Visual Social Media Toolkit: The tools that make social media image and video creation easy
Social media marketing is tough, you need to be present, you need to be creative, you need to be strategic. So then how is it possible to do all of this when perhaps as either business owners and marketers our time is limited and all of these things are different skill sets? TOOLS of course! Over the last few years as social media has become a mainstay in marketing the tools for managing social media have become more and more sophisticated. Tools like Hootsuite and Buffer are the norm in a social media managers life now as being able to batch schedule to free up time for engagement is key to a successful, consistent social media strategy.
There are more impressive tools out there for image and video creation too, if you haven't heard of Canva yet... where have you even been? - Canva is a visual social media tool where you can create fantastic images for your social media profiles without the need for a designer or photoshop skills.
These tools above are more or less staples of a social media managers business tool kit. How did we even manage before Canva and Buffer? I suppose there was Pic Monkey... Actually Pic Monkey is also pretty good, having had a major update recently, also you can't really crop with Canva (or at least I haven't worked out how to) with Canva you can crop and create transparent PNG images, with Canva you can but you have to pay for that, not much mind you but I always think it's best to have a few tools in your bag. For cutting your images out onto a transparent background normally you'd have to use photoshop or pay a designer to batch crop your products, well no more is that the case, there's 2 tools I use to cut out busy backgrounds and they are clipping magic and background bonanza. Both have a free version and both have a paid version and you are talking a few small pounds per month and the tool literally evaporates your backgrounds in a click of a switch.
Adobe not wanting to be left out of the easy templated image creation space launched Adobe Spark, it's free, it's fantastic and it's very easy to use. Again no photoshop skills required, perfect for your blog headers, facebook and twitter images. All cropped to the right size for each social network. Actually Spark has even more to offer than the Canva's and Pic Monkey because it also offers a video creation template (well several actually) you can upload or use the free stock images and video provided to create some great videos with text overlay and music, you can also easily record your voice over the top with a click of a button. They also include story templates which takes the planning out of the videos slightly, meaning if you have a creative video / slideshow idea then it's easy just to populate the story very quickly. It's also worth mentioning that Buffer have an Image creation tool too called Pablo (awesome name, I know) It's very easy to batch create images and you can schedule them straight out though buffer.
Then there's the image apps for your phone, i've personally been in love with Wordswag App for a long time now, it so easy to use and to create attractive images within seconds from your phone. There is an issue though, now that so many people are using it some of the designs do look a bit samey.. so it's okay to have the tools but I think you still have to think creatively in terms of the images you create.. have you seen someone else using the same images and fonts? if so try to change it up a bit. Typorama is also a staple on my iPhone, it's practically the same as wordswag, in fact the free images library they use is the same (pixabay) but the font are different. With both you have the ability to upload your logo to make your images look branded. It's worth sticking to a design type or colour scheme for all of your brands content this way you'll become instantly recognisable over time to clients and potential customers on social media. Some other similar tools I have on my phone for this reason are PicsArt, Photocandy and of course Canva (There you go Canva.... is that enough of a shout out for you).
Not only have the image creation tools exploded over the past couple of year but video tools are also getting more and more sophisticated. The more we use our smartphones to create the more there became a need for post production video tools that we can use easily on our phone, not only that but many of us don't want to be on screen and so there are tools that make it really simple to create video (literally drag and drop) with stock image and animation just like Adobe Spark I mentioned earlier. These include web tools like Biteable, Biteable is one of my personal favourites it's free or low cost (I would get the paid version to remove the Biteable branding literally £100 for the year). They have heaps of animation and footage available that you can drag drop and edit easily. Then there's Animoto, again Animoto is a great tool for creating drag and drop animation.
The video apps for your smartphone are so easy to use, so easy that it even makes video creation fun! Now you can be creative without needing the technical skills to see your stories instantly come to life! Tools like Ripl are fantastic for creating templated short video for social media. Like Typorama (I mentioned earlier) there is Videorama which literally does the same thing but for video. If you are an iPhone user i recommend that you use iMovie the app for post iPhone video production, it's so easy to use and it's free! Perfect for editing short pre recorded video.
Gifs are trendy again, remember myspace? it used to be bursting with fun and colourful animated gifs! Well, they are back! Since the major social networks started to accept Gifs we've all gone gif mad. If you aren't in on the Gif action, then download the Giphy cam app or Gif X, these tools enable you to create fun and eye catching images right from your phone that you can embed in blogs and share on social media. Oh again, they are so simple to use.
Avatars of yourself are a fun way to show your personality without having to show your face, BitMoji is wonderful for creating your own avatar to share on social media or to add to your Canva images and so on. It's actually owned by Snapchat and so integrated seamlessly. This app is available for your phone or even as a Chrome extension. You can even dress up in different outfits depending on the way you feel. Get the keyboard extension too so you can reply to social media massages with a simple avatar that gives a visual representation of how you are feeling. Emoji Me is also top for this, you can literally create an emoji that looks exactly like you wrinkles and all!