It is well-known that visual content is the basis of success on social networks. It’s easier for users to consume pictures and videos, than text. It’s also more visible in a mess of other content. According to some studies, tweets with pictures receive up to 150% more retweets than plain text posts without pictures. So, it is clear that the importance of visual content is steadily increasing and you definitely shouldn't ignore it.
You don't have to worry, you don't need to hire expensive agencies right away. You don't even have to learn to work with complicated and expensive tools, like Photoshop. Fortunately, today there are plenty of free online and mobile apps available to create visual content in just a few clicks.
In this article we will introduce you to 40+ tools that are available on the internet for free. We use these tools on a daily basis, so we can highly recommend them.
By far the most famous online tool for creating all kinds of visuals, and not just for social media. Canva allows you to create literally everything you can think of — from nice Facebook covers to Instagram Stories to beautiful Infographics. You can choose from dozens of templates and it all works for web browsers or mobile apps.
Whether you need a simple pie chart or a complex business graphic, Vizzlo's portfolio offers you a broad range of different visualization choices. It works for browsers and it is easy to use. You can enter your data using the simple sidebar, and then choose to import spreadsheets from Excel or Google Sheets. Add the result to your slides and documents or directly share it on all your social media channels.
An endless collection of various templates, fonts, logos, flyers and much more. Graphicriver is where you can find ready-made graphic designs for almost any digital content. You don't need to hire an expensive agency and create all visuals and graphics from scratch. It is often enough to modify existing templates. This saves you not only a bunch of time, but also money, because the prices of the templates are very low.
Tip: If you are not familiar with editing graphics, try to outsource it via Fivver.
Size matters! At least when it comes to social media. Landscape has hundreds of recommended dimensions, sizes and ratios across different platforms and devices. It is easy to get lost in these constantly changing numbers. So try to use Landscape by Sprout, it helps you resize multiple images for your profiles automatically.
The screenshot is one of the best inventions since the days of the personal computer. Well, maybe it's not, but anyway, it is something very useful and you will probably use it every day. You can use it whether you need to save something you want to remember on a screen or want to show someone where to click without a complicated description. There are a number of ways to create, edit or submit a screenshot.
Even though both Windows and Mac can take a screenshot without installing additional software, you should definitely consider using Lightshot Screenshot. It allows you to quickly add annotations, arrows, texts and various geometric shapes directly to the screenshot. Lightshot uploads your modified screenshot directly to the cloud and copies a URL to the clipboard that you can immediately send to someone.
Unlike Lightshot, this is a web browser add-on that captures either a selected part of the screen or a visible part of an open webpage with no more than two clicks. It can even record web pages of any length and video with your voice.
If you are making screenshots of applications or websites, Screely may be very useful for you. It can insert the screenshot into a pre-prepared computer-like window and thus gives the screenshot a completely different visual dimension.
Placeit is a mockup generator. It means you can embed your own content into virtually any environment. Whether you need to visualize your logo designs on different objects or show your website on a computer in a nice environment, Placeit can do it all for you in few clicks.
Tip: Do you know how to capture a screen on you computer, or smartphone? This incredible online guide will help you understand how screenshots work on your device.
Infographics are 300% more likely to be shared than any other type of content. That's a fact. People are more likely to share content they find helpful for others. The advantage of infographics is that it can present complex topics in a simple and visually interesting way. Don't worry, there are many handy online tools out there to help you create awesome infographics.
By far the most famous online tool for creating all kinds of visuals, and not just for social media. Canva allows you to create literally everything you can think of — from nice Facebook covers, to Instagram Stories, to beautiful Infographics. You can choose from dozens of templates and it all works on your web browser or as a mobile app.
A tool very similar to Canva. They differ only in a few points, but according to Guiding Tech Crello is easier to use and uncomplicated in nature. And it offers extremely important features for free, such as resizing and PNG transparency. On the other hand, Canva has a huge hub of elements, pictures, etc. Crello even has extra tools like brand logo and color palette generator.
