15 Graphic & Video Apps Your “Friend” Won’t Tell You About


This is how you look when people ask you about what apps you use to create your social media posts

So I’m writing this from a place of deep sympathy. I feel so bad for you. Your friend, that follower, that account won’t tell you what they use to make that graphic on Instagram or Facebook. Just how Jim from The Office moved his seat all the way down in the hilarious GIF above is how they treat you. I know. I know. You’ve been bullied.

This is me. This is how I feel when I see people who don’t want to share with you.

*hands tissue* Don’t worry. Gigi is here with the list that you need to know. I’ll be updating you if anything new comes out but for now, let’s get into this list. From now on, you won’t be an outsider. You’ll be an insider. You’ll feel like you just dropped 20 hot bars during a rap battle after posting your graphic. You’ll be the next Biggie on the social media block.

This is you once you read this list of apps & online software programs

(These are not ranked in any particular order)

  1. Over (Graphic App): I love this app because it has the ability to have layers. So imagine one thing stacked on another. So I can put a layer of text on top of an image and I can put another graphic on top of that. The crazy thing is that you can export them as transparent layers. My church needed a quick t-shirt graphic. I made the canvas size 3000 x 3000 pixels and designed it using the fonts (I did purchase a few from their premium kits) and exported it. Sent it to the t-shirt printer. (Similar Apps: Studio Design, PicLab, )
  2. WordSwag (Graphic App): This app has changed the game for so many brands. It’s a typography creator. Basically you plug in your text and it lays it out different ways so that it’s not your boring usual post. The update now offers gold foil (for the glam ladies) and other textures. The gold foil is being overused in my opinion. However, I suggest balancing it out by using a similar app called Typorama. Please, purchase the “remove watermark” option. It makes me cringe when I see the watermarks. (Similar Apps: Typorama (duh), Kwote, InstaQuote (not a generator))
  3. Canva (Graphic App & Online Software): This online program has helped so many businesses create graphics on the go. You can create e-book covers, social media banners, documents, brochures, and more. It’s a FREE online program. Their premium plan (Canva for Work) does have some benefits but you have to weigh the pros and cons. I’m not going to go through the details because you have Google and you can simply visit Canva to look up the fine print. I’m not your fairy godmother. Just a US citizen doing their duty to fill you in my friend. Now, they released their app version for the iPhone (they had one out for iPad for a while) and in my opinion it’s crap. It definitely needs some more fixing and tweaks. Canva works best right now for the desktop and iPad. You can only do so much on the iPhone app. There really isn’t a similar app to this platform. It’s that amazing and it’s really helped all brands of all sizes become their own graphic designer for free. At the same time, there are many limitations. It’s a free platform though. You can’t get it all for free. (Similar Apps: Adobe Spark (Adobe also offers video creation!))
  4. Legend (Video App): Use this to put text on top of an image and turns it into a video. Comes with various layouts. It’s a generator as well. You just type in the text and go from there. (Similar App: Ripl)
  5. VidLab (Video App): This app used to be my favorite. Smh. You have the ability to pull short clips from YouTube (under 4 minutes). However, this app hasn’t been updated to fit Instagram’s new time limit (1 minute). So you can only make videos for 15 seconds -__- What am I supposed to do with 15 seconds? Smh. However, I still use this app to make quick vids. Plus I bought all the premium perks so I’m trying to get my $2.99 worth. Best believe!!!! (What I’ve moved to: Quik (bought by GoPro)-Quik is amazing and now that it’s been bought by Quick, I’m excited to see how this app grows. It’s a generator as well and you can add pictures or just video. Quik also comes with music to use for your videos/picture slideshow so that’s a lifesaver in so many ways. Plus, you can always use your own music if you’d like) (Similar Apps: Use Quik!!!! Also, there’s iMovie)
