For construction marketing in 2016, social media is a great way for contractors to attract customers, and using social media is generally a lot easier than learning to design complicated websites.
This is especially true if you plan on using a lot of pictures that showcase your work…something I’ve been screaming from rooftops since 2005! After all, people use images to confirm what you tell them you can do and want to see examples of past work to provide visual confirmation before they let you start ripping their friggin’ walls apart.
While social media is easy to use with a bit of practice, creating designs and pictures is a bit trickier, especially if you are using a complicated program like Photoshop.
Luckily, there’s a cool site out there called Canva.com, which is basically a web-based designer for images which allows you to create a professional look for your pictures at the touch of a few mouse clicks.
Canva offers multiple templates for social media designs, each tailored towards a specific aspect of social media (Facebook banners and posts, Twitter pictures, Youtube banners, etc.). This ensures that your design will seamlessly integrate with whatever purpose you are creating it for while Canva keeps up with proper image sizes for each platform.
While Canva is generally easy to use, some users (especially those with little to no experience designing social media pictures and banners) may have a bit of difficulty with a few of the components, so here’s some help:
The layout serves as the anchor of your design; think of it as the foundation. Be sure to choose a layout carefully, as everything else you add will be dependent upon the colors and theme you choose in your layout. Once you begin your design, click the layout button on the left side of the screen (it’s the second button in the row, below the search bar and above the elements button). Scroll through the options until you find one you like.
Remember, you can delete components of the layout and still keep the general design, so if you like a background but want it to have hammers around the edges instead of flowers, you can edit that later. Once you find a layout you like, either click on it or drag it into the blank design box in the middle of the screen.
You may be tempted to use one of your own pictures to form a layout. While some situations (such as creating a banner for Facebook with a picture of a renovated home on it), in most cases you should try using a layout first and superimpose a smaller picture of your project. It looks more professional, and gives you more control over things like color and text.
Remember the white canvas you started with? That’s called the background of your design. The background is only visible around the parts of your layout that are “cut” and not connected to each other. For most layouts, the background is essentially a “frame” going around the outer edge of the design. Some layouts, however, have space in between their components, meaning that more of your background will show.
Backgrounds are available in either solid colors or “textured” in which a pattern is placed over a solid color-kind of like a granite countertop. The background button is the fifth button on the left-hand side, below text button and above upload).
Solid colors are the circles at the top of the screen, under the search button. Textures are shown as square blocks below solid colors. To add a background, click on a design you like. One of the great parts about choosing a background is that you don’t have to delete the old one before testing out a new pattern; just click on another background and Canva will automatically replace the old design.
If you choose to go with a solid color, but don’t like any of the choices, click the “+” button on the bottom row of the solid color circles. A color wheel will appear that allows you to choose different color shades.
You can also use backgrounds instead of a layout, although this involves placing text boxes and ensuring symmetry, so you may want to wait on this until you have a little more experience.
Elements are very important to your design, as they are what really make it “yours.” When you click on the elements button (its the third one, right under layouts), your options will pop up. There are several different categories of elements. Some of these, such as frames, are self-explanatory, however you may need help with the following:
Grids are used to help divide your design into multiple areas, and can be inserted in horizontal, vertical or combination patterns. Grids are good for ensuring symmetry between objects or for showcasing different photos.
For example, if you want to create a social media picture that showcases a home renovation, you could add a picture of each room to each of area of the grid. This saves you from the hassle of creating multiple designs, and gives your customers a quick look at your work.
Illustrations, lines and pictures
These are essentially “clip art” and can be added at will to give your design some flair. Click on one of these buttons to get a range of options. When you find one you like, click on that and resize it to your liking. You can place as many pieces of “clip art” in your design as you want. You can also use one of your uploaded pictures. Since many of these elements (aside from pictures) are very abstract, you may want to use a picture or two of a project you have done to really catch a customer’s eye.
Icons are similar to “clip art” except that they are very abstract in nature. They are best suited to provide “links” for your customers to click on. For example, if you are creating a facebook post, you may want to have an icon that sends redirects people to your website or to a photo based site such as Pinterest .
If you’ve tooled around with Canva, you realize just how resourceful it is if you are trying to do a bit of your own construction marketing, but if you need some help or want an agency to care for your marketing, give us a shout, we’ll answer all your questions!