10 free Apps to create scroll-stopping social media content

If you use your phone to create social media content, I’ve got 10 amazing apps for you! I’ve created content with all 10 apps, so I know how good they are. I’ve tested out hundreds of apps, but these are the ones I keep coming back to. All 10 apps are free, have great features and are super easy to use. All but one of them can be downloaded for iOS and Android phones.

Use your phone to batch up photos, videos, graphics, Stories, posts, GIFs and cinemagraphs in minutes. Create awesome, engaging content that your audience will love!  What are you waiting for? Pick out a few apps and get creating! 🤳🏻

1. ImgPlay

Made with ImgPlay

Made with ImgPlay

  • Create: GIFs, memes, photo slideshows
  • Cost: Free / £7.99
  • Upgrade for: no ads or watermark, text & sticker animations, extra effects/filters/stickers, add a logo
  • See also: GifLab

ImgPlay is so much more than a GIF maker. Of course you can use the app to create, convert and edit GIFs. But you can also save your creations as mov or mp4 videos and use them for Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. ImgPlay creates ‘moments’ automatically from similar photos on your camera roll, which is such a time-saver. Or select photos to put together a slideshow in seconds. Use text, borders, filters and stickers to finish off your design. I’ve kept this app on my phone for years because it’s so quick and easy to use. You can even use the app to create Stop Motions – but sadly only for iOS at present.

Download from Google play store Download on the App Store

2. InShot

  • Create: Videos using video and/or photographs
  • Cost: Free / £11.99 p/a
  • Upgrade for: no ads or watermark, extra effects/filters/stickers
  • See also: VLLO, CapCut, Premiere Rush

InShot has often been voted one of the best video editor apps. It’s ideal for beginners as it’s so easy to use. But that doesn’t mean it’s short on features. There’s quite a number of effects such as Glitch to play around with. InShot allows you to detach audio from clips, add text animations and overlay images on video. Unlike some other video editing apps, InShot has a full range of filters, transitions and audio so you only need one app to complete your video. And if you’re a sticker fan, as I am – you’re in luck. 😄

Download from Google play store Download on the App Store

3. Snapseed

Before and after photo edited with Snapseed

Edited with Snapseed. GIF made with ImgPlay

  • Create: Perfectly edited photos, double exposures
  • Cost: Free
  • See also: PicTapGo, VSCO

Snapseed is a free photo editor app from Google that has premium features like masking. But it’s straightforward enough for beginners to use. One of the best things about it is that you can layer your edits – so it’s easy to go back and tweak the first change you made to your photo without affecting anything else. That means the filters (Looks) are also super flexible too. I used one of the Looks to edit the photo shown. Tip: Watch the built-in tutorials to get started. 👍🏻

Download from Google play store Download on the App Store

4. Unfold

Made with Unfold

Made with Unfold

  • Create: Beautifully designed Instagram Stories
  • Cost: Free / £18.49 p/a
  • Upgrade for: 400+ templates inc Instagram posts, extra fonts/stickers/effects
  • See also: Made, StoryLuxe

Unfold was the very first app with templates for Instagram Stories. It has a LOT of competition now, but I still turn to it because the templates are so well-designed and the app is simple to use. It’s still primarily a Stories app with 400+ templates, but has added photo and video editing, Giphy GIF search and an Instagram feed planner. The free version has no watermark and a good number of free templates. And I love that you can favourite templates, organise into folders and save one or all Stories to your phone. That’s why it remains my favourite app to create good-looking stories.

Download from Google play store Download on the App Store

5. Spark Post

Made with Spark Post

Made with Spark Post

  • Create: Stylish graphics
  • Cost: Free / £91.99 p/a / Included in any Adobe Creative Cloud plan
  • Upgrade for: All templates, branding, upload fonts
  • See also: PicMonkey, Crello

Spark Post is a Canva competitor and I personally think the app is much better than Canva’s main app. Like Canva, it also has a desktop version. You can ‘remix’ one of the stylish templates available or you can create a graphic from scratch. Spark Post has features you’d expect – you can remove the background from photos, add some basic animation and resize graphics. But it’s the free resources that stand out for me which make it easier to create great-looking graphics. There’s stock photo, stock video, GIPHY search, icons, background, illustrations and fab fonts. Spark Post is part of a trio of tools by Adobe and free with any Creative Cloud plan.

Download from Google play store Download on the App Store

6. Hyperlapse / Microsoft Hyperlapse

  • Create: Sped-up tours & events, maker videos
  • Cost: Free
  • See also: Lapse It

A hyperlapse is sped-up, stabilised video – a form of timelapse. It’s a great format to use for events, for building tours and especially for makers. You can use Hyperlapse (iOS) or Microsoft Hyperlapse (Android) to film any drawn-out process. Because when you speed it up, it’s magical. Boring scenes become engaging when you speed them up. People love hyperlapses. Film with Hyperlapse and you can alter the speed from 1x to 12x. Microsoft Hyperlapse can go up to 32x the speed. Tip: Try recording a hyperlapse from high up so people look like ants. 😄

Download from Google play store Download on the App Store

7. Life Lapse

  • Create: Stop Motion videos
  • Cost: Free / £48.99 p/a
  • Upgrade for: No ads or watermark, advanced editing, bluetooth remote
  • See also: Stop Motion Studio

Life Lapse makes getting started with stop motion easy and stop motion is a very popular type of content. It’s definitely worth getting started. The integrated tutorials are fantastic, and the app is really straightforward to use. Take the photos inside the app using the ghosted image feature (onion skinning) to ensure smooth movement. Or import photos and use the app to edit, add effects and a soundtrack. I find being able to lock the exposure and white balance helps hugely and Life Lapse also lets you colour correct. These are the things that make stop motions look much more professional.

