copywriting, graphic design, or video production staff.
Rest assured: creating social media content and designing social media graphics doesn’t have to be intimidating or even expensive to produce. Simple content that authentically shares your brand’s story and offers helpful insights can be affordable as you reach and engage followers.
Due to the fast pace of social media, the style is often more candid and informal than traditional mass media. This means a very small team or even an individual can use free or low-cost content creation tools to make simple yet effective social media content.
Whether you need to strengthen your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or Youtube presence, these tools may help.
Fortunately, there are several powerful yet easy to use graphics apps that have either free or reasonably priced subscription plans. Freemium apps are common in the social media and online marketing fields.
Free and Low-Cost (Freemium) Social Media Tools
Engaging Stock Images
Attractive yet engaging images are essential for success on most social media platforms. The ideal, of course, is original photographs, illustrations, or infographics created by you, members of your team, or customers. However, that isn’t always possible.
Stock media images can stand in and work well for conveying a message, concept, mood, or feeling. There are a few free stock image sites with freemium/low cost options that small businesses and creatives use to create social media graphics, blog illustrations, and other marketing materials. Here are a few to get you started:
- Pexels – Their search and mobile app make it easy to find appropriate images.
- Unsplash – A social stock photography platform that allows you to curate themed sets.
- Kaboom Pics – Also suggests a complementary color palette.
- Pixabay – Contains over 1.8 million images contributed by users.
- Gratisography – Contains quirky stock photographs.
- Creative Market – A marketplace of free and reasonably priced professional elements – fonts, templates, images, and other graphics. It is well worth a look if you want something a cut above the free stock sites mentioned earlier.
Be sure to read the license terms as they vary. As you browse these and other sites, you may notice that you have seen some of the photos on other websites, social media, on television, or even in films.
Social Media Graphics and Layouts
Each social platform has its preferred file size and aspect ratio. By creating variations suited to each outlet, you better control your business brand and identity. Fortunately, there are several powerful yet easy to use apps and tools for creating social media graphics and layouts that have either free or reasonably priced subscription plans. Quite a few free plans will likely suit your needs for social media and online marketing, but if you require more options or flexibility, upgrading to low-cost/freemium monthly or annual plans are available with “cancel anytime” policies.
Here are a few free and freemium online social media tools to explore:
- Canva – Canva offers both free and subscription plans. Canva’s free plan has everything you need to get started designing social media graphics for every popular platform. The premium version gives you the ability to create a brand kit for consistent use of colors, fonts, logos, and other elements, as well as resize an existing design “on the fly” and repurpose it for various other social media platforms.
- Design Cuts – Create on-trend social media graphics using templates, brand kits, and scene creators sold at this marketplace.
- Bonus: Subscribe to Design Cuts and receive free graphics, fonts, layouts, and resources of all varieties every Friday.
- PicMonkey – This freemium photo editing app has more options than Canva if you need to retouch or edit a photograph. Downloading and saving images requires a subscription plan.
- Pablo By Buffer – A simple web app that allows you to quickly create social media graphics. It integrates with Buffer, one of my team’s favorite social media planning and publishing tools.
- Creative Market – Again, this is a great resource for professional fonts, templates, and other graphic elements for reasonable prices.
- Bonus: Subscribe to Creative Market and receive freebies every Monday.
Social Media Video and GIFs
Video engages people on all social media platforms. Here are a few tools if you want to create your own simple social media videos:
- Wave – This is similar to Canva for videos. In addition to the easy editing, design templates, and stock media integration, Wave offers a free idea calendar.
- Bonus: Integrate the idea calendar into your native calendar app and you always have ideas and content at your virtual fingertips.
- Adobe Spark – The free version has subtle branding, but Spark integrates many features.
- Bonus: Spark has a free app for mobile devices.
- Lumen5 – The free plan lets you create three videos per month from your blog posts or written content.
- Giphy – A popular GIF sharing network. You can publish GIFs others shared or upload and publish your own GIFs.
Social Media Planning and Publishing Tools
Finally, part of maintaining a professional social media presence is planning and publishing consistently. Free and low-cost social media scheduling and publishing apps allow you to brainstorm, strategize, plan, and execute your social media calendar content in advance, simplify your scheduling workflow, and ensure your content is published at optimum times.
Tip: Some social media platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, have built-in scheduling tools. Make copious use of these no-cost methods to plan and publish your content. With a scheduler, a small business owner or marketer can sit down and schedule a week’s worth of content. Pinterest and YouTube also have built-in scheduling options.
The most sophisticated tools offer scheduling, analytics, image creation, and even topic research tools on a subscription basis. Some offer trials of their pro plans as a teaser to give brands a chance to try the platform – which is a worthy exercise – while completely free plans tend to be limited to just a few profiles.
A few to try include:
- Buffer – An easy-to-use, comprehensive app that integrates with Feedly, a useful and handy add-on to supplement your native social media posts.
- Facebook’s Creator Studio
- CoSchedule – Very powerful with many features.
Experiment with free plans or generous free trials to see which one is right for you, your workflow, and your business goals.
Of course, the most challenging part of winning at social media is crafting your message. Once you know what to say, creating content is easier using the free and inexpensive tools highlighted in this article.
Small businesses benefit from hiring a marketing professional to help develop their social media strategy and content creation. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you save time and build your business through social media.