7 WAYS CANVA TEMPLATES CAN HELP YOU GROW YOUR BUSINESS

7 WAYS CANVA TEMPLATES CAN HELP YOU GROW YOUR BUSINESS

When you start your own business, you need to learn so many new skills: financial, social, motivational and beyond. Given that you’re the one responsible for making everything happen, it’s easy to think that you need to do it all yourself, but that’s just not true. In fact, experts say you need to build systems for others to follow as soon as you can, so you can stay doing the thing you love and let others do the rest. Doing this prevents frustration and burn-out. One of the easiest systems you can introduce to your business are Canva templates for your social media graphics. Here are seven reasons why you might want to use them to grow your business and stay sane at the same time.

1. SAVE YOUR VALUABLE TIME WITH CANVA TEMPLATES

Time is one of the scarcest resources of a business owner. Do you really want to spend hours creating graphics, when you could take a short-cut with templates, updating with your branded colours, fonts and text in a few minutes? And once you have your favourites updated with your branding, simply duplicate pages in your design and swap out the text and photos. It’s that easy!

Using brand fonts and colours consistently means your followers recognise your posts as soon as they appear in their feed – an easy way to build your brand. And templates make it possible to batch weeks or months of content at a time and schedule out your posts, so you have time and bandwidth to work on other parts of your business, secure in the knowledge that your social media posts are going out when they should. 

Even if you ‘like’ designing social media graphics, is spending hours on them a great use of your time? Is there something else that would be a better use of your time? Hint: it may be something you don’t want to do and designing social media graphics is a displacement activity. If you really need a break from work, you could choose an activity that is completely unconnected.

Canva business templates - an example of a carousel template for Canva that could save you hours.

2. STAY IN YOUR ZONE OF GENIUS

We often start a business because we want to work in a particular field on our own and we’re passionate about that – or certainly about the freedom that working for yourself can bring. What can remove the shine from that vision are the other tasks that are not part of your chosen profession. For instance, if you’re a yoga teacher who loves helping their clients build stronger and more flexible bodies, it doesn’t automatically follow that you also love running an Instagram account, learning to set up an online shop to sell classes or completing tax returns. You may not be skilled at these either. 

Give yourself the gift of freedom and outsource or minimise those tasks where possible, so that you can spend most of your time connecting with your clients. Canva templates are an easy stepping stone that give professional results for your marketing without needing to learn design principles yourself. Just add in your own fonts, colours and text. 

3. KEEPS YOU IN TOUCH WITH DESIGN TRENDS

It can be easy to be stuck in your own design world – the way it’s always been done. By tapping into Canva business templates, you’re staying current with trends and your business reflects it’s moving with the times.

This can be simple updates such as using a gradient rather than a single colour or using trending elements. And because someone else is doing the designing, you don’t have to stay on top of the latest looks. Win-win!

You can still retain your brand colours and fonts most of the time, with the trending elements or designs swapping in to keep your social media graphics and other marketing visuals fresh. 

4. LEVERAGE YOUR HOURS

In order for your business to earn more, your average hourly rate has to increase. Whether that’s raising what you charge for professional services, or spending your time creating products that can be sold multiple times to leverage your time, your hourly rate matters. 

Given this, you need to ask yourself if it makes any sense to spend hours creating a graphic that someone else – an expert in THEIR field – has already 90% created. This is their leveraged product that is available at a much lower price point than it would cost to have a custom design created. 

Unless your outgoings need to be as close to zero as possible or you’re outsourcing your social media completely, Canva business templates are the efficient middle way to create marketing graphics efficiently. 

5. READY TO PUBLISH IN MINUTES

Yes, we’re talking about your time again and how to make the most of it. Canva templates can help you publish in minutes rather than hours. This can mean you’re able to create and schedule a social post in a small pocket of time between meetings or at the end of the day.

And because you’re not wasting time thinking about text size or balancing elements, you never end up taking five times as long as you planned to work on your socials, abandoning other important tasks in your schedule. Apart from anything else, having your daily plans hijacked by a marketing graphic is discouraging.  

