In my previous post, we talked about the importance of visuals in your social media marketing and PR. I also gave you tips to get the best results from your online images.
In this post, I’m going to share with you the tools you can use to optimize and share your social media and PR images. I use most of these tools myself, so I can vouch for how easy they are to use. Others were recommended by my team members. Which ones are you already using or plan to use?
If you’re on a Mac, you already have Preview pre-installed. Aside from opening PDFs and graphic files, did you know you could also crop, rotate, and add text, arrows and shapes using Preview? It doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles and Preview will let you quickly add watermarks and words on top of your images.
Gimp is a freely distributed software for photo retouching, image composition, and image authoring. You can download it on your PC or Mac. It’s similar to Adobe Photoshop, but without the hefty price tag. In fact, it’s free! Download Gimp for free here.
PicMonkey is a free online picture editor and my current favorite. You can edit photos, add text, apply special effects, and even create collages. To access more fonts, effects, overlays, and textures, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid account, which is $4.99 a month if you pay monthly, or $33 a year (which amounts to $2.75 a month).
Ever wonder what color to use on your captions so they go harmoniously with the rest of your photo? Now you can find out. Pictaculous generates a color palette based on the colors in an existing image. All you have to do is upload an image, and Pictaculous will create several color palettes. Use it to easily identify which colors will either contrast or blend nicely with your photo. You can also email a photo to firstname.lastname@example.org then receive your color palettes by email.
Now you can create beautiful infographics and graphs, even if you’re not a web designer. Piktochart’s aim is to “make information beautiful.” Aside from infographics, you can make share-worthy graphs and charts to use online and in presentations. My sister used this to create a visual introduction to herself and make an impact when she got hired at a company with 180 people. The CEO took notice and said it was the best introduction he’d ever seen from a new employee!
Piktochart also makes it easy to share your graphics on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google Plus. It’s free to try with 7 free themes, but your images will have the Piktochart branding.
To get more themes and graphics, and to remove Piktochart’s watermark, you’ll need to get a paid account, which starts at $29 a month.
Another online application, Infogr.am also lets you create professional-looking infographics and charts. With a free account, you have six templates to use. They are not too different from each other, but with the ability to add charts, maps, text, photos, and even video, the possibilities are endless. The free account does not allow you to download the images onto your computer. However, you can publish them on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and on a web-page hosted by Infogr.am. You can also get an embed code, which allows you to publish the image on your own website.
If you want to be able to download your infographics and charts as PNG or PDF, you’ll need a paid account. It costs $18 a month or $180 a year.
If you take a lot of photos with your iPhone or Android smartphone, you can edit and share them with Instagram. This free app lets you apply filters to transform your snapshots into professional-looking photos. Then share instantly on Flickr, Facebook, and Twitter. Edited photos are saved in your camera roll. Instagram is also a social network, allowing you to follow and be followed by other users.
If you want a simple and fast way to add filters and captions on your photos, then Typographer is the app for you. The free app gives you 8 special effects and 12 fonts. However, text can only be in white.
Save your finished images in your camera roll, and share them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Use this app (also available as an online service) to take photos, then improve your images with 1-tap enhancement options, filters, effects, and borders. There are over 90 special effects; your creative juices will certainly flow. Its Tilt-Shift feature changes your photo’s depth-of-field, so it looks like it was taken with an expensive DSLR camera. You can also make collages and share instantly via Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Instagram, or email. How much will all these features cost you? Nothing, nada, zilch!
Now you know why images are important in your PR and social media marketing, how to optimize your visuals for maximum impact, and what tools you can use to create your own amazing images. What else is stopping you?
Elena is founder of a technology PR agency that works with startups to billion-dollar companies. She is passionate about helping marketers and small business owners with practical publicity strategies, which she's also using for her own bling flip flop company.
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