I’ve been wanting to write this for a while now – and when I say a while I mean that I had this idea about a year ago – but at the time my Instagram account was on hold until it was repurposed for magical content (btw you can check it out here if you’re a massive Potterhead like myself) and I didn’t feel that I had enough resources to offer you guys. Well, that has indeed changed so TADAA! Honestly, the headline may say 16 tools and resources but let’s be honest; there are a lot more than just 16. You’re welcome.
Due to me being both Danish and humble – a double whammy really – I have to say: this is not the “ultimate list” or the “best list ever created in the history of mankind” BUT these are all tools and resources that I either use or have heard are supposed to be amazing so hopefully I can surprise you with at least one tool or resource you never knew existed before today. And on that note let’s get started!
Funnily enough one of the best Instagram ressources is Instagram itself. Especially when it comes to stories. I must admit that I think the app could do more for posts by offering more analytics, hashtag suggestions and so on, but on the stories front they’re actually pretty good. Perhaps because they’ve been focusing on that, who knows.
Stories are where you can truly connect with your followers and keep them engaged with fun stickers that serves as call-to-actions which means more traffic for you. The fact that you can go live just adds another dimensions, however, if you do want to use that feature be aware of when your audience is active. Many, like myself, have a huge audience in other countries so if I had to go live I probably would have to either stay up very late or wake up really early.
Stories also have a huge design aspect and even though I’m going to mention a couple of alternatives later on Instagram itself is a goldmine when speaking of story design. There are so many options, and if you want to fully explore the possibilities I suggest hopping on Pinterest and search for “Instagram story ideas”. Trust me, you will not be disappointed. Youtube also has many story design compilations and social media experts that are simply brilliant so definitely hop on Youtube and type in “Instagram story ideas” as well.
GIF-stickers is another ressource that can really spice op your Instagram story game. I personally keep my favourite search phrases in my Google keep note app so that I can access them when I can’t remember their name – which happens often! My faves are:
- The uncommon place
2. ADOBE LIGHTROOM APP
WHERE TO FIND IT: Play Store and App Store
I highly recommend getting the Adobe Lightroom app. Even though I consider myself a desktop woman I edit all my pictures on that app. It is free and easy to navigate with great results. I especially like that it has short tutorials that shows you how to create different styles or how to enhance certain things etc. I can’t personally recommend any other photo editing app because I tried Lightroom first and completely fell in love.
WHERE TO FIND IT: Play Store and App Store
If you like to plan out your feed the Preview app might be for you. It is super easy to add, delete, and move around pictures to create a cohesive and beautiful feed. It also has options for analytics and a hashtag feature although I think those are paid options. Personally I only use it to plan my feed and I’m happy with it so far.
WHERE TO FIND IT: Play Store and App Store
Instagram stories are huge right now and even though Instagram itself has many story options some people prefer to switch it up. Unfold is a popular app because it is easy and the results are stunning. I actually downloadet Unfold because, at the moment, Instagram didn’t offer a collage typed feature and you couldn’t include both picture and video. With Unfold you can. It comes with free templates but even the paid once aren’t actually that expensive. I also believe they have a subscription option where you gain access to all templates, stickers and more. Sometimes they have free collections you can download and add to your templates.
Over and StoryArt are also popular apps, much like Unfold. I have no personal experience with them but they’re there for exploration if you feel adventurous.
WHERE TO FIND IT: Canva.com / Play Store and App Store
Canva is a free design tool and even though it comes with pre-made templates it’s so much more. I have worked with Canva for more than a year and I don’t know what I would do without it. The strongest feature, in my opinion, is the sheer amount of things you can create. Though their templates are great it is the ability to release your creative powers and make something unique for you and your brand. It can be used on desktop and on your phone. I personally prefer desktop as I feel like it gives me more creative freedom and I like the layout better, but a lot of people design in the app and are perfectly happy with that. A neat tick is that when I design Instagram stories I will make them on my laptop but go to the app and download. That way I don’t have to transfer the images to my phone afterwards before posting on Instagram.
I literally use Canva to design everything: stories, Pinterest pins, my blog headers, the designs I sell (see point 11), you name it. Another option is Picmonkey, however it doesn’t come with a free plan. I never tried it but I heard it’s good. Same goes for Adobe Spark and RelayThat (these do come with free plans but I never tried them).
WHERE TO FIND IT: later.com / Play Store and App Store
Moving on to scheduling options. I have used Later for almost a year and I really like it. It’s free and the best feature, in my opinion, is the option to save hashtags in groups and add them all at once. It makes it so easy to switch them up yet still be relevant and it obviously makes the workflow a lot quicker. They also have a preview feature but for some reason I don’t use it. I’m not sure why. I’d rather stick to the Preview app, but it’s there if you are, you know, a sane person (unlike me, haha!) There’s also analytics and (in the paid option) a hashtag suggestions feature.
They also have scheduling options for Twitter and Pinterest but I have never used Later to schedule neither so I can’t say how good it is for that. I personally use Tweetdeck for Twitter which is Twitters own free scheduling tool (click here to try) and I use Pinterest’s own in-built scheduling option. There’s also Tailwind, you can read more about it here.
