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Instagram Tools: 20 Essential Apps For Growing Your Following

20 Essential Instagram Tools for Growing Your Following, showcasing a person displaying a cell phone with an engaging picture on the screen.

With more than one billion monthly active users, Instagram has opened up huge opportunities for brands to find new customers and get their products seen.

But while tactics like running Instagram ads and reaching out to influencers are effective, without the right tools, it can be tough to get the results you want.

To help you turbocharge your Instagram account, we’ve compiled this list of the best Instagram apps for businesses—tools that will set your business apart, drive more customers to your online store, and help you understand how to make money on Instagram most effectively. Want to learn more about how social media can help drive sales?

The best Instagram design apps

One of the most important parts of having an effective Instagram presence is filling your feed with stunning visuals that communicate your brand’s identity and the value of your products.

Even if you aren’t a professional photographer, you can create great images with your smartphone and a few of the best Instagram design apps.

1. VSCO (iOS, Android)

It’s been a while since Instagram’s default filters were the bleeding edge of mobile photo editing. In the meantime, VSCO has emerged as the reigning champ of creating beautiful photos on the go. VSCO should be at the heart of every Instagram strategy, part photo-editing platform and part social media network.

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. A huge library of filters is available on the premium plan, giving you endless options for customizing your photos and setting them apart from the pack.

Price: Free for basic presets and standard editing tools; $19.99/year for access to VSCO’s full suite of presets and image/video editing tools.

2. Snapseed (iOS, Android, macOS, Windows)

Snapseed is another photo-editing app that allows you to fine-tune your photos. While Instagram’s default filters edit your entire image at once, Snapseed lets you apply effects with a brush so you can perfect the details of each photo.

Snapseed’s Stacks is 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.

Price: Free.

3. Afterlight (iOS)

Afterlight is a photo-editing app that boasts a default set of dozens of filters, textures, and frames, giving you many different options for tweaking your photos immediately. You can create and save your very own filters and work with multiple image formats. Afterlight also includes typography tools to help your images stand out.

With its sleek and straightforward design, Afterlight is an easy-to-use, must-have tool for making your Instagram photos pop.

Price: $2.99/month or $17.99/year after a seven-day free trial.

4. Canva (web, iOS, Android)

Canva is an app you can use to create images that stand out, whether it’s in your Instagram feed or in your Stories. You can superimpose text, create multi-image layouts, and pull in a wide range of predesigned graphics to level-up your posts and get your followers’ attention.

It’s especially useful for creating Instagram Stories that stand out, and if you stick to a few consistent image formats and fonts, you can start to make sure your followers always recognize your content.

Price: Free for image design with pay-per-use premium graphics; from $12.95/month for Canva Pro, which includes transparent backgrounds and animation/GIF creation.

5. Photoshop Express (iOS, Android, Windows)

That’s right; you can use Photoshop on your phone.

While the mobile app doesn’t come with every feature of the desktop app, it offers a powerful image editing experience that gives you much control over your photos. It streamlines the work you’d do on your desktop with handy tools like blemish removal, which can get rid of spots, dirt, and dust from your photo with a single touch.

You also get access to multiple controls, filters, presets, and options you wouldn’t get elsewhere, like the ability to add a watermark to your photos.

Price: Free.

The best Instagram video apps

You don’t need to be a professional videographer to create captivating videos for your business’s Instagram account. These Instagram video apps make it easy for anyone to capture quick videos on their phones and turn them into high-quality professional videos without having to whip out a laptop and fire up their video-editing software.

6. Boomerang from Instagram (iOS, Android)

Boomerang is an app created by Instagram that lets you create a GIF-like looping video from a series of photos. When your video is complete, either publish it to Instagram instantly or save it to post later.

Price: Free.

7. Life Lapse (iOS, Android)

While Boomerang for Instagram is great for creating quick GIF-like videos, Life Lapse is a more feature-rich mobile app for creating longer, stop-motion videos to showcase your products. You can take as many photos as you want, customize the size of your video, adjust the speed between images, and even add royalty-free music.

Price: Free, with optional in-app purchases.

8. HypeType (iOS)

HypeType’s large library of fonts and animations makes it quick and easy to create captions for different sections of a video shot with the app or an uploaded video you’ve already taken. When you’re finished, you can post your video on Instagram without leaving HypeType.

Price: Free with video watermark; in-app purchases are available to remove the watermark or purchase additional fonts.

The best Instagram marketing apps

You’re almost ready to hit Post, but to help grow your following and connect with more people, you will want to engage with your followers and use some hashtags. The best Instagram marketing apps help you do just that.

9. Repost for Instagram (Android)

You don’t always need to be the person behind the lens taking the photos. If you have a community of customers who post user-generated content, you can use Repost for Instagram to curate their images and give them credit at the same time.

To share an image from someone else’s Instagram account, copy the share URL on the post you want to share and open Repost on your phone. It’ll add a credit icon to the image, copy the description, and have you ready to post to your account in seconds.

Price: Free.

10. AutoHash (Android)

AutoHash might be the easiest way to find relevant Instagram hashtags for your images. It uses AI to recognize the objects in your photos and provides you with relevant hashtags based on the objects. It will count the hashtags for you so you don’t go over the 30-hashtag limit, and you can save your favorite hashtags in the app.

Once you’re ready to post, AutoHash will save your selected hashtags to your clipboard so all you have to do is paste them into your image description or comments.

Price: Free.

11. Display Purposes (web)

Display Purposes is a web-based tool that gives you more control over the hashtags you select for your post. Start with a keyword or an existing hashtag and it will recommend additional hashtags to use on your image. It’s a nice ally to help get more Instagram followers in your niche.

