5 Free Apps To Make Your Instagram Look Awesome
Feeling like your Instagram needs a boost? These five free apps will help you look more professional and save time!
The struggle is real when it comes to the churn and burn of your business Instagram feed. Hell, I do content marketing for a living and I am the worst at posting on a regular basis (in my defense, I currently manage six accounts, not including my clients' ones). So, how have I managed to keep my head above water when it comes to posting on all these different profiles? By searching for apps that help me manage my time and branding with ease. And here they are...
I put this one first because it truly has been a lifesaver. Later is a scheduling tool that allows you to plan your feed ahead of time, and sends you a reminder on your phone when you need to post. From an Instagram management point-of-view, I would never use an app that did my posting or commenting for me (it's against their terms and could also lead to a shadowban on your account). The beauty of Later though, is that you are still posting at the best times (crazy annoying times when all your followers are online, like 9pm on Thursday night) but just getting everything sorted and polished during office hours. Think of it like when a cooking show host says "here's something I prepared earlier"... that's Later.
On Later you can search and repost from other accounts, keep a media file of your photography assets on hand, save lists of hashtags you use regularly, do basic crops and edits on your images and view how your feed will look with your scheduled posts before they go live (as well as drag and drop them to move around if it's not aesthetically pleasing).
Later is free if you're only doing 30 posts a month and using it for one account. It also works with Facebook and some other social and e-marketing tools. However, if you want to manage more than one account and get access to further analytics and the ability to repost video content from other accounts, then you'llneed to upgrade to their paid plans which range from US$9 to US$49 per month.
Full disclosure: I am an absolute nut for Adobe products, because they are all very user-friendly but also sophisticated in what they can do. Adobe Spark hit the scene over a year ago and is a free app which you can use to create professional and cool looking graphics for your social accounts within seconds (literally... give it a try and we'll time you)!
When you start using Adobe Spark it has a small watermark on it, but if you want to get rid of that then just share the love and recommend it to a friend or two and they then remove the watermark from your app.
It's the perfect tool to create written graphics for social, like inspirational quotes, offers and promotions, or something else creative you have in mind. It gives you access to free backgrounds, fonts and stock imagery to use, or you can use your own. Best yet, if you create something you really love which works with your brand, you can come back to it and change the words and update it (which is great when you want to keep some brand consistency).
Yes, another Adobe product (we warned you we loved them). You might know Adobe Premiere Pro, which is a desktop video editing system that lots of production and creative professionals use for video content. Adobe Premiere Clip is a (very) simplified version of this for your phone, but it is easy to use even if you're a video novice. We created a little launch video on it when we first started our Content Society Instagram account. You can add titles and wording to videos, upload video you've taken with your phone and cut it, add basic music tracks and send it straight to your social accounts - all on your phone.
If you like to do a little social sleuthing then this is the app for you. Followers Pro For Instagram enables you to log into your Instagram accounts and see new followers, which accounts unfollow you, people you're following who are not following back and vice versa. If you are following a lot of people and want to cut that back this is a great way to get your head around your community.
If you're like me, then you absolutely loathe the whole "grow follower" trend of liking and unliking accounts to get followers. Side note: please don't do this, as it totally goes against what Instagram is all about and is just rude. Plus, if you get caught (by someone using an app like Followers Pro) then it just looks bad for business.
FYI (because I totally went off on a tangent there and should get back to telling you about Instagram apps) Followers Pro For Instagram is free but you can upgrade for just a couple of dollars to get more functionality. Also, sorry to the android users but this is just an iTunes app at the moment.
If you're aiming for a certain look for your Instagram and need some help making average pictures appear better (but the basic Instagram filters aren't cutting it) then this is worth checking out. A Color Story (excuse the American spelling but it is an American app so you need to drop the 'u' when searching in the App Store) is a very cool app which helps you add colour-specific filters to your photos.
They have a large range of filters (some included free and more available for purchase), as well as effects (like adding a sun flare, extra light or colour gradients). You can crop images and also save your preferred filters and favourite edits - so if you run a picture through the app and love the final result but forgot how you got there, then press "Save Editing Steps" and you can easily recreate it again in the future. This is definitely one of those apps you need to download and play around with till you get the knack and find all the things you personally love about it.
PS. A Color Story also is available for use on desktop too as presets for Lightroom (but it is not free). Disclaimer: we haven't used the desktop version, but let us know in the comments if you do.
No go forth, download and enjoy creating!
Sarah Stevens is a writer and digital consultant for small businesses at her company Content Society. She spent two decades working for some of Australia's leading television and publishing media companies before starting her own business. Now she helps small businesses find their digital voice and confidence. You can follow Sarah on Instagram and Facebook.