8 Types Of Tools For Making Your Instagram Take Off
By Yannick Ilunga
After passing the 300 million users mark a few months ago, Instagram is one of the most popular social media networks, second only to Facebook, which by the way owns Instagram. For everyday users, it’s an excellent way to build and grow an audience and showcase their creativity. Businesses, on the other hand, can rely on Instagram for creating brand awareness, audience building and content marketing, as well as for selling.
In this post, I go over 8 different types of tools you can use to take your Instagram marketing efforts to the next level, whether you’re a solopreneur, small business owner or are part of a social media marketing team.
This is kind of a no-brainer, but you’re going to need an app to take pictures. Regardless of the smartphone model you have, I recommend you avoid using the standard camera app and rely on Camera+ or VSCO Cam instead.
The Instagram expert Sue B. Zimmerman speaks highly of Camera+ and it’s not difficult to understand why. This app, available for iPhone and iPad only, lets you take pictures using a series of different settings and it also allows you to touch up your images too.
If you’re using an Android device, then VSCO Cam is for you. Similarly to Camera+, VSCO Cam enables you to take high quality pictures with advanced camera controls, edit your images and even expand your arsenal of creative tools through a series of premium tools (available in the VSCO shop).
- Photo editing
When it comes to creating visual content, social media and visual content marketing, expert Donna Moritz often talks about the importance of creating in bulk. The way you go about your Instagram marketing shouldn’t be any different.
The first resource I recommend for doing that is Canva. A popular web based tool, available for iPad too, it lets you customize your images, so that they’re optimized and fit perfectly to each social media platform. You can use it to resize your pictures, so that they’re going to look good on Instagram, or to create visuals from scratch using one of the several templates available.
In addition, you can use Canva to create visual content for other social media platforms, as well as for pretty much anything else: podcast artworks, book covers, business cards, etc.
If you need to edit your images on the go, though, you should check out BeFunky. This powerful photo editor, which works on both Android and iOS devices, gives you access to a wide array of editing tools and photo effects that are going to turn your images into masterpieces.
Thinking of creating and sharing collages on Instagram? BeFunky can help you with that too.
- Create Quotes, Add Text And Artworks
Sometimes you may be in line at a store, on a train or on the subway and you see, read or hear a quote that inspires you. You feel like sharing it, but all you have is your smartphone…what can you do? My recommendation is Word Swag. It’s probably one of the most popular apps and recommended by pretty much all the Instagram marketing experts out there.
With Word Swag, you can create stunning quotes, by either using some of the default templates and fonts or by uploading your own images.
Since Word Swag works only for iOS devices, if you’re an Android user I’d suggest you either give Over or PicLab a try. Both apps let you add beautiful text and artwork to your photos in a matter of seconds.
Video is on the rise, and Instagram is no exception. When it comes to this medium, video marketing and visual content experts such as Lou Bortone, Amy Schmittauer and Holly Gillen agree: Just get started, use what you have.
Whether you’re a newbie video maker or not, you can record high quality video with MoviePro. It’s probably the most powerful app for recording video and film making, and it comes with a wide variety of features.
If you want to make videos that are within Instagram’s 15 second limits, you may also want to consider trying Videohance and Hyperlapse.
Videohance gives you full control over your videos’ look with features that had only been available for photo apps. Hyperlapse, on the other hand, lets you create amazing time lapse videos (like a conference room going from empty to fully packed, for instance).
- Link Shortening And Analytics
Instagram allows you to feature a link in your bio and to add up to 30 hashtags to your posts. Since you want to get results on Instagram, you have to take full advantage of these features.
For link shortening, I recommend using Bitly, for the fact that it lets you customize your link. Let’s say you’re going to have a webinar about Instagram marketing. You could create a Bitly link that looks something like bit.ly/InstaWebinar. This way, users know what to expect, when clicking the link.
As for hashtags, you want to be using the ones people are actually using and searching for. You can do all that using Iconosquare. Get key metrics, such as the total number of likes received, your most liked photos ever, your average number of likes and comments per photo: all for free.
Scheduling is such an important aspect of social media marketing, so it’s great to know that there are actually tools you can use to schedule your Instagram uploads too. The web based Schedugram has been the #1 go to resource for scheduling Instagram posts.
Hootsuite, mostly known for its ability to make social media scheduling super easy, recently released a new feature, which allows you to schedule your Instagram posts just like you have been doing for Facebook, Twitter, etc. This means that you can now plan everything while sitting at your desktop and let Hootsuite or Schedugram work their magic when you aren’t in front of your computer.
Instagram may be about you, but it shouldn’t be only about you. Commenting, replying to comments and liking other users’ pictures are good ways to build relationships, but sometimes you want to do something more than that.
If you come across images you really like and that you wish to share with your audience, you can use apps like Repost and RepostWhiz to repost those pictures (and edit the caption, if you wish) to your Instagram page.
- Selling on Instagram
While new payment methods like Apple Pay are growing, there’s a tool you can use for selling (and buying) on Instagram: Penny. As a seller, you post images of your items on Instagram. Shoppers use the hashtag #sold and the Penny team takes care of the rest.
Whether you need to improve the quality of the images you post on Instagram, want to be able to schedule or quickly create and edit photos, you want to check your Instagram analytics or want to monetize, these tools are going to help you big time.
Yannick “Yann” Ilunga is the founder of 360 entrepreneur.net, a blog and training community for entrepreneurs and small business owners. He’s also the host of the 360 Entrepreneur Podcast, show that features inspiring conversations with A-Listers like Pat Flynn, John Lee Dumas, Kim Garst, Melinda Emerson and Natalie Sisson.