10 free tools for great social media visuals

Posted by on 22nd March 2018 / 0 comments

Social media now constitutes a key component of any smart communications strategy. But cutting through the noise can be a challenge, as any social media consultant will testify.

According to the Social Science Research Network, 65% of people are visual learners and its estimated that 90% of the information we absorb is visual. It’s no surprise then, that the impact of social media is greater when strong visuals are used.

Yet for many smaller businesses, the reality is that few of them can afford afford the services of a graphic designer. With this in mind, we look at some of the best free and lower costs tools that have been developed for ‘non-designers’ to create high quality visuals:

1)            Canva                                      

Web-based. App available on Android and iOS.

Canva is a tool with many talents – it has a range of attractive design templates for magazines, resumes, graphs and photos. We love the models geared directly towards social media, such as Facebook Covers, infographics and Snapchat Geofilters. And the ‘learn’, section is a great way to hone your graphic design skills in the long-term.

PROS: versatile, user-friendly, social media orientated, informative

CONS: too much choice, pay to save templates, add custom fonts and brand palettes

2)            PicMonkey

Free trial online. Basic app version is free on Android and iOS.

Even if your photo editing skills are limited to choosing an Instagram filter, you will be able to create something aesthetic using PicMonkey. Largely focussed on images, this interface has four main functions: Edit, Touch Up, Design and Collage. The Design Tools are particularly useful for social media as they feature templates for use with LinkedIn, Instagram and Snapchat.

PROS: user-friendly, cheaper than Photoshop, high quality design

CONS: online version is not free, lots of in-app purchases

3)            Lumen5


Thanks to Lumen5, you can do away with the expense of hiring a video editor. Simply enter the link to your blog post or RSS feed and an artificial intelligence system will summarise the content and match each scene with relevant videos, photos and music. I can’t imagine how creating a video could involve less effort.

PROS: simple, sophisticated, speedy

CONS: video quality capped at 480p in free version, upgrades start at $49/month

4)            GIPHY

Web-based. Extensions available for Chrome, Safari and Firefox. Search and Camera apps available on Android and iOS.

As soon as you log in to GIPHY, you’ll be met with a host of familiar clips from the likes of Star Wars, Real Housewives and Saturday Night Live. Gifs can be used to share a short, snappy and memorable message – be it comedic, professional or otherwise - and are easy to create by uploading photos or videos to the website.

PROS: universally used, regularly updated, user-friendly

CONS: basic web design, limited guidance for first timers

5)            pablo (by buffer)

Web-based. Chrome extension available.

Simple and straightforward – using pablo, you can create visually pleasing content by overlaying your text onto one of 6k+ images (or uploading one of your own!). You choose the size and filter and can also add a quote or your company logo. 

PROS: step by step guide,detailed licencing info, upload creations straight to social media

CONS: limited templates, no app version

6)            Easel.ly

Web-based. Free app available on iOS.

Looking to spice up your new sales figures? Easel.ly will help you create an infographic to make these figures a little more palatable to the public. Choose one of the ready-made templates or create your own by dragging and dropping themes, objects, shapes, texts and media. If you’re new to the world of infographics, there is a blog and a free e-book to help you out.

PROS: community, guidance, scope for original design

CONS: app unavailable on Android

7)            Ripl

App –available on Android and iOS.

A self-described ‘marketing team in your pocket’, Ripl allows you to create eye-catching animated videos to post on social media. Complete with customisable designs, daily post recommendations and weekly goals, Ripl is a great way for you to really connect with your consumers.

PROS: intuitive, designed for SMM’s

CONS: only available as an app, better for shorter vids

8)            Scoompa Video

App - available on Android.

The days of using Microsoft PowerPoint to create visual content may be coming to an end. Scoompa helps you to speedily incorporate your photos and videos into an eye-catching, efficient and engaging slideshow. You can import material from your gallery, online or the web and choose from a wide range of styles, filters, animated frames and soundtracks.

PROS: import your own music, ample choice of designs, share instantly via social media
unavailable on iOS, only free with ads

9)            HypeType

App - available on Android and iOS.

Particularly handy for Instagram-users, HypeType allows you to add animated text to photos and videos. You can choose from a range of text filters, add music, adjust timings and shoot different aspect ratios. It may be a little basic but can create an eye-catching ‘gram’ that nobody will dare to scroll past.

PROS: flashy fonts, record videos in app, save projects to camera roll, export directly to Instagram

CONS: pay to remove watermark, unavailable on Android

10)        PicPac

App – available on Android.

Ready to go retro? PicPac allows you to emulate the stop motion style that you’ll remember from the likes of Wallace and Gromit and Postman Pat. Only these days, you can complete your project in a matter of minutes – simply upload the photos and videos you wish to use and add music. The style will certainly stand out amongst the thousands of standard videos circulating Twitter.

PROS: distinctive, time efficient, works with TimeLapse, helpful demo + tutorial video

CONS: unavailable on iOS, no copy to computer or upload to server

Social media is a big focus for a number of Rise PR clients and these tools have played an instrumental role in the work that we do. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have one to add to the list!

Tagged: social media content graphics visual tools

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