Depressing, isn’t it?

The amount of time and energy that goes into social media. It’s an amazing, powerful tool that can generate a ton of leads and revenue.

But it can be time consuming and daunting.

You can’t afford to ignore it. If you’re in business, social media is a must and here are two reasons why:

So how do you have a social media presence without taking all day, or spending a fortune on experts or virtual assistants?

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The answer is you take shortcuts.

I’m a big fan of using technology to do things faster and more efficiently. Why have a dog and bark yourself (as the saying goes)?

Technological tools are cheap (often free), can be used to automate regular tasks and create awesome social media images.

Here’s five tools that virtually create social media images for you:

Quotes Cover

This tool is super simple and easy to use, but what I really love are their ‘done for you’ images. If you have no time -or no inclination – to create something you can just download image quotes from the site.

The quotes gallery offers a big range of simple, funky quotes you can download. And the quote of the day link gives you a new photo quote each day, like the one below.

All the images are unbranded, so they don’t contain a logo or watermark. This means that you can use them as they are, or pull them into a tool like Canva (more on that later) to overlay your own logo.

Recite

Grab an inspirational quote and drop it into Recite, then select the format you prefer. It’s that easy.

There are loads of different style options and the image quality is high.

Changed your mind? Just change the format. Too easy.

Designfeed

Here’s a great tool that literally creates designs for you. DesignFeed is still in beta but it’s free to sign up and it’s super easy to use. I highly recommend it.

Drop in the text you want and DesignFeed will offer you a range of different styles and formats. You can choose what format you prefer – Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter or Pinterest – and it will generate images optimised for the platform).

You can even choose where the system pulls the free images from – they’re all creative commons so there’s no problem with licensing – or you can use your own photos.

And if you like a design but want to tweak it, you can.

Pablo

Pablo is free and provided by the social media scheduling tool, Buffer. It has a simple, easy to use interface but still produces great images.

You can do a certain amount of tweaking, and add your own logo easily.

Canva

Canva gives you full control over your designs, and a great range of templates. You can create Facebook covers, shareable images and infographics.

A lot of design tools that allow tons of control start off with a blank canvas, but this is where Canva is different. You simply grab one of their templates and tweak.

Change the text, or the photo, or anything else you like. This makes it a great tool for beginners as well as more experienced designers.

Canva also has a great design school where you can learn how to design consistently stunning images.

Create Amazing Images for Social Media

Small Businesses can create fantastic shareable images quickly and easily using these tools. Meaning you can compete with larger organisations who spend a fortune on designers.

With these great shortcuts, you’ll be creating fabulous, highly shareable images in no time.

This article first appeared on Smallville.

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About the Author

Cate Scolnik helps small business owners increase engagement, share their message and create loyal fans. She specialises in getting results through social media, blogging, and content strategy. She’s worked with some of the most respected experts in the online environment including Lori Deschene of Tiny Buddha and Jon Morrow of SmartBlogger.