(Updated June 2019) If you are trying to grow your Instagram feed there are plenty of powerful apps to help you get there, and most of them are free. Apps can help you optimize your efforts in every aspect of the Instagram process.
In 2019 Instagram is more competitive than ever. It’s time to raise the bar. Outside apps can help your content stand out above the noise. In order to be heard you need to leverage all the resources available. Using the best apps can enhance your Instagram journey and give you a competitive edge.
In the past couple of years Instagram has created many new features on the platform itself so you don’t have to always rely on apps. Instagram’s photo editor is excellent. There are tons of add-ons like filters, stickers, and a huge GIF library. Instagram now provides business accounts with advanced metrics to help analyze followers and keep track of post performance. Instagram continues to improve its offerings in order to compete.
Our advice is to make use of the best technology there is, available on both the Instagram platform and outside apps. Read on to learn how to outshine, outperform and outrank your competition. These 10 powerful apps will help you dominate and take your Instagram to the next level.
These Powerful Apps will help you:
- plan and layout future posts
- analyze your analytics
- optimize your content
- creatively edit your photos
- create stand-out videos
- schedule your posts for optimal reach
- and more.
A Short Discussion about Artificial Growth
There are plenty of apps to “grow your Instagram”. Be very cautious. Don’t get sucked into promises of “real Instagram growth”. There is still a big industry of buying and selling fake likes and followers. If they say “real” don’t believe it. They may be real people, but they are real people manning fake accounts. Therefore, they will not be interacting with your account and won’t be your loyal followers. And they certainly won’t buy from you, follow you to your blog, or help you create anything of value.
If followers are bought they are by definition “fake”. Buying fake followers and likes can potentially get you suspended. Regardless they will end up hurting your account instead of helping because they decrease engagement. Engagement matters much more than your follower number.
Jodie and I believe artificial growth defeats the purpose of the platform. Instagram agrees. The main goal of most algorithmic changes have been geared toward stopping any type of artificial activity. Instagram is shadowbanning all kinds of activity that could possibly be perceived as “spam-like” even when it is done innocently. If you have any doubt about your activities we suggest you read about Instagram’s Trust Score, our other Instagram Help Posts including our post about shadowbanning .
10 Powerful Apps to Get Serious About Your Instagram
Powerful App #1: Unum
Unum is the ultimate Visual Designing Platform.
- Easy to use and well-designed app worth checking out.
- Load your last 20 Instagram images so you can build on your grid from there.
- Drag and drop to arrange your images.
- Rearrange numerous images at once until you have your preferred layout.
- Plan, arrange and schedule posts and get reminders sent to your phone when it is time to post.
- Move multiple images at once, arranging your grid is super quick and easy.
- Save captions for easy posting.
- Great editing tools to crop and adjust brightness, saturation, shadows, plus a selection of filters.
- Play around with the feed before you commit to scheduling using draft mode.
- Add additional Instagram accounts at no extra charge.
- Temporarily delete images to see what your feed looks like without them.
Powerful App #2: VSCO
VSCO is a Photo Sharing and Editing Platform.
- Access dynamic presets and editing tools to create unique photos and videos.
- Basic membership is free.
- Join a community of creators, share and be inspired.
- With paid membership access tips, tricks and tutorials for creating your best content.
- Pay to receive over 130 presets to create a cohesive and remarkable feed.
- Downsides: Many of the presets are artsy and over-stylized. It is very time-consuming to go through the large library of presets. Also, the community sharing of photos has reported some questionable photos so parental agencies are alerted.
App #3: Hype Type
- Animate text over photos and video.
- Choose from tons of text filters with motion typography.
- Edit photos easily.
- Add music & adjust timing.
- Free to begin using. Pay to unlock premium features.
- Downside: You have to pay to remove their watermark. Currently $2/video or $20/yr.
Powerful App #4: CutStory
CutStory is a Video Platform that edits videos to fit Instagram Stories.
- Cut video into fragments of 15 seconds (or any other length.)
- Save in your phone’s Camera Roll in chronological order.
- Import any length of video.
- Choose a layout, stencil or mask.
- Add stickers, text or music.
- Instagram now does this for us when filming inside the platform, but limits recording to 4 15-second segments at a time.
- Useful for longer videos.
- Convert video taken anywhere outside Instagram to fit IG Story segments.
- Divide long videos into separate clips of any length.
- All video formats are supported.
- Downsides: It can be confusing to keep track of your videos when uploading onto Instagram. Videos in succession usually look very similar. You have to manually count to keep them in order, which is tedious, time-consuming and far from foolproof.
App #5: Layout
Layout is a Graphic Photo Collage Creator.
Layout is a great app if you ever want/need to create a collage. You can show up to 9 photos at a time in a variety of configurations. This is great for before & afters. It’s also fun to showcase a recap, like a review of your best posts, i.e. week in review, top posts for the month or year.