  6. ProCam4 (Video App): This is an app to record video in a very defined way. It has so many options to take your iPhone to another level as a small professional camera. (Video Editor/My Other Apps: Videoshop, Cameo, Videorama, Pixelmator)
  7. MailChimp Snap (Email Marketing App): Why am I including this? Because you can pull your Instagram post & caption and send it to your email list via MailChimp (you can also use photos from your camera roll). Why is this amazing? So let’s say you do super long encouraging posts on Instagram and you know that a good number of your followers may miss it PLUS you want to reuse your content. Use MailChimp snap. They give you a few templates to use and it’s off to send! I once was in a church service and had to send an email blast for a young adult event. I was out of town. I pulled out my phone. Made a quick graphic on WordSwag. Opened up MailChimp Snap and added the image and typed up a quick blurb and sent it off. (Similar Apps: MailChimp-to see stats, add subscribers, and more)
  8. Buffer (Social Media Mangement App): I use the online version and then use the app to post. Now this baby automatically posts to Facebook and Twitter for you but not Instagram. They just recently added Instagram and so I use it to schedule my posts. I also like it because I can add them into my online account and then go to my phone and the caption is already there. There are other programs that do this but I’m a huge fan of Buffer sooooo…yeah. (Similar: Later, Publish)
  9. Planoly (Social Media Management App): I’ve been using this for the past 2 months now for my Instagram. I think it was kind of pointless in purchasing it so I’ll be cancelling my account after this month. However, I wanted to test it out. It basically shows your Instagram layout just how it would look on IG before you post. So I can preplan my whole Instagram layout 2 weeks in advance if I want to and I’ll know exactly how it will look. So this is really cool if you’re into making your Instagram timeline into a work of art. However, once I figured out that I was doing picture and then quote and repeating that, I don’t really need to plan that out. Lol.
  10. UploadnRoll (Snapchat App): So there are times I want to promote stuff on my Snapchat and it’s stuff in my camera roll. I use UploadnRoll to post stuff onto my Snapchat. There are still glitches. It logs me out out of my actual Snapchat because you have to log in via UploadnRoll. However, it comes in handy a few times.
  11. Dropbox (Storage App): Use this to store social media posts in folders. You never know when you want to reuse content. You can also use Google Drive but Dropbox is my preference.
  12. Repost (Social Media App): So I get tired of screenshotting things and then reposting. So I just use the repost app. I paid for the watermark removal. I hate seeing watermarks. Just a personal pet peeve. It’s kind of like people seeing your underwear. Nobody wants to see that Leroy!
  13. Photo Editing: Here is just a list of ones I use…Camera+ (love this one), Enlight, Vsco, Fused). Now, there is an app called FaceTune that many makeup gurus and just crazy people use to edit their face. Baby, this thing takes away fine lines, adds lip color, will shed pounds by slight photoshop, and more. Use with caution. Don’t try to catfish that man babygirl. For collages, I use LiPix Pro.
  14. RecoLive (Video App): Small churches/Plant Churches are using this app to replace having huge tv cameras that bust their budget from the start. Use this app with a few iPads and you have a small amazing video team for your church/brand. I’ve helped a few churches switch to this app. I really suggest checking it out: http://recolive.com/en/
  15. Pixelmator (Graphic Software/iPhone App)(the Mac Computer version)-If I could be a Pixelmator spokesperson and travel the world speaking to small businesses, I would. Why? I’ve created tons if not thousands of social media graphics in the course of my past 5 years as a graphic designer. Pixelmator is my go-to next to Adobe Photoshop. It’s only for Mac users. It’s an amazing program that includes the basics that you need to create beautiful graphics. I’ve rarely needed Photoshop for many of my projects unless I’m creating vectors in which I need Adobe Illustrator. There are definitely some limitations but it’s a really amazing platform.

