Category Archives for Social Media Images

How to Take Small Business Images Using Your iPhone or Android Smartphone — Your Ultimate Guide

Where will you get all the images you need for Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, your LinkedIn headshot, YouTube thumbnails and your blog?

Just thinking about it can be overwhelming . . . 

. . . and do you really want to resort to bland stock images?

So what’s an entrepreneur to do?

The answer is in your back pocket.

Your smartphone can do it all — head shots, product images and background photos.

Take out your smartphone and give your brand a dynamic look all your own using this ultimate guide.

You’ll learn photographer "secrets," including how to use composition, lighting, contrast, and backgrounds to create outstanding images, all with the built-in camera app on your iPhone or Android.

Get out your smartphone and follow along . . . you can read the guide in full or jump directly to the section you want below:

How to Compose Your Photo

Composing your photo makes it more eye catching and gives it a more professional look. Use the four composition methods below to give your images an Instagram-worthy look:

Use the Rule of Thirds

Position your subject one third of the way into the photo. This makes the image more aesthetically pleasing and draws more focus to your subject. Your smartphone can help you do this: From your camera settings, turn on the grid in your camera, and center your subject around one of the lines. .

Here’s where to turn on your image grid on an iPhone:

iPhone Settings

Here is where to turn on your image grid on a Samsung:

Samsung Settings

The image grid divides your photo into thirds, making it simple to position your subject on a line or intersection.

In this example, the dog’s face is positioned near the bottom intersection of the grid, positioning it at an interesting point as well as giving you plenty of room for a title or quote to overlay on the image:

In the example below, the woman’s eyes are in the top third of the photo,  naturally drawing your attention to her face, and gives the image a balanced feel:

Use Good Lighting

Natural light is the best and easiest way to shoot with your smartphone: avoid using your flash or harsh indoor lighting.

Avoid taking a photo with the sun or other light source shining directly in someone's face or directly on your product. The lighting will be flat and harsh, which is unflattering

When photographing outside, shoot in the early morning or evening, when the light is soft. This provides a nice smooth light with flattering tones. If you do need to shoot when the sun is strong, try to shoot in the shade, or with the sun at an angle to your subject.

When photographing outside, the best times are in the early morning or evening, when the light is soft. This provides a nice smooth light with flattering tones.

If you do need to shoot when the sun is strong, try to shoot in the shade or with the sun at an angle to your subject.

When photographing inside, use the light from a window or directed artificial light (see the article linked in the Product section below).

Direct the Eye with Contrast

An image with the correct amount of contrast grabs your attention and makes your subject stand out. Low-contrast photos look flat and boring.

Take a photo with good contrast by:

  • Making the background a different color than your subject
  • Putting your subject in the light and the background in the shade, as in the photo below:

Choose Your Background

Be mindful of your background, as it flatters and draws more focus to your subject.

  • Make your background visually appealing. Avoid  bright colors, bright highlights, and too many details, all which distract from your subject
  • Make the background out of focus ( the iPhone’s new portrait mode does for you) really brings attention to your subject

In this photo from SMOC Member The Valley Hive, the image has a simple background. The wood compliments the jars of honey, without taking attention away from them:

How to Take a Head Shot

A professional head shot is one of the first photos you’ll need for branding yourself and your business. It also gives your audience a more personal connection to your business if you have images of yourself and your employees.

In the group selfie photo below, Dr. Dennis Fernandez of used his smartphone to capture his entire staff in an informal setting, helping to alleviate much of the anxiety that goes along with surgery. This photo will be his Facebook Timeline cover:

small business images huntsville surgery clinic

Dr. Fernandez and the staff of; photo taken with his smartphone.

Pose Your Subject

Place your subject at an angle to the camera. Straight-on photos can be unflattering, so use angles to your advantage.

Arrange your subject so they're standing or sitting at an angle, then have them turn their head back toward the camera, as shown in the business portrait below:

Shoulders angled and head straight on is a great professional pose

Make a Statement with Angles

Consider what angle you want shoot from:

  • Taking a photo from above makes the subject appear approachable and slightly vulnerable. It is traditionally considered a feminine angle.
  • Taking a photo from above makes the subject seem strong and powerful, and is traditionally thought of as a masculine angle.

Notice the difference in model's appearance in the photos below? She looks powerful in the photo on the left, as the photographer was below her. In the photo at right, she looks more vulnerable as the photographer is above:

Choose Your Background Setting

Make sure your image has a pleasing background:

  • Avoid an unappealing background, as it detracts from the image quality, no matter how great your subject
  • Frame your subject with the background using a simple, pleasant surrounding
  • If you’re outside, foliage or a even a wall can be a great backdrop to your image

In the images below, a trail provides a pleasing, soft background while a skyscraper gives the image a strong, professional feel:

How to Take Professional  Product Photos

When shooting product photography, make it perfectly clear what the subject of the photo is. Product photos be simple and clean; avoid unnecessary details that distract from your product.

Keep it Simple

You want all the focus to be on your product. Don’t clutter up the photo with unnecessary props or background items.

Notice in the image below it's white everywhere but the subject, making it obvious what you're showcasing:

Light It

Ensure you have your product adequately lit. Use window light, natural light, or artificial light. To learn how to make an inexpensive light box for product photos refer to How to Create Your Own Product Photography Studio for Less Than 100 Dollars.

Try Different Angles

Shooting from different angles changes the entire look & feel of your product shots. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find what works for you. Notice the photo below used the following principles:

  • Rule of Thirds (product is in the bottom-left of the image)
  • Great lighting
  • Clean, contrasting background
  • Angled from the top looking directly at the product

Use a Colorful Paper Background

Set your product on a piece of colorful poster board, or set your product on a white or black paper and set up a colorful piece behind it, and shown below. The blue background provides a nice complement to the red cereal box:

Use a Tripod

You can get a smartphone tripod inexpensively, and it’s a great investment. It allows you to frame your image, then adjust your product and background without worrying about reframing everything.

It also keeps the smartphone camera steady. Here is a tripod on Amazon.

How to Take Background Images

Background photos are the multi-tools of marketing: use them for ads, quotes, blog post headers and Timeline covers. You can repurpose them endlessly, enabling you to have a photo available for every post, even if it isn’t directly related to what you’re posting.

Background Images from a Summer Intern: a Case Study

Our summer intern, Amanda Jensen, was a photographer (and now works in public relations for Honeywell); Maria Peagler, founder of, asked her to create a stock photo library for our brand. It allowed her to use her talents for a project she enjoyed, while we got great stock images.

Notice the images Amanda took below were of everyday scenes: a book, a beach, her daily run, a plant, a map and a keyboard.

They all use the rule of thirds, good lighting, and are simple. The map is the busiest image; notice how Amanda didn't include the entire U.S. and all the magnets in it. Instead, she moved the smartphone camera to the right giving the image some breathing room:

We got even more use from these stock images by repurposing them. The three images below start with the original black & white photo of a book's pages formed into a heart:

Maria added a title on a circular background in and used it for a blog post cover here:

my favorite business books

Here's the same image with a sepia filter on it, which we can use for an entirely different purpose:

Top 10 Articles from 2014

Want to create a stock photo library with your smartphone images?Watch this brief excerpt of the 30 Days of Social Media from a Single Image webinar: Maria repurposed an SMOC member's cell phone image into 30 days of unique social media images:

Find Background Images in Your Everyday Routine

Background images don’t need to be stand-out photos or pre-planned images. They can be images of everyday items, your surroundings, or just something that catches your eye.

 Your choice of what you like in background images gives your brand a distinct voice:

Keep it Simple

Complex or busy photos with high amounts of detail distract from your message. Your image is meant to complement your subject, not compete with it. All of the images you've seen in this post are uncluttered or composed to be less so.

Always Look for Potential Images

Potential background images are all around you:

  • Foliage on a trail
  • Local architecture
  • An interesting color on a wall
  • Your products

Finding background images is as simple as just paying attention to your surroundings, such as this image of someone using their computer's mouse:

Great background images can come from the most common of situations


The camera on your smartphone has everything you need to take outstanding images for your small business marketing. Combine that with this ultimate guide on smartphone photography, and you've got a powerful toolkit for your own photo library.

Go out and use your new skills to give your brand a great visual presence: always be on the lookout for potential photos and don't be afraid to be creative!

Recommended Resources

Check out your Social Media Image Resource Center to learn how to use, create, and repurpose images and graphics for your business, all located in one place:

Ultimate Guide to Using Canva to Make Social Media Graphics is the most popular online graphic design tool — with good reason: it's free, and incredibly simple to make great designs without being a photographer or graphic designer.

It does have a learning curve however: it's user interface is unlike anything else you've likely ever used before.

So in this ultimate guide, I'll show you how to use Canva to do the basics like choose a template and add an image & text to it, and then we'll move on to specific designs like a Facebook Timeline Cover, collages, YouTube thumbnails & more.

Bookmark or pin this post: it's a long one, and you'll want to return to it when you're ready to make your next marketing graphics.

Let's get started: use this Table of Contents to jump to the section of this guide you're interested in:

Learn Canva Basics

Choose a Template or Custom Dimension

One of the best features of Canva is the fact that you never need to remember what size image dimensions you need for a particular social network.

What size is your Facebook Timeline cover?

Forget about it.

What size is your LinkedIn post?

You don't need to know. 

Canva takes care of it for you (so you can toss all those infographics telling you what size images you need for every social network).

In Canva, everything starts with a template. That's one its unique features that makes it easy. Templates allow you to have a pre-made design space, already correctly sized for social media posts, Facebook Ads, Youtube Thumbnails, Facebook Covers, and more.

Or if you want to have more freedom, you can just use your own custom dimensions.

Here is how to choose your template:

  • From the Canva Home Page, you'll see a few pre-made options at the top, and any designs you've already created below them. Choose the More option on the right side to view all of the templates Canva has to offer:
  • Once you choose More, you'll be able to see all of Canva's available templates. From here, just choose which one best fits your needs.

Don't see a template you like? From the Home Page you can choose Custom Dimensions and create the exact size that you need.

Choose an Image or Upload Your Own

Canva provides a huge library of free and paid stock images to use in your graphics.

To view these images, do this:

  1. On the main edit page, select Elements on the left sidebar.
  2. Select Free Photos. You'll be able to see and search all of Canva's free stock images.
  3. Once you find an image you want to use, either click on it to place it  in your template, or click and drag it to place it in a precise location.

Don't see what you're looking for? Search for it. Canva allows you to search through it's vast collection with ease:

While Canva has a plethora of readily-available stock images and templates, you may want to use your own: say an image of a new product or a photo from an event.

Here's how to upload your own images into Canva:

  1. On the main edit page, select the Upload Panel on the left side.
  2. Select Upload Image, and choose which image you want to bring into Canva.
  3. Once you have your image that you want to use, you can either click on it to make it appear in your template, or click and drag it to place it precisely where you want it:

Resize and Crop in Canva

Once you have you template and your chosen image, it's time to make your graphic. If you need to change the size of your image in relation to the template, here is how:

  1. In the corners of your image, you'll see dots. Simply select one of these dots and click and drag to resize the image.
  2. To move the image, click in the center and drag it to where you want it to be.

Sometimes you will want to crop your image to better fit your needs. Here is how:

          1. Select your image, then click Crop in the top Toolbar:

          ​​​​2. Click and drag the corners to adjust the cropping.

