Yesterday a client called us to ask whether they could upload a Word document to Facebook. They directed us to an ad created by another local business. Just as they said, it looked as though it had been made in MS Word. However, it was not uploaded as a Word document; it was definitely a picture.
So the quick answer to the question was, “No, you can’t upload a Word doc to Facebook.” But that wasn’t the real answer, because that wasn’t the real question. This client’s actual question was something like, “How can we make a really quick sort of ad to put on Facebook, all by ourselves, the way these guys seem to have done?”
Really, if you want to make a nice graphic for your Facebook page, you contact your graphic designers and have one created, right? Not always. If you’re a small company, you might not want to hire a designer every time you need a graphic, especially when you’ll just use it once and then it will never be seen again. You might also have a tight deadline, or a series of tight deadlines.
So what I’m going to show you is not the best way to do things. There is a reason that you are not working as a graphic artist, and if you can’t tell that there is a big difference between the work of a professional designer and your own designs, that is evidence that you really should not become a graphic artist.
The tool you need is not MS Word, as the client discovered. “That WordArt isn’t as easy as you’d think,” they confided, and they’re right. The tool you want is MS Paint.
If you use a PC, you have Microsoft Paint, and you can use it for basic utilitarian graphics with no particular skill required.
I’ve done a series of simple graphics for our client 8th & Walton to use at Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In. We link these to the page listing their classes at each location, and they get lots of clicks.
Each one begins with a Creative Commons photo of the location, saved to my desktop and then opened in Paint. Resize it — just Google the correct number of pixels for the social media platform you plan to use.
Click on the letter A in your MS Paint toolbar, draw a box for your text as shown above, and type in the words you want to use. Unless you’re very experienced with Paint, it makes sense to type in the words first and then play with the settings, because — as you can see from the screenshot below — Paint will preview your changes for you. When you like the look, you can simply choose the font, size, and color you like.
You can’t go back and change it later. Paint doesn’t work that way. Make your choices for maximum readability and be sure before you commit.
You can also make an opaque bar beneath your words if you need that to make them more legible. You can see the “Opaque/Transparent” buttons in the screenshot above.
These little ads work for three reasons:
- They’re simple: a couple of lines of text on a great photo.
- The message is clear with just that much information.
- They link to the page where people can immediately find more information and register for a class.
See how easy it is to mess that up? The ad below is terrible. Use one font, probably one color (the most readable, based on the picture you’re using), and just a few words.
We use the ads in a Pinterest map page, too, to get a little more mileage from them.
The old saying is, “Fast, cheap, and good: pick two.” This option — in the right situation– may be fast, cheap, and good enough to do the job.