Welp, we’ve reached the finish line. Maybe you’ll BOSS up your social media graphics. Maybe not. Who knows! However, I hope the next time someone tries to keep you on the outside when it comes to what apps they use, you’ll already be in the KNOW! You’ll be feeling like Stanley from The Office on Pretzel Day. Baby, it’s a good day!

This is you when you know all the apps to use for your social media.

Now, I’m sure I’m missing some apps. Of course, there is good ‘ole Photoshop. You can’t speed past learning Photoshop. Just download it, find some YouTube videos, and start practicing. It took me a few years to master it and you have to have a passion for graphics and the creative world to get good at it. I have a pet peeve with people who try to rush through becoming a great designer. Photoshop is a life saver for me because I know that none of y’all are using an app to create my magic. Haha. However, technology is really creating a bridge between amazing graphics and the everyday business owner/organization. So check out these apps. I’m sure there are a ton that I missed. However, I can only talk about what I know and have used. Here is a quick snapshot of one of my screens.

Periscope 101

If you aren’t aware, Periscope is a live streaming app that allows users to capture what’s happening right now in the moment. It was created for the original purpose of sharing current events and news. However, brands are taking Periscope by storm to connect with their audience. The app is for both iPhone and Android users making it something everyone can use. Periscope allows users to follow others and be notified when they go LIVE!
Scared to go LIVE with your brand? Have no fear because Gigi is here! (That’s me)

1. Periscope is NOT Babble TV

Periscope is not meant for people who just want to come on just to hear their own voices. Use Periscope the right way or you will lose or never gain any followers. Use Periscope to do short talks about things that relate to your brand. For instance, on my website, my current topic is on Creative Leadership. I just recently did a Periscope stream on how to unleash your creativity. Another day, I did a talk about how leadership is developed through everyday life actions. All of my Periscopes point back to my brand. Nothing is for nothing. There must be a purpose behind what you’re doing. Remember: If it doesn’t match your brand, leave it alone!

2. Prepare & Plan

If you’re not used to speaking in front of the camera on a regular basis, take out some time and prepare what you’re going to speak about. This rule pretty much goes for everyone. However, for myself, there are times when I will jump on and share some tidbits of wisdom that I didn’t necessarily write out ahead of time. I’ve found what works best is to prepare some things that you want to share to your audience.

3. Catchy Titles & Proper Promo

Catchy titles work best! I have a habit of using numbers in my titles. For instance, you can use titles such as 3 Easy Steps to lose 15 Pounds or Help I’m Pregnant! (Talking about being pregnant with purpose). Of course, let there be a balance if you lean towards the more crazier titles. Haha. Proper promotion is key! Be sure to remind people to follow you on Periscope through your social media platforms. Stop by the Brand Bar if you need some social media flyers (we make some killer graphics!).

4. Time is of the essence

It’s Periscope not a TV marathon. I shoot for 30 minutes as the maximum time. That was when I had done promotion and proper planning for an in depth convo. If you find yourself going over 30 minutes, it better be pretty powerful. Also, look at the times in which you go LIVE on your Periscope and who your demographic is. If you appeal to entrepreneurs, their schedules may be more open than if you appeal to single mothers (try a later time). Also, as people join your stream, say hello to them. However, don’t take 15 minutes greeting everybody.

5. Make it fun!

What Periscope has allowed many brands to do is show the human side of the brand. Show your behind the scenes work! Get creative with your streams! I’ve turned my Periscopes into episodes. Advise your listeners to double tap if they are loving what you’re talking about. However, you can’t force people to like you. You need to create something for them to love! Remember to smile, laugh, and let people see that you love what you do!

(Originally written for BusinessBabesOnline.com)

Why Exposure Doesn’t Always Pay the Bills

I will never forget when I first received that phone call. Actually, let’s back up a second to the “hello” that I received through social media. A potential client knew that I designed websites for WordPress and reached out through a Direct Message. She was working with a well known celebrity on a project and wanted me to create a similar site. The site that she wanted started at around $1000. We exchange information. Then the phone call came….
After providing her with the price and what it included, she said the unthinkable.

Her: Well by doing my site, you would be getting tons of exposure. You would get tons of referrals from just this one site.

I almost dropped the phone but I didn’t. Exposure. If I was a newbie and was trying to establish my portfolio, I would MAYBE reconsider. However, after you pay a few dues, know that exposure doesn’t pay the bills. You can’t make money on potential.

If there was anything I’ve learned from doing business it was that empty promises won’t keep the lights on. Some may say well it depends on the price point. That’s a fair argument. If it was a project under $100, I would consider it. However, it would still be hard for me to swallow it because I believe in paying for what you respect. Respect your own work enough to not devalue it.  If you do trade exposure for your work, here are some things to think on.

1. Links to you & your website/work. I’m a web designer & so if I’ve done the site, my name is placed on the footer of the site or within my portfolio of sites. The worst thing to do is to not get credit for an exposure trade.

2. Social media shout out/promotion. If someone is trying to get work done for free, the least they can do is give you a shout out. However, consider the worth of a shout out. What’s their engagement numbers like? Someone who has 20K followers but only gets a few comments under their pictures or averages only 100 likes should raise a flag.

3. If you do not hear from someone due to the work you’ve done after an exposure trade, learn your lesson & learn it quick!

4. Remember that if you want more clients, do more networking & engagement. I’ve never had to do ad placement or in your face marketing for one client. I know that each arena in business is very different though.

Remember: If someone values your gift that much, they should pay for it. Don’t be so desperate for a dollar that you forget that there are always more clients out there who are willing to pay! Work hard to find them & connect with them!

So what are your thoughts? Has anyone ever asked you to trade your work for exposure? How did it go? Did it end with profitable results?

(Originally written for BusinessBabesOnline.com)