          3. Click the Checkmark to save your work:

Add Text to Your Images

Adding text overlays to images can be a great way to communicate with your clients.

Here's how to add text to your images:

  1. Choose the Text Panel on the left side.
  2. Select a text size option from the panel, like heading or subheading, then simply drag it over to your image.
  3. To change the text options, use the toolbar at the top to adjust font, color, and size:

Add a Watermark to Your Image

Adding a watermark to your image can be essential for a small business: it promotes your brand, while also protecting your images from being stolen. Using Canva, you can easily add a watermark to give your images their own branding.

In order to add a watermark to your image, you can either use a simple text box in Canva, or use a water mark you have already created., I show you how to create a standalone watermark in PicMonkey here.

Let's get started:

To create a simple watermark in Canva:

  1. Select the text size and font that you want to use for your watermark. 
  2. Position the text box where you want it to sit on your graphic. 
  3. Type your text! It can be your name, your business name, or anything else that you want to use as a watermark. 
  4. Use the Transparency Slider to adjust the opacity of your new watermark:

If you want to use a watermark you have already created in another program, here's how:

  1. Upload your watermark image to Canva.
  2. Click and drag your watermark onto the image.
  3. Resize and place your watermark where you think it looks best on your image.
  4. Use the Transparency Slider to adjust the opacity of your watermark:

Downloading Your Image

When you have finished making your image, you'll want to save it to your computer. That way you have immediate access to it and can upload it to your social media sites.

Here's how to download your final product:

  1. Select Download in the top right corner.
  2. Select your file type. I suggest using either PNG or JPG, as they are best suited for general use.
  3. Canva will save the image to your Downloads folder on your computer:

Create a Facebook Cover Image

Whether it's for your business page, or simply for your personal profile, every Facebook page needs a cover photo.

Here's how to create your cover:

  1. From the Canva Home Page, choose the Facebook Cover Template.
  2. If you just want a text based cover, choose a template option from the Layout Panel:

3. Change the elements of the template to something that works for you! Switch the colors, and alter the text to make your perfect cover photo:

Want to add an image to your cover? Its easy! Just upload the image you want to Canva, then drag and drop it to where you want it on your cover:

Create a YouTube Video Thumbnail

A YouTube thumbnail is the still image appearing as the cover of your video. It can be a still frame from the video itself, or one you've created outside of the video.

In this example, I'll show you how to use a template to create a thumbnail using one of your photos.

1. From the Home page, select More>>YouTube Thumbnail:

2. Choose a template from the left-hand side. Pick one that uses an image so you can easily insert yours:

3. Upload the image you want to use, and drag and drop it into the image. You can move elements of the template around to better fit your image. You can move text, change colors, and add and remove elements to personalize your graphic. Here, I changed the text, moved the text boxes, added my own image, and changed the color of the background box behind the small text:

Create a Collage for Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest

1. Choose the Find Templates panel and search for "Collage."

2. Select the Template that best fits your needs. 

3. Upload your images, and drag and drop them into the collage. Change the text to fit your needs, and you'll have a great looking photo collage:

You can also search for specifically-sized collages, for things like Facebook Covers and Instagram posts.

Want something without pre-made text boxes? With the Grid feature, you have dozens of collage templates to choose from, and you can add your own text later to get your collage exactly how you want it.

To use the Grid feature:

  1. Choose what template size you want.
  2. Click the Elements Panel and choose Grids.
  3. Choose what grid works best for you.
  4. Go to the Uploads Panel, then simply drag and drop your images to the boxes:


Canva is a great social media tool that doesn't require any experience or large amounts of your time. It can help you create great looking graphics for your business, and put you a step ahead of the competition. I also recommend reading my PicMonkey article to learn how to edit photographs. These two articles used together can help make you a social media rockstar.

Ultimate Guide to Using PicMonkey to Create Social Media Images

Editor's note: Sam Peagler is our new Content Developer at He's a student at Austin Community College studying Photography and Technical Communication.

How often do you need images for your small business marketing?

Daily for social media?

Weekly for your email newsletter?

Monthly for events?

The good news is you don't have to use an overly-complex tool like Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator. Instead, you can use a simple online image-editing tool called PicMonkey (7-day free trial here). 

In this article, you'll learn how to do the six most-common image edits you'll need for your small business, from basic cropping & lighting changes to changing out backgrounds and collages.

Let's get started . . . 

Make Basic Image Edits

Resizing Your Image

Does it seem like every social network needs a different-sized image? No worries - with PicMonkey, it's easy to resize your image to exactly what you need. 

Here's how to resize your image to a specific size:

picmonkey resize image tutorial
  1. From the PicMonkey Home page, select Edit>Computer, and choose the image you want to resize. Select Open.
  2. Select Crop from the left sidebar and enter the width and height you need. Check the Scale Photo box, and then drag the image handles to include the image area you you want.  You can then position the cropping boundary up or down to refine what's included in the cropped section.
  3. Select Apply. PicMonkey crops your photo the perfect size.
  4. Select Export and name your photo.

You can also resize your image using a predefined template. Watch the video below to follow along as I resize using a template (the text version follows the video):

  1. From the PicMonkey Home page, select Edit>Design>Templates, and choose the image you want to resize. Select Open.
  2. Select Crop from the left sidebar and enter the width and height you need. Check the Scale Photo box, and then drag the image handles to include the image area you you want.  You can then position the cropping boundary up or down to refine what's included in the cropped section.
  3. Select Apply. PicMonkey crops your photo the perfect size.
  4. Select Export and name your photo.

Give Your Image a Makeover Using Lighting & Contrast

If you'd like to enhance your image, you can use PicMonkey's Exposure settings to improve it.  This photo was dark before; after tweaking the Exposure settings, the image is brighter and you can see the subject more clearly:

Here's how to using PicMonkey's Exposure settings:

Step 1Open Your Image

Open the image you want to edit and select the Basic Edits Panel (the Sliders icon in the left sidebar). Then, select Exposure:

Step 2. Use the Sliders to Adjust Your Photo

  • Brightness changes the overall exposure of the image
  • Highlights and Shadows adjust only the light or dark areas of your image
  •  Contrast changes the intensity of the colors and tones

Step 3: Remember to select Export to save your enhanced image to your computer.

Congratulations! You just gave your image a makeover and made your brand look awesome.

Removing an Image Background

Removing a background has long been a major hassle. Now you can use PicMonkey to remove the background from any image easily (without straining your eyes or pulling out your hair).

  • exclamation
    To remove an image background, you need to turn your image into an Overlay (PicMonkey's term for clip art). We'll show you how below:

Step 1: Open a Blank Canvas and Add Your Image

  • From the PicMonkey Home page, hover over Design and select Custom Design. Specify the size you need and select Make It!
  • Select the Overlay Tool (Butterfly icon), and Add Your Own. Select the image you want to use, and select Open.

PicMonkey displays your image along with the Overlay settings, shown below:

Step 2: Remove the Background

Now that you've opened your image as an Overlay, you're ready to start removing the background. Here's how:

picmonkey zoom in while removing background
  • Select the Eraser Tool from the Overlay tool box to remove the background. Your cursor turns into an eraser you can drag over the image to remove the background.
picmonkey remove image background
  • You can adjust the size of your eraser by dragging the Eraser slider in the Overlay settings toolbox.
  • Too zoom in on your image while you're erasing (and reduce eye strain), use the Zoom Tool slider at the bottom of your screen.   You can also move the image around using the Image Box in the lower right corner:

Step 3: Save your image by selecting Export.

Bravo — you successfully removed an background from your image.


Add a Watermark to Your Image

picmonkey final watermarked image

Adding a watermark to your image can be essential for a small business: it promotes your brand, while also protecting your images from being stolen. Using PicMonkey, you can create a great-looking, reusable watermark to give your images their own branding.

Creating a watermarked image is a two-step process: first, you'll create the transparent watermark; second, you'll add it to your image.

Let's get started:

Step 1: Open a Blank Canvas

  • From the PicMonkey Home page, hover over Design and select Custom Size. Select a size that's around 1000x1000 pixels (that's big enough to create an easily readable watermark). 

Step 2: Make the Canvas Transparent

  • You want your canvas to be transparent, so your watermark won't have a background. Select Transparent Canvas (checkbox in canvas color), and select Apply:
picmonkey transparent canvas

Step 3Add Your Watermark Text

  • Select the Text Tool (Tt) then Add Text . Choose your font, and type away:
add watermark text picmonkey

Step 4: Customize Your Text

  • You can adjust your watermark's size, alignment, and color using the Text Adjustment Box (left side box):
add watermark text picmonkey

Step 5Add Overlays 

  • Apply any overlays you'd like to add to your watermark. Overlays can add flair to your watermark, and give it some character. Choose the Overlay Tool (Butterfly), and select on the overlay you want to use:
picmonkey watermark text adjustment

Step 6: Save Your Image

  • Click Export (top left) and save it as a .png:
picmonkey watermark text

You now have a complete watermark to use on any of your branding!

Step 7: Add Your Watermark to Your Image

Now you're ready to add your new watermark to one of your images. Here's how:

  • Open up the image you want to watermark (Open New from the main menu).
  • Select the Overlay Tool then Add Your Own.
  • Choose the watermark you just saved, and add it to your photo!
  • You can resize it and change the transparency using the Adjustment Box as shown below: 
picmonkey watermarked image

Step 8: Save Your Watermarked Image

  • Select Export and give your new image a name.

You can use your watermark on any of your images to give them a branded look.

Create a Facebook Cover Image

One of the most common images you'll need for any social media marketing is your Facebook Business page cover. 

Here's how to create your cover from your favorite image:

Step 1: Choose Your Image

  • From the PicMonkey main screen, select Open New from the main menu and choose your image from your computer:  
picmonkey open new tutorial Socialmediaonlineclasses
  • Select the Crop Tool (located on the left sidebar) to resize your image to 851 x 325, as that is what loads the fastest and looks the best:
picmonkey facebook cover image

Step 2: Adding Text and Overlays

Here is where you transform your plain image into a working Facebook business cover with your brand name, hours, location & other relevant information:

  • Choose the Text Tool (Tt) (located on the left sidebar), then Add Text and type away!
  • You can modify your text's appearance by doing the following:
  • check
    resize the text box by dragging its sides
  • check
    resize the text by dragging the text box corners or the Size slider
  • check
    select a different font by choosing one from the left sidebar
  • check
    change the text color by selecting a color from the Text settings box

Want to make your text stand out even more? Easy! You can add colorful shapes and backgrounds:

  • Select the Overlay Tool (butterfly icon). PicMonkey displays a list of overlay types in the left sidebar.
  • Select the type of overlay you want and PicMonkey adds it to your image. I'm adding a red rectangle behind my brand's name and I can move and resize the overlay, as well as change its color.
  • To move your overlay behind your text, select the Layers icon in the bottom toolbar. PicMonkey displays each element of your cover image in the Layers box, and you can drag your overlay below the text:
picmonkey facebook business cover tutorial

Brand Your Content Using Consistent Colors & Fonts

Want your audience to recognize your images instantly? Use the same color scheme and fonts to give your content a branded design.

Watch this brief video tutorial to learn how to change your colors & fonts easily in PicMonkey:

Create a YouTube Video Thumbnail

A YouTube thumbnail is the still image appearing as the cover of your video. It can be a still frame from the video itself, or one you've created outside of the video.

