Fourteen Apps that Every Creative Needs

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By: Eden Hensley; Photos by Brooke Dennis for Alt Summit

Promoting what we do can be hard as creatives, bloggers, solo entrepreneurs, and small businesses. Not only do we need to determine which social media platforms our community is on, we need to develop and perfect the content for those platforms. A tall order.

It can be tempting to spread ourselves too thin trying to be everywhere, following every best practice. (If you missed it, be sure to check out Wednesday’s post on why following best practices may not be right for you.)

Here are fourteen apps or services that will simplify the creation of amazing graphics, provide insight into what’s working and what’s not working, and help with scheduling your content.

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Free Apps for Your Graphics

Canva. Is a design program that provides low-cost stock photography and templates for ensuring your images are perfectly sized for the social media platforms you care about.

FontKiller. Is a free iPhone app that lets you add real-time text and filters directly to your camera, recommended by @Kreativekymona.

Instasize. Is a free app for editing photos and videos, recommended by @Kreativekymona. You can resize your images, create collages, add filters, typography, and effects.

PicMonkey. Is a free photo editing tool for those who don't need all the capabilities of Adobe Photoshop, recommended by @something30.

VSCO Cam. Is a free camera app for quickly editing your photos to create and publish masterpieces. If you haven’t used the VSCO Cam photo editing application here’s the complete guide with detailed video tutorials.

Free Apps or Services for Optimizing Instagram

Iconosquare. Is a free web service that displays all of your Instagram posts. Using Iconosquare you can see which posts get the most comments and which get the most likes. You can also use it to see who you might want to follow, simply see what others in your community or industry are liking and who they’re following. You can also double check any hashtag you might be thinking of using. Check out the guest post from Bethany of Twenty Something+ on how to utilize Iconosquare.

Latergramme. Is a free app and web service that simplifies how you share to Instagram and allows you to schedule your posts, recommended by @iterateSocial and @HilaryRushford.

Free Apps for Optimizing Your Workflow

Buffer. Is a free tool for scheduling your Twitter posts. You can even add photos and have them appear in your Twitter feed rather than just link to a photo. And as we all know, updates with photos tend to get more engagements.

Hootsuite. Is a free tool for scheduling your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and now Instagram posts. From one dashboard you can monitor who is talking about you and what they’re saying and track how successful your posts are doing. For Twitter, you’ll see at a glance, you’ll see for each update how many people favorited it or retweeted it.

IFTTT. Is a free tool for automating repetitive tasks that you would otherwise put off or possibly forget, recommended by @leilajrealtor. We all know that we should backup the images and posts we share to various social media platforms, but how often do we actually do it? With IFTTT, every time you post to Instagram you can upload the photo to Dropbox. Voila! An effortless backup. And this is just one of the tasks, IFTTT will help with.

Likealyzer. Is a free report card for finding out what’s working and not working on your Facebook page, recommended by @PegFitzpatrick. You’ll get suggestions for how to improve your interaction, from varying post types to posting at different times, to shortening your posts, and more. If Facebook is your main platform, you’ll want to check this application more than once a month as Facebook interaction is highly dynamic. Curious what your competitors are doing on Facebook? Check their Facebook page on Likealyzer.

Paid Apps or Services for Discovering Content, Engaging with Community Members, and more

Post Planner. A service that helps you discover on-brand, content from other creatives on Facebook and Twitter for $7/month, recommended by Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick. Post Planner makes it easy for you to find content you’ve shared before and that’s done well so that you can share it again and keep it top of mind.

Sprout Social. A real-time monitoring tool with publishing, scheduling, and drafting for Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn for $59 per user/month. For insight into the best times you should post as well as information about what others are doing, you’ll want the $99 per user/month plan.

Tailwind. A Pinterest marketing tool for $15/month (or $9.99/month with annual contract), recommended by Elizabeth of iterateSocial (@iterateSocial). With Tailwind you can upload your pins in bulk, schedule them, and receive suggestions that make them better.

What apps do you rely on that you can’t live without? Are they here? If not, add them in the comments below.

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Eden Hensley

Marketing creative, community engagement specialist, technophile, photographer, food and wine enthusiast, and the founder and editor-in-chief of The Road to The Good Life, a lifestyle blog about appreciating and enhancing your life by being grateful for the "haves" instead of lingering on the "wants." There you will find personal stories about my life and family weaved in with real-life, achievable entertaining tips, recipes for hearty home cooked meals, and DIY projects for capturing and sharing memories. I believe the best place to swap stories is over a shared meal, preferably a Thai-meal served family style, and teach an online introduction class to Thai Flavors and host the Family Dinners at The Station supper club in San Francisco.