Tip: Dive deeper into comparison Canva and Crello.
Infogram is a great tool for creating interactive infographics. It means, you can create an infographic and set a URL link to some of its parts, so that when you share it, users will be able to click through to the attached link.
Visme is a design tool which helps you translate boring numbers and data into stunning presentations. This tool provides you with dozens of assets like icons, photos, widgets and templates.
Infographics and presentations are the main focus of Piktochart. Whether it is a sales presentation, pitch deck or product presentation, Piktochart has all the tools you need.
A handy tool by Evernote. It allows you to add annotations to pictures, maps and even documents. It is a great tool for creating guides and instructions.
Tip: Use Keynote or PowerPoint. You probably have one of those on your computer.
Be very careful when using pictures from databases. People are going to recognize it. But sometimes you just have no other option, so try these photos. All the pictures are free to use, even for business purposes.
Find beautiful, free images and photos that you can download and use for any project. Better than any royalty free or stock photos.
Free stock photos you can use everywhere. Free for commercial use with no attribution required.
Tip: Try to find free-to-use pictures directly in Google Images by filtering them. How to do it? Click the link to find out!
GIFs and Memes are current trends that have changed the way people communicate. They have brought a new dimension to everyday communication. Consider using these on your social media platforms.
A giant and fast growing collection of free animated gifs. These moving pictures, could bring a little fun to your social media communication.
Create your own GIFs. This Mac app will help you convert videos to high-quality animated GIFs.
With this tool, you can create short animations from existing videos on YouTube, Instagram or Vine just by copying and pasting a URL.
Yes, you guessed right! This is a tool for generating your own memes in just a few clicks.
When it comes to numbers, presentations could turn into a mess if not done right. Not to worry, these apps will help you out. These tools will guide you throughout the whole creation process and in the end, you will have charts and graphs that are organized, as well as aesthetically pleasing.
Whether you need a simple pie chart or a complex business graphic, Vizzlo's Portfolio offers you a broad range of different visualization choices. It works on your browser and is easy to use.
Canva is one of the most versatile tools, and logically you can use it for data visualization. It offers a full range of professional designs, yet is very easy to work with.
Visme offers a variety of templates for charts, printables, presentations and much more. The advantage is that it can create animations that will amaze every audience.
Editing images can be a never-ending story - at least in groost. These little tools help us do basic edits very quickly and easily.
When you upload a hi-res image to social media, it will automatically resize it and it could (and often does) destroy the quality of a picture. Compressor.io will figure this out for you, leaving your photos looking polished and professional.
This tool removes the background from your photos. And it works like magic, so you will never have to use Photoshop or other more complex tools.
A very handy set of tools for daily image editing. This tool offers resizing, compressing, cropping, converting between formats, adding watermarks and much more.
The Photoshop era is over. Although it is a robust tool, you may not need all of its features and you will appreciate simplicity much more. There are a number and online tools that have all the essential features and are often, completely free.
Pixlr is a web photo editor. It offers a wide range of common and other unique adjustments. Although Pixlr is a very complex tool, the user interface is simple and the possibilities are unlimited.
BeFunky is a universal online photo editor. It has plenty of handy features. When it comes to adding texts, you can choose from preset fonts, or even upload your own.
Fotoramio is the absolutely free photo editor with numerous handy tools for refining pictures. This is a good option when you only want to use one tool to edit your photos.
Images earn 2.3 times more engagement on Facebook than text posts, according to BuzzSumo research. So put the text into an image with these tools.
A simple application from the popular Buffer. Pablo is a simple online editor where you can add text to photos.
Over is a mobile app with dozens of hand–curated templates and layouts. With Over, you can create professionally designed content on the go.
This tool allows you to automatically create images to shared links on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and other platforms based on the template you set.
You don't need to hire an expensive freelancer or even an agency to create good looking banners, leaflets or presentations. There are many options on the market, where you can buy ready made templates at a low price.
