50 Easy Shortcuts to Create Visual Content for Social Media

Are you ready to shortcut the time taken to create visual content? 

In this post I share 50 shortcuts to Create Visual Content for Social Media including tools, strategies and apps that work to save you HOURS of time every month. 

50 Shortcuts to Create Visuals for Social Media
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50 Shortcuts to Create Visuals for Social Media
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Image by Shutterstock

UPDATED WITH BONUS TOOLS | 17 DEC 2017 | CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS

I recently surveyed my audience and I asked them “What is your biggest challenge when it comes to visual content creation?”. Almost 80% of them said the following:   Time.

Even if they felt confident creating visuals (and many didn't), it was taking them hours.  So they gave up.

Which is a shame, because if you have been following this blog at all, you would know that visual content (from images to infographics to slideshare to periscope and short video) gets shared, drives traffic… and results in sales.

So I decided to share ALL the ways that my team and I manage to create awesome visual content in less time.

Before we started using some of these tools and strategies, our visual content creation was haphazard at best.  Now it's much easier.  And much quicker.

Ready? Let's take a look at the tips and tools:

50 ShortCuts to Create Visual Content for Social Media Marketing

Here are 50 Shortcuts to Create Visual Content for Social Media.  There will be some familiar favourites in here and some new tools to love.. and some old tools that you can now look at in a whole new light.

Enjoy! … 

Inspiration Shortcuts

Before you start creating images, you really need to have some ideas about the content you want to create. Here are some inspiration and planning shortcuts that we use every week to create dozens of pieces of visual content (quickly and easily).

1  Create a HIT LIST

I wrote about this here. Having a Hit List can be a great way to source inspiration in order to create your own images.

Now, don't get too excited. Nobody is ending up in the trunk of a car. It's simply a list of pages or profiles to follow in order to get ideas for what to share and what to create.

Share the content you find on a hit list and share your own original content consistently too. Other people are out there looking for great sources of content so if you can end up on their Hit List… even better!  

This is not about copying. It's about inspiring you to create your own visuals and putting your own spin on it.

Some places you can find Hit Lists are:

  • Facebook Pages (Facebook Interest Lists are great for this)
  • Websites and Blogs
  • Instagram Accounts
  • Pinterest Boards
  • Twitter accounts (Twitter Lists are great for this).

2  Use an “Ideas Dump” Document in the Cloud

Once you have ideas you need to put them somewhere, right? At Socially Sorted, my content manager and I have an “ideas dump” document where we basically throw any and all ideas that we have to create visual content…. thoughts, ideas, screenshots, examples (we don't copy of course, but instead use them for “inspiration”).

The good thing is that you also find some pretty awesome content to “curate” and share too!

You can use Google Docs or Dropbox for this document.  Or even Evernote.

Any of those tools will allow you to easily drop ideas into the Dump Zone as a team – and they are in the cloud, so easily accessed.

Wave's Content Calendar

If you're looking for Video Ideas, then check out Wave.Video's Content Calendar. It's packed with video ideas, video templates, ready to post videos and hashtags.

You'll never run out of video ideas again. Look it up in the wave Dashboard – click on “calendar” in the menu if you have a Wave Account or check it out here.

Image Creation Shortcuts – Desktop Tools

We've never had it so easy when it comes to visual content creation. There are so many tools that do the heavy lifting for you.

BUT it can be overwhelming working out which ones to start with to create visual content.  So, I have listed the tools we use on a regular basis to create visuals quickly and easily – saving loads of time.

(You may have your own favourites, so of course, use them too!)

Canva

Canva is a DIY Design Tool that keeps getting better and better.

  • Not only can you create just about every kind of image (from PDFs to social media images, Infographics and slide decks) but you can easily access a huge library of stock photos for just $1 USD each.
Canva Templates - 50 Shortcuts to Create Visual Content for Social Media
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Canva Templates - 50 Shortcuts to Create Visual Content for Social Media
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All the templates your heart desires!

If you want to have some design freedom, but still create visuals that look great, quickly, then Canva provides you with a big short cut to visual content.

Oh, and Canva's Design School might just be the best thing since sliced bread when it comes to learning how to create visuals more efficiently (that look great).

You can do dozens of short tutorials, within Canva, so you learn WHILE using the tool.  I learned how to use the “Blur” feature below to make the text or icons stand out on a post:

How to create Better Visual Content with Canva's Design Tutorials
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Stuck? Need a hint?  Just hit the “Need a Hint” prompt and a video pops up showing you how to do the task!  Simple!

5  Relay

RELAYs website simply states:  Graphics that Design themselves.

Relay: 50 Shortcuts to Create Visual Content for Social Media
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Relay: 50 Shortcuts to Create Visual Content for Social Media
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Relay: Graphics that Design Themselves

It's hard to put into words what RELAY can do, but think image creation meets automation with a little magic thrown in… that might just cover it.

RELAY is packed with an ever-growing list of templates. When you enter assets into RELAY the layouts in the system automatically adapt to each asset you update.

RELAY Templates - 50 Shortcuts to Create Visual Content for Social Media
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RELAY also has a one-click resize function that instantly resizes your graphic for every platform. No additional tweaking required.

RELAY's One Click Resize: 50 Shortcuts to Create Visual Content for Social Media
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RELAY's One Click Resize: 50 Shortcuts to Create Visual Content for Social Media
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One click and BOOM.. resized on RELAY!

I can't do RELAY justice with words alone – check it out for yourself here for a free trial.

6  Canva's Color Tools

This is a great suite of color inspiration tools for your visual content creation. It includes a 4 in 1 suite of color tools including:

  1. Color Palette Generator
  2. Color Palette Tools
  3. Color Wheel
  4. Color Meanings

Like me, I'm sure you'll use these tools more than once, after you give them a test run!

7  Designfeed

Designfeed is still in Beta and I suggest you jump in and try it.  Designfeed creates gorgeously-rendered content, sized to fit all relevant platforms.

All you need to do is tell Designfeed what you want it to say, and it will automatically generate an endless stream of design variations.

Designfeed's Image Templates - 50 Shortcuts to Create Visual Content for Social Media
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Designfeed's Image Templates - 50 Shortcuts to Create Visual Content for Social Media