Social media and online journalism are very visual mediums – a strong image leads to engagement.
Social media expert Dan Zarrella took a data set of 400,000 randomly selected tweets and found that tweets using pic.twitter.com were 94% more likely to be retweeted.
His research is a couple of years old now and I’ve noticed that the retweet percentage has dropped off (everyone uses pictures now), but tweets with images do still get a higher level of engagement. You only need to look at Twitter analytics to see that.
Pinterest and Instagram, which are growing rapidly, are also image-led mediums.
Pictures are important, so having some good photo editing apps to hand can save time and help you produce striking posts quickly. Most image posts need some form of editing before you post them and the ability to add design elements is always a bonus.
So lately I’ve been testing out different design apps – some on my desktop and some on my iPhone – and I thought I’d share my views:
Canva allows you to create professional-looking posts very quickly. It’s great if you just want to overlay a quote or a snippet of text over a nice stock image.
The service has a really eye-catching range of templates you can use – some have a small charge to use the design, but the free templates are pretty decent. There are a lot of social media templates at the correct size, but there is the option to create a custom-sized post, which would be useful when creating images for Pinterest.
The downside? I found actual design tools quite clunky to use and got frustrated that I couldn’t move a text box once I’d dropped it onto the design. It’s not available for iOS either.
Fotor‘s social media templates are limited to cover images and Facebook and Instagram posts as it has only recently added design to its services.
Using Fotor you can make custom-sized collages with a large selection of templates available including magazine-style layouts.
It also has excellent photo editing tools covering everything from brightness to exposure, which is handy if you don’t have easy access to Photoshop.
It’s available for desktop, Android and iOS. On my iPhone, it was very intuitive to use and it works well on my laptop too.
I downloaded Over on my phone and found it had limited use for me. Its main function is simply to put text over an image along with a few design elements if you want them. That’s about it. There were few options for editing the image itself beyond cropping and lightening.
The app’s free for iOS and Android, but has a lot of instore purchasing options particularly for font bundles and design elements. However, the basic free fonts are attractive and you probably wouldn’t need to upgrade.
My verdict is that it’s good for popping a pretty font on an image, but not much else.
Photo Collage is an iOS app for making quick photo collages. It’s not bad, but there are a few annoying features: you can’t choose which pictures appear where, you just need to keep shuffling until you get an arrangement you’re happy with, and you can’t zoom in on the images.
Other than that, it’s a lovely simple app.
Befunky is a photo editing and collage app for iOS, Android and desktop. Its photo-editing abilities are fantastic and it’s a better collage app than Photo Collage.
The desktop version also has a design option with social media template – these look fab, but the selection is very limited. It’s a good app for image editing and collage, but not as good for design purposes and the phone version doesn’t have that option.
Have you seen a good editing app? Please let me know in the comments – I’m on the lookout for a good image builder for Pinterest!