Make managing your Instagram account easier with these tools, from creating graphics, to finding and organizing hashtags, to tips and tricks there’s an app (or a hack) for that! The below apps are all available for the iphone (and probably for the other one too). Once you go down the Apple path, it’s hard to get back out 🙂 Anyway, since Instagram is mobile-based a lot of these are IOS, but I did note the few that are desktop.
One of my least favorite things about Instagram is picking out hashtags for each post. Here are some tips and apps to make this a smoother process.
Create A Hashtag Swipe File
First of all, start a hashtag swipe file so that you can start collecting hashtags. This will make your life easier. You can start your file in Notes, Evernote, Google Doc, etc. Use a file you can access from your phone and desktop. I highly recommend you create categories to make life easier when looking for tags. You can grab a file with 100+ hashtags to get you started!
Hack: Set-up keyboard shortcuts to store groups of hashtags for quick on the go access.
Go to “Settings”, “General”, “Keyboard”, “Text Replacement”, “+” (upper right corner).
Cut and paste a set of 30 hashtags (or whatever number you like to use) in the “phrase” field, and then pick the shortcut you want to use to get those hashtags to populate.
Hashtag Finding Apps:
Allows you to search for a hashtag and they will generate related hashtags. It’s not the best results always, but it’s a good place to get inspiration if you are stuck on hashtags. You can save hashtag searches, and copy and paste hashtags lists to Instagram. I like to use it to generate hashtags for my swipe file.
Hack: Scope out fellow businesses’ posts for hashtags. Now, don’t hijack someone’s branded hashtag they use exclusively for their business, that would be VERY wrong. But using other hashtags they use, it’s just smart 🙂
Get The Picture
There are a ton of apps to use to edit your pictures. I’m just highlighting a few.
Before we talk about editing the picture, let’s talk about taking the picture. You should use your camera app not the Instagram app to take the picture.
You can turn your phone to the side and use the volume buttons to take the picture. Or if you have your headphones plugged-in you can use the volume buttons there too.
By touching and holding down on the screen in different areas of the picture in camera view, you can adjust where the lighting sample is pulled from.
Use HDR mode to take pictures in poor lighting.
VSCO: This is probably one of the most popular editing apps out there. They even have their own hashtags and filters. I like it but it’s not the most intuitive when you first start using it.
Snapseed: This app is by Google and is quite powerful for more in-depth editing, like brushing in effects, healing photos, and taking out unwanted features.
Lightroom (if you already subscribe to Adobe Creative Cloud): Very powerful editing tool, plus you can pull photos from your Lightroom account and keep pictures organized. Of course you could just upload your picture and edit on your computer too 🙂
Aviary: This app does both in-depth editing and graphics.
Enlight ($3.99): Also offers both editing and graphics.
Hack: Use the phone in airplane mode to edit using the Instagram app without posting. Turn your phone on airplane mode, use Instagram like you would normally (don’t bother with the caption), post, and then hit remove when it says the post failed. There you go, you used Instagram to edit your picture. Now you can upload it ready to go to your scheduling app.
Canva: The internet exploded with the news that Canva now has a mobile app. So for all the Canva fans out there, you can now create on your phones!
Little Moments has fun features and varied text.
Spark Post: This is a fairly new free (ish) app from Adobe. It’s great for creating graphics with text and you can even create graphics with movement.
Hack: I mentioned this in the Lightroom description, but you can always just use your computer to edit photos and make graphics, there is no actual need to do it all on your phone. If you are using a scheduling tool you can upload your picture to the app, and it’s ready to post when you are. OR You can use Dropbox, iCloud Photo Sharing, or any other app that allows you to share your pictures between your phone and computer.
If you want some more tips on editing and taking pictures for Instagram, you should consider Skillshare*. Skillshare has hundreds of courses, some better quality than others, the advantage is that it is very affordable. You can access all the classes for around $12/month (or less if paid annually), and cancel anytime. Listed below are a few I’ve taken, that I found helpful when it came to mobile photography and editing.
There are over 100 more courses that come up with the search Instagram so if these aren’t enough I’m sure you can find another to help. Again, some of the courses are better than others, so if one course does not seem helpful skip it and find another one.
Now let’s bring it all together.
Instagram terms of service does not allow for third-party posting. I personally would not want to risk my hard-work on establishing my account by getting my account closed. Using the scheduling tools below, you can plan your post picture, caption, hashtags, you just have to push the picture yourself and paste in the caption/hashtag.
Later *(Desktop/App): I love Later for planning out my posts, it makes life so much easier! You can upload the picture, add the caption and hashtag, and schedule for the day you want to post. You can get reminders pushed right to your phone when it is time to post.
Other options: Planoly. Read Uncork Your Dork’s post on Planoly, it sounds pretty appealing but I’m going to stick using Later for free a bit longer. There are some other options rolled into other scheduling tools like Buffer and Hootsuite (plus a few others) but they don’t have the same visual layout for planning.
Repost (App): I use this to share other Instagrammers’ posts. Some people use it to curate pictures for their feed, but I only repost to help prompt someone else or share something they said about me 🙂 It’s nice too because you can “save” posts you want to share later in the app, so you don’t have to go back and search for it. It copies the picture and the caption for you. You can upgrade to the paid version so you don’t have to have the picture tagged with the repost symbol and owner. But, I actually like that it tags the photo with the owner, so the owner gets credit.
After The Post
There are a variety of tools out there to help you track your Instagram analytics. Many of these tools are paid, and it’s not a place I’ve looked to make an investment, but I did not want to leave this part out. The good news, however, is that Instagram links to your website now show up in your Google analytics (yay!!) and with the introduction of Instagram For Business accounts, more data is being built in. But for those of you that want more insight:
Squarelovin (Free): It gives you a nice overview of your account. I use Squarelovin mostly to check on times for posting (of course with the new timeline worrying about posting time is not as important). Other analytics programs that are paid, Iconosquare & Social Insight.
Crowdfire (Paid): If you want to dive deeper into your audience and who you are following, unfollows, etc. This tool focuses on followers and who you are following.
Sharing to Other Social Networks
You can use IFTTT to share your Instagram posts to Twitter, Facebook, and more. Of course, you can just push via share from Instagram but there are a lot of recipes in IFTTT that give you much more control over what is shared and how it is shared. Here are a few of my favorites, but there are tons you can search for:
Zapier is a similar program that also uses formulas to automate many functions across platforms. I use IFTTT because FREE 🙂
Tailwind* is also currently beta testing a feature to share your Instagram posts as pins. I have not personally utilized this just because I’m not quite sure about if I want the square picture used. Anyway, I’ve seen a few posts utilizing it and I think it might make sense if you use Instagram as an mini-blog or for products.
Now you have a full toolbox of apps and hacks to help you make managing your Instagram account, just a little easier. You can find more tips and tools for making the most of Instagram on my Pinterest Instagram board.
What are some of your favorite tools or tricks for using Instagram?
*All the programs with (*) are linked using referral links. There is no additional fee for you, but if you sign up using one of those links I get a small benefit (Tailwind is money, and the others are free services).