It’s no secret that striking visuals are interpreted faster and more memorable than text alone. According to 3M’s research, our brains “process visuals 60,000 times faster than text.”

So, how can modern marketers best capitalize on the power of visuals in a crowded and noisy online space? No, you don’t have to be a technical guru to create visually appealing ads. All you need is willingness to learn about some handy tools and access to an internet-connected computer.

Here are the tools I use everyday to curate my social media presence in a way that more efficiently connects with consumers.

Snagit screen capture software.

I’ve found that my best performing content teaches people a skill. But, unless you’re sitting right next to someone, or remotely connected to their computer, it can be difficult to communicate how to complete complex tasks.

Related: 6 Business Skills They Didn’t Teach You In College

Enter Snagit 2018. This super simple tool allows me to quickly pull content from my screen – whether it’s a quick screenshot or a quick video tutorial. And, the best part is I don’t have to load up some complex video or image editing software in order to make the capture my own.

It’s really easy to adjust the positioning of text, add calls-to-action and adjust the aspect ratio. Images and videos look amazing in my social media feeds. social media video creator.

Attractive images definitely obliterate plain text posts. But, a video can take your social media post to the next level. Facebook reports that their users engage with videos for five times longer than static posts.

I’m not a videographer, and I definitely don’t have a degree in visual editing. I’m just a blogger. So, I deploy when I need a post to really stand out. Instead of trying to record my own professional videos, I can import any of their 2.5 million stock images and videos into my post.

After I’ve selected a video, dragging the focal point around so that the right action is in focus — regardless of post size — is as simple as dragging my mouse. And the music selection gives my short videos a stronger impact.

Related: 5 Tips for Selecting the Ideal Music for Your Marketing Video

What keeps me coming back to this tool is how simple it is to create powerful videos with a compelling call-to-action at the end that generates click-through.  

Canva photo template design tool.

Every aspect of my blog and social media posts are designed to be visually appealing, informative and irresistibly engaging. In 2018, your audience just isn’t going to pay attention to static text, unless you couch that text inside of a visually pleasing image.

I tried Canva because it’s free. I continue using it daily to pump out graphics that look sophisticated and engaging. There’s nothing stock about the content you can produce — except for the plethora of stock images and fonts.

This tool really empowers you to make your message jump off the screen. And it comes preloaded with templates for social media posts, featured images and presentation covers. If you want to really go all out, you can use their platform to hire professional artists, or pay for additional content to freshen up your image.

Buffer social media posting platform.

With all of these killer tools, it’s important to maintain a consistent tone and content schedule across all of your channels. If your blog is sharing holiday recipes, but your social media channel is still stuck on black Friday specials, your audience won’t feel like they’re dealing with a unified brand.

Related: 5 Steps for Making Your Brand Identity More Consistent

Buffer has saved me hundreds of hours that would have been wasted creating custom posts for each of my channels. By using their platform to manage posts across social media, and then diving into their post analytics, I can schedule posts to reach the right audience, on the right platform at the right time.

When you combine powerful video and image editing software, with a one-stop platform for managing your social media presence, it really looks like you have entire social marketing team at your disposal. You’re able to amplify the impact of your time spent marketing your brand on social media, while saving valuable time that can be spent focusing on product development and customer service.

In 2018, great visuals aren’t optional — they’re expected. I can’t wait to see what you do with these tools. You’ll be amazed with the uptick in engagement.

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