6. TEMPLATES HAVE THE LATEST FEATURES

Many Canva business templates make the most of recently added functionality and new additions to the library. They could feature animations, text variations or simply using the latest elements, which add the ‘ooh’ factor to your social posts. It also means you don’t have to ‘stay up with the latest trends’ – as they’re already baked into the templates. 

7. TEMPLATES ARE SYSTEMS FOR YOUR BUSINESS

When starting your business, you want to create systems for efficiency. It also means that when you’re ready to delegate tasks, they’re ready to hand over. In the case of creating weekly Instagram content, for example, this could be tasks that include reviewing the past week, choosing topics (based on your content pillars), writing posts, recording and editing video, creating graphics, scheduling and daily engagement.

You might make these into a checklist, a set of Trello cards or a section in Notion, depending on how you like to run your business. You can link the URL of your Canva templates quickly and easily into any online system – even a PDF checklist.

Once you’ve built your systems, you can see easily which parts – if not all – you can delegate to others.  Systems also keep you on track: it’s easier to work through a checklist than remember what you need to do and in what order every time. Systems also mean knowing how long a set of tasks take, so you can plan enough time in your diary. 

What do you think? Do any of these points resonate with you and your business? Have you tried using Canva templates for your marketing? There are a range of them available in the shop

HOW TO CREATE AN INSTAGRAM CAROUSEL THAT GIVES YOU BETTER ENGAGEMENT

HOW TO CREATE AN INSTAGRAM CAROUSEL THAT GIVES YOU BETTER ENGAGEMENT

Creating an Instagram carousel – the grid posts with multiple photos/videos – can be a challenge and yet the upside is so high: greater engagement, content that serves your audience and is perfect for sharing and saving. Here’s what you need to know about creating a carousel for your business that gives you the most saves, likes and shares for your time. There’s even a free PDF checklist at the end of this post you can download.

WHAT IS AN INSTAGRAM CAROUSEL POST? HERE’S THE DEFINITION.

Carousels are the way you post multiple photos on Instagram on the grid. This grid post can have up to 10 photos, videos or a mix of the two. Viewers swipe through from right to left on the screen to view each slide, one at a time. A series of grey dots under the posts shows how many slides are in the carousel, with a blue dot marking the position of the current slide. 

Carousels are the same as regular posts in other ways including captions, the ability to share, comment, like and save. Instagram introduced them early in 2017 as an ad format, extending that to all users soon afterwards.

WHAT SIZE TO MAKE YOUR CAROUSEL POSTS?

You can make carousel posts any size from square to a 4:5 ratio vertical or portrait image, as long as they have matching dimensions. If you try adding differently sized photos or videos, they will crop to the same shape as your first slide. If you’re choosing a non-square size, you might want to consider what your first photo will look like cropped in your grid. 

In pixels, a 4:5 ratio for Instagram is 1080 pixels wide by 1350 pixels high. This format takes up the most amount of screen space available, so is the best format for impact in the scroll.

You can also use horizontal images or videos up to a 1.91:1 ratio, which is 1080 pixels wide by 566 pixels high. This is not an ideal format, because it takes up so little space in the feed, which means it’s easy to scroll past without noticing it. If you want to keep your images wide and narrow, you could use a photo or graphics editor to add white space above and below your image, helping it stand out in the feed.

Videos can last up to 60 seconds and need to be smaller than 4GB.

Be aware that your carousel will show in your Instagram feed as a square, with the top and bottom of your first slide hidden, so make sure that your design and any text you want seen is in the centre of the carousel’s first slide.

HOW TO CREATE AND POST AN INSTAGRAM CAROUSEL

How to create a carousel inside the Instagram app

  1. Tap the + sign on the top right, next to the menu.
  2. Tap the post option (with a grid icon).
  3. This will bring up the ‘Recents’ album. Navigate to another album if needed and tap the multiple photo option. 
  4. Tap on the photos or videos you want to include in your carousel, in the order you want them to appear. 
  5. Tap ‘Next’ on the top right of your screen. Select any preferred filter options.
  6. Write a caption, adding tags and other details as you would for a regular grid post.
  7. Tap ‘Share’ on the top right of your screen! 
Scheduling an Instagram Carousel in Facebook - screenshots of how to upload your carousel slides and schedule to publish inside Creator Studio. You can rearrange all the slides or delete and replace slides.

