Editor’s note: This week, Inman is launching a brand-new daily series of articles focused specifically on evaluating the technology you use in your real estate business.

Have suggestions for products that you’d like to see reviewed by our expert? Email him at craig@inman.com.

The pitch

When it comes to your social media marketing, never try to make something viral. (Even typing that clichéd bit of jargon makes me wince.)

Instead, create content that is useful to people who need to know something about real estate. Make it fun, generate curiosity, and try to communicate something you want clients to know about you. Don’t just randomly share. Instead, create.

Canva.com is a powerful and easy tool that can help you do just that. It uses formatted “canvases” for multiple forms of social and business media, such as Facebook posts, infographics, brochures and email headers.

Canva_ssCanvasoptions

Canva comes out of the box — or browser, rather — with an immense library of photos, graphics, symbols, layouts and text arrangements for you to use. Most are free, some cost $1 per use. There is no subscription fee. (Yet.)

You can also use Canva to quickly build real estate fliers. So let’s start there.

Canva_SampleFlyer

The sale

Canva makes registration easy, as well as the process by which you can link a payment method to pay for fee-based content. Even though it’s made very clear what’s free and what isn’t, the dollars can add up fast; be wary. To remedy that, I recommend taking full advantage of Canva’s upload and Facebook connect features, which allow you to access images on a local drive or your Facebook account.

Canva’s selection of existing real estate flier designs exhibit contemporary design themes; these aren’t lame Word templates. When all the cozy breakfast nook and amazing bonus room photos are in place, you can download your work as a high-quality PDF or shareable digital image.

Canva_ssFlyerOptions

If you use any fee-based artwork, you are shown a billing summary upon download. The admin tools let you easily track your invoices for expensing.

Naturally, what good is online content if you can’t share it? Canva makes it very easy to send what you create directly to Facebook or Twitter right after you save it. Everything about Canva is easy.

The software not only helps you build shareable real estate content, but it also inspires you to create with its layout options. Click to add headers, enrich backgrounds or place body text. Everything is grab, drag and drop, so you can swiftly design graphs for market reports, embed your headshot and hit share.

Canva_ssTextLayouts

If you’re short on visuals, Canva’s embedded an extensive database of images, symbols and graphics categorized by themes such as travel, food, arrows, animals, charts, icons and buttons. It’s a great way to make graphics for your own website, too, not just social media.

Canva_ssGraphicSample

I’ve noticed on several occasions that Canva will shudder at times when you’re working with picture-heavy presentations. A bug exists that sometimes downloads an inaccurate version of your image; for example, text in blue will download in red. However, I’ve found that a second download (you have 24 hours of usage for paid imagery) usually fixes the issue.

Canva’s newly launched Design School is an excellent resource to help you understand how visual ergonomics drive effective, shareable designs. It uses case studies, blog posts, tutorials and actual examples from the pros to release your inner Warhol.

The close

Anyone who tells you social media and content marketing isn’t changing the way real estate is sold is either hopelessly antiquated or simply tech-phobic. The war for keywords is over; the battle for online attention is being waged with shareable content. Granted, there is getting the business, and then there is doing the business. The right content can help you get it. It’s up to you to close it.

I find Canva.com to be an exceptionally easy content creation tool and a terrific alternative to expensive graphic design software.

Have you used this product? What did you think? Leave a comment and let us know!

Do you have a product for our tech expert to review? Email Craig Rowe.

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