On GraphicRiver you can buy royalty-free, layered Photoshop files, vectors, icon packs, Adobe add-ons and design templates for just a few dollars.
Flaticon is the biggest database of free and paid icons. You can pick between thousands and thousands of icons, edit them online, and download them in many formats.
It is not easy to find the perfect color combination. Gradienthunt will help you with this.
Tip: Editing themes isn't always easy, so try to find someone cheap to help you. Try Fiverr or Freelance.com to outsource editing jobs.
Size matters! At least when it comes to social media. Below are hundreds of recommended dimensions, sizes and ratios across different platforms and devices. It is easy to get lost in these constantly changing numbers. But with these tools will guide you to clarity.
This is a free image resizer for different social media pictures. If you need a Facebook Cover, an Instagram Story or a Profile Picture, Promo will help you.
If you need to resize multiple images for your profiles, try Landscape. It does all the work automatically.
You can either follow a trend or go against it. The choice is yours. The truth is, nonetheless, that if you fall behind, your competitors may overcome you – steal your customers and offer a better service or product. Knowing that being a business owner is a tough job, technology is sometimes considered too hard to implement because it is costly to hire a strategic partner or IT support or time-consuming to learn new tactics yourself. These myths may not apply for your business – today's tools are made to be easy to implement and understood by non-technical individuals.
Technology influences every aspect of your business – IT, finances, logistics, sales, support or marketing. New approaches teach us constantly how to become more efficient at what we do. Saving money or time, increasing the scalability of our businesses or inventing new products and business models is backed by the evolution of technology. On the other hand, not everything that glitters is gold… We've written an article about the difference between trend and hype. Watch carefully what's going on in your industry and what your customers need or require (which is definitely the most important factor of all), but don't jump on every train that goes around. Not everyone will make it to the final station. There is a difference between what influences your business and what doesn't.
We will cover some trends for 2020 below, but before we jump into that, let's speak about the context. In 2018, 50% of the world's population was online. Today in 2019, it's more than 54%. Now, most people have jumped into the information age, where everything is moving at an unbelievable pace. Not only are things (goods and services) changing on a daily basis, but their costs are constantly decreasing. Imagine you bought a 3D printer 12 years ago. 40,000 USD is what you'd have paid. Today, the cheapest 3D printers cost around 100 USD. Yes, your math skills are up to par: 400x less.
Everything changes. We either accept it and do our best, or die.
The goal of this article is to encourage you to follow the trend and embrace the newest technology in 2020, not to speak about morbid scenarios.
Going back to where we began: YOU CAN EMBRACE TECHNOLOGY IN 2020, because it is meant to be available for you. When running a local business, you focus on what's really important, right? You don't want to spend time doing things that don't positively affect your bottom line. Being an entrepreneur, there are two key factors to go after:
To achieve one or the other, you might try tactics you haven't tried yet. To understand them, let's dive into a few trends to follow in 2020:
We are bringing you our marketing knowledge, not necessarily the overall business strategy. You know your business best, but we know what saves you time and generates more money when it comes to marketing. Automating routine tasks and delegating the costly work, that you or your agency needs to do, to tools like groost. allows you to manage your online campaign effectively and for a fraction of the price. If you rely on your sales team, CRM systems like Hubspot or Pipedrive strive to help you automate follow up emails or customer retention activities. There is a plethora of tools to use, which we have covered in this article.
"For more than 30% of small businesses is marketing the number one challenge” by Mailchimp
We keep repeating this, I know. But it simply is the Holy Grail – always put the customer in the center of your (not only marketing) activities. I can assure you this won't be relevant only in 2020, but will last for decades. The times in which Henry Ford kept saying “You can have any color as long as it's black” is over. In today's era, your customers' desires and preferences are what should keep you awake at night.
Does this apply to marketing only? Not at all. Imagine you market your product so that hundreds of people are waiting in line to buy from you. Once they approach the cashier they turn back and never come again – unwillingness to serve your customers nicely by one of your employees can be very costly. To give another example, say you run an ecommerce project. Everything from marketing to IT works great, until your logistics crash and the customer does not get what she ordered. Is this something that can badly harm your business? Absolutely! Customers have many touch points when dealing with your business – make sure every one of them is as customer-friendly as possible.