How to create a carousel inside Facebook Creator Studio on desktop

  1. Navigate to Creator Studio inside Facebook (find it in the options down the left of your screen on a desktop). This assumes you have a Facebook page attached to your Instagram account. 
  2. Create a new post and upload your carousel slides. They will automatically display in the order you uploaded them.  You can drag and drop the slides into a different order if needed. 
  3. Add your caption and hashtags to the text area. Add your location, if wanted. 
  4. Schedule or publish your post. There’s also an option to save as a draft. 

Please note: Facebook is replacing Creator Studio with Business Suite, on a gradual worldwide rollout. You can also create and schedule carousels inside third party apps such as Planoly and Later.

WHAT ENGAGEMENT DO CAROUSEL POSTS RECEIVE? 

According to Social Insider, Carousels have an average engagement rate per post of 1.92%, compared to 1.74% for images and 1.45% for videos. The engagement rate hits 2% for posts where all 10 carousel slides are used – a great reason to think about using them all! However, most carousels have between two and four slides. Other studies suggest that carousel post engagement rates are even higher than this. 

WHY DO CAROUSEL POSTS RECEIVE MORE ENGAGEMENT?

There are multiple reasons why carousel posts receive more engagement. One is time spent to see all of the post: looking at multiple photos or videos simply takes longer than looking at one. 

Another reason for increased engagement with carousel posts is that Instagram can show your post multiple times in the feeds of your followers.  If the first slide doesn’t stop the scroll, Instagram may show the second or third slides, to encourage swipe-throughs to the rest of the slides. This increases the chances of followers engaging with your post. 

There’s also the fact that a post with multiple photos or videos is more likely to contain more value than those with a single slide, especially if you know your followers well and cater to their interests. This might be photos of a product and multiple details, a variety of styling for clothing or  inspirational quotes on one theme. 

Regina Anaejionu uses carousels for mini-lessons that lead into her courses for thought leaders. She’s creating huge value for her ideal clients, without even leaving Instagram. If they like what they read, they’re primed to click her bio and check out what else she could offer them. 

INSTAGRAM CAROUSEL IDEAS

Multiple photos or videos can show many aspects of one product or idea or you can tell a story in bite-sized chunks spread across the slides. Curiosity is key here – make sure at least some of the information is shared in later slides, so viewers swipe all the way through your slides. 

  • Carousel posts can act as cornerstone content for your feed, providing valuable information for your ideal audience. This can include:
  • User generated content, possibly with a cover image, so they fit your feed’s aesthetic.
  • An introduction to a product or service
  • A list of tips
  • A range of testimonials
  • Transformations: showcase ‘before’ and ‘after’ your service or product
  • Tutorials
  • Features on others in your niche
  • Your origin story

Want a list of 27 carousel ideas that work for any kind of business? You can download the list by clicking the image below and adding your email address.

Instagram Carousel ideas list in a PDF as an instant download. Written by a social media manager for any niche or any business.

INSTAGRAM CAROUSEL TEMPLATES

Instagram carousel templates help you create a set of cohesive slides which work together, without taking hours or needing a professional designer. This also allows you to concentrate on choosing your words and images or graphics carefully, to tell the story that best works for your business. 

Instagram carousel template example with 10 slides, overlapping elements across the slides, a cover slide that will be seen in the Instagram feed and a call to action at the end. Carousel templates can save you time when creating your Instagram content.

I’ve created multiple carousel templates for free online design tool Canva. You can find the templates here.  Canva templates can be swapped out to your own brand’s colours and fonts in seconds, ready for your own text and photos or video.

Hopefully, you now have all the details you need to create your own engaging carousel on Instagram! 

USE THE ARCHIVE INSTAGRAM POST FEATURE TO CURATE YOUR FEED

USE THE ARCHIVE INSTAGRAM POST FEATURE TO CURATE YOUR FEED

You always want your Instagram feed to show clearly what you or your business is about. One of the best ways you can do that is by regularly curating your feed using the archive Instagram post feature: here’s a step-by-step guide to archiving posts.

