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Quickview: A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Retweets

This simple and low-cost solution lets you quickly create compelling images and designs to boost online engagement with clients and prospects.

Bill Winterberg, 03/27/2014

If you want to generate more engagement with content posted to your website, Facebook page, Twitter feed, or anywhere online, you should include a compelling image along with your message.

The AllTwitter division of MediaBistro.com recently used metrics provided by brand marketing provider SHIFT to show that tweets with images generated roughly five times the level of engagement versus their text-only counterparts.

But what if you don't have the budget to hire a professional graphic designer or the need to create hundreds of images for your online campaigns?

One simple and low-cost solution that lets you quickly create compelling images and designs is called Canva.

Canva launched a completely free online graphic design tool in the second half of 2013. It monetizes its platform by offering paid images alongside a number of stock graphics and photos, so if you see a proprietary image you'd like to use in your design, you can buy a license on the spot, typically for a few dollars.

Canva offers a number of existing design templates for social media, presentations, posters, blog graphics, Facebook cover images, or card projects.  Once a template is selected, you can drag and drop photos, text, background, and clip-art elements to create your final design.

There is hardly any learning curve to Canva, which is a refreshing contrast to the full-featured design programs such as Adobe Photoshop or even Adobe Illustrator. Granted, the professional programs are well suited to high-end design, but if your objective is to raise interest with your online content, the features and price point of these programs might be hard to justify for your purposes. 

If you can deal with some minor annoyances of the platform (for example, cropping allows you to enlarge, but not shrink, images), Canva provides a very simple, yet powerful tool to design your next graphic. Give Canva a try and see how custom-designed images improve your online engagement with clients and prospects.


Bill Winterberg, CFP, is a technology and operations consultant to independent financial advisors. His comments on technology have been featured in a variety of financial industry publications. You can view more information about Bill and see his schedule of upcoming speaking engagements at his Web site, FPPad.com. The author is a freelance contributor to MorningstarAdvisor.com. The views expressed in this article may or may not reflect the views of Morningstar.

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