Did you get into business to spend half of your time working on social media marketing? Unless you’re a social media manager, I’m gonna guess it’s safe to say no. Yet, here we are. We know how valuable digital marketing can be for our businesses, so we suck it up and push through (with a frustrated growl every once in a while). But what if I could help make your life just a smidge easier? By the end of this, you’ll know all the Instagram marketing tools I keep in my arsenal and how they save me time and help me create a visually appealing feed.
Instagram Aesthetic Apps
Before I hop into my go-to tools for curating my Instagram feed aesthetic, I have to give my disclaimer. I have seen many accounts with a gorgeous feed and tons of followers making almost no money. I have also seen accounts with under 1000 followers and a less than perfect feed crushing it financially. How your feed looks only matters as much as you let it. Just like a gorgeous date with a crappy attitude, what’s under the surface matters much more in the long run. That said, here are my favorites for creating a visually stunning account.
Don’t quit on me now, Linda. Even if you’re a creative like myself who knows how to use Photoshop, InDesign, and even Illustrator, you have to give Canva a fighting chance. It can do most of the things the Adobe suite can… without the hassle.
The real benefit of Canva is how easy and efficient it is. While I don’t think a pro account is necessary, having the ability to remove backgrounds from photos, save brand elements such as colors and fonts, and export multiple designs in the exact ratios you need is a huge time-saver!
We know how important video is becoming in the digital marketing world. Between the rise of TikTok in 2020 and the roll out of Instagram Reels just after, it’s clear people are drawn to video content.
If you’re new to Instagram reels or annoyed that you lose all your progress when your app unexpectedly shuts down mid-creation, you’re gonna wanna jump on the InShot train! It’s completely free and has pretty much any feature you’d need including the ability to:
- Set a time constraint.
- Separate audio from video.
- Overlay text.
- Voice over.
- Add photos.
- Add transitions.
- Change the video speed.
- Crop a video.
Once you’re done tweaking, you can export it right to your phone photos to upload into Instagram for Reels or IGTVs.
You might be thinking, “but I’m not a photographer, so I don’t have Lightroom.” Fear not, creative friend! Lightroom mobile is free and super easy to use. You can change lighting, colors, remove pesky distractions from the background, and so much more.
If you have no idea where to start moving sliders to get the desired aesthetic, you can find presets to fit with your branding just about anywhere these days. Presets are like complex filters (to the photographers reading this, don’t hate me for comparing the two) that can add a lot of consistency to your images. Photo pros will naturally use their own presets, but many also sell their secret sauce to others. Do a quick Etsy search and you’ll find plenty of options for as little as $3.
If you don’t already know this about me, I’m obsessed with batch working. Batch working is when you clump together like tasks and do them all at once so your brain can get in a groove and increase efficiency.
When I don’t have 2 weeks of posts planned, written, and scheduled, it’s a weird day and I’m typically feeling pretty anxious. This one shift has helped me to become a lot more intentional with my content and truly move the needle in my business. Here’s how I do it…
Later is the website I use to plan all my content. It allows you to upload photos, write captions, and even plan the hashtags (with a handy counter to keep you under the limit) on your computer and then schedule each post for a specific date and time.
Once it’s time to post, you’ll get a reminder through the Later app on your phone. As you hit publish, it’ll automatically copy the caption for you and save the associated photo to your phone for you to post to Instagram. This not only streamlines content publishing, but it also ensures you don’t forget to post all the wonderful content you planned at optimal times for your audience to see.
Struggle with what to post? You’re not alone. It’s one of the biggest pain points my clients and community share with me. It’s the exact reason I created IG Caption Infusion – a guide filled with over 100 caption prompts designed to convert followers into clients. Within 30 minutes, you could have the next few weeks of intentional content planned into Later for your biz.
Hashtags. We love them, hate them, and love to hate them. I hate to say this, but I don’t care how amazing your content is… If no one sees it, it isn’t effective. That’s where hashtags come in. On Instagram, they are one of the easiest ways we can help ideal clients find us.
If you feel like you don’t know where to start with hashtags, check out my blog about sorting by size. If you are a seasoned pro and just want to know how everyone else seems to be finding such epic hashtags that are exploding their reach… meet MetaHashtags.com!
This website allows you to type in any hashtag you might use and then auto-populates a list of hashtags that are commonly used alongside the one you entered. Next to each hashtag suggestion, you can see thumbnails of the current top posts and how often they hashtag has been used. When you see one you want to use, just click the check box and it’ll add it to a list on the side (with a hashtag counter to keep you under the 30 tag limit) for you to copy into your caption.
Quick tip because I aim to serve… try to use hashtags that have top images that most closely resemble what you’re posting. For example, if I’m posting a graphic, I try to avoid hashtags that are largely photos of people. It helps me understand what typically trends for that specific hashtag.
Knowing your audience is the most important aspect of your Instagram marketing strategy. If you don’t know who you’re speaking to, you can’t possibly know what they need to hear from you. This is why it’s so important to analyze your post performance and engagement.
There are a lot of analytic apps out there, but most business owners can get what they need straight from the Insights feature, available within the app. Just go to your profile, click the three lines in the top right corner, and click “Insights.” You will need a business account in order to access this data, but once you’re in there, you can find a lot of valuable information such as:
- When your audience is on the app (best time to post).
- What posts they liked best based on comments, likes, shares, and saves (which helps you learn what to post more of).
- Your audience demographics (which tells you whether or not you’re attracting your ideal client).
Those are just a few examples, but long story short… not using data to make business decisions is like playing the left, right, straight game instead of using a GPS to get somewhere important. It may seem fun at the time, but it’s going to take you a hell of a lot longer to get to your destination / goal.
Effective Doesn’t Equal Expensive
I’m sure by now, you can see how I roll. If I can get an effective tool for free, I’m all about it. Sure, there are plenty of paid options to replace the Instagram marketing tools I walked you through today, but it doesn’t mean they’re better. Being smart about how you spend your dollars allows you to increase profit and reinvest in the growth of your business!
If you want more IG marketing help, snag my guide to creating an Instagram Bio that sells! Your bio is the most valuable real estate on your account. This guide will help you use your bio to attract the right followers and turn them into clients!