Instagram is more than just a casual pastime: It’s a powerful marketing platform for business owners everywhere.
With over half a billion monthly active users, Instagram has opened up huge opportunities for brands to find new customers and get their products seen. Tactics like running Instagram ads and reaching out to influencers are effective, but, without the right tools, it can be tough to get the results that you want.
To help you turbocharge your Instagram account, we’ve put together a top-notch toolkit of Instagram apps that will set your business apart and drive more customers to your online store.
Let’s get into it.
Tools for Taking Gorgeous Photos
One of the most important parts of having an effective Instagram presence is loading your feed with stunning visuals that clearly communicate your brand’s identity and the value of your products. But if you don’t have a fancy camera or professional training, taking great photos might seem out of reach.
Even if you aren’t a professional photographer, you can still create great Instagram content with just your smartphone and a few key apps:
Image credit: VSCO
While Instagram’s default filters were once the bleeding edge of mobile photo editing, VSCO has emerged as the reigning champ of creating beautiful photos on-the-go. Part photo editing platform and part social media network, VSCO should be at the heart of every Instagram strategy.
VSCO has an in-depth editing suite and a slew of high quality default filters that can take your smartphone photos to a completely new level. There’s also a huge library of filters available for purchase, giving you endless potential for customizing your photos and setting them apart from the pack.
VSCO is available for iOS and Android.
Image credit: The Next Web
Snapseed is another photo editing app that gives you the option to fine-tune your photos. While Instagram’s default filters edit your entire image at once, Snapseed lets you apply your effects with a brush so that you can perfect the details of each photo.
Snapseed’s Stacks are another great feature, letting you save groups of filters as a template. These Stacks can then be applied to future photos, giving your entire feed a consistent look and saving you time.
Snapseed is available for iOS and Android.
Cost: $0.99 – $1.39
Image credit: Afterlight
Afterlight is a photo editing app that boasts a default set of 74 filters, 78 textures, and 128 frames, giving you tons of different options for tweaking your photos right off the bat. The app also includes 15 different tools for adjusting and editing your photos until you get them just right.
With its sleek and straightforward design, Afterlight is an easy-to-use, must-have tool for making your Instagram photos pop.
Afterlight is available for iOS, Android, and Windows.
Developed in-house at Instagram, Boomerang is an app for creating fun, 1-second long videos with no audio. Basically, super short GIFS that loop back and forth. While it might sound a little silly at first, the results are fun and eye-catching—perfect for making casual scrollers stop in their tracks.
The best part about Boomerang is that it requires little-to-no-thought to create something that looks great. Since Boomerang videos don’t require a plot or dialogue, you simply need to capture the vibe of a single moment and click share!
Tools for Making Your Instagram Shoppable
This has probably happened to you: You’re scrolling through Instagram, a shot of someone’s outfit catches your eye and you wish you could buy everything that they’re wearing instantly.
While that might sound like a pipedream, it’s actually totally possible. With the right tools, you can transform your Instagram feed into a fully shoppable experience, letting your customers buy everything that they see and helping them get a better idea of how your products look and feel in real life.
Cost: $50 – $100/month
With Foursixty, you can make all of your Instagram photos fully shoppable, complete with links that attach every featured product to its product page and the ability to embed your feed directly onto your online store. Your customers can even add products to their cart without having to leave your store’s gallery.
Foursixty also lets you integrate curated Instagram feeds for specific products onto their respective product pages, giving your customers a look at your products in action and get suggestions for other related purchases.
Image credit: ban.do
Brands like ban.do, a fun retailer that sells everything from iPhone cases to apparel, use Foursixty to show off their products in everyday life shots, curated sets, and professional photoshoots.
Image credit: ban.do
When a customer clicks on a photo, they’ll be given a detailed breakdown of all the products in the photo along with “Add to Cart” buttons that let them make purchases immediately.
Image credit: Pura Vida Bracelets
Pura Vida Bracelets is another example of an online store using Foursixty to give customers a closer look at their products. They use inspiring lifestyle photos to show off their bracelets and give their customers ideas for how Pura Vida Bracelets might fit into their wardrobe.
Like2Have.it is a great tool for creating embeddable Instagram feeds outfitted with links that drive customers directly to product pages.
With Like2Have.it, you’ll also be able to create embeddable feeds featuring photos of your current customers using your products. These user-generated feeds work well on product pages by giving shoppers some social proof and a gentle push towards adding products to their carts.
Image credit: Underables
Underables, an apparel shop for ethically-sourced sleepwear and intimates, uses Like2Have.it to show off their products with a dedicated feed on their store.