In this example, let's start using a plain image to use as our thumbnail:

Step 1: Choose the YouTube Template

  • Hover over Design, then select Templates. Select the template for a YouTube Thumbnail (scroll down the bottom to find it):
picmonkey youtube template

Step 2: Choose Your Image

  • From the PicMonkey main menu, select Open New and choose your image. Resize & reposition the image to your liking. 

Step 3: Add Your Title to the Thumbnail

  • Using the Text Tool (Tt), you can write your full title, or just a keyword or two to grab attention. Again, you can customize your text's appearance so it stands out against your image:

Step 4: Apply Overlays

You can use overlays to make your text stand out, frame your text or images, and add a little bit of flair. In this example, I'll add a frame around the text and erase a portion of it to make the model pop out in front of it:

  • Use the Overlay Tool (Butterfly) to select the frame or other object you want. I selected a rectangle from the Geometric overlays, made the center transparent by changing Color 2, and the border white by changing Color 1.
  • To position an overlay behind your text, Fade it using the Adjustment Box (right-side box). Move it behind the text by using the Layers toolbox from the bottom toolbar.
  • Select Erase (right-side box) to remove parts of the overlay.

These effects can help parts of your image pop out, and give it dimension:

picmonkey youtube thumbnail overlay

Step 5: Save Your Image

  • Click Export (top left) and save it to your computer. You're now ready to upload your image to YouTube as a video thumbnail.

Create a Collage for Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest

Step 1. Choose Your Images

  • From the PicMonkey's Home page, over over Collage, and select Computer. Choose your images, and open them in PicMonkey:
picmonkey collage images

Step 2. Choose a Layout

  • Select the Layout Panel (Three Tiles) and PicMonkey displays the collage layouts you can choose from. Review the ones you're interested, and click on the one you want.
  • check
    for a collage to use on Facebook, select the FB Cover layout
  • check
    for a Pinterest collage, select the Pinter-etsy layout (you need a premium account for this)
  • check
    for an Instagram collage, select the Square Deal layout
picmonkey collage layout

Step 3: Add Your Images to the Collage Layout

  • In the Images Panel, you can either click and drag your images to the collage panel you want, or simply click autofill and let PicMonkey do the work for you:

Step 4: Edit the Background

  • You can edit the shape of your cells and the background color using the Background Panel (Paintbrush). Here, you can change your cell spacing, round the corners, and change the background color:
picmonkey collage background

Step 5: Save Your Collage

  • Click Export (top left) and save it to your computer. You're collage is complete and ready to use on on your favorite social network.


I recommend you bookmark this post and return to it when you've got an image you need to edit for your brand. It walks you through a simple workflow editing the image itself, as well as transforming it into multiple social media images.

Create an Infographic Using Nothing but Google Slides

Ever wanted to create an infographic, but you're not a graphic designer?

Don't have mad Photoshop skills?

Don't let that stop you.

In this epic blog post, you'll learn how to create a hyperlinked infographic with nothing but lowly Google Slides (a free presentation tool similar to PowerPoint).

The background? I wanted to create an infographic about growing your business in 30 days using social media marketing, with each week's tasks hyperlinked to the blog post explaining them. However, adding that to any infographic, no matter what tool you used to create it, requires coding. 

But not using Google Slides. You can add hyperlinks to any text or graphic element on a slide. While it's not designed to be an infographic tool, why not? It's a smart hack.


Here's what the final infographic looks like. I'm showing the .jpg version; if you would like to get the full PDF with hyperlinked buttons, click on the infographic to get it.

Grow Biz in 30 Days with Social Media


1. Open Google Slides and Size the Slide Deck

    Open a new slide deck in Google Slides and size the deck to 700 x 1800 pixels.  You can see in the image below, the slide deck has only ONE slide.  That's your infographic.

google infographic slide page size

2. Choose the Background Color of Your Infographic

    Select the background color for the slide (I chose blue), and remove the text elements on it. You'll be adding your own.

  • Tip: Steps #1 & #2 are the foundation for creating ANY infographic, on ANY platform. Create the section, change the color, then you'll be adding elements to it. Lather, Rinse, Repeat.  That's the same process you'll use whether in Google Slides, Pixelmator, Canva, or Photoshop.

3. Add the Infographic Title

The infographic title is made up of several different elements:  

google slide infographic titles
  • a black rectangle (the title background)
  • GROW YOUR BUSINESS is two different text boxes, so I could change the font sizes of each line so they are the same width (a kerning hack).
  • 30 DAYS uses the same process as GROW YOUR BUSINESS, with a different font.
  • a thinner light blue rectangle for the subtitle

4. Add a Tutorial Section with a Hyperlinked Button

The individual sections that offer a week-by-week breakdown of your social media strategy are what I call the "tutorial sections."  They're made up of the following elements:

google slides infographic section
  • a black rectangle for the section title ((notice this color matches the infographic title background. That's color harmony: a simple way to unify all the different elements of your infographic).
  • a light blue rectangle (also harmonizing with the infographic title) 
  • text elements for the title (WEEK 1) and the tutorial text
  • a social media strategy chart image I had previously created using Pixelmator. You could do the same using Canva.
  • an orange hyperlinked button that takes people to a free class where they can develop their own social media strategy.  The button is a rounded rectangle, with a hyperlink added to it.
  • the text for the hyperlinked button, simply added on top

5. Repeat Step 4 for Each Section of the Infographic

The remaining weekly sections, and the branding sections at the top and bottom, are all developed using that same process.  Add the rectangles, add the text, hyperlink the text, and add images if needed.

Want to watch the exact process I used? Here's the full video, followed by the transcript, below:



Maria Peagler: Hi, everyone. It's Maria Peagler with ''. This is my very first scope, so be kind. I would appreciate that. I wanted to enable the Twitter feed on this, but I don't think I was able to.

What I'm going to do ... double tap this and turn around. Welcome, everyone who's joining us. I am doing our very first '' live broadcast here on Periscope, and I'm going to show you how to create an infographic using nothing but Google Slides. I will tell you a little bit about me, a little bit about why I chose this for our first scope, and then we're going to get right into it. Welcome, everyone who's joining us.

Again, my name is Maria Peagler. I am founder of ''. I've been doing tech training for about 25 years. Recently, I went to a conference in Austin, Texas with nothing but my Chromebook, which if you're not familiar with a Chromebook, it's basically a cloud-computing laptop. You can't use any type of desktop applications.

I was really fascinated by how much I was able to do with it. I wrote a blog post called 'How to Run Your Business on a Chromebook for Less Than $300'. One of the things that's really hard to do on a Chromebook is to create graphics and infographics, but I was able to not only create an infographic, but make it clickable and add hyperlinks to it using nothing but Google Slides, and so I'm going to show you how to do that. First of all, what I want to do is show you this infographic up close and personal. This is it.

Now, if you are familiar [00:02:00] with Social Media Online Classes, you'll know that we use infographics a lot. As a matter of fact, this is if you go to Google and search ' infographics', these are the type of infographics that I’m known for. They're very simple, they're simple to create, and they're simple to consume. In about five seconds, you know what these are about and you've gotten what you needed out of them. I usually create these in a Mac application called 'Pixelmator', which is easier than Photoshop, but it's not available for the Chrome.

I'm needed to create an infographic while I was at this conference, and I did it using nothing but Google Slides. This is the infographic. It's '13 Ways to Monetize Facebook'. It goes through and has a different tactic from one to 13. It has my branding at the bottom. It also has my branding at the top with my URL. The really cool thing about this infographic, and this isn't easy to do in any program, but doing it in Google Slides is easy.

What it is is I added hyperlinks to it. For example, number one on how to monetize Facebook is get a custom Facebook page name. I explained a little bit about what it is, but then, if you click on it, it takes you directly to the lesson in '' on how to do this. That's what I loved about this. Again, here's another infographic. Here's a video on how you would do this.

There's a lot of information here in this infographic, but my favorite thing about it was I was able to do it in Google Slides, and I made it hyperlinked. I didn't have to do any code or anything. [00:04:00] I'm not a graphic designer. I'm not a coder, but I was still able to do this. I wish I knew about that sooner. I feel the same way. I feel your pain.

I'm going to do a brief demonstration. I'm not going to create a really complex infographic, but I'm going to show you how to do this in Google Slides. If you're not familiar with Google Slides, what you do is you need to have a Google account, and if you have a Gmail account, you would have that and you go to ''. It's from here that you can access all of Google Drive's applications which are Google Docs, Google Sheets. There are photos, application which is now Google Photos, but what I used was Google Slides.

It used to be called 'Google Presentations'. You're going to come over here to this big, red button. Thank you. Great information. I'm glad you're enjoying this. This is my first scope, so please feel free to offer suggestions.

I am using Catch to do a replay of this, so hopefully that's going to work for us. I'm clicking on 'New'. In here, I can choose what I want to do, but I'm going to pick Google Slides. Now, you could probably also do this at Google Docs, but I do a lot of slideshow presentations for our webinars, and I was frankly just more familiar with doing that. When you first start, Google Slides is going to give you a blank slide here.

The really cool thing about this is you're just going to use one page. You're going to have one slide. You're going to change the dimensions to be whatever it is that you want for your infographic, and then you're going to add your text and graphic elements to it. [00:06:00] I think what the infographic that I did before, I made it ... Let's see. We're going to go to 'File', and then 'Page Setup'.

I think I made it custom to be ... Here, it's doing inches. I want to do this in pixels. I think I did it to be 700 by 2,000 which is a long ... It's the standard dimension for a long infographic.

Here, you can see this baby is pretty long. Then, what I'm going to do is create a background color. Right now, it's white, and you could keep it white. I'm going to do a blue color, and so I clicked there and I didn't tell you what I was doing. I'm going up here to the menu, and I'm clicking on 'Background', and I'm going to go to 'Color', and I'm going to choose a color.

I don't really like a lot of the ones that they have. Let's see. That one. I like that color. Let's see what color that is. Let's see.

If I drag that over, will I do it? No. Of course not. I'm going to do a custom color here. You can do that by going to 'Background', and then 'Color', and go to 'Custom'.

I just want this to be a little bit lighter, so let's see. We're going to make it a little bit lighter. That's a little too purple there. There. That's fine. That's fine for what we're doing right now.

Okay. Now, I've got a background color. If you look at this other infographic that I did, it is divided up into ... Let's see. I'm going to make this a little bit smaller so you can see the whole thing. It's divided in half lengthwise, and then into one, two, three, four, five, six, seven different rows, [00:08:00] and then, there's a little bit of space at the top and bottom for branding, so I would say probably eight different rows.

One of the first things that you want to do when you create even a simple infographic is give yourself a framework for where everything is going to go. What I want to do is the way that I do this ... Again, I'm not a graphic designer. I'm not using Photoshop here, so I'm probably doing a lot of things that wouldn't make sense to a graphic designer, but that's okay. This is kind of quick and dirty infographic.

What I'm going to do here is I took off the SlideDeck text. What I'm going to do is add a shape. I'm simply going to add a rectangle right here, and I'm going to add it. I'm simply doing this to create placeholders. That looks pretty good to me.

What I want to do here is to create four different rows, and then a fifth one for my title and a sixth one for my branding. I need six. What I'm going to do is to create an infographic called 'Grow Your Business With Social Media in 30 Days', and I want to give people something to do one week at a time. Week one, they'll be doing something. Week two, they'll be doing something, and I need four weeks, plus a title, and then my branding.

