Free (or almost free) Tools to Help you Create Images

Images are now dominating social media channels. I use a variety of different free (or almost free) tools to help me create and manage images in my marketing so I thought it was worthwhile listing my current favourites as I’ve recently found a fabulous new one!

Why use images?

Rock painting images in Tassili N'Ajjer, AlgeriaWho hasn’t looked at a cute puppy or funny cat picture on Facebook? People want pictures in their social channels now as, when done well, these pictures become visual stories. This is nothing new – people have always communicated visually from as far back as painting pictures on walls in caves. These are rock paintings from Tassili N’Ajjer, Algeria.

You’ve probably heard the expression “facts tell and stories sell” and pictures and images allow you to tell a story with few or no words at all. We are entering a phase in which visual communication is supplanting the written word. I’ve even heard it described as the “dawn of the Imagesphere.”

Of all our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language” Walt Disney Click To Tweet

Images have become even more popular with the ability to take photos and video with the camera on smartphones.

The growth of image-rich sites, like Pinterest and Google+, has been amazingly fast and apps such as Instagram, Vine and even Snapchat aren’t just for teenagers – savvy marketers are using them too. Twitter acquired Vine in 2012 for $30million following Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram for $1billion the same year! These channels help you tell stories that create engagement, build communities and ultimately help nurture brand loyalty and long-term relationships with customers.

New uses of words such as ‘meme’ have entered the dictionary. A meme is “an image, video, piece of text, etc., typically humorous in nature that is copied and spread rapidly by Internet users, often with slight variations.” Or there are new words such as ‘infographic’ which is “a visual representation of information or data, e.g., as a chart or diagram”.

[Tweet “Have we entered the “dawn of the Imagesphere”?”]

Our brains process pictures 60,000 times faster than text. When you share a picture, your fans decide in a split second whether they want to see more. Approximately 250 million photographs are uploaded to Facebook every day, and the recent changes to Facebook and Twitter are designed to display images, photos and video even more easily.

Image options for marketers

You can use images in different ways in your marketing. You can make a short, snappy video; use images and graphics; slides or a SlideShare presentation; infographics and text-based images.

The following are the type of images that get the most shares and response on social media:

Tips

How-to

Quotes

Checklists

If you want your image to be shared a lot, then you have to make sure it’s valuable to your target audience.

A great place to start is with content that helps and inspires people. For a more shareable factor, make it timely content to coincide with breaking news, a celebration or an event.

Free (or almost free) tools to create Images

There are some great tools out there to help you create your own images. These are just a few of my favouritesTagxedo Heart Cloud Images:

 

and last but by no means least

Canva is the new tool that I’ve been using a lot lately with its helpful advice and guidance on design and the pre-loaded templates so you can create your own social media headers (with the correct dimensions) as well as add text to images.  It lets you upload your own images, or you can use their large free images and icons or you can select from their even more extensive image of $1.00 images. There are excellent font choices and it really is easy to use even for a person who can’t draw a straight line like me – so I love it!!

Canva Image Design Tool Templates

There are other tools available and new additions all the time,  so go on have fun and experiment and unleash the creative artist in you!

Pictures and images have become the universal language of social media so it’s a language that you quickly need to learn and these tools will really help!

This blog is based on an article I wrote in the Bury Free Press ….with a few additions!

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