Let's stay in the marketing field for now. You probably run your profile on social media. Having 1,000 page likes brings you nothing if you only reach 20% of them. The organic reach is – and will be – decreasing constantly which we covered in our latest article. You will have no other choice, but to create truly engaging content that resonates with your audience and to invest in paid advertising. What you need to focus on is:
According to the Deloitte Small business technology trends, 80% of small businesses aren't taking full advantage of digital tools. Be the 20% of them.
There are two main communication strategies: inbound & outbound. Inbound makes the potential customer discover you by the content that you create – be it articles on your website, videos on your Youtube channel or podcasts on Spotify. Outbound is focused on push or disruptive strategies – you reach your potential customers while they scroll on their social media feeds, watch videos on Youtube or read articles. Working on your content brings you long-term results. Educating your audience, providing valuable content (and boosting your inbound marketing) is something you should be focused on throughout not only 2020, but every upcoming year.
We've come across a few basic tips to leverage technology in 2020. As stated, even small businesses can – and should embrace the latest technology (not only in 2020, but beyond).
If you are running your own small business, it is only right to have a website. With everyone being on the internet it is almost impossible not to take advantage of it. Unless you do not want your business to grow and succeed it is essential to build up your online presence and having a website is one of the ways to do it. Thanks to the evolution of technology and free website builders like Webflow, building your own personal website has never been easier. You do not need to be a computer engineer or know computer programing. Free website builders enable you to build a personal website to your liking. There are so many positives to having your own business website.
So, here are the benefits and advantages of having your own website:
Have you already come across social media posts tagged with “Sponsored”? Do you wonder what they mean and on which principle they work? Good question! An even better one would be, how can these posts help you reach way more people than you do with your organic posts – the ones that you publish on your social media timeline? In today's post, we will uncover not just that, but also concrete steps to get started!
Truth be told, you can use these types of posts to reach many more people than you do today…
But before we jump into what a sponsored post means, let's look at what it doesn't. Say that you run an Instagram profile and add posts to your profile. So do we. This is what it looks like:
These posts are the ones that appear on your social media profile and most importantly, on the feed of your followers and friends. The ratio between the number of people you reached with your posts and the total number of followers is your ORGANIC REACH. The more people who follow your profile, the more people you can reach with every one of your social media posts. Therefore, it is important to build your audience.
But what if you want to reach more people? What if you want to expand your reach to someone who hasn't liked your page yet? Both answers will be clarified, go ahead and continue reading...
In regards to the organic reach, we have to tell you the cruel truth. The organic reach is constantly decreasing. What that means for you, is that you no longer reach the same number of people as you did before.
We have covered this topic more thoroughly in this article, but to point out the importance of this decrease, see the graph below:
From 2012 to 2016, the organic reach on Facebook has sunk to almost zero…
Let's do some math to understand it perfectly. Say your page or profile has 10,000 followers. Due to the organic reach decline, your organic posts may reach between 300 and 800 people based on its performance – making your organic reach between 3% to 8%. Now the chance that some of these 300 to 800 people interact with your content is way lower than if you reached 3,000 to 8,000 people (call me captain obvious). It may sound logical and totally clear, but ignoring this fact and relying solely on your organic reach may cost you your share of voice or market share. In other words, you may lose your followers, fans and customers if you don't act.
Now that we've come through what organic posts mean, let's finally clarify what these “sponsored” posts are that serve you targeted content on your social media feed…
Refresh your Facebook or Instagram feed and scroll for a few seconds… Stop, there it is! A post that looks like any other one with one small difference. It is tagged with “Sponsored” in the upper part. Can you see it?
You will find plenty of these on your feed. And most of them will be perfectly targeted at you – based on your interests and preferences. Now the key is to leverage this feature for you and your business, isn't it?