I've got this here. What I'm going to do is go, and I'm going to duplicate it. Usually, that is depending on what computer you're on, and it's control D or option D. Yes. Duplicate is command D. I'm on a Mac, so I'm just going to duplicate this and make sure that I've got enough space to have [00:10:00] five rows.

Let's say one, two, three, four, five. Here, six. This is not necessarily the coloring that I'm going to use, but it just lets me know that yes, I will have enough space. Okay. That looks good. I'm happy with that.

Okay. One of the first things that I'm going to do is to create my title. I like to have my other infographic up so I can see what I did on that one. What I'm going to do is make this smaller here so that I can see it over here. I don't like having these themes up, so I'm going to close that, and I'm going to ...

Okay. I just want to be able to see this so I can refer to it. I'm going to move this over a little bit so that I can see both of these at the same time. Okay. Here, I didn't have the title all the way over, but I have a pretty big title on this one, so I think I might need to do that. First thing is I'm going to change the color. I'm going to make it black.

Let's see. Is the wine color? I think I want black. There, I'll have a nice, black title background. As you can see, I have that here. What I'm going to do is add some text here, and I'm going to say “Grow Your Business”.

This is must be really, really small because I can't see it at all. Let's see. I want to change the size. Here we go. Fourteen. This needs to be big like yes, 72 or something like that. That's a little too big. [00:12:00]

You can see here, you just go through and create each of your elements that you're going to have on here. I want this to be white, and I spelled grow wrong, so I need to fix that. Let's see. Textbox? I want this to be ...

Here we go. Text color. I want it to be white. I like having all 'Grow Your Business' all caps for my titles. I can't remember if I used Oswald, and those are not.

I like using Oswald because it's the font that is on my website. Yes, 'Grow Your Business'. I'm going to show you all a little trick to this. If you want to have ... Notice right here I have ‘Monetize Facebook’, and they're both the same width. You can do that in a shortcut way.

You don't have kerning available which is if you want to spread things out. You can do that in a lot of graphic editing tools, but you can't really do that in Google Slides. It's just not sophisticated enough, but you can do a work around. What I did here was just command D to duplicate that, and I'm going to delete the text in there. I'm going to put business in there, and I'm going to make this bigger.

Right now, it's 48. I'm going to make it 54. See? It's getting really close to be the same size, so let's say 56. Maybe 58.

Okay. There we go. Now, I have titles that look very similar in their [00:14:00] width. Let's see. 'Grow Your Business'.

Let's see. Okay. I've got 'Grow Your Business', and I want to zoom in. I'm going to go to 'View', and I want to see this a hundred percent. Okay. here we go. That's so much better, isn't it?

Okay. Here, you can change your text. You can do a lot of stuff there. I want to say 'Grow Your Business With Social in 30 Days', and I'm going to do a different font for each one. Let's see. 'Grow Your Business'.

I'm going to do a ... Let's see. I'm going to do some more text, rotate it here. Let's see. I'm going to type 'With Social'.

Yes, and again, it's black which you can't really see that, can you? I'm going to change it to be white here in text color. Again, it's ... Let's see. I don't want this to be Oswald. I want it to be something that is completely different from Oswald.

Let's see. Maybe ... Yes, Architect's Daughter. That's a cool looking font. Again, I want this to be big. Maybe 48.

That's real big. Then, I'm going to rotate it. Let's see here. If I want to rotate this, I think you use this little thing here. Yes. There we go.

'With Social'. Okay. 'Grow Your Business With Social'. I probably need to put social media. 'With Social Media'. I want this ‘With’ to be significantly smaller though.

Okay. There we go. Okay. That looks good. I'm going to move that up, 'With Social [00:16:00] Media'. Okay.

At the bottom, I'm going to say 'In 30 Days', so I'm going to add another rectangle there, down here, and I'm going to make that a different color. Let's see. One of the things that I do when I do my infographics is I use a lot of color harmony to make them work together. I actually wrote a book on color, but it's not for graphic design. It's for quilters, because I am a quilter in my leisure time.

One of the easiest ways to harmonize your colors is to use colors that are in the same family. I can use another blue color, but just use maybe either lighter or darker. I'm going to go up here to this color. Now see, I could do the opposite of ... Blue is orange on the color wheel, and that would make this stand out in high contrast, but it makes it look a little Halloweenish. That's not what I'm looking for.

I am going to do this ... There we go. In a lighter value, and I'm going to do the same thing with the background. I think I need to make this a little bit bigger. Oops. Not that big.

Okay. Let's see. 'Grow Your Business With Social'. Okay. Goodness. That moved away over.

Let's see. No. That's rotating it. I'm using my cursor keys here. All right.

I'm just going to go ahead and put the text on it. I'll worry about that later. I want to say 'In 30 Days' here, so I'm going to say 'In 30 Days'. [00:18:00] Again, this is going to need to be in ... I like Oswald down here, so I'm going to pick Oswald for my font.

Yes. That's just going to be way, way too big there. Let's see. I may not use Oswald. I want ... See, Architect's Daughter is ...

I need a wide font. Something very wide, but that looks like a ransom note with all those different fonts. I think I'm going to stick with Architect's Daughter, but I'm going to make it a little bit smaller, and yes. You can see, there's a lot of ... The first time you do one of these infographics, there's a lot of decisions to make, but the cool thing is once you have one of these, you can use it as a template for the future infographics you want to do, like an easier way for me to do this would have been to copy this one and use it from that, but that's not really going to help you guys because I'm showing you how to do this from scratch in Google Slides.

It looks like something in here didn't get changed, so I'm going to change all of it to Architect's Daughter. I guess I did. I'm going to change the color of the font to be a blue color, something like 'In 30 Days'. Yes. I like that.

Okay. 'Grow Your Business With Social Media in 30 Days'. Okay. Here's what we're going to do. I'm going to give people something to do in each week of the 30 days.

What I'm going to do is something very similar to this. I'm going to use ... [00:20:00] Basically, these are two rectangles, so I can go ahead and start with this rectangle right here. I am going to make it a different color. I will probably make it the same color that I have this rectangle right here.

Again, I want to use a color harmony, so I'm going to do that. I'm going to use that for both the fill color and the stroke. Welcome, everyone. Thank you. Thank you. I appreciate that heart.

Then, what I'm going to do is to put a title bar at the top. Again, I'm going to do that in a contrasting background and add some text to it. You can see here there's a pattern. You'll notice what I'm doing when I'm creating this is I am creating divisions in this infographic here like right here, right here, right here, and right here with shapes. Then, I'm changing the color in the text.

You're going to see me doing that over and over again. Once I get this done, I will use it and just copy it and duplicate it to create the remaining sections on the infographic. Here, I'm going to again make this black, and I want to have it for both the square in the background. I'm going to type my title in here. This is going to say ... Let's see. ‘Days One Through Seven’.

Again, this is in black so you can't see it. I'm going to change this to be Oswald. The font is going to be a little bit bigger. Yes. I like that.

Okay. ‘Days One Through Seven’. It's still black so I need to change it under 'More'. I'm going to go here to the font color, and I'm going to make it white. I want this very, very high contrast. [00:22:00]

I'm going to say 'One through Sven: Develop Your Social Media Strategy'. Okay. That's going to be a little too big, so I'm going to make instead of 24, 22. There we go. Boom. That's a beautiful title all the way across.

Okay. What am I going to use here to identify social media strategy? What I'm going to do is add some text. I'm going to do something very similar to what I have here. I'm going to add a very small amount of text that I have that's going to describe what they're going to do and why. I'm going to make it hyperlinked, and then I'm going to add a graphic to it.

Here's what I'm going to do. The first thing I'm going to do is I'm going to add some text. Let's see.

I'm going to add some text, and I'm going to say "Identify your goals, your primary social network and how you plan to execute your social media marketing". Okay.

Here is the text. Again, I'm going to change it to Oswald. That's a very easily readable font. I think I used Oswald on this. Let's see.

I'm going to zoom in on this. No, I didn't. I used a different font. I used one that had syrups on it. Let's see. I like using Special Elite in here because it looks like typewriter text. Okay.

I'm going to do that [00:24:00] and I'm going to hyperlink this. Now, this is the really cool thing about using Google Slides as an infographic tool is that you can hyperlink. I've got the text that I want linked. I need to go to where I need to copy the URL, and this is where you can get the free social media strategy class at ''. I'm going to do an edit copy or a command C, and I'm going to come back to my presentation, and I'm going to add a link.

That's going to be under 'More' right here. It's the insert link. I'm going to paste that text in there, and boom, it's hyperlinked. Now, you'll notice that it changes the color. That's Google Slides' way of saying "You've got a hyperlink in your text." I still just want it to be black. That's fine, but I don't want it to be underlined.

Let's see if I can take ... Yes. I don't want it to be underlined. I just want people to see when they hover over it, they can click on this. Then, what I'm going to do is I'm going to pull in an image. You'll notice here in this infographic ... I'm going to zoom in on this again.

I used an awful lot of images in here. These are all images that I had to have ready. Most of the time, these are screen captures where I've notated something. You can use either Google ... Not Google Slides. You can use [Mac of Wala 00:25:42], you can use TextNets, Snagit.

There's a lot of different tools that you can use to do that. Either way, when you do an infographic, you need to have your graphic elements that you want to use ready. [00:26:00] Now, a lot of these I just created as shapes in Google Slides, but I also had images ready that I had already created. If you don't have images, you can purchase them from some place like GraphicRiver or CreativeMarket. You can get images from there. That's another thing that you'll need to have in order to do your infographics.

Here we go. Tell me how I'm doing. If you have any questions, please feel free to put them in chat, and I'll be happy to answer them. I'm going to move that there. What I'm going to do is to pull in the social media strategy chart that you used in this class, and so I'm going to go over here to ‘Image’.

You can also do insert image from their menu, and I'm going to upload this. Let's see. I'm going to look for my Social Media Strategy. Here it is. 'Social Media Strategy Template'.

I'm going to open that up and put it in here. It's going to be huge when it comes in, but I will resize it to be the correct size. Basically, this is the whole process of creating an infographic in Google Slides. It's kind of a lather, rinse, repeat once you get the process down. Yes. Here it is. This is huge now.

You can see over here how much real estate this is taking, but I'm going to reduce this significantly so that I can have it here as like a little thumbnail. Okay. Almost [00:28:00] there. Yes. Almost there.

Okay. Great. Here we go. Here is the image that we're going to have. Basically, I've made this hyperlinked. If I look at this, I want to make this a little bit smaller.

Now, I'm going bigger. I want smaller. Let's see. ‘View'? Yes. Here we go.

I've got the title. I've got the elements here. What I would end up doing here is just continuing to do more of the same. I would continue to ... Let's see. I want to get out of this view mode and I want to get into the pointer, cursor just by clicking on this arrow to select.

What I would do next is instead of recreating each of these sections, I'm going to delete this one, and I would just copy all the stuff that I've done here. I would copy these elements and I duplicated it. It looks like I could only do one, so I guess I have to do it one at a time. Maybe I can do the text. Yes. Here, I was able to do the text two at a time.

Okay. That's basically what you'll be doing. You're going to be creating your first element, and then, just continuing to refine as you go along. You can also arrange these. I want this to go backward.

I don't want it to be in the very back. Send backward is command and down arrow, [00:30:00] so I can do that. Then, here, I'm going to say ‘Days eight through 14’. Let's see. ‘Day eight through 14’, and I'm going to change this which is going to be ... Let's see. Engage on ... Let's see.