Download from Google play store Download on the App Store

8. Vimage

Created with Vimage

Made with Vimage

  • Create: Cinemagraphs
  • Cost: Free / £15.49 p/a
  • Upgrade for: no ads or watermark, HD resolution downloads, multiple effects
  • See also: Motionleap

A cinemagraph is a photograph with an animated section – the sky might be moving, or coffee swirling in a mug. They’re relatively new, and they definitely stop the scroll. Vimage has a wide range of effects, and some of them might make you raise an eyebrow so stick to the subtle ones. Vimage has fog, glitter, birds, fireworks and 4 snow effects.  It’s very easy to use and a great starter app if you want to try creating cinemagraphs. Access to Unsplash stock photos is built-in – another time-saver.

Download from Google play store Download on the App Store

9. Spark Camera

  • Create: Highlight videos
  • Cost: Free / £38.99 p/a
  • Upgrade for: Ultra slow-motion, transitions, extra filters, import photos & video
  • See also: Glimpse

The trend for 1 second video storytelling goes back a few years, but Spark Camera and apps like it continue the trend. Use the app to both record and edit video clips. Instead of multiple clips gathering dust on your camera roll, you can record snippets within the app. Just hold down your finger and record for a few seconds. When you’re done, move the clips around, add music and a filter – you’re done. It forces you to be more intentional about what you record, and what you want to create. It’s a fantastic way to pull together a video quickly.

Download on the App Store

10. mojo

Made with mojo

Made with mojo

  • Create: Animated Stories
  • Cost: Free / £59.99 p/a
  • Upgrade for: branding, all the templates, resize for other social media formats
  • See alsoInstories, 500 stories

mojo is a premium app for animated social media posts. Many of the templates look as though they’ve been created by big brands. There is a huge range of designs and you can customise all of them. It’s not just the templates that are animated – there are also animations for titles, captions, social media icons, logos and stickers. Plus Giphy is integrated so you can include GIFs. If you create a design and change your mind, you can preview it used with any other template – great feature! You could also use many of the designs for social ads.

Download from Google play store Download on the App Store

Why your Instagram grid matters

On Instagram, it’s not just enough that the images look good on their own – they need to work together ‘in the grid’ to create a cohesive look and convey what your brand is all about.

A visitor to your feed will judge it on the basis of the first nine or 12 images – many won’t bother to scroll further down.

So if those images don’t look good together, they may well not follow the feed. For example, if there’s a different filter for every photo or if the colour scheme changes from bolds to pastels to monochrome. There are accounts that get away with this – perhaps because the brand is so famous, or because it’s funny and the feed is less about the look than the captions. But if your account isn’t famous or hilarious, you need to pay attention to the grid.

Here are some examples to show you what I mean.

Jamie Oliver

Jamie Oliver screenshot

Why it works: The images are grouped in threes, and the colour scheme is consistently earthy with touches of bright colour. Even the circular dishes make it all hang together nicely. There’s a clever mix of images – people, closeups of a dish and some shots showing more detail with a table setting. The backgrounds, bowls, plates, table settings all fit with the Jamie Oliver ethos – nothing is fancy, just substantial, tasty food.

Boden

Boden feed screenshotWhy it works: Boden is known for bright colour and pattern and naturally, their Instagram feed reflects this. Pops of bold colour mixed with plain, mostly pale backgrounds to help it stand out. Pattern is used in small amounts, but still makes an impact. The repeats of colour and detail make it feel cohesive even if you don’t notice them e.g. the hot pink in two of the photos, the stripe band in the dresses at top left and bottom right.

Me & Orla

Me & Orla screenshotSara Tasker’s feed occasionally includes promotions but she ensures that these images still align with her core look and values (unlike some influencers!). Could you spot which of these photos is a paid promotion? The filter(s) used are all similar, so there’s a consistent aesthetic even though the subject matter varies. Lots of white balances the dark lighting and liberal use of grey.

How to improve your Instagram grid

A beautiful Instagram feed is all about good design, which is not the easiest thing to grasp. Some people find good design comes naturally- we all know someone who just seems to create the perfect interiors, handmade Christmas cards or even outfits without any effort (or so it seems). I’m not one of those people! But here are some ideas which may help you get a more integrated, cohesive and beautiful feed that people will want to follow!

  • Get inspired by others. Next time you look at a fab new feed, just pause and think about why you’d like to follow it. Why does it seem appealing? Could you use some of the ideas in your own feed?
  • Limit filters. If you’re not using a filter for photos, it’s the number one thing that can make your feed look better. The Instagram filters are quite overused now. There’s a lot more choice if you use an app like Snapseed or VSCO (both iOS/Android & free). Some of the Instagram planning & scheduling apps like have filters as well (e.g. Preview, Plann).
  • Use the rule of three. Whilst all the photos on the grid need to work with each other, start by grouping images in threes. Perhaps three photos which all have a splash of the same colour. Or different views of a featured product – a close-up, one on the shelf and in the shop window perhaps. Images could tell a story of a day out – beginning, middle and end.
  • Introduce repeating elements. For some brands, it’s a signature colour – Janet Murray‘s pastel pink as shown. Or circles featuring quotes or employee photos – circles stand out on such a square grid.
  • Embrace white space. It doesn’t have to be white, although a white border or background is very effective. If every image is ‘busy’, then the feed will look busy too. Adding a simpler image with lots of empty space (even a blue sky) will break things up.

Hope this advice helps with your feed(s) whatever they are! Leave a comment or reach out to me on InstagramTwitter or email.

I can help you with Instagram! Check out my Deep Purple Power Hour or Ultraviolet: transform your Instagram package.