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Think Like Oreo: Tips for Creating Shareable Graphics in a Pinch
By: Christine Geraci
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So in case you haven't already heard, there was a bit of a blackout during the Super Bowl on Feb. 3. No one really knew what was going on. The game was delayed by a good half hour. But instead of waiting around and speculating, Oreo decided to creatively seize the opportunity with a simple shareable photo that let everybody know "you can still dunk in the dark." Nearly 16,000 retweets, more than 5,800 favorites, more than 21,000 likes and nearly 7,000 shares later, I think it's safe to say Oreo hit a home run with the impromptu photo. 
 
Well played, Oreo. Well played.
 
The success of this simple little graphic got me thinking about how it's good to be prepared to create your own winning graphic should the opportunity arise. Here are some quick tips:
 
Have a template on hand. Design a basic background you can easily enhance with text and/or photos. Tip: Discretely place your logo on the background. Here's what the Cleveland Clinic does: 

 
Upload the template to your computer, your iPad, your phone — basically any device you might have on hand in the event the opportunity to create an engaging graphic rises out of nowhere. 
 
Get an app that lets you input text. You never know when that meme-generating graphic opportunity will strike, so why not be prepared when you're on the go? Photoshop Express is a good option, as is InstaText (a message sharing app for Instagram) and Extras4iMovie (which lets you create "slides" with photos and text, save them to your phone and then drop them into videos made via iMovie). Apps like these let you quickly load a pre-sized background, then customize it with text and/or other images. Then, voila! You've got a shareable graphic.
 
Consider subscribing to a photo library service. If you don't have the time or resources to build up a photo library with photos you've taken yourself, then incorporate good stock photography into your arsenal. Here's a great article that compares multiple stock photography services such as Getty Images, iStockPhoto, and Flickr. 
 
If you can, employ a designer, hire an outside firm. Or, in a pinch, allow someone on your staff with some design savvy to stretch their wings. Don't forget to invest in some quality design software, such as Adobe Photoshop. 
 
Think strategically. Just because you can create a shareable photo with fun graphics and text, doesn't mean you should. That's why it's usually best to let your marketing and/or communications folks advise you on this. 


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About the Author
Christine Geraci is the Social Media/Promotions Specialist at MVP Health Care in Schenectady, NY. Connect with her on Twitter @christinegeraci.
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