I would say 'Post Consistently On Social Media'. Okay. Once you've identified your goals, you're going to focus on one social network. Focus on your primary social network and be consistent in posting. What I'm going to do here is give links to four different infographics that people can download to start learning how to do that.

The first one that almost everybody wants is to going to be Facebook, and so I'm going to link to the Facebook infographic and where they can download that. I'm going to put Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. I can't do everything, so I'm going to do those four. To link to that, again, I'm going to select a text, put the link there, paste it, and then apply. That is now hyperlinked.

I need to change the color so it's still going to be black, and it's not going to be outlined. Okay. I'm going to put [00:32:00] here "Click to download each infographic". Okay. I think I'm going to have a little bit more space.

What I did on this one was I switched where the text was and where the infographics were. I'm going to show you how ... I'm going to pull in another infographic here. This time, instead of going to 'Insert image', I'm going to go to 'Image' right here on the tool bar. I'm going to choose an image, and I'm going to choose the Facebook Marketing Infographic. It's the 2015 edition.

Let's see. I think that's it. Yes. There we go. Okay. What I'm going to do is I'm going to upload each of these and stair-step, and I'm going to have one in front like this, and then they're each going to be behind each other just so people can see what it is that they would be downloading.

Again, I'm going to make this smaller right here. Okay. That's the Facebook one. Let's see. For LinkedIn, I already have these pages already pulled up, so this is the LinkedIn infographic.

Again, if you are new to the scope, I'm Maria Peagler with ''. This is my very first Periscope. I'm using it to show you how to create an infographic in Google Slides. I've already got this up. If you'd like to get this infographics, [00:34:00] you can go to ''.

I will actually go ahead and show you that URL. That's it right there, ''. Here is the website. If you want to take the free Social Media Strategy class, you can actually do it right here in the middle of the page. What I'm going to do is ... Let's see.

I was here on LinkedIn. I'm going to copy this by doing command C. I'm going to copy the URL, and I'm going to hyperlink it over here in this LinkedIn text. I need to go to the menu and select the link Icon, and paste that link in there. Again, I need to change the text so that it's not something so light, and so that's not outlined. Okay.

Then, what I'm going to do is I'm going to pull in the LinkedIn infographic, and I'm going to stair-step these. I'm going to select 'Image', and I'm going to choose an image to download, and I'm going to do 'LinkedIn Marketing Infographic'. I think that's what I called it. Let's see. LinkedIn. That's it.

Okay. Is that a ... No, that's a big file. No. That's the Photoshop version. I want the 'Jpeg'. I want something smaller. Let's see.

Did I ... Let's see. LinkedIn. Sometimes, the hardest part is finding the files that you need. I know I called it 'LinkedIn'. [00:36:00] Maybe I said 'Networking Infographic'.

Here we go. No. That's still [a meg 00:36:09]. That's not the one I want. Let's see. I'm just going to say 'LinkedIn Infographic' and see what I get. Okay.

'LinkedIn Checklist'. No. That's not it. You can see, I do a lot of infographics, so I've got a lot of them. All right.

I'm just going to do this one just for illustration purposes. I don't want to waste a lot of time looking for a file on the scope. That one was way too big. Okay. Let's do a different one. We're going to do the ‘Instagram Marketing Infographic’, because that's what I know that we'll need to be doing.

'Instagram Marketing Infographic'. I'm having the hardest time finding these. You know what I'm going to do? I'm just going to go to infographic and see which ones I can get. Okay.

I'm going to add this one. This is a brand new infographic that I just released yesterday that is available to the public. It's called 'The Ultimate Guide to Social Media Tagging'. It shows you how to use tags on every major social network. It's got some really cool examples. It's one of the ultimate guides that has got 64 different tactics on it, along with screenshots and examples, and all kinds of really cool stuff.

I'm just going to use that as an example here. What I'm going to do is make this the same, a little bit smaller, and it's going to go behind this. I'm also going to see if I can make this [00:38:00] transparent, so I'm going to put this backward. See, I want it behind that, and I want it to be transparent a little bit. Let's see if I can do that or blur it a little bit.

I don't think I'm going to be able to do that in Google Slides, so it's just going to be like that. That's fine. I'm going to add one more. After that, I think I'm going to wrap up the scope because that will give you a good idea on how to do this. I am going to put this up a little bit more so the spacing is better. I'm going to pull in one more infographic and put it on the right side.

Again, I'm going to go to 'Image'. I'm going to upload an image. I'm going to go right to infographics so we don't have to spend a whole lot of time on this. This is another one on how to monetize Facebook that I did, but it's ... No. That is what I started to do, but I actually ended up doing this one instead, and I actually like it better, but we're going to go ahead and upload it.

I'll put that behind here in Google Slides, and then I'll show you how to save this as a PDF, and you'll have your hyperlinked infographic which is really, really cool. You didn't have to use Photoshop. You didn't have to use Pixelmator. You were able to use a free tool available on the web. Now, I do use Google for work. I do pay $10 a month to have Gmail for business because I think it's worth it. It gets you Google apps for work with support, so if you ever have questions, I think it's worth having that so you can get support, and this is taking forever in a day to upload.

I'm not doing that. We're going to do something a little bit simpler and a little bit smaller. Let's see. Infographics. [00:40:00] No. No. No. That was a huge one.

I already did that one. ‘Blog Tour’. Okay. The ‘Blog Tour’. Let's see. Anatomy?

Okay. Here's one. 'The Anatomy of an Irresistible Offer', and it's a small one. This is an infographic that I did for a bonus webinar, because our members wanted to know how you make an irresistible offer on the web, and so, I will use this as the third infographic. Again, I'm going to shrink it down and I'm going to put it behind that other infographic.

I want to do is just show people "This is what you get. These are the things that you can go download." Okay. I've got that there, and I want to put it ... Yes. See, it gives you those lines so you know if you're in line.

Instead of going to arrange this time in order and send backward, I'm going to do it with my cursor keys. I'm going to press command and down, and there it went right behind it. There we go. I have got a hyperlinked infographic, and I would just repeat these steps over and over again. I'm going to name it and I'm going to call it 'Grow Biz in 30 Days With Social Media'.

I've titled it, and then, last load it as a PDF. That is how you can create an infographic on Google Slides. If you have any questions, I'm happy to answer those. This is not something that a lot of people think that you can do with Google Slides, but it's actually a really, really easy thing to do. What I'm going to do actually in just a few last minutes that we have is I'm going to open [00:42:00] up that other infographic and start copying some things from it to this one to show you how I would do a lot of that templated stuff.

Here is that 'Monetize Facebook' infographic. What I'm going to do is ... This is one that's not available to the public. You can see it's in ‘Facebook 102’ which is our intermediate class on Facebook in lesson 13. I want to view this a hundred percent. Okay.

One of the things that I have in every single one of my infographics is my branding at the top and at the bottom. What I want to do is I want to copy this text in this rectangle, and I'm going to select them, say edit, copy, and then I'm going to go to this infographic, and I'm going to paste it. I'm going to say edit, paste. That brought over the text, but now I need to get the rectangle. Let's see.

I need to select that over here. Okay. Again, edit, copy. I'm going to come over and do edit, paste. You see, it's almost in the right place. I can move it over a little bit, and I'm going to make it go backwards.

It's actually way too big. What I want to do is to make this a little bit smaller so I can see the whole thing, and I'm going to make this fit the space that I've got. Okay. There we go.

Then, I'm going to come here down at the bottom and I'm going to do the same thing.

Now, I have no idea why this looks different down here. That is really weird. I don't know what that is. I'll figure that out a minute. [00:44:00] What I'm going to do is come over here and come to the bottom, and I'm going to see if I can select a lot of the stuff at the same time.

Let's see. I've got it selected. I'm going to say edit, copy. I'm going to go over here. I'm at the bottom, and I'm going to do edit, paste. It did bring a lot of it over.

Look. It brought everything over. Beautiful. I love that. Okay. Here we are at the bottom, and I've got my branding right there in my infographic.

See, once you do this, you've got a template and it's really, really easy to do this. The one thing I would do differently is I need to make these hyperlinked. Let's see. That's my Twitter handle, so I'm going to come over here. I'm going to come to the 'Link' button, and I want to go to 'Twitter.comsm_onlineclass'.

That takes people to my Twitter handle, my Twitter account. This is my Facebook account, and I need to select the whole thing. I'm going to copy this. Edit, copy. No. Not copy. I need to link.

Here, I'm going to put in my Facebook URL. It's ''. Okay. That's it. All right.

Thank you for everyone who joined me on the scope today. I'm going to wrap it up. I'm Maria Peagler with '' in how to create your own infographic in Google Slides.

Visual Storytelling for Brands

 visual storytelling maria peagler

Editor’s note: We’re continuing our Visual Storytelling theme this week with a look at how brands can market using visual content, along with examples of those doing this well.  You can listen to my interview (or read the transcript) of my interview with Ekaterina Walter, co-author of The Power of Visual Storytelling here.

The human attention span has dwindled to eight seconds — less than that of a goldfish — according to a 2002 BBC article. With so many competing websites, social networks and entertainment on the internet, how can brands make their message stand out, be remembered and generate results?

Visual content: our brains process images 60,000 times faster than text. Done well, your story told in a visual way, sticks with readers far better than just words on a page or screen.

What is Visual Storytelling and How Does it Benefit My Business?

Visual storytelling encompasses far more than just using visuals in your marketing: it’s about telling your brand’s story — what your purpose is & what you stand for — in a visual way.  I like to think of it as Start With Why meets The Back of the Napkin meets Made to Stick.

Marketing your brand visually makes your message sticky: your audience remembers it, engages with it, and is far more likely to actually consume it.  Here are visual content statistics:

  • Web posts with visuals are 180% more likely to get engagement
  • Visitors spend 100% more time on web pages with video
  • Press releases incorporating video get 45% more traffic
  • Web posts including infographics get 12% more traffic

If you’d like more traffic from highly engaged visitors who are more likely to buy from you, visual content is a highly effective approach.

What Visual Content is Best for Your Brand?

The type of visual content you should use depends on several factors, including what’s easiest for your team (or you) to create, as well as your audience demographics and where they hang out online.  While Vine is a great place to find 18-20 year-olds, it won’t be effective for reaching baby boomers. Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest are better suited for that audience.

Identify your audience, discover where they are online (and offline), and target them according to your business goals.

Tell Your Story Using Simple Images

A brand who does this well is is Northern Valley Auto Body in Englewood, NJ, as shown here on their Facebook page.  They take before & after photos of the cars they repair, as well as in-process pics.  Not only is it fascinating to see how they work, the story their images tell is one of trust and transparency: the usually off-limits to clients body shop has completely opened their doors and invited you to watch their process:

visual storytelling case study

Photos of in-process restorations instills a sense of trust in their brand.

Notice the simplicity of this visual story: photos taken in the garage with a smartphone and uploaded to a Facebook album. No filters, no captions, nothing but photos of their work. This didn’t take a graphic design team, but one person who stopped long enough to document the brand’s work.