Downsides: My own opinion is that aesthetics are compromised with collage posts. Earlier in my IG career I did create multi-photo posts. However, I no longer do. Now that there is the option for posting up to 10 photos with the new “gallery feature” I think there is even less reason to split your screen. Still, occasions do arise, and this is an easy and handy app to use.
Powerful App #6: Snapseed
Snapseed is a Photo Editing App.
Snapseed is definitely a 5-star photo editing app and my personal favorite, but it’ not for beginners. If I had come across Snapseed in my first year of photo editing I probably wouldn’t have been able to use it. But for more advanced editing the finesse you can achieve is awesome.
If you tap on “insights” you can watch tutorials and training to help you make the most of the many tools. You can also watch videos online to learn the fine tuning and specialty features that take more skill. There is still is a pretty good-sized learning curve, but I think it is worth the time and effort. To read more about our photo editing tips for Instagram take a look at these two blog posts: Edit Camera Phone Pics in IG and Unlock 6 Secret iPhone Camera Features
Powerful App #7: Lightroom
Lightroom is a Photo Editing App.
Lightroom is an excellent photo editing app that I have used in the past and happens to be Jodie’s favorite. It is relatively easy to learn to use and can give you added control to optimize your photos. Having at least one other photo editing app you use in conjunction with Instagram’s editing tools is very important to give you greater editing power. Some photos need more work than you can achieve with IG tools alone. A couple features Jodie particularly loves includes:
- The “Selective” function where you can isolate a specific section of the photo separately from the rest of the photo.
- The “Presets” function where you can upload presets to apply to all of your photos, or make your own. This can help unify your Instagram feed to create a harmonious look and style to your feed.
I suggest trying 2-3 apps to find the one that suits you the best. Once you choose your personal favorite get good at that one. There is no need to master more than one outside editing app when they all compare quite equally.
App #8: Hootsuite
Hootsuite is a Social Media Management, Scheduler and Reporting Platform.
This is a paid service or platform that manages and integrates a full array of social media sites. It allows you to pre-schedule your posts and link your posts between all social media networks saving time and energy. For large brands and companies this type of tool becomes almost essential. Bloggers also benefit from streamlining their many platforms with a service like Hootsuite. It integrates Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube and many more.
Note: You can use the integration aspect and not use the scheduling service. This is what Jodie and I do to help us link our many social media platforms. We don’t want to use a scheduler, but for some people it makes sense.
We understand big brands and companies might use it. Most large brands take a less personal approach to Instagram anyway, but it makes it more challenging to be authentically involved when you use an app like this. We don’t recommend using any scheduling app because it means you are not “manning your posts”. You are not answering comments. One step closer to automation can mean less heart and soul in your feed.
Powerful App #9: Hyperlapse
Hyperlapse from Instagram lets you shoot time-lapsed video to share with your followers.
Thanks to in-app stabilization technology, you can capture stable (read: non-shaky) video previously impossible without a tripod. Play back your videos up to 40 times faster than original speed.
Video is becoming increasingly popular, and there is no doubt it is the wave of the future. Instagram stories are an example of this trend. The sooner you start experimenting and adding video content the better prepared you will be to stay relevant and in demand.
App #10: Canva
Canva is a Graphic Design App
- Canva is an app that you can use to create images that make a splash.
- We use Canva for our blog and any graphic design project we do.
- Create stand-out content on your feed and on stories with hundreds of free templates.
- Superimpose text.
- Create multi-image layouts.
- Choose from a large range of graphics to help your posts get your followers’ attention.
- It’s especially useful to create stories that stand out.
- We use Canva throughout our blog, to create our Pinterest Pins, to create our Media Kit, business cards and more.
- Downsides: It’s not always clear when a design will cost you. Occasionally we have created a design that was free to create, but cost for every update. This is a bit of a “hidden cost”. Once you have spent a lot of time creating a design you are somewhat locked in when you have a small change. You don’t want to start all over. Besides this we love the power of Canva and its relative ease of use.
Putting Apps to Work for You
It always makes sense to have the best tools in your toolbox. It’s no different with Instagram. These powerful apps are your high-tech tools. They will help you maximize your efforts and make the most of your valuable time. Since every single post is important you need to make sure your content is the best it can be. Master these powerful apps to:
- Save time
- Use your analytics to learn about your audience
- Creatively edit your photos
- Apply unique presets
- Plan your content
- Create in bulk
- Preview your content
- Manage your grid
- Add inventive videos to your feed
- Create powerful captions
- And so much more.
These days it takes a lot to distinguish yourself on Instagram. We believe these powerful apps can help you up your game to succeed. Happy Posting, Friends!
Blessings from The Design Twins,
Julie & Jodie