Thanks to the launch of a plethora of sharing apps within the past few years, the days of clunky file-sharing by thumb drive are long gone. Developers have created just about every style of software imaginable for swapping images and other key files across disparate team members — and many of these are perfectly suited for social media marketers and community managers. The main challenge now is to sift through all the options to find the best apps for your brand and your team.
Since there are so many contenders, we’ve broken these apps down by category — with programs for file sharing in the cloud, for capturing and annotating screenshots, and for simple image uploading. Think about the type of work and sharing that your social team will most likely need to help you select your company’s preferred tools. And remember, you aren’t limited to just one!
Cloud services keep your files stored remotely, ready for access whenever and wherever you need them. These apps are the most flexible of your sharing options since they can handle any file type. If your team may be working with JPG images in the morning and collaborating on a text document in the afternoon, sharing through the cloud may be a good fit.
While they do have the most universal use, bear in mind that almost all of these cloud-based programs have some drawbacks. You’ll need to be alert to any potential security breaches. Plus, you’ll want to get your team properly trained to understand different levels of privacy and document access that your company requires.
For companies that use a large number of Google products, Google Drive is a worthy addition to your suite. Dropbox has several different package options for businesses, depending on the size and scope of your needs. Other competitors in this increasingly crowded field include SugarSync, Bitcasa, Box, Cubby, and YouSendIt. Each offers a slightly different configuration in terms of price, space, and accessibility.
This type of app can be especially helpful when your social crew is coordinating with customer service or support. The following programs allow users to capture all or part of their computer screens. Most also support annotations, so you can add text, arrows, or sketches to the image to supply more explanation or clarity. They also have built-in systems for sharing the final products either publicly online or directly with specific people.
Skitch is now owned by Evernote, and despite an initial backlash to the company’s changes, the program is still a good choice for this type of sharing. Another top option is Jing, which also lets you video record actions taken in a window of your screen. That feature makes it useful for creating tutorials or similar projects. If you want a strong system for organizing these screenshots, check out Little Snapper.
If you are looking for options solely for getting images from person to person, without editing or annotating, simplicity is probably your best path. There are several image-focused services that give a team the capability for easy uploads, meaning you can post a photo online in a tweet, a comment, or a forum quickly.
These services are not as appropriate for collaborating on an image or document behind the scenes, but your team members will most likely find them useful when they need to get visual content onto a social platform. ImageShack and yfrog are two of the longest-running programs for hosting images, while two new popular options include Imgur and Minus.
A final choice for image-only sharing is the classic platform Flickr. The Yahoo-owned network has options for private photos, so you can maintain an internal account just for use among your coworkers and a public account for sharing with customers and fans.
And remember to keep one of those USB drives handy — just in case!
What apps does your team use for sharing images and other files? Let us know in the comments!