Educate & Entertain Using Video Tutorials

Missouri Star Quilt Company opened their doors during the height of the U.S. recession, and their odds were so slim of making it they were covered by Wall Street Journal reporter Meg Cox (a quilter herself). How founder, Jenny Doan, not only survived the recession but became the largest employer in her small town is all due to her free quilting tutorials on YouTube.

missouri star quilt company tutorials

Missouri Star Quilt Company grew their brand to the largest employer in their town using YouTube video tutorials

Jenny’s videos are simple, brief, but show her personality and simple ways to make a quilt from pre-cuts: fabric pieces already cut into shapes ready for quilters to sew together. Not only do her videos market the shop’s inventory of pre-cut fabrics, they also help reduce her labor costs, as pre-cuts don’t require an employee to cut a piece of fabric for every customer, as do bolts of fabric.

Jenny’s early videos were rough, with poor lighting and showing her sitting at a sewing machine. But, viewers weren’t concerned with the production quality: they loved Missouri Quilt Company’s videos, and some of their most popular videos are their oldest, garnering over a million views.

Reach Business Clients Using Presentations

Marketing Experiments is a well-known brand in the marketing industry that uses presentations and videos to reach their target audience. They offer hour-long “clinics” where they share the results of their case studies, research, and do live optimizations of brands who need their advice. They offer the clinics live, but also upload the replay to YouTube, and the shorter slide deck to Slideshare:

visual storytelling case study

Marketing Experiments offers their “marketing clinics” on video as well as slide deck presentations

visual storytelling case study

Marketing Experiments uploads their presentations to Slideshare for those who don’t want to watch the entire video


Speak Your Audience’s Language with Infographics, GIFs, Memes

Here at we use infographics to offer quick guides to social networks:

2014 Edition of Facebook Marketing Infographic

2014 Edition of Facebook Marketing Infographic

Dr. Pepper uses GIFs, Hubspot has an entire Pinterest board dedicated to marketing memes, the White House creates Vine videos, and brands aplenty are on Instagram. So no matter who your audience is, you can reach them using some form of visual content.

Create Your Visual Roadmap

To get the most from your visual content marketing, establish your roadmap: your brand’s strategy and execution plan, by answering these questions:

  • what does your brand stand for (and how does it differ from your competition)?
  • what is your brand’s purpose?
  • what are your business goals for your marketing?
  • what are your customer’s pain points?
  • what marketing efforts are working now?

Your answers shape your business’ unique visual roadmap, making your brand unforgettable to your audience, and resonating with them in a way no plain text ever will.

What type of visual storytelling is your business doing and what have been your results? Share your story in the comments below.

Related Resources

Visual Social Media Webinar*

Your First Business Video Webinar*

Facebook Image Sizes Cheat Sheet

Google+ Image Sizes Cheat Sheet*

Instagram Marketing Infographic

Instagram for Business Case Studies

How to Build a DIY Stock Photo Library for Social Media

VIDEO TUTORIAL: How to Build a Stock Photo Library Using Canva

Your First Business Video Checklist

Our Most Popular Infographics from 2014

Our Most Popular Infographics from 2012

* denotes members-only content

Ekaterina Walter Interview – Author of Visual Storytelling

Interview with Ekaterina Walter - co-author of Visual Storytelling

I just finished reading The Power of Visual Storytelling:  How to Use Visuals, Video, and Social Media to Market Your Brand, and was impressed with how co-authors Ekaterina Walter & Jessica Gioglio recommend brands incorporate visuals into their marketing.  I chatted with Ekaterina Walters, by telephone, and I’m sharing the audio and the transcript of that interview today.

Definitely listen to how small brands can create visual content easily, share it across the web, and use visuals to communicate what they stand for.

Ekaterina Walter Interview Audio

Here is the full 30-minute interview, followed by short clips of it below:

Listen to the Full Interview with Ekaterina Walter

What is Visual Storytelling and How Does It Create a Movement Around Your Brand?

“the human attention span officially dropped below the attention span of a goldfish”Click to Tweet

“the most successful brands continue to drive back to the same message: what they stand for, what their purpose is”Click to Tweet

How Visual Content Increases Both Reach & Engagement

“web posts with visuals drive up to 180% more engagement than those without”Click to Tweet

How to Create Your Brand’s Visual Roadmap

“tactics without strategy is worse than doing nothing at all”Click to Tweet


Ekaterina Walter

Ekaterina Walter, co-author of The Power of Visual Storytelling

Full Interview Transcript with Timestamps

0:00:00 MARIA: Welcome, everyone. This is Maria Peagler with And today I have with me Ekaterina Walter. She is an innovator, a business and marketing innovator, international speaker and author of two books. The first one is the Wall Street Journal Bestseller, Think Like Zuck: The Five Business Secrets of Facebook Improbably Brilliant CEO Mark Zuckerberg. And she is co-author of her latest book, The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos and Social Media to Market Your Brand. Welcome, Ekaterina.

00:00:41 EKATERINA: Great to be here. Thanks for inviting me, Maria.

00:00:44 MARIA: Absolutely. Ekaterina, I read your book over the weekend and I was fascinated with the whole process that you describe. And I just think that the timing is perfect for all the visual content that we are seeing across the web. Tell me how you came to co-author this book.

00:01:04 EKATERINA: *laughs* Well, it all began several years ago when I published an article in Fast Company in my column, and the title was The Rise of Visual Social Media. And it talked about sort of the importance and the tactics and the strategy. And several publishers actually came up to me or contacted me and said we would love to actually see the book of that. And I said I am actually in the process of writing my first one, so let’s talk later. So it was really quite fascinating.

And my first book is more around business innovation and sort of business culture and business principals. But I’m a marketer at heart, so I’m very passionate about making sure you build a relationship with your customers in the right way. Because a lot of things we do we don’t necessarily do it right. And so I always wanted to talk about how do we tell our story, our brand story. And the visual topic just started to rise. A lot of people started to talk about it. And the reason for that was just the fact that we were living in the age of infobesity. Brands are not used to the fact that there is so much information, not only produced but consumed every single day, every single hour online. And it’s now suddenly a two way conversation and it’s customer-centric versus brand-centric.

And so in this whole age of sort of overwhelming, drowning in information, the question became how does a brand stand out. So for us marketers, no matter what you do, whatever marketing strategies you talk about, brand strategies, community-building strategies, et cetera, et cetera, one of the questions that we need to ask is how to target the hearts of consumers in the right way. And to be able to do that they have to discover you. They have to discover and consume your information, your content. They’ll have to connect with you, start conversations with you. And one of the ways to really stand down besides advocacy, right, besides the peer recommendations which is, well, I’m looking for a new car, which one should I buy, what music do you recommend, et cetera, et cetera, sort of your immediate niche community, one of the ways to stand out is visual. Just because we humans are wired like this.

We’re wired to process visuals better than text. As a matter of fact, the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster. 60,000 times faster than text! And language only existed for 5,000 years-ish. But we drew for millennia. So the question becomes with that, how do you tap into that natural human element of drawing attention and standing out from the noise, especially now that the human attention span officially dropped below the attention span of a goldfish.

00:04:14 MARIA: *laughs*: Yeah.

 00:04:15 EKATERINA: A goldfish has an attention span of nine seconds, us humans now, scientists say this year we’re between three and eight seconds. And that’s the reason why all the visual networks like Vine and six second videos, 15 second videos and Instagram, all these networks like that are popping up is because that’s what we’re vying for as marketers, is that attention span.

So I just wanted to talk about things I learned on the job when I worked in Fortune 500 companies and what I see in the market. And Jess has also done a lot of stuff, Jessica Gioglio, my co-author, with Dunkin’ Donuts. Because people are passionate about that brand and they also do a lot of cool stuff with visuals. So I just wanted to put out a book that talks about not just road maps and how to build that, but tips, tools, tricks, case studies.

00:05:14 MARIA: Fantastic. And I loved that term that you used, infobesity. Because there is just so much out there now that it really is hard to capture people’s attention when you’re competing with so many other brands and that diminishing attention span. I’m wondering, Ekaterina, how did you find that visual content affected the visibility or the reach and engagement for a brand’s blogs and social media marketing.

00:05:52 EKATERINA: The data is actually quite staggering, Maria, so I’ll give you just a couple of data points. So, for example, did you know that web posts with visuals drive up to 180% more engagement than those without.

00:06:06 MARIA: Wow.

00:06:07 EKATERINA: Viewers spend 100% more time on web pages with videos. If you use infographics the traffic to your site will probably increase an average of 12%. If you’re putting out a press release, if you add video, the traffic on average will go up 45, 48%.

And I can literally keep going, because what started to happen is people—and it’s not just images, right, we’re talking about visual storytelling, not just for images, but for different formats like video, which is highly consumable. Cartoons, memes, infographics, animated GIF files. The list goes on and on. So the business case, not just psychologically why people prefer images or videos over other formats, but also the business case for using this very snackable, very visual content is there.

And you notice now, we’re living in this age of the news feed, and everywhere we go there’s always a news feed blinking at us and always going, passing by so fast. And you notice, even you as a person, that the content that you need to pick out is the content that’s actually accompanied by a visual piece, right? A quote, an image, something that draws back to the whole point of, for example, an article that you posted, et cetera.

00:07:40 MARIA: Right, right. Ekaterina, I’m curious about the title of your book, Visual Storytelling. How do you differentiate that versus just using a visual on social media. How are those two different?

00:07:57 EKATERINA: Actually, I think the question becomes how does that drive back to a story about who you are, what you do, what you believe in. So the way I sort of define visual storytelling—or Jess and I define it in the book—is use of images, videos, infographics, presentations and, basically, other visuals on social media platforms to craft a graphical story around key brand values and offerings.

So there’s definitely some, what I call, micro-content that you’re going to create maybe that’s more of a one-off. But I think the most successful brands, they continue to drive back the same message around what they stand for, what their purpose is. Because as a marketer, your goal is to create a movement around your brand. Around your brand and product, around people who work with you and for you. You are more than just your product. So the question that comes, what does encompass that brand and how do you really tell a story around it? So, to me, when you create it in those one-off pieces, the question you need to ask yourself is how does that tie back to the bigger story you want to tell, to that movement you want to create, to that purpose that you share with your customers and employees and vendors and partners that work with and for you, right. So how do you build that community in the right way? And the only way you do that is for continuity.

00:09:35 MARIA: And that really leads into what you call in the book your visual road map, which I absolutely just could not, I could not get enough of that. Could you explain what your visual road map is?

00:09:52 EKATERINA: Yes. So the road map is your course. What is it that you’re trying to build and what is it that you’re trying to do. And I think a lot of times, again, people go into oh, well I have to have presence here, I have to do this and that. But I think a lot of it, the tactics without strategy, is worse than doing nothing at all is something that Lee even said and we’re quoting him in the book.

I think you always start with sort of setting your goals and figuring out what is it that you are here to do. And then you move into auditing and analyzing. So what are your current efforts? How are you tracking the data? And how are you really analyzing that data to glean the right insights? Are you listening to customer conversations and getting their insights? Then you summarize that order, then you start figuring out what things really work for you.

And then from there you shape your visual story. What’s the company goals and what are the supporting themes around the visual story? What’s the company voice and personality? What’s the company-customer conversational themes? And then from there you determine your visual content mix and you talk about things like formats and frequency and how you allocate content themes and pair it up with different types of media.

And then there’s always an element of planning for the unexpected around brand and product marketing, public relations, customer service. You want to make sure that you sort of leave wiggle room in your road map and strategy.

