I get it. There are so many tools out there that allow you to turn your hand to a little graphic design that there’s almost too much choice. When we should be spending our time working on the content and the strategy, rather than wrestling with design software, it’s important you find one that you can use with ease and that doesn’t hurt your pocket. But you don’t need Photoshop or some other behemoth of a design platform to create your branded social media posts – there are plenty of apps or software available to you – perhaps even lurking on your computer already.
Canva vs. Canva Pro
Canva is the industry leading social media post design software. Their free version gives you an absolute wealth of designs, layouts, fonts, graphics and stock images to choose from and the interface is very intuitive. Arguably though, there’s so much you can do with stock fonts and images, but if your branding uses a particular typeface, using it in your branded social media posts will be the difference between it looking kinda right to spot on. This functionality of adding your own fonts – Canva calls this their Canva Pro package – will have you reaching for your wallet. While the prices aren’t bank-breaking (pay yearly and you can get Canva Pro for £99.99 / year for 1 user), you may be able to achieve the same thing for free…
Using Powerpoint or Keynote to design social posts
Most of us will have had to knock together a Powerpoint or Keynote throughout our careers, but did you know that they’re actually brilliant for designing social posts? With your brand fonts generally already loaded onto to your computer, you already have an easy way of adding them to your slide as adding a text box will allow to you browse through your system fonts. Think of each slide like a canvas, where you can change the background colour to your brand colours and add imagery like your logo or photos.
The key to using Keynote or Powerpoint for design is in selecting a different document size. So for Instagram posts, for example, you would change your document slide size to a square – I recommend 1080px x 1080px. Not sure how to change your document size on Keynote or Powerpoint? Don’t worry – I’ve taken the hard work out for you and created templates for
Social Media Post Sizes
- Instagram post: 1080px x 1080px minimum
- Instagram stories / reels: 1080px wide by 1920px high
- Facebook shared image: 1200px x 630px although square images (same as Instagram) work fine too
- Twitter post: 1200px wide x 675px high
- Linkedin shared image post: 1200px wide x 627px high
Free Keynote Templates for Social Media – including PPT versions
Adding free stock images and animation to your branded social media social posts
So what about free stock imagery to use in your designs? Well, my favourite free image resource is Unsplash.com – they have literally millions of copyright free images for you to use, which means you’re not going to get in trouble for including them in your designs. They’re also nice big files, which means they look great on all sizes of device too – you could use them as blog post images without them becoming pixelated on larger screens.
We’ve probably all experienced a Powerpoint presentation where the transitions and text animations detract from the content of the slide, but just a little gentle animation added to your slides here could look great. Maybe your final slide is just your logo with a little ‘Pop’ animation added, to catch the users’ eye. We can even import videos and gifs into Powerpoint and Keynote, and then slap our logo on top of it. This functionality is something that you’d have to be fairly experienced at in any video editing software, but is super simple in Keynote and Powerpoint. But how do you save a presentation file like that as something that would work on social?
Exporting Keynote and Powerpoint as Image or Video Files
Here’s where the second important step comes in – the saving. Both Powerpoint and Keynote have options to export your file as a video, a gif or a series of images (as well as their normal PDF and presentation format files). There are options to adjust the timing between each slide transition, meaning you can make the clips longer or shorter if needed. As the timing is even, rather than different per slide, a little tip here is to duplicate a slide a few times if you’d like it to last on screen longer than some of the other slides.
So there you have it – the secret to creating branded social media posts without signing up for any service or downloading any more apps. Create branded Reels content, add a logo sting to the end of your image posts, and keep your content on point on terms of branding. You. Are. Welcome.