It's no secret that images are increasingly important for social media success.
It wasn't long ago that Twitter added inline image previews to its official apps, and it's including even more image focus in the latest redesign.
At Buffer, we've done tests on our own Twitter account previously that showed images make a huge difference to engagement:
In a recent research study we conducted, we found that images can increase retweet rate by up to 150%:
Images aren't just useful for Twitter, either. Facebook and Google+ posts look great with images in them, and Pinterest and Instagram are all about images.
To make the visual side of your social media strategy a bit easier, here are some tools to help you create awesome pictures.
I love how easy-to-use PicMonkey is, and that you can jump in straight away and give it a go without creating an account or even uploading your own photos. I used the sample images on offer to try the collage editing tools:
It even has some handy built-in collage designs for Pinterest, Etsy and Facebook:
Especially in the image editing world, there exist a ton of other great tools. Check out "The Big List of 100 Tools, Tips and Tricks to Work more Efficiently Online" to get even smarter about editing tools.
It lets you upload your own photos and easily resize them to set sizes for Facebook, Twitter and Google+, as well as custom sizes and common icon and avatar sizes:
For Facebook in particular, getting the photo size and aspect ratio just right is crucial to have it appear large and clear in the newsfeed.
Another similar tool is this Social Media Image Maker which includes even more social network options, such as YouTube, Flickr, LinkedIn, Tumblr and Vimeo.
You can add your own images from your computer to pretty much any section of the mock-Facebook Page or Profile, and then edit them to fit. I uploaded my profile picture and dragged it into the profile image spot:
Once it's in the right spot, you can resize, move and rotate the image until you're happy with it. Afterwards, you can hit one of those green arrows to download the edited version of your image or click "Download All" to grab a .zip file of all the images you edited.
If you upgrade to Timeline Slicer Pro, you'll get to use the sections for Shared Image, Sponsored Story Image and Facebook Ad images.
Especially with all the changes Facebook has made recently to its algorithm, it's becoming more important to experiment with all elements - including the profile.
You don't need to create an account to make a collage, and you can choose a layout and upload your images really fast.
Once your image is finished, you can download it and use it however you like. Too easy!
The editor is still really easy to use, but it has features like cropping, red-eye and blemish fixes, filters, borders, text and collages.
It also lets you grab your photos from more places than most, including your computer, Facebook, Flickr and your webcam.
If you want a browser-based editor that's a bit more serious, Pixlr is a good one to try. These tools can make any content more visual - and visuals are an important part of creating more shareable content.
6. Find and make Infographics
A few tools have popped up to make creating infographics easier. Here are just a few you could try:
7. Make images from quotes
I used a quote from a recent Buffer blog post to test each of these tools so you can see an example of how they work:
Recite has my favourite set of backgrounds to choose from, which make it really easy to make your quote look nice:
I love that Quozio's landing page is set up for you to start creating a quote image immediately.
Pinwords is a really basic tool, but it's great if you want to quickly make an image from a quote and add it to your Pinterest account.
Pinstamatic actually lets you create a whole bunch of items to add to your Pinterest boards including website snapshots, pins of Twitter profiles and Spotify tracks that you can pin.
There are lots of visual templates to choose from for your quotes, and you can click each one to see a preview:
What other tools have you used lately to make images for social media? Let us know in the comments.
If you liked this post, you might also like 6 Random Social Media Tips to Help You Improve Your Marketing Today and 10 Big, Recent Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn Changes You Should Know for a Better Social Media strategy
P.S. Recently we launched brand new Buffer for Business, with Google Analytics support, fan and follower growth options and more. Check it out and see if it can help your social media efforts.
Image credits: Social Media Examiner, The Next Web