If you’re an artist or setting-up or running a small business, there a large number of free and brilliant apps that can help you design directly and save costs. This is a list of my favourite, free apps that are great for creative projects, finding images, direct marketing and staying ahead of the latest digital developments.
Canva is a super easy and free design product. You can choose from a plethora of sizes and templates for social media platforms, select beautiful fonts, graphics, designs and filters and upload your own images. It takes a little time to play around and get used to it, and to design anything outside of the set template sizes you will need to upgrade to a monthly payment, but if you’re inventive you can usually find a way around it.
3. Photo editing
Snapseed is a wonderful phone-based, photo-editing app.
With filters, borders, and adjustments galore, you can transform photos so that they are grungy, hardly recognisable renditions of the original, or beautifully edited images with fresher colours and focus. You can also layer text and images to your heart’s content.
4. editing video
With the rise of video across the majority of social media platforms, the need to produce video cheaply but effectively is rapidly growing in importance. Animoto is not entirely free but at around $30 per month it is a very cost-effective, online video editor which can make even the roughest footage look great. There are a variety of templates and editing tools to choose from so you can make sure your video production is consistently on brand.
5. Sending emails
MailChimp remains my favourite way to organise direct marketing campaigns. This tried and true system has helped me send numerous emails and track responses for a few hundred people at a time. You can link to other apps and the analytics are thorough. The design functions are flexible and you can keep it consistent with your other communications by uploading images, providing links and buttons… all for free. No design or coding experience necessary.
6. Website design
There are numerous website platforms out there – but Wix is my free platform of choice. You can create beautiful, tailor-made websites in the space of a few hours, and it’s easy to switch to the mobile view.
The support is great, and the add-ons are flexible to meet your needs. Wix continues to adapt rapidly and evolve to meet the latest digital developments.
7. Digital training
HubSpot is a very sophisticated online lead-generation and CRM system. They offer free online training with indepth courses on a range of inbound topics and social media. Upon completion you get a certificate that you can link directly to your LinkedIn profile.
8. Social Media updates
Sign up for Social Media Knowledge (SMK)’s daily emails to find out about the changes happening daily across all the main social platforms. If you are in Australia and New Zealand they also offer great workshops in the main centres.
9. FINDING GREAT CONTENT
This is probably very obvious, but in case you are not using it already, setting up a Google alert is great for getting important news and content updates and staying at the fore of your sector or industry developments.
10. Social media scheduling and tracking
If you have a lot of different social media platforms and need to keep track of it all in one place, there are a few tools that will help you to schedule, monitor and report on your posts, shares and successes.
The top two providers I would recommend in this space are:
11. Screen recordings
With video production predicted to rise in popularity, production and prioritisation across major media platforms, having access to a free screen recording can enhance your ability to create instructional videos and capture the screen shots you need. Screencast-o-matic offers a basic tool to do this.
12. Event management
In the world of events I have found EventBrite a great free system for tracking RSVP's to events. It's compatible with social media, can analyse sources of RSVP's and will give you a list of the RSVP's you can use on the day.