An image is worth a thousand words, and in the age of social media and visual marketing, it’s surely worth a lot more. It has been repeatedly proven that aesthetically pleasing visuals convey information in a more effective way to people, and also increase their engagement. This means that social media and digital marketing in general, should always put eye candy at the forefront of their campaigns.

The problem with this, however, is that creating high-quality images for multiple posts a day can seriously burden small business, marketers, and bloggers. Even the most skillful graphic artists need time to prepare compelling images, so that the cost in work-hours can potentially overtop the benefit, especially when working with limited resources. Thankfully, there are specialized platforms like Stencil that can make this part of the job a lot quicker and also easier.

About Stencil

Stencil is an online tool that was specifically developed to make the creation of a new image a matter of seconds, and also to increase your audience engagement with high-quality posts. Bringing together all the elements that make up a good social marketing image like quotes, catchy fonts, beautiful templates, and literally millions of stock photos, all you need to do is to “synthesize” your image, and you’re ready to post the result! Not only do you complete the job quickly and easily, but the end result is also amazing which is of primary importance in social media marketing.

Stencil offers three plans, all of which come with a 7-day money back guarantee. The “Free” plan allows the creation of up to 10 images per month and offers a limited access to the elements database. Then there’s the “Pro” plan which costs $9/month and allows you to create 50 images/month, gives you full access to the database while also letting you keep 100 favorite elements, add your own logos and watermarks, use your own custom fonts, send up to 25 Instagram SMS/month, and enjoy Premium support. Finally, there’s the $12/month “Unlimited” plan that raises the Instagram SMS limit to 100/month, unlocks the favorites that you can save to “unlimited”, and allows you to create as many images as you want without any restrictions.

Features

  1. Huge Stock Photos DatabaseStencil offers over two million royalty-free (Creative Commons) photos that have been individually selected for their beauty and quality. All of the photos in the database feature high resolution and vivid coloring. No more hunting around to find a suitable and safe-to-use image for your post! Just pick one from the collection and get on with it. Of course, if you want to use your own images, you can do so by uploading and saving them on Stencil’s cloud, but this only applies for the paid plans.Huge Stock Photos Database
  2. Collection of IconsThe category of iconography couldn’t be missing from Stencil as this one is an especially troublesome area for social media marketers. Finding high-quality and royalty-free icons is often a tedious process, but Stencil makes it a walk in the park with a large collection of over a million icons. This collection is the result of a partnership between Stencil and The Noun Project as well as Icons8, so the available icons were created by world-class designers. The developers state that the next update will add another million icons on top of what’s already available in Stencil’s collection. Stencil - Collection of Icons
  3. Browser Add-Ons and PreviewStencil develops extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, making the creation of a post image even faster. When you find an interesting image while browsing, you may simply right-click on it and activate the Stencil add-on. This will open a pop-up interface of the platform that will allow you to add text to that image, as well as icons, graphics, watermarks, etc. The best part is that you can even preview the results and see exactly how the post will look like on various social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.Browser Add-Ons and Preview
  4. Easy Image ResizingImage size is of utmost importance when selecting suitable media for specific social platforms. This is especially the case since we almost always work with raster graphics, so you either have to waste a lot of time in finding a properly sized image, or use an image editor to transform it. Even then, the options are limited. Stencil offers easy resizing to 41 common presets that are perfect for specific social media platforms, ads, blogs, and more! Even if you need a custom image size, you may just define it, save it, and Stencil will convert your selections on the pressing of a button. Easy Image Resizing
  5. Built-In TemplatesIn need of templates? Stencil offers over 670 templates to make your image creation process even quicker. The templates can be further edited to meet your custom needs or requirements, and you can save your own creations or edits for future utilization. You can even save templates in combination with elements, like for example a template that has your company’s logo on it. Built-In Templates
  6. Google FontsStencil supports 2450 Google web fonts, so you have nothing to worry about on that part. Just find the one that matches your aesthetic preference and seamlessly integrate text onto your image. The paid plans also support the addition and cloud save of your own custom fonts. So, if your creative department has created their very own font for a campaign, you can easily use it across all social media platforms through Stencil.Google Fonts
  7. Quotes DatabaseQuotes are inspiring, and inspiration leads to social media audience engagement. This is why Stencil offers an easy to browse collection of 100000 quotes which you can drag and drop in the selected image, resize it, choose a matching font, etc. This feature is just taking things to the “premium” level and is indicative of the product’s focus.

