How to make your business look more professional using Canva

So you’ve got a great idea, your product/service is great but how do you get people to take you seriously?

We live in a world where if you own your own business or are a small business, you are expected to not just have an awesome product/service but also do photography, graphic design, advertising, SEO, website, accounting and the list goes on.

Canva can help take some of this over whelm away and give you some of your time back to get on with why you setup your business up in the first place!

If you’ve never heard of Canva; Canva is a graphic design platform, used to create social media graphics, presentations, posters, documents and other visual content. – I personally wouldn’t use it myself for somethings but that’s another topic, but for social media posts it can be super helpful. You can download the Canva app and use it on your mobile phone or go to the website canva.com and login and use it on your desktop. I would strongly advise doing the latter. You have a lot more functionality on the desktop option and for editing unless you’re a total ninja it’s just easier.

There are different plans with Canva, you can use the free plan which still gives you a lot of usability; but for the small monthly charge I would say that the paid version is worth the money – as they say time is money. If you’re not convinced then take them up on the 30 day free trial and see how much of the premium features you use. If you don’t use them then you can switch back to the free plan and if you do use the pro features weekly then it’s probably a sign that it’s worth the upgrade. You can alway downgrade at a later date if this changes in the future.

(I will now assume your on the paid version or upgrade free trial)

You’ve setup an account, now what…

The first thing I would do is setup your “brand kit” this is where it lets you add your logos, colour palette and the fonts you use. If your font isn’t available then you can upload your font to this section. Just make sure you do have the right to use it. If you have purchased it or you have downloaded a google font (yes, you can download google fonts to your desktop) you can then upload it to this section. This will allow you for future designs to quickly access all your brand elements and save you time! It will also help keep your social media posts looking consistent and professional.

Why do I need to stick to the same colours and fonts on my social media posts? I love all colours, won’t it just look a bit boring? The short answer, no! Think about any established brand, why are they recognisable? It is because you can recognise their logo, brand colours and typeface because they are consistent. By being consistent you help your customers know what to expect. This is reassuring. Imagine going into McDonald’s and one day they sold chocolate, the next day they sold beer and so on, while it might be fun for a week, you wouldn’t rely on them as a brand for when you specifically wanted chocolate as they might not be selling it that day, they also probably haven’t put in the time and research to make it a quality product. By being consistent in your message your clients know what to expect and can rely on you for that product. There’s always times when rules are made to be broken, but you need to play by the rules first before you know when it’s okay to break them. Also it saves you time; how many times have you faffed about trying to chose a colour or a font… by being consistent it will also saves YOU time, win win if you ask me.

 

 

 

So you’ve setup your brand kit the next thing to do is to actually start creating some posts. This is where the beauty of Canva really comes in. It already has templates designed for Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube channel art or you can create a custom size. Have a look and see if any of the templates are a good starting point. Once chosen you can now use your Brand Kit to make it your own, quickly change the colours, fonts and add your logo, see how different it now looks, but how quick that was. Canva allows you access to 1000’s of free high quality photos, which is fantastic. Just be wary if you’re always using theirs that you are still promoting you and your product/service. You can upload your own photos and graphics via the “uploads” tab. I would strongly recommend using as many of your own photos as possible.

 

Canva Template examples

 

 

Once you’ve created a template Canva Pro will allow you to resize your image to fit different social media platforms, for example if you post an instagram post on facebook and didn’t resize it, it will add “solid bars” onto the side of your image as the dimensions are not the same. You will probably have to re-jigg some of the design but this will still be a lot quicker than starting from scratch. Once you’ve created a few templates you will find that you can reuse these designs again and again but updating the information or image where appropriate, again saving you time but keeping that consistency.

You are now able to schedule posts to facebook and instagram straight from Canva (you will need to follow their steps to link your facebook business account to Canva to allow this). This again means you can easily setup posts in advance when you have some down time. You can see on a calendar when things are scheduled to be posted and if anything last minute comes up you can simply adjust the time or date of the post so that it can be used another time. At the moment you can’t schedule carousel/multi image posts to instagram but hopefully this will be an updated feature to come soon.

 

Schedule social media posts from Canva

 

If all of this just sounds a bit too much to get your head round, you can also setup a “team”. If you work with several people you can assign one or more people to your team who can create posts that you all have access to and then you can share the workload. Alternatively you can get a graphic designer (like myself) to be part of your team. I can setup your Brand Kit for you and create templates which are saved in one location so all you need to do is go in and update the content you need without the overwhelm of the other elements. Then once you get use to using your own templates you can always venture into looking at other templates and modifying them to your brand in the future. I find that this is a great solution for people that have so many other things to do when setting up a business and it allows them to start using social media straight away, looking professional and consistent from the get go.

 

Example of instagram account using templates created in Canva

If you have any further questions I’d love to know. Alternatively if you would like any assistance with the above then don’t hesitate in getting in touch I love to see new business flourish.

Get in touch

 

 

Side note – this is not in anyway endorsed by Canva, I just know how helpful it can be for businesses in making their social media a more manageable part of their businesses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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As an absolute photography novice, Leah's guide has been a massive help. I make brownies, and by nature, they are brown and have been pretty difficult to make look interesting. I've been really trying to avoid a brown Instagram feed, but really struggled. The guide walked me through how best to use the photography app that I have had downloaded on my phone for over a year (Snapseed) but avoided because I didn't know how to do anything but add a filter. The guide has taken me step by step through how to set up my photos, how to set my phone camera up to make things easier, and how to edit the photo to create the look I have been longing for. In only a couple of weeks, I have seen so much more activity on my Instagram feed, my photos look bright and interesting, and I've had comments on the quality of my photos, not just on their content. Leah has shown me, that with just a few cheap props, I can create the photos I want from home, and I now understand much more about all the elements required to edit a photo. I have invested in more props, and connot wait for them to arrive so I can experiment more!
I had some one to one social media training with Leah and I learnt loads! I needed to understand more about how it all worked to promote my business and gain more followers. Leah gave me some great tips and the confidence to just get on with it! Since then I have gone from posting once every couple of weeks to posting everyday and my followers are increasing with every post. Thank you Leah!

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Leah has been a corner stone in the creating and branding of my business. And I couldn’t have done it without her. She supports through every step of the way and has Fantastic attention to detail and inspiring ideas. When I’ve no clue what I need or really want on some projects she’s managed to come up with some brilliant answers and not made me feel out of touch. Leah can help with any design need big or small. Just the best person to have on your team.