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#HCUASocial: Free Images, Tools for Social Media Content

Two heads are better than one. A picture is worth a thousand words. Combined, these two idioms accurately describe a two-fold approach to creating content for social media -- and really content creation in general. 

1. Brainstorm whenever/wherever you can because content ideas are everywhere. It sounds exhausting, but it's not. Let's say you're waiting in a ridiculously long lunch line with a coworker. You notice a sign for the restaurant's newsletter or app. It looks interesting, so you sign up for it. What do you think is working? Is there a hot topic that might be of interest to your members? How could use that for your credit union? Chat with your coworker about it, and jot down a few of your thoughts (my go-to is the iPhone Notes app). You just killed 10-15 minutes and made planning next month's content that much easier.

2. Have fun with content design/creation! Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator are ideal for print projects, but you don't necessarily need to tie yourself to a desk or laptop to design beautiful graphics for social. For example, this app called Word Swag makes it super easy to post on the go. Let's say you have a financial education class at your credit union. Snap a picture of the speaker and the crowd, type in a great quote from him or her, and share to social... all from your phone. From this app, you can also add your logo/watermark and browse copyright-free images.

Let's talk infographics. You have a great idea and the supporting data, but you're lacking confidence in your design skills to put it all together. You're in luck! There are a ton of websites that provide free infographic templates and creation tools. My personal favorite is Canva, since there's a paid "brand" version that saves your brand colors, logo, typeface and more. It saves some steps and time if you will be creating infographics regularly. 

Check out this list for even more free infographic tools. 

Another common content creation problem is finding FREE images for commercial use. While you might still be getting away with using "Google search" images in your content, I'd suggest starting to look at websites that offer truly free images. I just found this great list. Please note that some images and websites have different restrictions, so read the licensing description before downloading your image of choice.