“Visual Storytelling” seems to be the new buzzword floating around nonprofit blogs and conferences around the globe. Social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest are a fantastic way to share your organization’s story, and it has become clear that pictures and videos generate the most traffic.  Sharing visuals on social media communicates your mission to your followers and is more likely to be liked, shared, retweeted, and pinned, therefore, spreading your mission to an even wider audience.

So how do you go about doing that when you just got handed the task of doing the “social media stuff” for your organization? There’s good news; you don’t have to be a graphic designer or even have a lot of time to create awesome visual content.  You just need the right, easy-to-use tools!

In part one, we are going to focus on pictures and graphics.  We’ll get to video in part two.

Here are three FREE user-friendly tools that will make creating eye-catching visual content quick and painless.

Happy-Earth-Day

Made using Quozio

Quozio is great for nonprofits that may not have much photo content to share, but who still want the benefit of sharing visuals on social media. Quozio takes your text, whether it’s statistics, quotes, or a call to action, and puts it on a photo or a basic color background.  Now, this is a very basic tool that is not very customizable, but it is extremely easy to use and gets the job done quickly.  You can share directly to social media or right click your image and save it to your computer. Quozio even has a bonus feature called a bookmarklet that allows you to highlight text on any website and quote it.  http://quozio.com/ Skill level: beginner

catstare2

Created with Pic Monkey

Pic Monkey is a wonderful online tool for uploading and editing your own photos. You can perform simple edits like cropping, re-sizing  adjusting the color, and so on, as well as adding text, effects, overlays, shapes, and much more.  You can even create a collage of several pictures.  Pic monkey is free to use, and when you’re finished editing you can save your photos to your computer or share them on social media directly from the site.  There are additional features available to those that register and pay for membership, but this is not required for basic use. Be sure to check out the Pic Monkey blog for some great tips to take your creations to the next level. http://www.picmonkey.com/ Skill Level: beginner to intermediate

Easelly allows you to create your very own infographics easily (get it?).  Alright joking aside, we all know that infographics are all the rage right now.  They are a great way to share statistics and other information with your audience visually.  Easelly simplifies the process of creating infographics so that you don’t have to be a graphic designer to get great results. You will have to create a free account in order to save, but you will be able to keep all of your creations within your account.  Then just choose a “vheme” (visual theme), drag and drop it onto your canvas, add/change the graphics and text to meet your needs, and save.  Everything is customizable.  Watch the video clip below and see for yourself. http://www.easel.ly/ Skill Level: intermediate to advanced

Quick Tips:

*Save your creations to your computer and then upload photos to social media, rather than sharing them directly from the online tools. This will ensure that you are sharing full size images rather than a thumbnail with a link.

*Check out this website for free stock photos that don’t require attribution as long as you alter the photo in some way. Just be sure you click on Free Photos at the top of the page. http://www.morguefile.com/archive

So what are you waiting for?! Go try out at least one of these tools and start sharing your shiny new visual content right now!

Update: Click here to read Part 2 of this series

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Leslie Ziegler

Social Media Specialist