Graphics – or images – play an undeniably important role in today’s social media marketing. However, many marketers don’t have the time or the budget to spend on purchasing or creating sophisticated graphics. Thankfully, there are websites out there that are sympathetic to our plight.
We’ve discovered four useful resources that help make finding the right graphic easy, and more importantly, free.
Freepik.com is a search engine for free graphics for designers, marketers, and amateurs. They describe their business model as “freemium”: most everything is free if you just credit the source. While they offer stock photos, PSDs, and icons, vector graphics are Freepik’s specialty. The website conveniently provides two links when viewing an image: one explains how to edit the graphic and the other explains in what ways you are permitted to use it, without the lawyer jargon, mind you. However, it is important to note that all graphics found on Freepik require an attribution to the source, which they provide you in that second link.
Pixabay.com is home to free stock photos, videos, vector graphics, and more that are under the Creative Commons (CC0) license, which you can read about here. With a few exceptions, most of the graphics you find on Pixabay will be free of charge, no strings attached. Users don’t even have to credit the source, although Pixabay says they would prefer that you did. The unique thing about Pixabay is that instead of only offering still graphics, the website has made available videos and animations as well.
Pexels.com is a website full of stock photos that are completely free and under the CC0 license mentioned previously. Because of this, users can download the files and use them however they want, within legal means. This is great news because Pexels’ photo inventory has everything from galaxies to close ups of hamburgers. Users only have to click the “Download” button to get access. When the arrow adjacent of the “Download” button is clicked, users can choose the file size to download and even enter custom dimensions.
Changing gears, Canva.com is a design program that lets you upload your own files, in addition to several free and purchasable stock photo and design options to choose from. Canva is a useful resource for designing your own simple visuals for social media. The program is fairly intuitive, so even amateur designers like me can produce appealing graphics. Because Canva is for designers, it offers a variety of sizes and templates to work from as well.
Canva becomes an even more powerful tool when paired with stock photo sites like those mentioned above. Photos downloaded from other sites and uploaded into Canva can enhance designs or be used as backgrounds. For example, I created this International Women’s Day graphic for our client, The Maddox Shop, on Canva and used a Pexels.com graphic as the background. It took me less than 25 minutes, including the edits I made with my supervisor’s feedback. That is about half an hour from the download of the background graphic to the actual posting. Free. And. Easy.
Because we can’t always spend our resources on graphics for social media, it is important to have a few tricks, like free stock photo and design websites, up our sleeves to make attractive visuals easy and affordable.
For more resources and tips on utilizing graphics on social media, check out our previous blog: Worth A Thousand Words: Tips For Using Images In Social Media.