Images are important in social media, be it Twitter or Facebook or (obviously) Pinterest and Instagram. You know that. I know that. So I’m not going to go into the details of why in this post.
Instead, I’d like to dive into the how. How do you create social media images with minimal fuss?
But the easiest, most useful tool has consistently been Google Slides.
Google Slides? Really?
Yup. Google Slides. It’s free to use, everything gets saved in Google Drive, and there are handy features built in that make it a perfect fit for quickly crafting social media images.
Let’s break down the process.
Social Media Image Sizes
First, we need to know what we’re creating, right? Here’s a list of social media image sizes, courtesy of the GoDaddy Garage:
[table id=sm-image-sizes /]
And what if images are getting pulled via Open Graph and the like? We’re looking at slightly different image sizes:
[table id=sm-image-share-sizes /]
Setting Up in Google Slides
Alright! So we know our image sizes. Time to hit Google Slides!
Create a new, blank slide deck. Don’t worry about the style/theme – we’re not going to use one.
Under File, click Page Setup.
Set the dimensions to Custom.
We’re gonna use the YouTube dimensions provided above (1280px * 720px), as it should play nicely with both Facebook and Twitter as well.
Now let’s add our text. You’ll want to keep the text as close to the center as possible, so that if the edges are clipped, the text is still readable. Thankfully Slides helps nudge things like text into alignment.
Now let’s add some background colour. Just click the Background menu item and select a colour from the palette. Personally, I like to go for bright-ish colours that “pop”, and I’ll adjust my text colour accordingly for contrast.
Colours alone are good, but I like to add images as well for texture. It’s a more interesting visual than just a flat colour, IMO.
Click the Images menu item, then select Search, and enter your search terms. (I’m a big fan of photos from Unsplash so I just pop “unsplash” in as the search term.)
Once I’ve found an image that I’d like to use as a background, I zoom out, stretch the image to cover the entire slide, and then crop it to fit.
Once it’s cropped, set it as the bottom layer by going to Arrange > Order > Send to back.
Then click the Image Options menu item. From the right-hand menu, you can recolour the image — for example, making it black and white — and adjust transparency.
Tinker with these settings until you get a composition that you like!
We’re almost there. We just need to download our image. Go to File > Download as > PNG image (current slide). Save it to your computer.
Tip: For added optimization, use CompressPNG to reduce the image’s file size.
Now you have your image! (Woo!) If you’re using WordPress, you can set it as your featured image, as I’ve done with this post. 🙂
And that’s it! Your image is ready to go.