7 Apps to Elevate Your Instagram Game

Instagram is my favorite. I love the creative photos, all the beautifully designed inspirational quotes, how simple it all is and how fun Instagram Stories are. This is where I spend most of my time creating content for and engaging in. But, this article isn’t an argument for why Instagram should be your favorite too. Instead, it’s a list of 7 of my favorite apps that use for making content, design and engagement easier and more fun.

1) Planoly - is a planning and scheduling tool that is available in an app version and a desktop version.

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What I love about it - When I’m living my best boss lady life, I’m planning a few days to a week ahead, so this allows me to bring photos in that I know I want to use and start working on captions and get them in the queue. I wish I could tell you I have everything planned and schedule to go a week ahead of time, but even when I do have a post put together, I usually save it has a draft until the day before and then schedule it. I just like to be sure what I’m sending out feels right in that moment and any other inspiration on that post gets included. This goes against a lot of the pre-planning advice out there, but for me, right now, it works.

I also like that it allows you to see your grid with the draft posts so you can move things around or swap out pictures if needed to make your photos flow better or spread out colors.

2) Unsplash - I absolutely love this tool and use it multiple times a day for my blog posts, Facebook posts, and Instagram Stories and posts. It, too, has an app and a desktop version and I highly recommend both. The app version is great for a quick search and plugging photos in on-the-go. The desktop version has more to it and allows you to create a variety of “collections” and save photos for the different events/topics you need.

Photo by  Autri Taheri  on  Unsplash

What I love about it - Well for starters, it’s free :) And while it’s not required, it does make it super easy to credit the photography and copy a link for the creator whenever you download the image.

I also love it because they seem to always have something that fits with what I’m looking for and most of the time it’s a unique photo I haven’t seen anywhere else.

3) Canva - This is another tool that makes finding images super easy and has a huge library of both photos, illustrations and fonts. You can also pull images you downloaded from Unsplash into Canva and create posts, presentations, business cards, forms, basically any type of marketing piece you can think of.

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What I love about it - The app version is pretty robust and you can do a lot of customizing templates on the go. For someone that prefers not to get out a laptop, this is something I appreciate. On the website version for desktop use, there’s even more you can do, including things like saving your specific brand colors and fonts to make finding and using those super easy.

Canva is my guilty pleasure in life and I can get lost in here, so beware, you probably will feel like a graphic designer and want to spend hours in this tool. If you’re doing it for fun, go on with your creative self! Otherwise, just remember that Canva doesn’t pay the bills, so try not to get to wrapped up in designing each and every post (more of a reminder for myself than anyone else :) )

4) CutStory - Since Instagram only allows each Story segment to be 15 seconds this tool lets you create longer videos and then cut them into 15 second increments.

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What I love about it - It’s incredibly easier to use and gives you a chance to share a bit more in your story without the worry to stop and start every 15 seconds. While there’s no limit to how many 15 segments you can do in CutStory, for engagement purposes over on Instagram, I would recommend trying to stay within a minute and have no more than 4 CutStories. I have been working on this myself and will now just do a Live if what I have to say is going to be closer to 2 minutes or longer. I know that’s terrifying for some, but Instagram wants you to use all it has to offer and rewards people who use all the things, so give it a try sometime! You won’t get better until you start :)

5) Unfold - This is another design tool, similar to Canva, but just for Stories and much, much more simple.

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What I love about it - It has 5-6 bundles of design options and they are all beautiful. When you insert your own photos and text into the template, it will look so pro and pretty. I’ve had more than one person ask me if I was a graphic designer because of my use of templates in Canva and this one.

6) Unum - Their website describes this app as, A design platform to capitalize on the most powerful form of digital communication — visual storytelling. Bridging the gap between art and innovation, UNUM is the all-in-one app for visual planning, data-driven insights and publishing capabilities for digital content.

I don’t use this one to anywhere near it’s full capacity - the part I use and love is it’s analytics section.

Photo by: https://christopher.no/tag/unum/

Photo by: https://christopher.no/tag/unum/

What I love about it - It might be a fit for your design and planning purposes, but for me I have other favorite tools. With a business account, you can also seen your analytics for posts inside the Instagram app, but the way Unum presents the analytics, however, its super easy and visually more appealing in my opinion. You can see what your top posts have been for the week, month and all-time. It shows the number of likes it received and the number of comments.

This is great because them you can easily look down the list to find common themes of what did well and do more of that!

7) Instagram - Last, but definitely not least - the app itself! Obviously, this is where all the magic happens. Hopefully, you’re using it to engage and be social with others in addition to sharing your own content.

What I love about it - The piece of Instagram I’m nerding out over the most right now, are the Story analytics you can find inside the “Insights” of your business account (this isn’t available if you have a non-business account.")

You can find not only how many Impressions each Story received, but also how many people skipped through to your next Story, how many swiped to the next person’s Story, how many people went backwards (maybe you posted something eye-catching they wanted to be sure and see) and allows you to see all of this over the last 24 hours, 7 days or 14 days. Like the post analytics mentioned above, paying attention to these numbers for Stories can give you more of an idea of what’s working and what people are engaging with so you can do more of that!

What about you, lady? Do you have any favorites that weren’t on this list? Let me know in the comments below!