How to brand your social media images for long term promotions
Social Media marketing is getting tougher everyday and pictures floating around unbranded make the job all the lot harder. Social media branding for your pictures; showcasing your social media URL, Website URL and logo does not only keep your pictures stamped with your copyright but also creates a long term promotional change even when the picture reaches through to a user months later. But most of the start-ups either lack the resources or skills to get this done effectively sp keeping this in mind we have put together this easy tutorial using a free online tool Pixlr Photo Editor.
Step 1: Creating Your Social Media Branding Bar
Logging on to Pixlr Photo Editor you would find the following landing page. The first step to branding your images would be to create a Social Media Branding bar or strip that complements your current brand design and colors. Click on “Create a new image”
A new dialogue box would open upon clicking the create new image button. Here you can name the file and input the size; you may also use a preset size for the image. Keep in mind that you have to select the width according to the maximum width of pictures you normally upload. Measuring unit used here is Pixels. If you upload pictures up to 2000 pixels wide then select 2000 in the width box, same applies to the height.
Another aspect is the size of final image to be uploaded, to keep your web page light you would like to select the lightest format such as .png. Here you may or may not click the transparent background button it is not of much use when creating your brand strip. Click OK button after you input the name and appropriate size to move on to the next step.
After clicking OK button you would see a strip laid out in a new window. If you ticked the transparent box it would be transparent otherwise it would be white. Regardless of the color we would now create a gradient background using the Gradient Tool from the tool panel on the left of the screen. You would see a new strip on top of the panel, click the gradient button highlighted by Red arrow in above image.
A new box would open where you can not only select existing gradients but can also create a new gradient by editing the existing gradients. You can change any gradient by moving the small cursor to manage the color length or change the colors from the color box beside the opacity bar.
Now comes implementation of the gradient you just created. This is a rather tricky step as after you create your gradient style all you have to do is press the left mouse button at any point above the image strip, you would see the cursor transform into a plus sign (highlighted by red circle in the image above). Now holding the left mouse button drag the cursor down in a straight line and leave it when the plus signed cursor is under the image strip. You would see that the gradient is applied. Keeping the mouse steady in a straight line is of great importance to create a uniform gradient.
Once you have successfully applied the gradient you created next step would be to start inserting your social media links. You can use free social media vector graphics to insert different social media icon pictures. Insertion of a picture would come in the steps to come.
Social media links have to be typed in using the Type Tool from the left tool panel. Arrow in the image highlights the type tool. Left Click on the type tool button to open the console.
Text should be typed in the Text Box as it appears in the picture. You can type in separate lines or in a single line with spaces for your social media icons.
After typing your social media links you can select the text color, font type, font size and font style from the options. You may also align the text as appropriate for your tool bar.
Keep in mind that you would not be able to change any of the options once you have closed the Pixlr Editor therefore any changes have to be made during the editing. Use as many fonts as you like until you find the font that best suits your need.
Let us now import logo image for your branding bar, you can import icons using the same method.
Left click on the File button in the top left corner to open the drop down menu. Here you would see the Open Image option (highlighted in the image below). You can browse through your computer’s files by left clicking on the open image button you may also use the Ctrl + O shortcut to open a new image.
Now that your logo file is open in the editor I’ll show you how to put your logo in the branding bar. Remember that you can use the same method to place appropriate social media icons. Left Click on the marquee button in the left tool panel (highlighted by the arrow in the picture above) and then left click on the logo window where it states the name of the file in this case – logo. Now you can either select the contents of this file by using the Ctrl + A shortcut or place the cursor on any one corner of the file and holding your left mouse button drag the cursor to the corner across it. For example if you start your selection from top right corner you move the cursor to the bottom left corner. After making the selection copy the image by pressing Ctrl + C and then paste it in the Bran bar file pressing Ctrl + V. You may also use right click to select copy and paste from the pop-up menu.
After you have pasted it in the bar you would now have to adjust the size to bring it to the proportions best suited for your social media branding bar. In order to do this, while keeping your marquee tool selected in the left tool panel Right Click on the image you have just pasted. In the drop down menu select Free Transform (highlighted in the image above) and Left Click to activate it.
Upon clicking Free Transform a grid would appear around the image. You can now hold any of the colored boxes on the grid to adjust the image size to fir it into your social media branding bar. The easiest way to do this would be to select one of the four corners and drag it while pressing Shift button to keep the proper proportions. Once you have adjusted the size according to your need you can move the image using right and left arrow keys or by dragging it using your mouse. Your basic branding bar is ready and you can now insert as many social media links as in single or double rows as you wish.
Now save your social media branding bar using the File menu or the short cut Ctrl + S. You can easily save your files to your Computer, Pxlr library, Facebook, Flickr or your Picasa accounts. You can also choose appropriate formats for your file and corresponding file sizes would be visible on the bottom right corner, right above the OK button.
Step 2: Placing your branding bar on the image
Once you have created your social media branding bar it is very easy to place the bar on images before posting them on your website or your social media accounts. You would now open the image you want to brand using the File menu in the top left corner.
Now open your social media bar image then copy the image using the steps you learned while copying your logo or social icons file and paste it on the image you are branding.
Now drag the social media branding bar to the top or bottom of the image using the arrow keys or by holding the left mouse button on the image. Once you are satisfied with the placement save the image by pressing Ctrl + S. Voila!!! Your social media branded image is ready for use.
- Well save your social media branding bar background separately so that you can use it elsewhere.
- Be patient while creating gradients it may take a while to get your gradients right.
- Use similar icons on your branding bar and your website to create a complementing design.
- Layer and History box are open by default in the Pixlr Editor. Every time you type a new line or paste a new image it goes onto a new layer. It is quite to similar to layers in onion or cakes. You can edit the background without changing the logo image simply by selecting that layer.
You can see that background, Facebook and website Urls and the logo image are all on three different layers. You can also hide any of these layers by simple in-checking the box in front of it. The lock icon in front of the background layer means the layer cannot be edited unless you double click the left mouse button on the lock button and unlock the layer. History box remembers your last move in case you make a mistake you can go back to the move before simply by selecting it in the history box.
- Play with the tools on the left tool panel, there are many fun and creative ways to create similar or better effects using the tools in the panel. Remember good things come to those who wait.