Marketing your business on Instagram can be truly laborious, yet it’s one of love – do you agree? I mean, visuals are of utmost importance (and most of us start out photography and style-challenged), you only get one live link on the whole platform, and most of your Insta-activities have to be done in the mobile app due to a limited desktop experience. Yet, we still can’t get enough of it.
Despite it’s barriers, I still find Instagram to be the most important social media platform for my business. It’s the platform that grows the most consistently with high-quality, laser-targeted followers, and provides the most rewarding interactions with my followers. It also consistently brings me new business and leads each month. Instagram is worth the effort, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want a little help where we can take it. I’ve rounded up seven nifty Instagram tools, some mobile apps, some desktop, to give you a little extra boost with your Instagram marketing.I've rounded up 7 nifty #Instagram tools, some mobile apps, some desktop, to give you a boost. Click To Tweet
#1 Link In Profile
For some people, it’s no big deal to switch out the link in your profile when you want to. But for bloggers and retailers, who may want to switch up their link every day, or even several times a day, it can be a pain. Enter: Link in Profile.
After you link your Instagram account to Link in Profile, you only need to do two minor things to each Instagram post:
- Include the web URL that you want to associate that post with, in the caption.
- Direct your audience to the link in your profile to check it out.
Link in Profile will monitor your account for links, and will associate the link on your caption with the particular photo it appears under. When someone actually goes to click the link in your profile, they’ll be taken to your Link in Profile feed, which is a stream of your Instagram images. Each image is clickable… straight to the link that was in the caption for that photo. When you log in to your Link in Profile account, you can also see how many people have clicked on your link, so analytics are there too!
This is super helpful for bloggers that want to send you straight to a recipe, tutorial, or most recent blog post. It can also be amazing for retailers that want to make their feed more “shop-able.” After the 30 day free trial, the tool costs $9.99 per month.
When you click on to an Instagram user’s profile and see a perfectly patterned grid (that’s the 6-9 images you can see, made up of their latest posts), how do you feel? Overwhelmed? Jealous? Stressed about achieving that on your own? Planoly is a visual scheduling and planning tool for Instagram that helps you map out and plan a visually stunning Instagram feed.
Upload your post images to the platform, then freely drag and drop them to put them in the order you prefer. Then you can add your caption and post date/time. In order to actually get your content to post to Instagram, you must download the Planoly app, which will send you a notification at the scheduled date/time to finish posting your Instagram content. This is the same process that I’ve described before in using HootSuite to schedule your Instagram posts (for free!) Planoly is not free, but starts as low as $7 a month, which is an amazing value!
I’ve loved Hashtap from the beginning, but this mighty little app is even more helpful than ever, since Instagram quietly got rid of the “Trending Hashtags” section of their Explore tab. Hashtap helps you identify trending and popular hashtags on Instagram. It also suggests related hashtags, and allows you to copy your selected hashtags (up to 30) to your clipboard, and paste them elsewhere. You can paste them directly in to Instagram, or put them in Evernote or some other note app for later.
Create animated graphics with Ripl. Ripl allows you to upload your own images, select an animation “style,” and add your own text. The result is a custom, animated image that you can save to your camera roll and upload elsewhere. You can use it on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. All that jazz is for free… but if you want to upgrade for $9.99 a month, you get access to their extensive library of “pro designs.” For the most part, you probably want to use your own images anyway. And here’s a bonus trick: if you just want to do text graphics on a solid background, create some solid color squares in Canva, email them to yourself, and save them on your phone in your photos. Then you can upload those as solid backgrounds, and put your animated text on top of them.
#5 Giant Square
Create multi-photo “grids” with Giant Square. Each Instagram account’s “grid” (the 6-9 account photos that are visible when someone clicks over to your profile) is a uniquely individual and creative place. I love seeing what people come up with, and how they use that space. One of my favorite accounts to use as an example is @twigyposts – a stock image website. Instead of posting just a singular image in each post, she creates a giant collage of her stock photography, and posts just pieces of it each day. The end result is beautiful (see below).
One way to create a unique grid quickly and painlessly is to use Giant Square. You can slice one large image into 9 parts, or get more creative like this:
Then you can save the arranged/sliced photos to your camera roll for uploading to Instagram.
#6 A Color Story
A Color Story is like the ultimate photo effect power app. Not only does it have some amazing preset filters that you can use on your photos, but also photo editing tools, and some pretty cool effects like flares and color fogs. The coolest feature is that when you are done making changes to your photo, you can save it as your very own custom filter. I teach my Amp Up Your InstaGame students that one way to create a cohesive look and feel on your Instagram feed is to use consistent filters or photo lighting. A Color Story makes this so easy, and it’s unique to YOU. Not one of the filters being used by millions of other people on Instagram each day.
When I found Postagram, I was immediately smitten with it because of the opportunity to take your online marketing efforts, offline. With Postagram, you can send your Instagram photos as physical postcards through snail mail. For many small businesses, the personal touch is a way to differentiate. Can you imagine following up with a recent customer to send them a coupon code for their next purchase? Instead of including the coupon code in the package with their order, maybe you could send them a postcard a week or two later. And how about the opportunity to re-purpose your Instagram photos and use them elsewhere? Heck yes! You spend a lot of time taking “the perfect photo,” and this gives you one more place/reason to use them.
Don’t Do It
One type of tool that you may notice is absent from my list is any kind of app or tool that automates following and unfollowing other accounts. I do not use any follow/unfollow apps, and I HIGHLY recommend that you do not use them either. These types of apps are explicitly against Instagram’s terms of service because they automate a process – this is a fast track to getting your account shut down, and i have heard of people who have been locked out of their accounts because of their use of these types of apps.
While some of these tools are desktop tools, I have a guide of 9 of the best apps to help you with your Instagram marketing. Many of them have to do with editing, creating and sharing Instagram content from within the app. Download the Guide to the 9 Best Apps for Instagram below.
What are your favorite apps for Instagram? Leave them below so we can all check them out!
Molly Marshall teaches small business owners and online entrepreneurs how to systematically and simply grow a profitable online presence through social media. Get your FREE Instagram Strategy Guide now!