Content creation on a shoestring budget

Social Media Strategies

Don’t buy into the hype that you can’t create your own social media content in-house. Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s public relations team started our Twitter accounts five years ago with no budget, other than some time and energy to throw at the project. Here are free and low-cost tools we’ve used to grow our audience.


No matter what your line of business, you probably have graphics and photos that can be repurposed for social media.  Spiff up your images with:

  • PowerPoint – The most improperly used tool in the office is actually not a bad way to make a simple graphic. Export your slide as an image file (.jpg or .png) and you’re ready to go. Price: Likely already on your computer.
  • Canva – This website provides an easy way to create graphics that look like they were built by a professional designer. Price: Free
  • Aviary – A photo editing website and app from Adobe, Aviary lets you add filters and tweak your photos with minimal effort. Price: Free


Apple introduced iMovie in 1999, doing for video production what the Mac did for page layout years earlier. Still, all these years later, many remain apprehensive about video. Don’t be. Here are a few tools to check out:

  • Animoto – Lets you create videos using a combination of photographs, video clips and text. Price: Starting at $8 per month.
  • YouTube – The popular video site has some decent tools to help you make edits and clean up your videos before posting. Price: Free
  • Apple iMovie – Still a great way to make everything from a short video to feature length film. Price: Free on Macs, iPhones and iPads.

Remember, if your goal in social media is to get your content in front of as many people as economically as possible, there is no need to outsource what you can do yourself (or have a tech-savvy intern crank out in 20 minutes).

-Scott Larrivee is the public relations director for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Wisconsin.

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