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A Beginner's Guide to Using Canva for a Veterinary Clinic's Social Media Marketing

Updated: Jul 1



Do you ever wonder how so many people marketing their businesses are creating eye-catching, engaging graphics for their social media marketing? Canva is my one-stop-shop, must-have tool for designing social media posts and other visuals that are on-brand and scroll-stopping -- and the best part? It doesn't come with the hassle of learning a complicated software!


If you've never heard of Canva, you're new to new to the program, or you just want to become more familiar with the abundant capabilities it offers, I'm breaking down the top, most basic tips and tricks so you can become quickly acquainted and start creating designer-status graphics in no time!


From standard social media posts and Instagram or Facebook stories graphics to flyers, presentation slides or signs for the lobby, exam rooms and more, Canva will help you create it all! Did I mention you can even design logos and business cards? It truly is a marketing game-changer for any business!


Because there are so many features in this program, and for the sake of your time, I'm focusing primarily on how to create a social media post, specifically.


Now, let's dive into the good stuff...


One of the best things Canva offers is their two-tiered plan: free and paid (or known as pro). While the paid version does have additional, advanced capabilities and access to more templates and elements, the free version is a great starting point to becoming familiar with the features, and to ensure you're utilizing the program often. And if you're anything like me, you'll be in there weekly, if not daily, because it truly is a must-have business tool.


Where to Start

After selecting your plan, I encourage you to kind of play around within the program and explore the different areas and features. Along the left-hand side of the screen, you'll see various options to choose from [not limited to]: design, elements, text, brand, uploads, projects, apps, etc. Each area hosts different features inside the program, and I'm going to break down what you can find, where, and how to utilize those features to create your visuals.


Must-Know, Basic Canva Features

When creating a visual in Canva, you'll start by selecting "Create a Design" - this is where you will be prompted to select the format of your design. The great thing about Canva is there are pre-loaded design sizes available for standard social media posts so they are the exact sizing that each platform recognizes (no guessing games). You can also choose to create a custom size if needed...but that may be for another post 😉


After you've chosen your size, you'll begin creating your visual. And if you're new to the program, starting with the design templates is a beneficial feature so you're not just staring at a blank, white shape.


Design:

If you're not a creative person when it comes to design and visuals, the Design area is a great place to start. Inside "Design" you can scroll through a variety of pre-designed templates available as well as choose from different design styles based on color combinations and recent designs created. After you've selected a template, you will click on it to replace your blank design and begin to utilize the other features of Canva to edit and customize your design. Pro tip: you can search directly within the Design feature using keywords to filter specific designs that may be relevant to what you're trying to create.


Elements:

The Elements feature allows you to search and select multiple different elements to be added to your visuals. This area is jam-packed with pretty much anything you need to make your design unique. Some options inside "Elements" you can choose from: various shapes and other designs for dimension, a variety of frames for inserting images or photos, stock photos, stickers, charts, grids, tables, mock-up designs and more. Pro tip: nearly every element you add to a design can be modified in size so don't hesitate to play around with adding in multiple elements to your visuals.


Text:

By clicking on the "text" feature, a text box will appear in your design so you can begin adding words to your visual. There are numerous fonts that are available in Canva, and if you don't have specific brand fonts for your business, I encourage you to select a few styles you are drawn to and then save them in your Brand - this will allow you to select them quickly as you create new designs and keep your font styles similar within each design you create. Pro tip: if you have purchased fonts for your branding, you can upload them directly into Canva so they will be in your Brand selection as well.


Brand:

The Brand area is a go-to space for creating on-brand visuals that reflect your business fonts, colors, logos, templates, and more. If you have branding for your business, you can go in to the Brand Hub and add in your specific fonts, colors, logos, etc. If you do not have branding, you can create a base hub for the colors and fonts, etc. that you want to have easy access to when designing, and then go back in and modify those should you need to make changes.


Adding the Brand Kit is not a necessity, but it is time-saving when it comes to designs, especially once you start creating visuals more regularly and uploading more photos, etc.


Once you start creating designs, you can save them as templates and add them to your Brand Hub so you no longer have to recreate the wheel of design, rather you can select the template and make the appropriate edits for the exact visual you're looking to create.


Pro tip: the Brand feature will be one of your top time-saving hacks for creating your social media posts.


Uploads:

This is one of Canva's greatest features. Inside "Uploads" you'll be able to upload any image, photo, video, or audio you may want to add to your designs. In this area you'll be able to add your logos, icons you may use for your business, team photos, patient photos and videos, and more. Once they have been uploaded, you'll be able to select them for adding to your visuals and they will remain in your uploads for future use as well. Pro tip: prior to uploading an image or video, etc., name it something relevant so when you're going back to your uploads at a later date, you can utilize the search feature and more quickly find the upload you're looking for rather than having to scroll through all of your uploads.


Projects:

The organizational space you're definitely going to want to have once you've started creating your visuals. Inside of "Projects" you'll find all of your previous designs. You can filter inside of this space by "all designs" or by "folders" - this is particularly important to know when it comes to saving your designs. You can also search by your designs or designs shared with you if you are part of a team that has access to Canva.

Pro tip: give your designs/projects a relevant name and save them into folders so they're easy to find inside of the projects search bar.


Apps:

This is a feature inside of Canva that allows you to connect with different applications for added elements to your designs. One of the most commonly used apps is GIPHY - this will allow you to search for specific GIFs and stickers that are relevant to your design.

Pro tip: this is a more advanced feature in Canva that I would encourage you to explore after becoming familiar with the program and becoming more comfortable with your base designs, but definitely keep this one in mind for added customizations.



Want to learn how to create eye-catching posts, generate engaging post ideas, increase engagement, and more? Inside Veterinary Social Media Foundations, you'll learn how to manage social media for a Veterinary Practice like a boss, with no previous marketing experience or education required!




Additional Features

Downloading and Sharing:

After you've created your visuals, you can download your designs in various formats - those options will pop up when you select the "share" button and then choose the Download feature. You can also simply share your designs with others in a variety of ways by adding people to view it by giving them access, sending them the link using the "copy link" feature, or sharing it directly to your social media platforms that you've connected to Canva.


Creating a Team:

If you have more than one person who will be creating designs or needing access to them for viewing, downloading or sharing, you can add team members directly within Canva by utilizing the "Invite People" feature. This will allow you to share designs and even communicate via comments directly on designs, if needed, as well as allow more than one person the ability to design and edit the visuals.

 

Too Long; Didn't Read? I get it! Canva has so many features that I could spend hours writing or talking about. If you want a quick tutorial on creating designs in Canva before you jump into getting an account, check out my YouTube video: A Beginner's Guide to Using Canva for a Vet Clinic's Social Media, and if you want more blog posts or videos on Canva tips and hacks, be sure to leave me a comment so I can create some more of this content for you!




 

Looking for resources to help you with your social media? We've got you covered. 


🔎 Snag my free cheat sheet for 60 post ideas that will inspire fresh creativity for your posts.


📑 New to managing social media for your veterinary clinic? Grab my free quick start guide.


📅 Want a monthly posting calendar with Canva templates and caption prompts delivered straight to your inbox? Check out the Vet Vibes Hub Membership.


📌 If nailing social media for your veterinary practice is a goal of yours this year, you definitely don't want to miss out on my course Veterinary Social Media Foundations.  


✨ And don't forget to join my free Facebook group for Veterinary Social Media Managers.

 

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