Let's dive into how this sponsored content works. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tik Tok and other social media platforms allow you to run ads through their advertising interfaces. You sign up, learn how the platforms work and jump straight into promoting your content. These interfaces – let's call them the Campaign Manager Accounts for now – remain unknown to “ordinary” users. It's all the magic that “happens in the background”.
Let's take Facebook as an example. Say I want to promote our post that has been (organically) published on our timeline:
Organically we didn't reach as many people as we'd like to. Let's promote the post then…
Either in Facebook Business Manager or tools like our own app, you can follow a few steps and create your campaign – sponsor a post. By defining your goal, marketing persona, budget and message, you can expand your reach and speak to people that have never heard of your business before or show your content to followers you'd not have been able to reach organically.
Going back to our example, let's say that we want to target small business owners in California. According to data from Facebook, we could reach 290,000 people, respectively 277 to 800 people a day for less than $10 a day.
Yes, promoted posts are about investing something into expanding your reach. But as you see, you don't have to sit on millions of dollars in marketing budget to speak to more potential customers than you probably do today. You don't even have to sit on hundreds of dollars to achieve your goal of reaching more people…
Not to say that when they purchase from you, your investment is back – with interests (or margin:)
This is what the set up would look like...
With only a few clicks – in case you use tools that simplify this process – you are able to start your campaign (sponsored post).
The best thing is, that you target your posts solely at people who are relevant to your business. In other words, you tailor your content to people that can become your customers, followers or fans.
Say you run an eshop with accessories. You sell watches, necklaces, small pieces of clothes, rings and other goods. You have two types of products: those made for men and those made for women.
You manage your Instagram profile and post content about your customers’ satisfaction (reviews), newest pieces of clothes and inspiration as to how they fit with other outfits. This content can be interesting for both men and women. But what if you want to run a campaign targeted solely at men with the goal of selling all the men's watches that have been sitting in stock for a long time? That's when the sponsored post comes into play…
The process has already been described: you define your goal (sell more watches), marketing persona (men in California between 25 and 45 years old, interested in fashion), choose which channel you want this post to appear on (Instagram), set your budget and campaign length ($5 a day for 7 days) and finally, create your great content – the ad that your potential customer sees on his feed. Say your post looks something like this:
Thanks to this campaign (while using the setting in the brackets), you are able to reach more than 7,000 people. And you've invested $35 in total. Awesome, isn't it?
Is this the only option to increase your organic reach, you may ask? It's definitely not. Marketing is all about synergy. You may want to combine more tactics to achieve the best results.
Let's go through some tips & tricks that can work perfectly with (or without) promoting your posts.
Again, this may sound obvious, but is not always completely understood. Creating super engaging content comes first, along with understanding your audience! If you don't know who you're talking to, your speech can never really resonate, right?
It's like in life. Imagine you go on a date with a pretty and intelligent woman who is into fashion and yoga. You spend the whole time speaking about the Super Bowl! How would that date end? You probably know the answer...
The same applies to your social media profiles and any content that you publish. If you create something that no one's interested in, you decrease not just your reach, but also engagement.
Start with defining your marketing persona and create content that they find interesting, educating, funny or shocking – anything that goes with your brand.
If you do so, your followers will like, comment, share and recommend your content and products. Thus, you can leverage the real power of social media: the snowball effect that happens once people share your content.
Let me share one secret with you. Your followers are not only on Facebook or Instagram. They also use other platforms like Youtube, Pinterest, LInkedIn or Tik Tok. In fact, an average American Internet user has more than 7 social media accounts. That being said, you should definitely leverage the potential to reach your audience where they are (and where your competitors probably aren't… yet).
Platforms like LinkedIn or Tik Tok have a much higher organic reach now. They are where Facebook was a few years ago. That may change as they grow and decide to monetize their audience, but till then, you can build your follower base and successfully grow your business! Go for it...
