Facebook’s subsidiary Instagram is growing in interest for companies. And when you consider that it now has over 500 million registered users worldwide, it’s not hard to see why. Instagram gives the general public a unique look into the lives of their favourite celebrities: you too can offer users a chance to get closer to your business, by uploading original photos, graphics, and video clips. So...
More than 800 million Instagram accounts are active each month all over the world – with more than half of them being used daily (as of September 2017). Approximately 80% of these accounts follow at least one company according to internal data collected by the photo network. Instagram has lots of information about user activities as well as impressive success stories on its website to show interested companies, bloggers, and influences how appealing the social platform really is. Whether high-quality product photos, narrative Instagram stories, or target-oriented advertisements: the success of marketing in the photo-sharing network seems practically certain from a superficial point of view.
In fact, Instagram marketing also involves a lot of work that would not be possible without technical aids. The tools chosen play a decisive role in the optimisation of image and video material, which is decisive for the presentation. But also when scheduling publications and interacting with the target audience, relevant programs can be really useful. To make it easier for you to find the most suitable apps, this article presents some of the best Instagram apps.
Pic Stitch is the perfect app for creating photo and video collages for Instagram, Facebook, etc. The application provides users with more than 200 different layout templates that can be equipped with their own multimedia files. Some of these layouts can be used for free, while others have to be bought within the app. The same applies to framing or texture changes to the collage, which also require you to purchase a corresponding package. The selected images can not only be stylishly made into compositions, but they can also be edited directly using the integrated photo editor. The Instagram tool provides the typical tools such as effects, soft and sharp focus, red-eye removal, and cutting and optimisation tools.
Ready-made collages can be exported with a single click and then sent by SMS or e-mail, stored in the Cloud (Dropbox), or shared on social networks. Before the post is added to Instagram or wherever you want to post it, you can also make use of the filters and effects and write texts for the posts. iOS and Android users can find Pic Stitch in the App Store or Google Play Store as a free download. Windows users only have access to a paid app in the Microsoft Store, which is relatively cheap with its price tag of £1.49.
|✔ Over 200 different layout templates available||✘ No integrated recording function|
|✔ Integrated image editing function||✘ Frame modification only possible after purchase of additional package|
Hyperlapse from Instagram
Instagram itself offers a very useful and powerful app for creating expressive video content: Hyperlapse turns footage into breathtaking time-lapse clips that run at up to 12x the speed. A hidden menu (accessible by touching the screen four times with four fingers) enables the user to set the program up so that videos play up to 40 times faster than the original video playback. The integrated image stabilisation technology ensures that video material is not blurred, which is why the use of the Instagram tool can also pay off when recording an ordinary clip.
The time-lapse effect is suitable for a wide variety of application scenarios: for example, it gives videos, which show you behind the scenes of companies, a certain 'je ne sais quoi'. It also proves to be just as practical when it comes to presenting products – from conceptual design and manufacturing to the finished product. In addition, the top speed videos offer an ideal opportunity to show a product in action in a short time. Instagram’s free app is only available for iOS, but with Microsoft Hyperlapse Mobile, there is a similar and alternative option (which is also free) for Android and Windows devices.
|✔ Simple, intuitive user interface||✘ Only available for iOS|
|✔ Automatic image stabilisation||✘ Can’t be used for editing pre-made videos|
In addition to the Instagram profile, it often makes sense to use various other social media channels as well, since a higher reach promises greater marketing success. On the one hand, new content must be prepared in a way that it complies to all platforms, but on the other hand, it needs to be published at the appropriate time. The Hootsuite Instagram tool provides the appropriate answer to this organisational problem. Once installed, the program serves as a central administration centre for all major social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. This way, posts can either be shared immediately or via the 'AutoPlan' function at a later point on desired channels after linking the corresponding accounts with the tool.
For Instagram, there is a function for publishing content following a schedule. However, since automatic postings by third-party applications violate network policies, Instagram only send a message to let you know it’s the desired time.
Hootsuite not only facilitates managing your own social media posts, but also has many useful optimisation features such as automatic link shortening and detailed analytics reports (from the 'Professional' edition onwards). In addition, the application tracks the actions of platform users (comments, likes, shares, etc.), which makes it even easier to work out how successful each post is. Another useful feature is the possibility to display brand or company references, or new postings on specific keywords: this way, you get valuable information about where you stand, and at the same time, you have helpful input for interacting with the community. The Instagram app, which is available for iOS and Android, can be used for free for up to three social media profiles.
|✔ Combines the management of all important social networks in a single tool||✘ Free version is severely restricted and less suitable for larger operations: no multi-user functionality (only one user can manage the profiles), only possible to schedule three profiles and 30 messages|
|✔ Captures and presents all important user interactions|
The startup company specialising in e-commerce, Soldsie, offers one of the best Instagram apps for sellers with Have2Have.it. The tool, developed specifically for the photo-sharing network, enables a significant increase in click-through and conversion rates within sales-oriented Instagram campaigns. For this purpose, Have2Have.it bridges the gap between social media profiles and online shops on the respective sales platform, which leads potential customers to the products. Via a customised Have2Have.it link in the company’s biography, website visitors are lead to an automatically-generated landing page, which presents a feed of the Instagram images and products posted. With just one more click, users can then access the shop and go directly to the item in question.
