How to Find and Create Great Visuals If You’re a Social Media Army of One

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Whether you're in marketing or PR or both, if you're responsible for social media engagement then there's a good chance "team" roughly translates to "just little old me." In those cases, creativity and time-management skills can only get you so far. What you need are some shortcuts.

Even a consideration of which shortcuts to choose can sound like one more task to add to your to-do list, so if you're going to focus on just one area to simplify, it should be the process of finding images, says Aidan Lukomnik, head of Hotwire Social Impact at Hotwire: The Global Communications Agency.

"I don't think I have to tell anyone how important images are for social engagement," he says. "But finding the right image that actually matches with your content and is legal to use can take a ton of time."

Here are Lukomnik's recommendations for simplifying the search for appropriate images for social media:

Use nontraditional stock libraries. Among the ones Lukomnik uses are Gratisography, Death to Stock, Unsplash, Life of Pix, Pixabay, Pexels, Picjumbo and StockSnap.io. Two of his favorites from this group are Death to Stock, which sends a monthly email with a few of the best new stock images available, and Pexels, which he says is "a good, all-around quality image library."

Use good tools that help you create your own social visuals. Lukomnik recommends Pablo by Buffer and Landscape by Sprout Social. "Pablo allows you to do simple photo editing on images and also allows you to format those images into the right sizes for each social channel," he says. "Landscape, on the other hand, is a resizing tool. It doesn't have as many capabilities as Pablo, but it will allow you to resize the same image into multiple formats at the same time."

Activate your inner octopus. Having a good set of time-saving tools is just the first step toward simplifying the endless quest for visuals. To get more ideas for visuals you need to connect with a variety of people in different departments throughout your organization. Like an octopus, Lukomnik says, you have to have your feelers out, be flexible and be patient. "Engage with each of your department heads, ask your colleagues what they’re working on and most excited about and use the intersection of narcissism and altruism to make it work."

Follow Aidan: @ALukomnik