I remember when I had to figure out which sceduling platform to use I was unsure whether to go with Later or Planoly. In the end, it was the hashtag grouping feature Later had that persuaded me. Planoly is supposed to be really good, I guess it’s about preference and what you need. I suggest checking out both to see which is the right fit for you.
7. LATER BLOG
WHERE TO FIND IT: Later blog
Later’s own blog is actually a goldmine of information. It is also one of the only ones I am subcribed to simply because they keep me up to date with the newest Instagram features. The downside of living in Denmark is that new features never gets released here first and so it’s nice to get to know the features before they become available. Later’s blog has never disappointed and since it’s me we’re talking about that says a lot! They occasionally do Pinterest or TikTok posts but Instagram is clearly where they shine and what 80% of their content is about. I highly recommend that you check them out, you might learn something new.
8. VANESSA LAU
WHERE TO FIND IT: Youtube @Vanessalau
She also has a blog, an awesome Instagram account AND a podcast. Ya, she’s busy! I L O V E her! Why? Because she always manages to provide information that I didn’t know before. The more you learn the harder you are to impress and yet Vanessa Lau do it all the time. She is incredibly knowledgeable and creative. The amount of free valuable content she shares is no less than astonishing. Okay, I think I praised her enough, more than that and it will become unbelievable. Just, check out her Youtube channel and if you’re not sold then it’s fine.
WHERE TO FIND IT: Linktr.ee
Instagram allows one link in your bio. That’s it! So you better make it count. The easiest solution is definitely Linktree. It’s free and you simply upload a profile picture, select a colour scheme, drop your links and add your Linktree link in your Instagram bio. Job done. They also have a paid plan with more colour options and personal customizations. So if you need something easy and quick for your links Linkree is for you.
WHERE TO FIND IT: Carrd.co
If, however, you want a bit more than a simple link tree, Carrd is for you. It’s still free but functions as a landing page which means that you can use is as a simle link tree BUT you can also use it to display your products, create a sales funnel, anything you want. The downside is, as usual, that when you have more choices it can get a lot harder to choose. Especially if you don’t have an eye for design.
A free account will give you 3 pages, or sites, so if you want more you will have to go onto a paid plan. That said, you can do A LOT with 3 landing pages! They have templates you can use, or if you already have a design and brand colours you can simply build one from scratch. Personally I find it very user friendly. Just don’t be afraid of playing around. You can see mine here.
11. ICHIC DESIGNS SHOP
WHERE TO FIND IT: ICHIC designs
Allow me to toot my own horn for a minute. I primarily design Instagram story highlight covers and overlay stickers for bloggers and business owners, but you can of course purhase and use them for private accounts as well. For people who are not at all design savvy or perhaps just want to save themselves some time (or both!) it’s easier simply to purchase these kinds of things. Bloggers and business owners know that it’s all in the details and having a more polished, cohesive and branded look will make you look like a professional.
My designs are not free but I think the price is fair when you consider the time and effort I put into it. My designs are 100% unique and if you’re interested you should definitely take a look. I also do custom work so if you want something made specially for you and your business just let me know by sending me an email @ email@example.com OR shoot me a DM on Twitter @ichicdesigns.
WHERE TO FIND IT: Lumen5.com / Play Store and App Store
I know Instagram Reels is just around the corner – unless you’re in one of the beta testing countries of course – but what Lumen5 is capable of is different to what Reels is going to be able to do (basically TikTok so… A bit awkward for Zuckerberg). Lumen5 lets you create simple videos with text, music and video bits unless you upload your own. Personally I have used them to promote specific blog posts on Pinterest (click here for an example) and they perform really well, but you can definitely use them for Instagram stories but perhaps most importantly, for IGTV.
In the free version there are a decent amount of templates you can work with. The paid plan of course offers more options as to text colour, removing the Lumen5 watermark , uploading your own music etc. Generally I find the interface very user friendly and I feel like it takes minimum effort to make it look great which is always a huge plus in my book.
WHERE TO FIND IT: Play Store and App Store
PicsArt is a free photo editing app and can be used for a 1000 things. I use it mostly for Harry Potter edits but you can use it for a lot of things. Watch the youtube video down below for inspiration.
14. SARA KEY
WHERE TO FIND IT: Youtube @Sarakey
Sara Key is a new YouTube channel but already after the first video I subscribed. She is beyond creative and her designs are really pretty. She offers inspiration for stories, both design and filters, how to use PicsArt, pretty GIF stickers and more.
15. IG FONTS
WHERE TO FIND IT: igfonts.io
IG fonts is exactly what you think it is. It’s where you can write your text and it converts it into cool fonts that don’t exist on Instagram. You simply copy and paste the altered text into your captions and/or stories. I’m sure there are other sites just like it out there but this is what I’ve used for almost a year and although it’s nothing special it gives your account that little extra.
WHERE TO FIND IT: coolsymbol.com
This site is actually just copy and paste symbols – a lot of symbols! – but you can create so many pretty stories using these. You simple copy and paste a symbol into the text field, adjust colours, and viola! Click here for inspiration.
So, there you go. 16 resources and tools to help you elevate your Instagram game. If you have more tips, tools and resources that you want others to know about please don’t hesitate to throw them in the comment section down below! I hope you have a nice day; stay safe.
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