Social media is ubiquitous.
According to Pew Research, 74% of online adult Americans use social networking sites. That’s 3 in every 4 people that are clicking on Buzzfeed quizzes, seeing what your breakfast looked like, and even engaging online with people they’ve never met face to face.
According to the same research, 41% of adult internet users take photos or videos that they have found online and repost them on sites designed for sharing images with many people.
The purpose of social media is to remind us that we’re all human and share the same dreams, challenges, and experiences. It’s a way to allow people to see through our lenses and for us to peek through theirs. There aren’t many people who like to be advertised to when they’re in this space, and as such, we need to be creative and authentic. Don’t worry about making art, just make something you would share. Remember, the most important part of posting anything is following up with the people that engage with you.
I’ve compiled this list of resources to help you create imagery that will engage people, and because I understand not everyone is a designer, they’re listed in order of difficulty of use.
1) Take A Picture
Before, after, or even during service, you can take pictures of your pastor, worship team, volunteers, etc… If you can find a scripture, song lyric that is relevant to that morning’s service, you have a quick solution. You can use this as an opportunity to thank them as well. You’d be surprised how effective a well framed shot can be on Instagram or your favorite photo-sharing app.
2) Share From Another Post
There are MANY content creators out there. These creators post great images to social media, and I’m not telling you to take credit (in fact, I think you should thank them), but once it’s out there you can share it too. This is a great way to come up with imagery, but also engage with its creator.
3) Use Buffer’s Tool, Pablo
The social media management app Buffer has a secondary web app called Pablo. Pablo allows you to create shareable images in about 30 seconds. They have a selection of stock photos you can use or you can upload your own. There’s also a text tool that will allow you to craft your message if you don’t want to use the one they recommend. There are limited options with this one, but it’s incredibly easy to use. [Pablo Review]
4) Add Text Overlay with Over
Over is an app for iOS and Android that allows you to put some very nice looking text or artwork over your pictures. It’s free to use, but you can purchase artwork sets or fonts if you don’t like the stock offering. Use this in conjunction with Instagram to add filters for a great effect.
5) Use Canva to Add Image Filters and Text
Canva is basically a super light version of Photoshop on the web and will allow you to create images for any medium you can imagine. You pick what purpose you will create your image for (Facebook Post, Poster, Presentation Slide, etc…) and get started with thousands of free or paid assets. You can even bring your own assets to the party and create truly unique images for your church. They even offer a “design school” for folks who aren’t quite sure what they’re doing. [Canva Review]
6) Create An Infographic
ChurchMag (and the entire web for that matter) is a big fan of infographics. Me too! Heck, I’ve personally got a whole Pinterest board filled with them. Did you know you can make your own online? There a several sites that will allow you to create one, all you need is the information to plug in. Check out Jeremy’s favorite solutions here.
7) Create A .GIF
Do you have a favorite YouTube video? Do you think the scene where “the one guy did the thing” is the funniest thing you’ve ever seen? Make it a .GIF at Imgur. They have a tool that will turn your video link into a .GIF. It’s super easy to use and it’s a great way to share an image.
8) Sign Up at Creative Market and Take Advantage of Their Freebies
I love Creative Market. Like, LOVE love. There are some great and very talented people involved in that community. You can sign up for their email list and get 6 free resources delivered to your inbox every Monday. Seriously, for a designer, it’s like Christmas. There’s everything from icons to picture sets to fonts, basically everything you would need to put together a nice striking image.
9) Grab A Stock Photo and Photoshop It
Did you know that Adobe will give you Photoshop for free? It’s true. They’ve listed all of their CS2 products for free download. Sure, it’s outdated and no longer supported, but it still works. Brush up on your skills for text overlay and color correction via YouTube and grab yourself a free stock photo. Here are 53+ places to find royalty free stock photos on the web.
10) Ask For Help from Your Congregation
It’s possible you have one or two people in your church that are talented designers or just have a knack for social media. Ask them to help. You may find a discipleship opportunity as well as a shiny new volunteer.