HOW TO ARCHIVE INSTAGRAM POSTS

The first step is to learn how to archive Instagram posts. To archive a post, click the three dots on the top right of the post and click the second option – to archive. Your post will disappear from your Instagram grid but the post and its insights are kept in the archive, where only you can see them.

How to archive Instagram posts in 2020 - a step by step guide. HOW TO FIND ARCHIVED INSTAGRAM POSTS

You can find archived Instagram posts by going to your Instagram profile and clicking on the three lines at the top right of your account and clicking on Archive. It has a drop-down menu for you to access either posts or Stories. Click on the post option to see all your archived posts.

To move an archived post back to your grid, select the relevant archived post and select the option to ‘Show on profile’. It will automatically move back to your grid, showing in date order and containing all of its likes and comments.

INSTAGRAM ARCHIVE FEATURE INTRODUCTION

Instagram introduced its archive feature in mid-2017 after testing it several months earlier. At the time, many Instagrammers were removing posts that didn’t get the number of comments or likes they wanted, sometimes leading to moments of regret

Posts that are archived are only able to be seen by the account owner. They’re especially useful when you want to create Story highlights on a particular theme – just go into your Story archive and add the relevant Stories which expire after 24 hours.

HOW TO CURATE YOUR INSTAGRAM FEED

Now that you know how to move Instagram posts into the archive and back again, have a good look at your grid. What does it say about you or your business? If someone glanced at the photos without reading the captions, would that give a clear picture of what you have to offer and your style – especially for creative businesses?

Try removing any posts that detract from the main message or style of your grid to leave behind a well curated feed that tells visitors in a few seconds what’s on offer. If your feed has a pattern, it may take a couple of rounds of changes to curate your feed so that it maintains an aesthetic look while showing only the very best of your work. This can work especially well if you’ve updated your brand or feed colours and want to phase in the new palette.

You could even try archiving some of the colours or content in your grid to test the look.  If you don’t like it, just un-archive the posts  In fact, any time you want to curate or freshen your Instagram feed, you can use the archiving feature, knowing you can always return a post if you change your mind.

WHAT DOES TBT MEAN AND HOW TO USE ON YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS

WHAT DOES TBT MEAN AND HOW TO USE ON YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS

Ever seen #TBT on a social media post and wondered what it meant? Here’s a quick explanation of what TBT means and how to use it on your own social media platforms.

WHAT DOES TBT MEAN?

TBT stands for throwback Thursday. It’s used when we want to share old photos or videos of ourselves and sometimes our businesses, to show what we were like many years ago. It’s a fun way for our followers to learn more about us and can apply to almost anything that has happened in the past.

WHICH PLATFORMS IS TBT USED ON?

TBT is most commonly used on Instagram and Twitter. As of June 2020, there are more than 500,000 photos with this hashtag on Instagram. If you’re looking for hashtag alternatives to TBT, # throwbackthursday has more than 50 million photos on Instagram and # throwbackthursdays is heading for more than 1.6 million. You could even use simply #throwback which has more than 110 million photos on Instagram.

HOW TO USE TBT ON YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS

Firstly, use the TBT tag on a Thursday. Although if you get your days muddled and still want to use your post, you could go with #flashbackfriday Use it as a signpost to your followers that you’re sharing nostalgic content.

One of the most useful ways of using TBT is for storytelling. People connect with and remember stories, and given that you have new people finding out about your business all the time, it can be useful to share the origin story of your business or services regularly.

Typically, you would share a photo or video, alongside a commentary explaining what’s going on in the photo and how different things are today. Music from YouTube or Spotify are other great links to share. You can share how far you or your business have come, comparing old branding such as logos or colours, premises or products with what’s on offer today and perhaps even pivotal moments along the way. TBT posts are often comedic or have a humorous slant, with vintage hairstyles or clothing that reflects an era such as big ’80s hair or ’70s flares. Nostalgia can trigger strong emotional responses too, making it especially memorable and shareable. Using this hashtag is similar to Facebook’s ‘Memories’ that appear on the anniversaries of their posting.

