The apps you need to improve your Instagram grid

So you want to up your Instagram game? Who doesn’t? With circa 300M daily users it matters not whether you are selling products, a blog or your services. You need to be in the circle (sorry, I mean squares).

How do you win at Instagram?

Here’s the thing. Instagram moves fast. Trends come and go.

Currently, there’s a big demand for highly curated, curious images that are big on the wow factor. The use of Photoshop is growing but opinion on this seems to be fairly split.

Some Instagrammers argue that as a social network, it should be used to tell authentic in-the-moment stories. Some feel that this is better received than hours spent curating posts. Just get it out. The other school of thought is that the platform is by its very nature visual and so content should be creative and ‘click-worthy’ and that’s the key to making it big. I don’t think there is one answer. And my fellow Instagrammers? Well, they continue to deliberate.

Since I started my blog in 2017, I have been using Instagram to promote my writing along with sharing outfits and updates on my treatment. I’ve had varying degrees of success.

Sometimes, I’m all about the storytelling caption, and in other posts, I’m aiming for on-point shots. I have learnt a few things along the way.

Firstly, it doesn’t hurt to ask yourself if you are providing value for follow. What this ‘means’ will differ depending on the follower, but using generic captions for example, probably isn’t going to help. The other thing to consider is whether or not you would follow yourself. Of course, I would, wouldn’t I? Well, if you landed on your grid what would your first impressions be? Think about it for a little bit.

Most ‘Grammers are using at least a few apps. So I thought I would share with you what’s currently in my (Insta) toolbox.

Instagram apps you probably need

VCSO (free)

This is an editing app that offers good control as well as some excellent filters, which can be finely tuned. Perfect if you’re not familiar with editing yet but want to give something else a go.

Lightroom CC (app is free, PC version costs)

I LOVE editing photos. As an ex-photography student (in the days of developing film and printing in a dark room) I’m a bit embarrassed to say that I had become over-reliant on my iPhone and inbuilt Instagram filters. Lightroom is nice to have. Although raw editing gives you more control, the one-click auto function is a good place to start if you feel a bit overwhelmed.

PLANN (£7.99 per month)

PLANN does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s an app that helps you plan what you are going to post, when. The app syncs with your Instagram feed – displaying the last 18 images you’ve posted. And allowing you to plan out your next posts. You are able to add images and then move them around to see how your feed will look when you post in a particular order. If you don’t think it flows, you just give it a shuffle around. I’m guilty of spending way too much time moving, and moving and moving things. It’s worth noting that there are some alternatives out there – Mosaic is popular, as is Planoly.

IFTTT (free)

What an amazing find. Register with ‘If This Then That’ and you can instantly set-up rules for automatic linkage and posting across multiple social channels. I’ve linked my Instagram and Pinterest (every Instagram image I post is now auto-saved to an Insta board). And, all Instagram posts are automatically shared on Twitter with caption (up to the 280 character limit) and with the full image, rather than a link – which looks a bit rubbish.

UNFOLD (free)

Seen people’s stories looking a bit fancier? They probably have this. It’s still pretty new on the scene, but if you like editing, you’ll love it. Think layouts, and borders and endless fun.

Ig Analyzer (free)

Want to find out who your real Instagram friends are? Prepare for the initial blow – you know, like finding out that those *buddy’s* aren’t following you back. It is certainly eye-opening. I think where this app really delivers though is helping you to think a bit more strategically – about who you follow, and your target audience. I’ve realised that Foodstagrammers aren’t particularly interested in my new shoes. And that’s fine – it’s no biggie.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, and maybe it will help with your social endeavours? Over to you…, what apps are you using for Instagram?

Sar x

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