And then from there you go into distribution and engage them in strategy and then, also crafting and sourcing your different types of visuals. So this is definitely something that, as you start thinking about it and looking at it, those are the key, critical elements of your road map. And then, obviously, at the end you never forget to make sure that you measure. So the measurement is the last piece that’s definitely critical. And the reason is because unless you actually know what works for you, what doesn’t, what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong, it’s hard for you to then take that, those insights and then translate it into something that makes sense and allows you to reshape and maybe re-evaluate that strategy and road map as you move along.

00:12:27 MARIA: And one of the things that I really liked about the concept of your visual road map was that you tied it to business goals. What are the goals for your brand and how can you do that with a visual story. And I find a lot of times our clients here at, when they’re doing their social media marketing, like I said, they feel like they need to be somewhere, but they don’t really know what to expect or how to really tie that back to their business goals. So I thought that was a particularly strong point of the visual road map.

00:13:04 EKATERINA: You’re absolutely right, Maria. But thank you, I appreciate your kind words. But yes, you’re absolutely right. Unless you know where you’ve been, where you’re going and why you’re going there it’s hard to actually shape a meaningful strategy.

Exclusive Members-Only Lessons

Members — login to learn how small brands can do a BETTER job than large brands in using visual content, plus her favorite tools for creating visuals.

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In this part of our interview, Ekaterina describes how small brands can do a BETTER job than large brands in using visual content, plus her favorite tools for creating visuals:

The Small Business Advantage When It Comes to Visual Storytelling

Tools Ekaterina Recommends to Create Visual Content

00:13:16 MARIA: Now how would you visualize the visual storytelling approach being different than that for a large brand like a Dunkin’ Donuts?

00:13:27 EKATERINA: Well, it’s interesting. You look at some large brands, like Dunkin’, and you say the strategy needs to be different. Possibly. But interestingly, a lot of the elements are all about putting out your passion into the community. Connecting with your community around different touch points. And those touch points, the most important ones, are around passions, right? So what is your passion for? Is it for coffee or is it for dessert or is it for reading books? It doesn’t really matter, right?

But small businesses are actually the best for this. Why? Because they know their communities. They know their customers. And most of the time better than big brands, because they know them by name, they know where they live, they know how often they come in, even without looking at, potentially, some online data. Just because they’re ingrained in the communities so much more than big businesses.

And the reason why companies like Dunkin’ Donuts are successful with their constant engagement strategies is because of that passion. So the question that small businesses need to ask themselves is what are the shared passions that they have with their customers. How do you spark conversation and build conversation around that? And then you build content around this. And there’s not many differences of how a small or large business would do it. It’s just really that element of knowing your community. And then you could create fun cartoons, you can engage with your customers in interesting ways.

For example, what Dunkin’ Donuts does is they have a passionate employee community, as well. So one day their employees decided that they want to go out and pick up pink and orange and white nail polish and paint their nails in the colors of the brand. This tactic wouldn’t be any different if you were a baking shop and your employees are so passionate about your coming up Valentine’s Day new cupcake recipe and you decide to do something fun internally. Create a video of your employees actually putting this together. Or again, the same, nail art. Or maybe sharing additional recipes with women in your community who are looking forward to baking something unique for Valentine’s Day. And you do that in a visual way.

So it’s not so much as B2B or B2C or large brand versus small brand. It all comes down to P2P, which is person-to-person and, honestly, passion-to-passion. What are those passion points that you’re sharing and how do you open your (unintelligible) and tell the community this is why we love what we do. This is why we do it and this is the reason we want to connect with you. And then you build a relationship from there.

00:16:31 MARIA: I love the Dunkin’ Donut nail polish story.

00:16:34 EKATERINA: It’s really fun. *laughs*

00:16:36 MARIA: I’m going to have to remember that the next time I get a pedicure. I want these colors and it’s going to go on Instagram.

00:16:43 EKATERINA: There you go, there you go.

00:16:45 MARIA: Yeah, yeah. So Ekaterina. Everybody these days seems to have too much to do. I can hear our clients saying gosh, I’m not a graphic designer, I’ve already got enough to do. But creating a great visual story doesn’t have to be hugely time-consuming. And there’s some really great tools out there that can help you do this. What are some of the best time-saving tools or fun tools that you recommend for creating and sharing visual content.

00:17:19 EKATERINA: So in the book we actually explore a variety of them. There’s a lot of them. And that is not just around image with text and overlays. There’s photo collages, there’s infographics, there’s GIFs, there’s memes. There’s a lot of different formats.

But some of my favorite ones are Canva. Canva is a great tool. It’s free and what I like about it is it’s flexible enough where you can create your own postcard, your own image. There’s different layouts. Your own presentations. And what you do is you bring in different visuals and then you do sort of a text overlay on top of that or you pair up multiple images and then you create your own postcards. Literally, without having zero, without having any artistic experience.

So basically, somebody like me with zero artistic skills could actually go and create something very pretty. One thing I do do, though, Maria, is I go out and wherever I am, whether it’s the beach or in the forest, somewhere, I take a lot of different images with the idea in mind that I will be using them as potential backgrounds for quotes, statistics, any text overlays or I will pair them up in a particular way. But again, I’m not a professional photographer, so a lot of stuff I’m putting out is just something that I threw together on the tools like Canva.

You know, there are some additional tools like PicMonkey and Over and Pintomatic. There’s also tools for infographics, though. I think infographics are special in that you actually need to spend some time in making sure that the data is presented in the right way.

00:19:13 MARIA: Yeah

00:19:13 EKATERINA: So and Infoactive, Infogram. For GIFs there is Giffing Tool, GifBoom, Cinemagram. And Vine is great to do sort of shorter animations. And there’s fun ones for memes. For example, there’s You can have fun with things like that. So that’s something that I use. And then for iPhone there is a number of applications, as well, that allow you to actually do things like photo collages or really cool tools that help you actually filter, not just Instagram-like filters, but allow you to, you know, if you have a picture of a really cool sky it allows you to really bring dramatic colors out. And so there’s a number of custom filtering options that you can get for some of these sort of iPhone applications. And some of them are VSCO Cam for the filters. PicFrame for putting collages, several pictures in one.

There is Over, which is text overlay as well. There’s also TimeLapse, which is like speeding up time in a video, which is a lot of fun. So there’s a lot of tools out there, you just need to explore them.

00:20:34 MARIA: Yeah, it’s a great time to be creating visual content. It’s really never been easier.

00:20:38 EKATERINA: Absolutely agree with you.

00:20:40 MARIA: I’m a big believer in the 80/20 rule, Ekaterina. Picking out the 20% of tactics that are going to generate 80% of your results. So if you were to apply the 80/20 rule to visual storytelling for small brands, what would that 20% be for visual storytelling?

00:21:17 EKATERINA: One of the important things that you need to ask yourself, actually, before you can answer that question—because it’s a generic question—is which 20% is bringing you 80% or ROI. And since every business is different, what you need to figure out is maybe with a little bit of data. That’s also sometimes available for some of the communities for free that come sort of with the native applications.

But you need to figure out what is the content that does well. But for that you need to try different things out. So do not be afraid to play with content. The worst your community could say, ah, that’s all flat, we didn’t like it or comment on it or share it much, right? But to figure out what content really resonates and which ones people spark conversations, which ones people really pick up and run with, you need to try out different things. So first you try out different things.

Second of all, look at the data and figure out what performs well for you. And from there that’s then when you can answer your question. So, honestly, I cannot answer the question for you or for those business owners that are on the phone right now. Just because they need to answer it themselves.

But what I will say though, Maria, is prioritize brutally. Especially if you’re a small business. You cannot afford, you don’t have teams and teams in your marketing department. So what you need to figure out is prioritize everything. Meaning you do not have to be on every single social network. Just because there’s Instagram and Tumblr and Vine and Pinterest doesn’t mean you have to be there.

What you could do, though, is first you start figuring out where your audience really hangs out. Where are they, what’s the best place to connect with them. And just prioritize that. Just have one community on one network, or maybe two, the ones that really provide that engagement level for you that you’re looking for. And the rest, and also don’t forget, face-to-face is also a great social network.

00:23:18 MARIA: That’s always the best social network.

00:23:21 EKATERINA: Absolutely.

00:23:21 MARIA: Absolutely. Is that face-to-face time. And if listeners are interested in finding out what that best social network is going to be for them, our social media strategy class—which actually is free—that’s something that you can take and you don’t need to be a premium member of Social Media Online Classes. You can go through that class and find out what your best social network is going to be. And Ekaterina, my last question for you is the same one that I ask in all of my interviews. What’s the one question that I should have asked you but didn’t.

00:23:57 EKATERINA: *laughs* Wow. Gosh, there’s a lot of questions you can ask. One is what’s the weather looking like in Portland today.

00:24:07 MARIA: *laughs*

00:24:08 EKATERINA: Because it’s been raining for the past week and I want sunshine to come back. You know, I don’t know. I think every question is sort of custom to what the audience wants to know. But I think we’ve covered a lot when it comes to marketing for visual today, for sure

00:24:30 MARIA: Okay, awesome. And where can people buy the book, Ekaterina?

00:24:35 EKATERINA: Anywhere. It’s available on Amazon, it’s available in stores, Barnes & Noble. Online, offline. If you want more information they can find more information on my website, But otherwise it should be pretty easy.

00:24:51 MARIA: Ekaterina Walter, thank you for being with us today.

00:24:55 EKATERINA: It was my pleasure. Thank you all for listening.


Related Resources

Visual Social Media Webinar*

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How to Build a DIY Stock Photo Library for Social Media

VIDEO TUTORIAL: How to Build a Stock Photo Library Using Canva

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How to Create a Stock Photo Library for Social Media [VIDEO]

Have you noticed how many gorgeous images are being shared on social networks? How do small businesses get such fabulous photos without having a graphic designer or photographer on staff? You’re about to find out!

To learn how to take great photos with the equipment you’ve already got, click here to review our step-by-step post.

To learn how to edit, add text, and repurpose those photos, watch this brief tutorial video. BONUS: toward the end of the video I reveal how we store and share our stock photo library with our team for free (or ridiculously low-cost).

Timestamps & transcript are below the video:

00:15:  The How to Build Your Own Stock Photo Library Blog Post Has Photography Tips

01:00:  The Visual Social Media Webinar Has Advice on Using Your Smartphone

01:25:  Use a Photo in Canva

02:02:  Canva’s Stock Photos

02:17:  How to Get Started in Canva

02:30:  Select How the Photo Will Be Used

02:55:  Canva Sizes the Canvas Based on Your Selection

03:05:  How to Add a Canva Image to the Canvas

03:15:  Use Uploaded Images

03:30:  Resize Image to Fit the Canvas

03:40:  Add a Colored Rectangle to the Canvas

04:00:  Adjust the Rectangle’s Size & Color

04:27:  Add Main Text

04:45:  Edit Text

04:59:  Create Sophisticated Text

05:45:  Add Your Brand Name Using Body Text

06:42:  Save & Download the Completed Image

07:00: Repurpose an Image Using Canva

07:15: Apply a Filter

07:50: Edit Design Elements to Match

08:17: Change Text Content & Color

09:20: Save & Download a New Image Created from the Same Photo

09:40: Delete Design Elements & Resize the Photo

10:02: Apply a New Filter

10:18: Add Quality Design Elements, No Drawing Skills Necessary

10:45: Edit Design Elements to Complement the Photo

11:15: Edit Default Text Content

11:35: Edit Font & Color

11:56: Add Desired Text Content

12:20: The Move & Delete Options Will Affect the Entire Design Element

12:35: Remove Default Text & Use the Text Tool for Customized Placement

13:00: Adjust Placement & Font Size

13:25: Save & Download the Image for Free

13:40: Use the Same Image Over & Over Again for Different Results

14:00: Canva Saves the Last Image You Worked On

14:20: Use Dropbox to Make Images Available to Your Team

14:40: Dropbox Creates a Folder on Your Computer

14:49: Simply Drop Files in the Folder & Share It

15:00: Dropbox Shared Folder Demo

15:28: Your Stock Photo Library Becomes Available to Your Entire Team

15:40 Rename an Image in the Dropbox Folder




This is Maria Peagler with In this video, I am going to show you how you can create a do it yourself stock photo library for social media. We actually did a blog post for this that was hugely popular. It made Guy Kawasaki’s Alltop most popular social media articles, and it has been shared extensively across the web and our intern Amanda wrote this article. She does a great job with photography, now she’s not a professional photographer, but she talks about how to take a photo here, use the rule of thirds, and different editing tools you can use.

