Instagram can easily be categorized as one of, if not the, biggest social media platforms of today’s world. Being in the digital age that we are in, Instagram is utilized in so many different ways — from marketing and design to styling and just sharing your every day experiences with friends and family — Instagram is a platform for everyone.
If you’re one of the people who have decided to use your Instagram for more than just sharing photos with friends and family, say you’re selling a product or brand through Instagram, you will often times find yourself coming up with strategies to grow your audience and to beat the forever-changing Instagram algorithm.
While there are some things that are undoubtedly out of your control, like the algorithm changes and the never ending game of follow/unfollow (don’t do it), there are in fact ways that you can put yourself in a position to be susceptible to growth.
Instagram is quite obviously a visual platform, meaning people want to open up their apps and be faced with beautiful and eye-catching images and videos, but sometimes creating stellar content isn’t enough. You need to know how to get your beautiful content in front of as many eyes possible, and how to market that content effectively.
While I too am still in the process of trying to grow my Instagram audience, I have found that there are a number of really great mobile apps that have helped me to not only create content, but to market it effectively as well. I wanted to share some of those apps with you in hopes that they can help you on your Insta journey as well!
Planoly can be used for a number of different things, but most importantly it can be used to schedule posts to Instagram. Instagram doesn’t allow you to schedule posts natively like Facebook and Twitter do, so you need to use a third party. Problem with that is, Instagram does not approve of the use of many third party apps when it comes to scheduling and posting to the platform. Luckily, Planoly is an official partner of Instagram, which means your account will not be punished by Instagram for posting through Planoly. The scheduling feature is really great, it will even send a notification to your phone that will remind you that it is time to post, which is useful if you’re normally super busy and posting tends to slip your mind.
In addition, Planoly offers you the option to curate your grid through the app. So you can upload photos into your Instagram grid on the app and move them around to see what order they look best in. This is great if you have a checkerboard grid for example, where you post a product photo or a quote graphic every few posts to make your grid resemble a certain design.
Lastly, Planoly offers some analytics within the app, which is awesome if your Instagram profile isn’t a business profile and you don’t have access to the analytics within the Instagram app. The analytics are very in depth too!
Everyone has heard of Photoshop, of course, but I think the PS Express app is highly underrated, so is the Lightroom mobile app! You’re not always going to get the best lighting when you take photos, so having the Photoshop or Lightroom app is definitely a big help when it comes to altering the lighting on your photos. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been casted in darkness by a shadow and Photoshop has saved the day for me. The app has a lot of different features to help you spiff up your photos, from lighting features to detail features to help sharpen your photos and even effects like fades and vignettes.
The app is free to download, but offers features that require an Adobe account. If you have an Adobe account on your desktop, just use that sign in on the mobile app and you’ll be good to go!
Instagram Stories are where it’s at for sharing behind the scenes or everyday life content, or even promoting your latest blog post! Everyone should be taking advantage of Instagram Stories to be able to reach eyes that may not be seeing your static posts due to the latest algorithm. One way to create beautiful IG Story content is with the app Unfold. Unfold offers tons of different templates you can use to create story graphics to promote a blog post or even just a product that you’ve been loving lately.
The app is free to download, but certain template packs do cost extra. However, there are plenty of free templates to get you started and keep you going.
A Color Story
Here is another app that will help you to create beautiful content! Presets can sometimes be out of the budget if you’re just starting out and the filters built into Instagram don’t always work (in my case they never worked so that’s why I went on the search for some new ones!) So having an app that offers beautiful filters and effects is a must! A Color Story was developed by the wonderful people over at A Beautiful Mess, and it has so much to offer! Not only does the app have some editing tools to mess with the exposure and contrast and all that typical stuff, but it has TONS of beautiful filters and effects such as light flares, color fogs, bokeh and more to help you create a unique look to your content!
A Color Story is free to download and has a number of free templates to use, but if you’re really looking to invest in your content I HIGHLY recommend purchasing some of the beautiful filter packs they offer, they are all EXTREMELY cheap (some of them are $1) and are so worth it.
Lastly, no Instagram post is complete without hashtags if you’re looking to grow an audience. Typing in a ton of hashtags every time you post can be time consuming and a bit frustrating if they don’t bring in the engagement you are looking for. SmartHash allows you to save time by curating a group of hashtags that you can simply copy and paste onto your post when needed.
Not only does the app save you time by not having to type out each tag individually every time you post, but it lets you know which hashtags are bringing the most traction to your post through a heat map. The app shows you which individual tags are doing great and which aren’t seeing any views. In addition, it also generates a list each day of the top 100 hashtags used that day, as well as a search feature that shows you which hashtags are used the most or see the most success. However, it is important to remember that massive hashtags with millions of posts aren’t always the most effective.
SmartHash is a free to download app, but the amount of features you get for free within the app are limited.
New apps are always popping up and it is important to try new ones out, because you never know how you may benefit from it!