Having a social media presence isn't enough. Businesses also need to create and post engaging content online. Your social media posts should accurately represent your business and market your services. But to engage your audience, you'll need visuals. If you can present data in a fun and visually appealing way, you're more likely to grab people's attention.
Since 2007, the use of visual information, like infographics, has increased 9,900 percent, according to Google Trends. Why? Because they work. The human brain is simply wired to quickly see and interpret graphics. In fact, it only takes us 150 microseconds to process symbols and 100 microseconds to attach a meaning to it. And you're more likely to remember 80 percent of things you see and do versus 20 percent for what you read, according to a study by California State University, Fullerton.
Thankfully, you don't need a graphic design degree to create visually compelling infographics. There are cheap – even free – tools small businesses can use to create engaging graphics.
Here's a list of six tools that can elevate your graphic design game.
Canva is a popular graphic design tool that can be used to create flyers, posters, social media posts, business cards, infographics and much more. Users with little to no graphic design skills can create engaging infographics using Canva. With a range of templates, users just have to drag and drop new photos, replace text or drop new illustrations to create a completely new design.
You can edit your entire infographic from its color to background. You can add elements like photos, grids, frames, shapes, lines, illustrations, icons and charts. Its free version has everything businesses need to create professional graphics, but the paid version gives you access to more free photos and illustrations, plus the ability to save reusable templates and your brand colors, logos, and fonts. Its paid version, Canva for Work, is $12.95 per month.
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Infogram helps businesses create charts, infographics, maps, reports, dashboards and Facebook posts. While it has a free version, you're limited to 10 projects in your library and 13 map types. Also, your projects aren't private, and you can't download your graphics.
However, with a paid version, you can publish your work online or download it as an image. Infogram allows you to add charts, maps, images, icons and text to your graphics. If you aren't sure how to use this tool when you first sign up, wait to receive a welcome email. In the email, there's a video about how to get started and a link to the tutorials page. While Infogram isn't as intuitive as other services, such as Canva, it's still is easy to use.
It has four paid plans that start at $19 per month. The paid versions grant you access to more than 550 map types, privacy control and analytics.Infographics are a great way to easily communicate complex information to your target audience that will resonate. Credit: Infogram
Like most services, you can sign up with Piktochart using a Google or Facebook account. Pikochart has tutorials so you can quickly familiarize yourself with the program and start creating infographics, presentations, and printables.
Pikochart's free version has all of the tools you need to easily create professional and interesting graphics. Upgrading to a paid account unlocks helpful features, such as 600-plus templates, images without watermarks, animated icons, custom color schemes, plus others.
It has three different paid accounts that start at $15 per month. [Interested in website design software? Check out our best picks.]
You sign up by providing your name and email address. Once you confirm your email address and sign in, a video tutorial pops up that shows you how to create a graphic.
Snappa has templates for social media posts, infographics, headers, social media ads and display ads. While the free version only has a handful of infographic templates available, you can still download your graphic without a watermark on it. However, if you plan to download more than five graphics a month, you'll want to upgrade to a paid plan, which start at $15 per month.
The paid plans offer unlimited downloads and templates, saved designs and folders, custom font uploads, and it integrates with Buffer.With Snappa, you can easily create a cover for your business's Facebook page. Credit: Snappa
With Venngage, you can create infographics, presentations, posters, reports, resumes, social posts, flyers, newsletters and invitations in minutes. It also features templates and designs picked for you based on your preferences. However, unlike other services, you need a paid plan to download your graphics.
It has two plans: Premium and Business. Plans start at $19 per month and include templates, image uploads and chat support. The Business plan helps you build your brand identity with the ability to upload logos, choose your brand colors and pick your fonts.
Visme has easy-to-use templates for presentations, infographics, reports and e-books, printables, web graphics and social graphics. It has a range of tools to create great infographics, including an expansive library of icons, shapes and photos. There is also a feature where you input your own data to create charts, tables, graphs and maps.
It has plans for individuals, businesses and education. The cheapest business plan is $30 per month, which offers unlimited projects, 10GB of storage and the ability to download images without a watermark. With the free version, you can download JPEGs, but you can only download PNG, PDF or HTML5 images with the paid plans.
Pitch Interactive's Tilegrams help you download and embed beautiful maps, specifically hexagonal cartograms. Depending on the type of data you plan to map (and whether a map is best suited for your purposes), this open source tool is free, fun and easy.Tilegrams by Pitch Interactive lets you create a cartogram, which conveys a lot of information in an easy-to-understand graphic. Credit: Pitch Interactive
Flourish can be used to quickly turn spreadsheets into online charts, maps and interactive or animated graphics. It requires no coding knowledge; you simply drop the data into one of the company's many templates.
There is no software to install. There is a free version that comes with a core group of templates that can be embedded on your site. The next tier is the Personal account, which costs $55 per month and lets you keep your projects private. For the Business plan, you'll need to contact the company for pricing, but this tier lets you upload your own custom templates, allows for collaboration among team members and removes watermarks from images. Phone support and training are also part of the Business plan.