You can scale up or down the number of hashtags you want to include, and Display Purposes will fill in your hashtags accordingly. If you want to DIY, you can also switch to manual selection and choose from a list that displays each hashtag’s relevance and popularity.

Price: Free.

The best Instagram ecommerce apps

While posting your products on Instagram is a great way to grow your following and increase awareness of your business, you’re probably posting to Instagram to grow your sales.

These apps make it easy to share your Instagram photos in your Shopify store so visitors can easily find products they saw on Instagram and purchase them from your site.

12. Instagram Shoppable Feed (Shopify)

Hot Shapers uses Instagram Shoppable Feed to showcase its Instagram photos on its homepage.

Your Instagram photos aren’t just a great way to engage potential customers on social media. They can also show your website visitors how your products look in context or how they can work together.

With Instagram Shoppable Feed, you can easily add your Instagram photos to your store and tag the products featured in each image. And if you use it on your store’s homepage, like Hot Shapers, you can promote your products and grow your followers on Instagram at the same time.

Price: $4.99/month after a seven-day free trial.

13. Covet.pics (Shopify)

Like Instagram Shoppable Feed, Covet.pics lets you create galleries on your website from your Instagram photos. But in addition to showcasing the images that your business has posted, Covet.pics also lets you invite your customers to upload their own images of your products to your gallery.

You can tag products in your gallery photos, show pricing, and include a direct Buy button on your popup. Additionally, Covet.pics offers detailed analytics that reveal how your galleries are performing, with metrics like views, engagements, and orders.

Price: Free for one gallery and one product tag per photo; from $14.99/month for the Basic plan, which includes two galleries, multi-product tagging, and uploading custom photos.

The best Instagram management tools

To grow your audience and give your current fans a reason to stick around, you must regularly update your Instagram with fresh content. But let’s face it, 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 and keep your profile well-stocked with great content. Many of these tools also let you post to Instagram from your computer, so you don’t need to rely solely on Instagram’s mobile app.

14. Sked (web, iOS, Android)

Sked is a scheduling platform with various features—including web-browser-based scheduling—for running more effective campaigns.

Sked also comes with extensive photo-editing features. Using its built-in image editing, you can tweak and fine-tune your photos well beyond Instagram’s default filters. Sked also allows for mass uploading, so you can schedule batches of photos at once and shave time off your social media marketing efforts.

Price: From $25/month for the Freelancer plan after a seven-day free trial.

15. Later (web, iOS, Android)

Later is an intuitive social media scheduling platform with diverse features for planning out your campaigns, including the ability to explore hashtags and share user-generated content.

Later 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.

It also offers Saved Captions, which is handy when planning and implementing your hashtag strategy for Instagram. Save related groups of hashtags together so you never need to type them out again, or reuse your most effective tactics to increase engagement on posts or drive clicks to your website via your Instagram bio.

Price: Free for one user and up to 30 Instagram posts per month; from $9/month for the Plus plan for one user and up to 100 posts per month.

16. Hootsuite (web, iOS, Android)

Hootsuite is a powerful social media management platform that can schedule and publish Instagram posts.

While Hootsuite has made a name 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 and either notify you to post with a push notification or posts automatically for you if you have an Instagram Business account.

Price: From $29/month for the Professional plan after a 30-day free trial.

17. Buffer (web, iOS, Android)

You probably know Buffer as a great tool to schedule your social media posts for Twitter and Facebook, but you can also use it to schedule your Instagram posts.

Prepare your posts from mobile or desktop; Buffer will post directly to Instagram. And with a Premium plan, you can also create and schedule Instagram Stories, embed a shoppable Instagram grid on your website, and get detailed analytics on the performance of your Instagram posts.

Price: Free for one user, three social accounts, and 10 scheduled posts; from $15/month for the Pro plan or $65/month for the Premium plan after a seven-day free trial.

The best Instagram analytics apps

Keeping your Instagram feed filled with timely, relevant, eye-catching photos is no small feat, so it’s important to know whether or not your efforts are helping you reach your goals.

The right Instagram analytics apps help you measure how your Instagram marketing activities are impacting your bottom line—and understand which types of posts were the most successful so you can replicate the tactics that had the greatest impact.

18. Sprout Social (web, iOS, Android)

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 can track engagement and compare the success of your store’s account against the success of other accounts you manage.

Additionally, Sprout Social has tools for monitoring hashtags and comments, helping you keep your finger on your community’s pulse and find new engagement opportunities.

Price From $99/user/month for the Standard plan after a 30-day free trial.

19. Iconosquare (web, iOS, Android)

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 and get specific statistics about your followers, including their location and social media influence. By identifying your most influential fans, you’ll be able to discover new opportunities for influencer marketing and outreach.

Iconosquare also allows you to compare your performance against your competitors, helping you better understand where you fit into your industry landscape.

Price: From $29/month for the Pro plan after a 14-day free trial.

20. UserGems (Shopify)

Have you ever wondered if any of your customers might be a Big Deal on social media? With UserGems, you can find out. This Shopify app pulls in social media information about your customers so you can sort it to find exactly who you’re looking for.

You can use UserGems to identify which of your customers have over 10,000 Instagram followers—or which ones use the word “blogger” or “journalist” in their social media profiles—to help build out an influencer campaign. You can also look through all your customers’ profiles if you’re working on a targeted user-generated content campaign.

Price: Free for up to 100 customers per month; from $19/month for the Starter plan that supports up to 250 customers per month.

Growing your business with Instagram

Now that you have the right tools for the job, it’s time to get out there and start taking amazing photos and videos that show the true value of your products!

Have any more questions about Instagram marketing? Let us know in the comments below.

This article originally appeared in the Shopify blog.

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