Everyone knows how to use Instagram, right? You upload a picture, make it look great with a filter, add a snappy caption, chuck a few hashtags in, and watch the likes roll in. It’s just that easy… except for when it isn’t.
That manual approach makes complete sense if you’re on the more casual end of the Instagram user spectrum. But if you’re an influencer or a marketer using the platform all day, every day, then you’ll know you might need a little help. The good news is that there are loads of tools that any type of Instagrammer should be using to make their ‘gramming more effective.
Our resident social media guru Maddie has tried and tested (what feels like) all of the tools out there and has kindly put together a list of the ones she thinks are the best.
Best for… editing
A great way to edit pictures on your phone, VSCO has loads of free filters and makes it super easy to adjust image settings (contrast, exposure, warmth etc).
We always aim for clean images with not too much editing, so a quick fix is to adjust just those three elements. If you adjust the filter level down, you’ll end up with images that look great and not overly edited.
For a consistent feed, it helps to use the same filter for all images—VSCO allows you to see the feed before you publish posts, so you can check they’re all consistent before going live.
Best for… scheduling
By far the best—but pricier—option. Iconosquare gives you valuable competitor insights, hashtag insights, optimum posting times, social media calendars with key dates (don’t be that person who forgets when national pancake day is), and a feature we love—a media gallery to store all the content you’ve not found the right date or caption for yet.
Good for seeing the whole feed before it goes live, Planoly allows you to schedule and post automatically on Instagram, which not all scheduling tools do (because they need to have a partnership with Instagram and be integrated with the platform’s API.)
As Instagram is such a visual platform, the best tools for scheduling let you see the feed before your posts go live—therefore Buffer, Hootsuite and many other traditional scheduling tools aren’t a great fit.
Best for… traffic
One of the big bugbears with Instagram is that—unlike all other social channels—it doesn’t support links in its captions (only in your bio.) This makes call-to-actions a little clunky as you can’t directly link elsewhere and forces you to update your bio link constantly. Linktree is a free tool for optimising traffic that lets you direct social users to multiple locations from one central bio link. Handy.
Best for… content creation
Ever had a great idea in your head but can’t seem to bring it to life on social? You need Canva. Not all of us are blessed with graphic design expertise or have access to someone who does, but Canva lets you design Instagram posts quickly and easily. The ‘Instagram post’ preset, one of the templates on the site, lets you choose from customisable designs or drag your own image in there to edit yourself. It's no substitute for an actual, real-life, graphic designer... but it's a start.
These are just a few ways to make your life on Instagram a whole lot easier. If you need a hand getting started, or are giving your social media an overhaul, Buzzbar offers support in the form of social media strategy and content creation. For more social media London insights, visit the Buzzbar blog.