Pros

  • Quick Results : Stencil was designed from the ground up to be fast. The developers have invested their time and efforts to create a platform that offers a certain set of capabilities and does the job quickly and effectively. All of Stencil’s features are focused on making image creation faster, so this is a true productivity tool.
  • Very Easy to Use : All of Stencil’s features, UI screens, and sub-tools are really straight-forward. You don’t have to be an expert in graphics creation or in anything whatsoever. All is done through simple steps that are evident thanks to the intuitive user interface that is also coherent across all of Stencil’s screens.
  • All-Inclusive Plans : Most of the tools of this kind charge by the asset. This causes inability to predict costs, time-wasting due to approvals, and can potentially raise the costs very high at the end of the month. Stencil, on the other side, has an all-inclusive pricing, so you can predict the expenses and feel free to use whatever you want out of the offered collections of elements.
  • Integration : Stencil has social media integration to preview posts, Buffer integration to schedule the posting, and browser integration with add-ons. Having things work well together is always a good thing for productivity.
  • Upload : Being able to add your own touch or branding to social media posts is essential. Stencil supports the uploading and saving of custom fonts, icons, photos, and logos. If you choose the “Unlimited” plan, you are free to upload as many elements as you want.

Cons

  • Limited Image Editing : Stencil is focused on making things quick and easy, and not in offering absolute editing power. That said, it’s not an alternative to a fully-fledged raster graphics editor. While Stencil’s features will cover the vast majority of use case scenarios, sometimes you may have to resort to using more advanced tools.
  • Browser-Based Only : Being browser-based only means that you have to work with certain limitations that underpin web standards and technologies. For example, if you want to produce extremely high-resolution outputs that are intended for print, Stencil is not the right tool for you.
  • It’s Up to You : Making things quick and easy doesn’t always mean that the end result will be great or even good. Stencil is a tool, and in the end of the day, it is all about how you use that tool. All options are there, and the material is plenty, but the aesthetic choices are up to the user.

Benefits

  1. Having Great Results Without Paying for a DesignerBy using Stencil, you can have designer-quality results without employing a designer. Even people with little to no design experience can create beautiful graphics as long as they have a good artistic taste.
  2. Less Time, More PostsIn a fraction of the time required to create original and compelling social media content, you can complete engaging posts and focus on other parts of your business. This is crucial to productivity, and a key factor of success for any business plan or strategy. Add the fact that there is almost no learning curve for this platform, and you have something that you can take full advantage of from day one.
  3. Significant Engagement IncreaseAccording to Stencil’s real user stats and data, using visuals on social media makes content 40 times more likely to be shared than plain text posts. More specifically, Tweets with images get 150% more retweets than plain text tweets, and Facebook posts with images see 2.3 times more engagement than those without images.

The Bottom Line

Doing things easier and quicker while also having better quality results is a killer combination. Stencil can potentially have a hugely beneficial impact on the social media marketing campaigns of small businesses, so the cost is set at the right range. Larger corporations run their own creative departments so they are not within Stencil’s target audience, although they could also utilize Stencil for limited purposes and cut some work-hours here and there.

Everything considered, there’s no reason why not to give the “Free” plan a try and see how even the limited resources could help you produce some streamlined material that can level up your social media marketing game. Even if you want to experience the full potential of this platform, the seven-days money back guarantee has you covered for a try-out.

 

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