With millions of images uploaded each day, social media is now a visual medium. Platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, Flickr, and Vine make sharing photos and videos much easier than in the past.
Because they convey emotion and add a human touch, images enable businesses to create a closer connection to their fans and followers, which can result in a higher conversion rate.
Here are 10 tools to help you enter the visual social web quickly and easily.
PicMonkey, the company that made Picnik, a photo-editing tool that was acquired by Google in 2010, offers its own photo editor that works in your browser. There is nothing to download or install. Apps are available for use with Facebook and Google Chrome, as well.
With PicMonkey, you can edit photos, make photo collages, and add filters and text. The free option comes with a wide variety of photo frames, special effects, and font types. You can crop and resize photos, and add text to images. You can select photos from your computer, Dropbox, Facebook, and Flickr.
PicMonkey is free to use. Premium plans (available from $33 per year) offer more tools and editing options.
Canva was developed for those of us who have difficulty using more sophisticated photo editing and design tools such as Photoshop. It offers many design options expressly for use with social media.
You can create images for use on Pinterest boards, Facebook covers and ads, Twitter headers, blog graphics, and a variety of other images. Canva offers preconfigured image sizes, or you can select custom dimension options.
Canva is free to use, but currently only available via invitation. The site also offers stock photo images, which are available for purchase at a nominal fee.
Photo editor Pixlr is built for non-professionals and professionals who need Photoshop-style editing tools. It comes in three versions: Pixlr Editor, Pixlr Express, and Pixlr-O-Matic.
- Pixlr Editor. This is a full-featured photo editing and design platform, not unlike Photoshop.
- Pixlr Express. Similar, to PicMonkey, the express version offers a number of preconfigured editing options, filters, photo frames, and text overlays.
- Pixlr-O-Matic. Even easier to use than the express version, Pixlr-O-Matic lets you add effects, overlays, and borders to photos.
Pixlr is built in Flash; you will need to have the Flash plugin to use it.
PicCollage is an app for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices that allows you to use photos from your Facebook account or camera to create collages.
Users can select a background, add photos and text, as well as crop, resize and edit photos.
Quozio is a simple-to-use tool that allows users to type a quote, select a background, and share to your social network.
Social Image Resizer is a simple utility designed to resize photos for use as Facebook covers, Twitter header images, Google+ cover photos, profile images, and more.
You can save photos in JPEG, PNG, and GIF formats, and create favicons from any photo, as well.
Photovisi is a free, easy-to-use photo collage maker. You simply choose a design template (many are available), add photos, and either save the finished product to your computer or share it on social networks.
Built for the non-designer, Piktochart is web-based tool for creating infographics and visualizations. Free and paid versions are available that offer design templates on which you drag and drop different shapes and images. You can also add line, bar, and pie charts using data from CSV files, and then export images to PNG and JPG formats in either print or web quality.
Easel.ly features free infographic templates and design objects that you can use create and share visual ideas online. Similar to Piktochart, you create infographics and visuals by dragging and dropping design elements onto templates. You can also upload your own background image and start from scratch.
If you would like to use some of Photoshop’s features, but either can’t afford Photoshop or don’t care to go to the trouble of learning it, give Paint.net a try.
It is a free download for PCs and offers many of the same features available in Photoshop. It supports layers, has unlimited undo capability, and offers special photo effects, including red-eye removal. You can also draw shapes, add text, and recolor images.