Image credit: Underables
They’ve even used Like2Have.it to slip exclusive discount codes to curious shoppers browsing their Instagram feed.
Cost: Free – $29/month
Showcase is similar to the two apps featured above, but what really sets it apart is its price point and, more specifically, its free option.
With the free version of Showcase, you’ll be able to embed a customizable Instagram feed onto your online store which can still help your customers make more informed purchasing decisions. However, to add links to product pages and make your feed truly shoppable, you’ll need to upgrade to the premium version.
Image credit: KZ Gear
KZ Gear, an adventurous brand that sells sunglasses for outdoor living, uses the Showcase app to show customers a wide array of fun-in-the-sun lifestyle images.
Want to learn more about how social media can help drive sales? Download our free, curated list of high-impact articles.
Tools for Measuring Your Performance
A successful marketing campaign on Instagram doesn’t end with sharing a photo. Diving deep into Instagram analytics is crucial for getting the most out of your business’ marketing strategy. You need to be able to analyze and refine your store’s performance every step of the way.
While Instagram only recently started to launch its own analytics tools, there are many platforms out there that make managing your Instagram marketing campaigns easy:
Cost: $59 – $500/month
Image credit: Sprout Social
Sprout Social is a social media management platform with extensive content scheduling and publishing tools. Sprout Social also offers in-depth Instagram analytics, giving you access to detailed reports about how your latest posts have been performing.
With Sprout Social’s analytics, you’ll be able to track engagement and compare the success of your store’s account against the success of other accounts that you manage.
Additionally, Sprout Social has tools for monitoring hashtags and comments, helping you keep your fingers on the pulse of your community and find new opportunities for engagement.
Cost: $28.80 – $499/year
Image credit: Iconosquare
Iconosquare is an analytics platform dedicated to digging deep into the performance of your content on Instagram.
With Iconosquare, you can track regular engagement data like followers and likes as well as get specific statistics about your followers including their location and level of social media influence. By identifying your most influential fans, you’ll be able to discover new opportunities for influencer marketing and outreach.
Iconosquare also gives you the chance to compare your performance against your competitors, helping you get a better idea of where you fit into your industry landscape.
Image credit: Websta
Websta is a free tool for managing your Instagram account and getting easy-to-understand analytics about your engagement and growth.
Websta also aggregates every hashtag on Instagram. This handy feature lets you search through all of Instagram to track down the best performing hashtags in your target audience. You can also get recommendations for hashtags that are related to the ones that you already use to help you branch out and find new audiences.
Tools for Scheduling Your Posts
To grow your audience and give your current fans a reason to stick around, you need to be updating your Instagram with fresh content regularly. But, let’s face it, constantly updating your profile with new photos takes a lot of time—something most entrepreneurs are already short on.
Thankfully, there are a bunch of great platforms out there that give you the resources you need to schedule your posts in advance keep your profile well-stocked with great content.
Cost: Starting at $20/month
Image credit: Schedugram
Schedugram is a scheduling platform with a wide variety of features, including web browser-based scheduling, for running more effective campaigns.
In addition to browser-based scheduling, Schedugram also comes with extensive photo editing features. Using either its built-in editor or Canva integration, you can tweak and fine-tune your photos well beyond Instagram’s default filters. Schedugram also allows for mass uploading, letting you schedule batches of photos at once and shaving time off of your social media marketing efforts.
Schedugram is priced on a sliding scale starting at $20/month, depending on your number of accounts and total Instagram followers.
Cost: Free with Premium Plans starting at $19/month
Image credit: Later
Later, formerly known as Latergramme, is an intuitive mobile, tablet, and browser-based Instagram scheduling platform.
Later comes with a diverse set of features for planning out your campaigns including the ability to explore hashtags and share user generated content. Later even lets you organize your posts with a handy content calendar and get a preview of your Instagram feed before publishing, making it simple to visualize exactly how your strategy will unfold.
Cost: Free with Pro Plans starting at $9.99/month
Image credit: Hootsuite
Hootsuite is a powerful social media management platform that can also schedule and publish Instagram posts.
While Hootsuite has made a name for itself by streamlining marketing for platforms like Facebook and Twitter, its Instagram tools take social media management one step further. Hootsuite lets you schedule your Instagram posts in advance, sending you a push notification when they’re due to go live. Once you’re notified, you can go straight to the app to publish your post.
Now that you have the right tools for the job, it’s time to get out there and start taking amazing photos that really show the true value of your products!
Have any more questions about Instagram marketing? Let us know in the comments below!