Are you also suffering from a continuous decrease in organic reach? Do you reach less people than you'd like to? Try some of these tactics and let us know how it has helped :)
Is affiliate marketing effective for small businesses? Can this channel help your business get more customers and earn more money? The short answer is yes. The long answer is thoroughly described below, with all the details and explanations you need to successfully jump into leveraging affiliate marketing for your brand or product.
If you are reading this then you have probably heard of Instagram. It is one of the most popular social media platforms in the world. With over 1 billion monthly active users and more than 500 million daily users.Nowadays more and more businesses are using Instagram as a key marketing tool when it comes to online marketing.
But it is important to do your research and learn the ins and outs about marketing on Instagram. So you can enjoy all the benefits it has to offer and create the best possible marketing strategy to ensure great results.
Your main objective is to find your target audience and engage with them in the best way possible. This is achievable by using a number of key tactics and data which are all available to you via Instagram. Studying this information will help you come up with the best marketing strategy for your business. Which will help you reach your targeted audience to ensure you are offering your product or services to the right people.
Sound interesting. Here are the key methods to finding and engaging with your targeted audience on Instagram.
A strong community becomes a place where customers interact not only with the brand, but also with each other. This is a great source of positive and authentic reviews and it is also an opportunity to build a relationship with your audience. The best brands have killer community management strategies and this article explains the top 5 tips to help you better manage your community across all channels.
People plan their meetings, their gym sessions, their tasks in general, why not just plan the content, then? Planning weeks or even months in advance gives you the ability to readjust your posts if needed. Set up your content calendar and approval flows. If you are doing the content alone, make sure there are no errors. Stay consistent and relevant. Planning your content ahead will help you to see the overall impression. Try it! It’s satisfying.
2. Represent your brand identity
Are you a real estate agent, owner of a flower shop or a barber? Representing your brand or business does not mean you should be boring. Be entertaining, so your audience feels good as part of your e-company. Give them valuable information, call them to action so they engage with you. Be consistent and you will become memorable. If it is not in your brand identity to behave cheeky, as for example, Netflix does, find another way to communicate in a friendly and engaging way. :)
3. Track important metrics
As mentioned above, the realtor, the barber and the flower shop owner have something in common — they should not be boring. But they can have different social media goals. The realtor might be looking for new leads, because they don’t want to be dependent on one channel like e. g. Zillow. The barber needs more customers and the florist needs to be in the minds of all the guys who live near the shop, so once their special lady has a birthday, they know where to buy the best flowers! It can be difficult to determine how your efforts have contributed to sales and leads directly. Instead, it’s better to determine how you define your own success, depending on your goals.
Think about these points below:
Traffic: Is your community on your website? Do you see growth over time? Where is the traffic coming from?
Engagement: How many people are coming to your page versus those actually engaging? Which topics are they engaging in most often? This may determine your future questions, content and discussion starters.
Members or customers: How many new members do you get every week and how many do you lose? Is this consistent? If there was a drop or growth, find what caused it!
4. Use the data you collected
Analyse your posts, interactions and the feedback you get from your audience. Then OPTIMISE! You are the one who knows the data and your customers best. The value of data cannot be understated — you’ll end up with happier, more loyal customers, as well as more easily converted leads. Use the advantage!
People trust other users experience more than the companies themselves. Did you know that reviewed a product’s chances to be sold are 80% higher than one without any review? Positively reviewed, obviously. Social media is all about interaction, sometimes the best content will come from your audience.
This is User-Generated Content, or UGC. It is amazing because it is authentic, and reflects what your customers think about your brand and… it’s free. It will show your customers’ experiences, and it drives the conversation forward in ways that you won’t be able to do by yourself. It is the gate to engage with people and get closer to them, making your brand feel more personal and approachable. UGC can be anything e.g. posts or tweets mentioning your brand or reviews.
Two examples of UGC campaigns:
Remember: Everybody wants the response. And everybody wants the answers quickly or even instantly. Do care about your response rate and response time. It might seem that people take it for granted, but it really makes the user experience unique and enjoyable.