We all want our social media content to stand out from our competition. Problem is, not all of us are graphic designers and not everyone can afford, or is willing, to hire someone to do it for them. Fortunately, today there are options, and the number of free design tools available to the creative community is increasing year after year.

This holiday season, try out these 6 free tools to make your social media content pop.

1. Ripl

Ripl is a mobile app that allows users to easily create custom animations, which can then be shared seamlessly to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. The platform also allows you to add music to your animations. Think of Ripl like Powerpoint transitions on steroids, but for social media.

While the free version of the app is limited in its functionality (and also pastes the Ripl watermark on all posts), the tool can still produce riveting motion graphics previously reserved for people with stellar video editing skills. Ripl's motto of "A marketing team in your pocket" may be a stretch at this point, but it's still a terrific tool you can use to make sure your audience stops scrolling to view your content every time they see it on their news feed.

2. Adobe Spark

Let's face it, when it comes to releasing innovating products for creatives, Adobe has been crushing it for decades, and that dominance surely didn't stop at mobile. Adobe Spark, much like Ripl, is a free service that allows users to create eye-popping videos, text animations, and more directly from their smartphones. 

Spark and Ripl also have another thing in common: if you're not willing to upgrade to their paid service, you better get used to watermarks. Spark's premium features can be unlocked for just $10 per month though.

3. Canva

Canva is the industry leader when it comes to easy-to-use graphic design. Through their platform, you'll get access to countless pre-made graphics, icons, word art, photos, and more. Additionally, Canva makes content creation even more convenient by arranging their material into categories like YouTube thumbnails, social media posts, Twitter headers, etc. 

Canva allows free users access to 1 gigabyte of cloud storage and over 8,000 templates for graphics. Whether you need an infographic created by tomorrow morning or are starting your own YouTube channel on a shoestring budget, Canva is worth trying out.

4. Unsplash

Unsplash.com is an enormous directory of free, high-quality stock photos without the watermarks. Better yet, Unsplash allows users to download an unlimited amount of photos. High-resolution photography is becoming more of a standard and less of an asset as the years go on, and sites like Unsplash help to level the playing field for all the non-photographers out there.

5. Snappa

Snappa is very similar to Canva. It allows users to easily create custom graphics for their social media, pre-schedule their content directly from the platform, and choose from thousands of high-quality stock images. Yet, while Snappa's selection of icons and user-friendliness is next to none (in my opinion), keep in mind that their free version only allows 5 downloads per month when it comes to graphics. 

6. Giphy

Let me start with a disclaimer here: it isn't a good idea to "force" the use of GIFs on social media. If you do, you run the risk of looking inauthentic or corny. That being said, if humor is an integral part of your brand, a well-timed GIF could mean the difference between your content getting lost in the feed or virality.

Giphy is the internet's top search engine for GIFs of all types, and allows users to download an unlimited amount of them completely for free. Don't see exactly what you want? You're in luck. The service also lets you create original GIFs using a feature called GIF Maker.

Nowadays, while not everyone can mimic an amazing graphic designer, anyone with an internet connection has the ability to mimic a decent one. But what separates the winners from the losers is taking the time to research, discover and use the tools available to us all. By reading this article, you're already a step ahead of your competitors. Now, take the next step by giving the tools a test drive for yourself.

Published on: Dec 13, 2017