Links to the shop’s products can be found on this Intagram tool’s dashboard. It is not only possible to redirect customers: if several articles from the online shop are presented in one picture, they can be marked with a tag (including a link). Since Have2Have.it also includes its own analysis tool, the app can record traffic and conversions. The collected data can then also be accessed via the dashboard. Information about registering can also be viewed, exported, and used to extend user mailing lists. The app is only available for iOS – Android and Windows users have to be content with the device-independent web applications. After the free trial month, the price of the tool depends on the absolute click rates. Up to 50 clicks on Have2Have.it remain free of charge.
|✔ Allows unlimited linking to own products||✘ App has direct access to customer data|
|✔ Makes users aware of other products|
If you publish Instagram posts according to a certain schedule, the primary purpose is to achieve the greatest possible reach. However, this not only requires new content to be created on a regular basis, but you also need to decide on the ideal publishing time. This is often easier said than done: only those who continuously study and analyse the behaviour of their target users or followers know when they are active and receptive to new content. A useful Instagram app that makes user research child’s play is WhenToGram (formerly WhenToPost). Once linked to the Instagram account, the tool analyses the activity patterns of followers to determine the optimal times for publishing new posts.
WhenToGram presents several different values in the overview menu, for instance the three optimal times for new postings on the current day. This is combined with a countdown to the next upcoming appointment. The app also creates a weekly schedule that summarises the best times. If you don’t want to check the app all the time, you can activate automatic notifications in the settings menu so you know when the next best opportunity is for a new Instagram post. WhenToGram then informs you 15 minutes before. The basic version of the program is free of charge and available for iOS. Some additional features – such as a dynamic graph or a chart for the top days of the week - can be purchased.
|✔ Quick analysis of when followers are online||✘ The app doesn’t run that well on older, unsupported systems|
|✔ Discoveries are regularly adjusted|
Anyone who works professionally with Instagram, Snapchat, etc. will know that it takes more than just a good photo or video to be successful. To get users interested, thinking up the right headline or caption is just as important as the actual content. Finding the right words, however, is not always easy – especially if you write quite a few posts every day. Nick Slater's App Captiona provides a solution to this problem: The search engine provides ready-made image descriptions of selected search terms and therefore helps the user to create the text.
With Captiona, users have two ways to search for and use relevant descriptions for their own Instagram posts: The search is carried out in the Captiona app and the desired result is then simply copied using the copy and paste option. It’s also possibly for text excerpts that might be interesting for later postings to be marked as favourites. Alternatively, the search engine can also be used directly in Instagram using the optional virtual Captiona keyboard. This can be activated in the settings menu of the app. The useful Instagram app is available exclusively for iOS and can be purchased for £0.99 from the App Store.
|✔ Database is constantly updated||✘ App only available for iOS|
|✔ Can be used directly in Instagram thanks to the keyboard extension|
Social HashTag (Best HashTags for Instagram)
If you would like to have your Instagram posts seen by people outside of your usual followership, you can use hashtags to achieve this. If you choose keywords that the Instagram community searches for most often, you will automatically achieve a higher range. For this to be reflected in likes, shares, and comments, the hashtags must match the published content. One of the best Instagram apps that greatly simplifies this complex search for specific, yet voluminous keywords is Social HashTag (Best HashTags for Instagram). The application developed by Oleg Tarashkevich enables hash tag research based on the latest data and trends as well as rapid integration of results thanks to interfaces linking to the most important social media platforms.
Social HashTag not only allows you to individually search for the best tags for a selected keyword or any combination of keywords, but also offers ready-made categories such as ‘Food’, ‘Sport’, or ‘Drinks and desserts’. Here, users will find the social tags that are most relevant to each topic, which makes this area an excellent first point of contact and source of inspiration. The Instagram tool for Android devices, which is just as useful for researching Twitter, Pinterest, etc. is free of charge in the basic version (with advertisements). For a one-time payment of around a pound, users can activate the full version if required, which doesn’t contain any ads.
|✔ Contains hashtags for the most important topics|
|✔ Can also be used for hashtag searches on other social media platforms|
The most important Instagram tools for 2017 at a glance
|Available for||Price||In-app purchases||Function|
|Captiona||iOS 10.3+||£0.99||no||researches headlines|
|Have2Have.it||iOS 8.0+||free (for up to 50 clicks)||no||optimises conversions|
|Hootsuite||iOS 10.0+, Android||free (for up to three profiles)||yes||posting management; central management of different social media channels|
|Hyperlapse||iOS 8.0+||free||no||time-lapse effect for self-recorded videos|
|Pic Stitch||iOS 9.0+, Android 4.1+, Windows||iOS, Android: free; Windows: £1.49||yes||creating collages; simple image editing|
|Social HashTag||Android 4.0+||free (with ads)||yes||researches hashtags|
|WhenToGram||iOS 7.0+, Android 4.0.3+||free||yes||determines the optimal times for posting|