When you’re starting out in content and social media marketing for your small business, the creation and set-up processes can be a little daunting for those without much design experience or resources.

We’ve talked before about how important it is to periodically create attractive, shareable content to put out on your social media profiles to keep them fresh, but how can you make sure those content pieces reflect well on your brand from a design perspective?

Similarly, our recent series on properly setting up your social profiles highlighted the importance of making these platforms look inviting and eye-catching. And while it’s easy to make your Facebook page look great with tools from Pagemodo, what about Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn? (Hint: those links take you to cheat sheets.)

Fear not – if you’ve been stifled by the thought of hiring a professional designer or buying expensive software to create materials for your social media profiles, we have some alternatives to offer. While pro designers like our own often rely on incredibly robust solutions like Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign, there are other less expensive options with smaller toolsets and reined-in capabilities that can help give small business owners what they need – without a whole lot of things they don’t – at a manageable cost. Here are a few to consider:

GIMP: Free

– Open source software with supportive community
– Good photo editing tools
– Requires a bit more tech savvy
– Can be used by Mac or PC users

Sumopaint: $0 – $19

– Available in 3 price levels depending on use (Online, iPad, Desktop)
– Robust editing and design tools
– Easy to use interface
– Can be used by Mac or PC users

Pages: $19.99

– Part of Apple’s iWork suite
– Compatible with MS Office apps for Mac
– Great word processing and layout tools (For e-books, presentations, etc.)
– Dynamic tables and charts
– Can be used only by Mac users

Sketch: $49

– 15-day free trial available (consider setting up all those profiles quickly!)
– Fairly advanced feature set
– Best for somewhat more tech-inclined users
– Powerful design tool
– Can be used only by Mac users

There are certainly other design and photo editing solutions out there, and I’d encourage you to find the one that’s right from you. Hopefully the suggestions above from our design team will help get you started off right! If you find a great option that isn’t on this list, please come back and let everyone know by dropping us a comment.

About the Author: Sarah Matista is the Online Content Specialist and resident blogger at Pagemodo. Loves social media, branding, whales. Get more from Sarah on Pagemodo’s Blog and Google+.


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