Apps for Better Social Media Visuals
|Aliza Sherman is a web pioneer, author, and international speaker. Sherman is the author of 8 books about the Internet including The Everything Blogging Book, Streetwise Ecommerce, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Crowdsourcing and Social Media Engagement for Dummies.|
Apps for Better Social Media Visuals
Standing out on social networks continues to be more challenging as consumers become overwhelmed with the amount of content out there and often end up scanning their news feeds, in search of something interesting. Catching the attention of today’s consumer requires creativity and eye-catching visuals to get them to pause and take notice of your posts.
Hiring a graphic designer on a regular basis is not in most small business budgets and often graphics production falls to the person handling social media marketing, someone who may or may not have design skills. There are many apps geared specifically to the non-designer to create attractive images. Here are a few that can turn anyone into a designer or professional-looking photographer and enhance any social media account or news feed.
Pick from a variety of image sizes specifically matched to your needs including square shapes that work well on Instagram, cover and post images for Facebook and Twitter, and taller graphics that are suitable for Pinterest. Choose the type of graphic you want to create then select a Layout, a general template that contains the elements you want for your image such as font type, placement and treatment.
If you don’t want to pick from pre-designed layouts, use Canva to build an image from scratch by selecting a background color or pattern to get started. Choose from the Elements section for things you can add to any image including free photos, frames, shapes, lines, illustrations, icons and charts. If you want your image to have text over it but aren’t skilled at picking fonts, the Text section provides pre-matched font types that can be added to your photograph or graphic with a click. All you need to do next is replace the sample text with your own.
Editing images on Canva is as simple as clicking or dropping parts, dragging the different parts around, and clicking the delete button on your computer keyboard to remove what you don’t need. The free version of Canva offers a wide array of features, one gigabyte of storage, thousands of templates, and the ability to add up to 10 team members. The paid option is called Canva for Work and is $12.95 per month or purchasing annually comes to $9.95 a month. Canva can be used on the web or on an iOS or Android devices.
Most graphic designers use a variety of pricey software products to edit photographs and graphics including PhotoShop or similar apps. A more affordable image and photo editing software is PicMonkey. With PicMonkey, you start with uploading your own image and choosing from a variety of basic editing options including Crop, Canvas Color, Rotate, Exposure, Colors, Sharpen and Resize. Use the Exposure tools to modify brightness, highlights, shadows and contrast. The Colors tool lets you adjust color saturation and temperature.
Additional editing tools include Effects that immediately transform your image with pre-set and adjustable settings such as Black and White, Sepia, Daguerreotype, and Infrared. Other effects change the look of a photograph such as Polaroid Film, Miniature or Film Stock. Still other effects include Camera Look, Paintbox, Light, Area that affects focus, Artsy that changes photographs into paintings and drawings, and Advanced that lets you manipulate color curves and make other more detailed edits.
The Portrait feature on PicMonkey lays out the tools you need to touch up photographs of people’s faces. Other tools include Text, Overlays, Frames and Textures. In an effort to be more competitive with apps like Canva, PicMonkey now offers Themes and Templates. Like Canva, you can download the PicMonkey app for iOS or Android or use the website. Premium pricing is $7.99 per month or $5.99 a month when billed annually.
For a pared-down, completely free app, try Pixlr. Use the 20 tools within Adjustment to resize, crop, rotate, brighten and more. The Effect tools let you instantly switch up the look and feel of your image, particularly color and lighting. Overlay on Pixlr means treatment overlays such as Vignette, Canvas texture, and Smoke. Like Canva and PicMonkey, you can add Borders, Stickers (icons and other pre-made graphics) and Text. Pixlr is available for both iOS and Android devices.
No matter which popular social network you use even YouTube - graphics and photographs are an important part of enhancing your account pages as well as your messaging feeds. Producing strong visuals can be easier than you think when you use the right tools.