 

 

Instagram hashtag ebook Hashtag Hotshot - to help you find the best hashtags for getting more reach on Instagram.

HOW TO MAKE A WHITE BACKGROUND FOR INSTAGRAM (UPDATED FOR 2022)

HOW TO MAKE A WHITE BACKGROUND FOR INSTAGRAM (UPDATED FOR 2022)

You can make a white background for Instagram in your flatlays and overhead photos in a few simple steps using just your phone camera and free apps available on iPhone and android. Scroll down for instructions and the best free apps to use in 2022.

YOUR PHONE

To make a background white for Instagram, the most important thing to know that your phone camera has automatic settings for exposure. It chooses how light or dark to make your photo. This works well most of the time, but when your photo has a large light or white area, it will try to make it darker i.e. grey (if you want to know why, this article explains it well). So you can blame science for your grey photos – it’s not your fault.

The good news is you can override your phone camera’s auto settings. You do this by touching the screen while taking your photo. A yellow box with a sun on the side should appear. Simply slide your finger along the sun side of the square to increase light in your photo – and no more grey!

Use your phone camera's own tools to brighten your Instagram photo white background.

USING LIGHT FOR BETTER WHITE BACKGROUNDS

Your light source is important in getting clean white backgrounds. Where possible, use natural, indirect light from a window or glass door.  This may mean timing your photos for when the sun is out and taking over a piece of floor or kitchen table in a good location. If there is too much light or it is too direct, sheer curtains can work wonders to diffuse and lessen the light. To remove shadows, you can reflect light into the shadows using white cardboard, aluminium foil from the kitchen or a shop-bought reflector. Just move the board or reflector around so that it bounces light from the window into the shadow. This usually means putting the reflector opposite the window or door letting in light and tipping it down slightly. Just try moving your reflector or board around while you watch the shadows to see when it’s working.

BALANCING LIGHT TEMPERATURE FOR A BRIGHT BACKGROUND

Light will look different colours in our photos depending on its temperature. Photos taken by candlelight for instance, will look yellower than ones taken with a flash. It’s one of the main reasons why you might want to take your photos during the day with natural light from a window or a door – your photos will have ‘white’ whites.

But if you haven’t been able to take your photos in those perfect conditions – and all of us have been there – some apps will help you correct that.  Snapseed (free for iPhone and android) is my favourite app to do this in its tune image/warmth adjustments.

How to change your white when it looks orange or blue using only an Instagram app.

RETOUCHING YOUR WHITE BACKGROUND

The final step in how to make a background white is retouching and sharpening. The Retouch app (TouchRetouch – free for iPhone and android)  is perfect to remove any dirt or smudges from your background. The app is called TouchRetouch in the app stores and has a green swirly logo on a black background. It removes smudges or dirty marks on your background in an instant.

You can whiten your background more using Snapseed in a couple of ways. The first is to go to Tools and Tune image (top left). Swipe your finger up the screen and a menu will appear: choose highlights.  This is going to edit the brightest part of your photo, which is likely to be your white background. Slide your finger to the right to lighten.

The second way you can lighten your background is also in Snapseed. Go to tools and click on the Selective tool, which looks like a circle with a dot in the centre. This makes adjustments in a selected area for brightness, contrast, saturation and structure. It defaults to brightness, so use the slider at the top of your screen to slide further to the right to brighten your photo.

Once you have one area as white as you want, you can create another area to adjust by clicking on the plus sign at the bottom of the screen or tapping your finger on the original dot (which is probably showing up as a B after your brightness adjustments). A pop-up menu will allow you to copy this adjustment and paste in another area of the screen. Continue adding adjustment areas until your background is just the way you want and click on the tick on the bottom right.

When you’ve finished your adjustments, the last touch is to add a small amount of sharpening in Snapseed. In Tools, select the Details tool, which has a triangle icon. Slide your finger up the screen to see the menu and choose Sharpening. Slide your finger across the screen to the right to sharpen a little.  This will give your photo an extra ‘pop’.

So there you have it – how to make a background white for Instagram using only your phone. I hope this makes your Instagram photos easier for you.

Learn how to master flat lays with this ebook that takes you step by step through setting up a great flat lay using timeless design principles.

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