By Razia van der Schuur, FOUIR Digital Academy
When we first launched FOUIR Digital Academy, our purpose was to empower women with small businesses with the necessary skills of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) so they could successfully market and run a business. While our mandate has changed considerably since then, those 4IR skills are more important than ever – whether you’re a social media manager at a large company or a business owner juggling it all.
In a world where digital plays a huge role for both small businesses and large corporates, ensuring the visuals you use to communicate your brand’s message is more important than ever before. Yet it’s also the one aspect that often gets overlooked, with small businesses, especially, delegating marketing design to the bottom of their to-do list. Canva, which is one of the tools we’ve successfully taught in our short courses, addresses this problem.
Launched a mere nine years ago, Canva is a graphic design platform that gives anyone from a social media newbie to a seasoned graphic designer the tools they need to create beautiful graphics for posters, social media, presentations and other visual content. Best of all? It’s free, although it does offer paid subscriptions for enterprise and pro users. And it’s proven to be an incredibly adaptable tool, helping generate income through modern, sleek marketing designs for the businesses in our network.
Case Studies exhibiting the magic of Canva:
A year ago, Alicia Pillay from Tableview in the Western Cape decided to start a side hustle selling beauty products to help bring in additional income during the COVID-19 pandemic. With a predominantly female customer base that spent most of its time on social media, she needed to create visually stimulating content that displayed her products in a different way to that of her competitors. Using Canva’s vast library of templates, she found social media designs that suited the aesthetic of her business and with a few tweaks and the addition of her own product shots, she was able to create standout graphics that made customers click – and buy! Since starting to use Canva in October 2019, Alicia’s income potential for Beauty Made Easy has increased by 20%, with customers also engaging with the content she posts a lot more frequently.
After quitting her full-time job to pursue a small business idea she’d had for many years, Candice Auld from the Eastern Cape realised that she’d need to market on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to get her products in front of customers. She deep-dived into research on the best tools to use to create eye-catching social media posts and landed on Canva with the help of FOUIR Digital Academy. Over the span of six months, Candice experimented with different templates, as well as the free photographs and graphics, available on the platform until she found designs that worked best for her business. Not only has this experimentation proven to be beneficial in helping her target her ideal customer more efficiently, but it’s provided her with the creative freedom to try new things and change them up quickly if a particular design doesn’t appeal to her target audience. The designs, which she can now create in 15 minutes or less, has even helped triple her following with sales for her organic skincare products doubling over the past year.
While the need for professional design will always remain, Canva has proven to be an exceptional branding and marketing tool in the arsenal of small-business owners who, like Alicia and Candice, have launched lucrative start-ups on a minuscule creative budget. Paired with the knowledge of how to use social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook, there’s no end to the magic that can be created with Canva.