Must-Have Instagram Tools for Marketing Your Brand

Instagram offers a plethora of features including photo filters and editing tools, but sometimes they just aren’t enough to run a creative and attention-grabbing Instagram marketing campaign. The Apple App Store and Android App Store are full of add-on tools to enhance your Instagram audience’s experience. Below I have complied a list of 5 must-have Instagram tools to consider using for your marketing campaigns.

AfterLight

If you ever get the feeling Instagram’s filters just aren’t working for your photo, then it’s time to download AfterLight. I use the AfterLight App on a daily basis, not only for my clients, but also for my own personal Instagram use. The app’s main features include: 59 filters, 66 textures (light leaks, instant film frame, and dusty overlay), cropping and editing tools, and frames. With AfterLight, you can explore 59+ other filters in addition to Instagram’s 20. The additional features are especially useful when posting food and landscape photos, where, for example, sometimes the original filters can give your food a less than appetizing appeal. With AfterLight, your food will look delicious on Instagram.

Instagram Afterlight App

Frame tool on Afterlight.

Instagram Afterlight App 2

Light leak tool on Afterlight.

Instagram Afterlight App 3

Instant film feature.

Instant film feature.

InstaSize

The InstaSize app is the solution for all those awkward auto-crop jobs that Instagram makes. In case you didn’t know, Instagram crops your photos into a 640 pixel by 640 pixel square photo. So what about your panoramic and rectangle photos? The InstaSizea app allows you to create Instagram images that fully display your content. You also have the option to choose the color of your background and add filters and text. Instasize is a must-have download for those looking to explore different depths of their photos while avoiding poor cropping.

InstaSize Instagram App 1

Add a border to your rectangle photo to avoid auto-cropping.

InstaSize 2

Panoramic photo with borders using InstaSize

 

Repost

Giving credit to an original author-photographer becomes easier with the Repost app. In just three simple steps, you are able to successfully re-post an Instagram to your followers. The Repost tool includes the original caption of the photo and also creates a banner with the original Instagrammer’s username and profile photo. Just follow these three easy steps to repost. There are a ton of repost apps out there, but I find this one by Red Cactus LLC to be easier to use compared to others.

Instagram Report App 1

Step 1: Select photo to Repost.

Instagram Report App 2

Step 2: Pick the position of your Repost watermark.

Instagram Report App 3

Step 3: Upload your Repost and then post to your page.

Pic Stitch

Pic Stitch was made for creating photos collages to be shared on Instagram. The free app offers up to 232 different collage frames in 15 different photo aspect ratios. You also have the ability to customize the collage borders with different colors and line sizes. Use Pic Stitch to create unique collages and to avoid the dreaded “multiple posts in one day” faux pas.

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Create a collage of photos using Pic Stitch.

Over

When using Instagram to market your business, it can be very powerful to enhance your photos with text captions. The Over App helps you add text and artwork to your Instagram photos. This app was designed with the creative Instagrammer in mind and offers 30+ fonts and artwork graphics to amp up the creative element of your posts.

Instagram Over App

The Over App allows you to add text and artwork to Instagram photos.

Using different apps to enhance your Instagram photos is absolutely key to executing a creative campaign for your business or brand. Like I have mentioned before, Instagram is all about visual appeal. These tools are essential to standing out among competition and getting your photos noticed.

What are some apps you use to edit and enrich your Instagram photos?

5 Tips on How to Market Your Business on Instagram

Instagram has certainly made significant strides within the past year, but the most common question people have is do I really need an Instagram account for my business?… And what the heck do I even post?

Instagram is a unique way to connect and engage with your audience using visual images. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, Instagram is a more visual experience for users. Here below, I have complied a list of five tips if you’re looking to market your business on Instagram.

  1. Connect your Instagram account with your other social media platforms.

When first setting up your Instagram account—or if you already have one—be sure to connect your account to your other social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Tumblr and Flickr. By connecting to your other accounts, you can post simultaneously to all platforms and therefore syndicate your visual content.

Connecting your social accounts to cross-promote your content is also a great way to gain more followers across all social media platforms. If someone follows you on Facebook and sees you are also on Instagram, they will most likely connect immediately.

  1. Use Hashtags

The hashtag feature on Instagram is very similar to the Twitter hashtag. I recommend almost every post include a hashtag, especially when you are new to Instagram. Just like on Twitter, when clicking on a hashtag you are able to explore similar posts. This is a great way for your brand to get noticed.

When using the Instagram hashtag, it is important to understand the popular, daily hashtags:

  • Monday: #MCM (Man Crush Monday)
  • Tuesday: #TransformationTuesday
  • Wednesday: #WCW (Women Crush Wednesday)
  • Thursday: #tbt (Throwback Thursday)
  • Friday: #FlashblackFriday
  • Saturday: Hashtags have the day off
  • Sunday: #SelfieSunday

These hashtags may or may not be appropriate for your brand, but using them in a playful way is great for engaging and gaining followers.

If you are feeling really brave, I recommend you create your very own hashtag. A great example of this is an Arkansas boutique, Riffraff. They’ve done an excellent job of engaging their customers on Instagram by establishing the hashtag #riffrafflove. When purchasing from their store they encourage you to use #riffrafflove on an Instagram post with you wearing their product. With the hashtag they are able to connect with customers. Just look—there are 8,565 posts using their homemade hashtag!

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For simpler hashtag recommendations, stick with three things: location (#Indy), product (#cupcakes), or industry (#bakery).

  1. Engage, Engage, Engage

Instagram is the most informal social media platform out there. Followers are looking to your account to tell your story. One of the best lessons I learned in my college sales internship is, “People love to buy, but they hate to be sold.” Instagram isn’t the place to post your latest ad, but rather post that “ad” in a unique, visually pleasing way.

  • Encourage your followers to post their own photos using your hashtag
  • Follow your followers
  • Like followers’ photos
  • Comment on followers’ photos
  • Ask questions
  • Run Instagram contests
  • Be sure to give call to action!

 

  1. Be creative with your content.

As I’ve already mentioned, Instagram is extremely informal—so your content should be also. Determine how you would like your brand represented and run with it. Here are a few content ideas:

  • Include behind-the-scenes images
  • Showcase employees
  • Play into the fun National Holidays
  • Show off your product in creative ways
  • Celebrate milestones
  • Use the video feature

Another one of my favorite brands to follow on Instagram is Jars by Dani. She sells homemade jars with all different kinds of cake flavors. What I enjoy most about dani_beckerman is how she creatively highlights her jars in posts. She makes her product visually pleasing, and her images can make anyone’s mouth water!

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Here are a few additional content tips:

  • Be sure your posts are creative, playful, and not mundane.
  • Don’t get caught up in using the same filters, shake things up every now and then to spark interest.
  • Your content should inspire customers and potential customers.
  1. Master the Caption

Being able to post awesome pictures is one thing, but being able to master your caption will take your post to the next level. Clever captions that make your followers look at your posts longer are essential to creating a successful Instagram campaign.

 

Is your brand is directed toward millennials? Then you better have an Instagram account. Figuring out what works for your business on Instagram may take time, but once you create your persona and get the hang of posting you can become an Instagram master in no time. However, if you don’t feel you have the time to dedicate to creating a successful Instagram profile, I recommend reaching out to a digital marketing firm to take care of your needs.