In this video, I’m not going to cover how to take the photo, you can refer to the blog for this, but I’m going to show you how to edit edit these in a tool called Canva. If you refer our visual social media webinar, you can see all kinds of really easy ways that you can take photos with your smart phone and do photo and video.

I am going to show you how you can use a free new tool called Canva. What I’m going to do is show you a photo that I took and used in Canva. Now, this is a photo that I took years ago at Amicalola State park. It is the southern base of the Appalachian Trail and it was Fall at the top of the waterfall and it was just a gorgeous day. I took this photo and I used it in Canva just to do a photo post that said Happy Fall Y’all and is branded with our brand name, and I’m going to show you how I did this and I’m also going to show you how you reuse the same photo over and over to get different kinds of effects.

Canva has a lot of photos that you can use. If you use their photos, you have to pay $1, which I think is totally worth it. It just so happen that I had one that I could use. The way that you start, in Canva, is you actually go here and from their homepage tell it what size, type of image you are going to do. Like, where are you going to use this. Is it going to be a social media post, they have things specifically, a Facebook Cover, a Facebook post, they have things for Twitter, they also have things for Pinterest and Google+. So you tell it the things that you want to do.

I’m just going to say, this is going to be a Facebook post. It will automatically come up with a correctly sized canvas for you to use. You don’t ever have to worry. Now, I could use one of their images, just by pulling it over, and bringing it here and I can edit it. I’m actually going to delete this, and upload my own. I’m going to use one of the images that i’ve already uploaded, but you can see here that I have several images that i’ve pulled into Canva and I’m going to use this beautiful Fall photo.

Now you can see that it doesn’t really take up the whole area, so I can resize it here and just drag it. Then I want to add some text down here at the bottom that says Happy Fall Y’all. So, I can go to the background and pull in a rectangle shape. You can see it right down there at the bottom. Now if I want it to be bigger, I can change the dimensions of this photo so that you know I can pull it up and see more of the rectangle down here. I can also change the color of the rectangle, I want it more of a fall color. So I can go here and kind of. That’s a nice kind of mustard brown yellow color. So i’ve got to a nice area there where I can put some text. I’m going to go over here to the text area and I want to add some text. Normally we would put it in the middle, you can drag that down here. I’m going to say Happy Fall Y’all and I think I made this an Oswald font because that’s the font that I use on my website.

A really cool thing you can do is to make the text look very sophisticated, you can make it a similar color, but make it lighter or darker. I’m going to make it darker, and I’m also going to do some text spacing. I’m going to change this to all caps. I’m going to make the text box a little bigger and then move to the center here. And then I can add some more text over here by clicking the body text now thats going to be smaller, and this is where I’m going to put in my brand.

You always want to brand the images that you do. Again, I’m going to do a nice dark color and I’m going to do something a little different, I’m going to go across the color wheel here and do something in a nice blue color. Also, change this to the Oswald font, and there we go. It’s a nice image. All I’ve got to do is say I want to download it and save the design and it downloads it for you. You can also link to it if you’d like.

Now, I’m going to show you how to use the same photo over and over again, its a really cool thing. I’m going to stay here and I’m going to go to, I’m going to click on the photo, and it gives you options for editing it, I’m going to go to filter, and this is very much like Instagram filters, you can change the look of your photo. Drama makes it very dark and this photo was already dark so I don’t really need that. You can make it a nice gray scale which would be great for creating something with a more sophisticated pallette.

I’m going to change this to a softer blue a nice teal color. I’m going to change the text to say something inspirational. Again, I’m going to change this to be similar to the background, I’m going to pick that same color, but I’m going to go in here to the plus and make it darker. It gives you a really sophisticated look. I’m going to do the same thing with my text here. And there we go. The same one done differently. Again I can download that, and make it an image.

And then I can do something completely different. I can delete this text, delete this square, make the image fill up the entire space by making it better, use a different filter, and I’m going to change that filter. Oh thats kind of cool, that retro. It gives it almost a polaroid look and then I can use, the cool thing about Canva is that you don’t have to know how to draw. You can take one of their objects over there and pull it over and you can see some are free and some are premium. This is a nice image that I’m going to put here and I’m going to change the color and i’ve got some very muted colors here.

So again I’m going to do the same thing. I’m going to start with this, but then I’m going to change it, it needs to go in the middle here. Yes I did write a book on color so I understand how to do a lot of this and actually I can probably do a bonus webinar on how to use color in your brand and images. So I’m going to change the text here to something inspirational. ‘Your Life Your Business Your Dream’, pick Josefin Sans font. I don’t want to delete the whole circle. I just want to take out the text with the delete button and then I’m going to add the text through the text button instead. So I’m going to paste that in there go to josefin sans, go to that color that I had, and then move it up. You’ll probably need to change the font size a little bit and center it. So I’m going to stop here and download this. Again because its my image, it doesn’t cost anything. You can also use Canva’s images which I do recommend if you don’t have one you want to use yourself.

You can see how easy this is and from the same image, you can use it over and over again to get different types of images for your business. Canva saves the last one you did, but you have it downloaded so you can use them at any time. This is one way you can use Canva to make your own stock photo library and I’m also going to give you a great tip here at the end on making these images available to your team.

If you work with a virtual assistant, if you have staff who need to use the same images, you can use Dropbox to make it really really simple. Dropbox is cloud storage, but the great thing about it is it creates a folder on your computer, so all you have to do to make the images available to your staff is to drop it in that Dropbox folder and share it with them. We use this with our social media services clients, we do this alot. So here is this dDropbox folder and in one of our folders is our stock photos. So here what I can do is pull one of these photos into the stock photo folder and its going to put those photos there so that now they’re accessible to my entire staff. We’ve got our own stock photo library that we can reuse over and over again. Here is my Happy Fall Image, I can put your biz, your life, your dream, so we know its an inspirational type of photo. So this is a brief tutorial on how to create your own do it yourself stock photo library. This is Maria Peagler with

How to Build Your Own Stock Photo Library for Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram

Editor’s Note:  Amanda Jensen is a summer intern at  She’s a student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University. 

You've probably heard about the importance of adding images to your Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook posts. Large companies are able to hire professional photographers to take photos for their websites, and still others subscribe to stock photo libraries.

The bad news? As a small business owner, these options may not work for you or your wallet.

The amazing news? You and your team can take your own photos for free, without a fancy camera or professional training! Here are four steps that you can use to start building your own stock photo library:

1. What Do I Need?

Professional photographers use fancy cameras with multiple lenses. Fortunately, you don't need a fancy camera or lots of equipment to take great photos.

If you already have one of these fancy DSLR cameras, that's great! If not, don't worry, any point-and-shoot digital camera will work wonderfully. If you don't already own a camera, you can find one at a reasonable price from places like Target and Wal Mart.

For the best photo quality, I recommend a digital camera that is at least 10 megapixels. You can find this information on the outside of the box your camera came in, or in the owner's manual.

Last, but certainly not least, make sure you have a removable SD card to store your photos on. Some cameras come with one included in the box, but be sure to double check that you have one!

2. What Do I Photograph?

Now that you have the right equipment, it's time to start taking pictures. Here are a few suggestions of WHAT to photograph:

  • Your products - If your business sells things like food, quilts, or other physical objects, take photos of them! It will show people what you offer.
  • Your staff - You've invested in a great team, so make them the stars of your Facebook page.
  • Related images - Photos of keyboards, houses for sale, or blank tax forms are great. Anything that has to do with your business. (Hint: Use the macro setting on your camera to take close-ups, and use a photo editing site to add cool effects).
  • Nature - Leaves, trees, sunsets, etc. are all great options that will brighten up your business page! (Hint: Use a photo editing site to blur the images and add text to them. Inspirational quotes are great)!

3. Rule of Thirds

When you're taking photos, always use the Rule of Thirds. It's an important guideline to follow, and will ensure that your clips and images will be as visually appealing as possible.

Simply put, the Rule of Thirds divides an image into nine squares. (It's basically like putting a  Tic-Tac-Toe board over an image.) Many digital cameras will show you the grid on the screen as you're taking the photo, but if not, it will appear in any photo editor when you try to crop an image.

This photo is a great example of Rule Of Thirds. Notice the grid on the photo.

​The subject of a photo should ALWAYS be located at one of the four places where the lines on the grid cross, instead of in the middle of the frame. It will make your photo look more balanced.

​Notice how the flower is located at one of the intersections, not the middle of the frame.​

4. Editing Tools

Now that you have your photos taken, it's time to edit them.

There are TONS of different programs that you can use to edit your photos. Some, such as Adobe Photoshop, are  expensive and complicated. Others, such as Pixelmator, are more reasonably priced but still a little difficult to master.

For beginners, I recommend using a free website called Ribbet. Creating an account is easy, and you won't have to download any special programs for your computer. Also, the site will store your 100 most recent photos in your online library.

​Aside from basic edits like cropping and photo rotation, Ribbet also offers lots of fun filters that are easy to use. It's any easy way to turn your photos into a work of art for you business pages.

MEMBER BONUS: Who Should Build Your Library?

SMOC members: login to see exclusive members-only secrets about who should build your library and how to turn it into a huge content asset.

Not a member? Start learning today by becoming a Socialmediaonlineclasses member.  CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE.


MEMBER BONUS: Who Should Build Your Library and a Peek Over Our Shoulder

You barely have enough time to run your business, let alone take photos and edit them. So who should you hire?

An intern.

Specifically, a Journalism or Art major who loves photography.  Amanda Jensen, our summer intern, is a freshman at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University.  She loves photography, so I asked her to build a stock photo library by taking images we can use and repurpose for our website and social media.

What's our workflow? Amanda takes the photos, uploads them to a shared Dropbox folder, and everyone on our team has access to them.  We can open the images, edit them, and save them to a new file for a specific purpose.

For example, here's an original photo Amanda took:

​Here's my edited version for Facebook:

I made the photo a bit transparent, added a shadow quote and our logo.
I'll probably reuse this photo again with a different effect and a different quote, as well as use it for a blog post.
See where I'm going with this?
Online marketing requires a lot of content, but our memories are short. So even if you've used an image before, it's unlikely any of your fans will remember it.[/ismember]

Want to Learn More?

Now that you've learned how to build your own stock photo library, it's time to take the next step. Your photos can be uploaded to any social media sites, but Facebook is a great place to start.

Not sure how to post a photo to Facebook?  Still wondering why images are so important to a successful social media campaign?

Members can find all the answers with our Facebook 101 course!