- If you use Instagram for your business, you want your posts to catch a customer’s attention within a couple seconds before they scroll away.
- There are a number of extra apps that can help to create, edit, and plan your photos and videos more effectively. To determine which ones were the best for boosting your customer base in 2020, Business Insider asked business owners what they use.
- Apps like Planoly and Preview help schedule posts ahead of time, while apps like Lightroom and VSCO edit photos to look professional and vibrant.
If your business uses Instagram, you probably know it takes a lot of creating, editing, and planning to ensure your post captures the attention of potential customers. Doing this can be challenging, since you only have a few seconds before they scroll away. But there are a few extra apps that can help entrepreneurs build their customer base in 2020.
Using Instagram alone, you can create a draft post, but you can’t schedule it for later. You’re also limited to the fonts, graphics, and filters the app offers, which can grow stale if you want branding that’s fresh and unique to your business.
That’s where the extra apps come in — they can make posting to Instagram easier, faster, and more engaging.
Business Insider asked small business owners what apps they use to make the perfect posts, from editing photos to scheduling content ahead of time.
Here are 10 apps they use.
Cost: Free for basic features. A pro subscription with analytics starts at $6.67 per month.
Jessica Morelli owns Palermo Body, a natural skincare line sold online, on Etsy, and in retailers like CB2. She uses the Preview app to edit and plan out her photos. “It’s great for designing how our feed will look,” she said.
Preview allows users to map out how each photo will look on their Instagram beforehand. This can be helpful if you want a uniform look across your account. The app also offers free editing tools and preset filters.
With a subscription, the app can track your top-performing hashtags and account analytics.
Cost: Free to connect two profiles, with up to 30 uploads per month. Advanced accounts start at $7 per month.
Jaclyn Johnson, the founder and CEO of Create & Cultivate, a community and event planner for professional women, says her team uses Planoly to schedule the company’s posts. “You can really plan out and see what your grid looks like,” she said.
Johnson said her team at Create & Cultivate also uses Stories Edit, a design tool by Planoly, which makes it “really easy to create beautiful Instagram stories,” she said. “You don’t need a graphic designer in house.”
Cost: Free for an “essential” plan which allows 500 uploads per month. Subscriptions for more uploads and features start at $6.99 per month.
Angela Wator is the creator of Bash Party Goods, an online and Etsy shop that sells party supplies and stationary. She uses UNUM to organize her Instagram feed and plan content. “It’s helpful to see future posts plotted out to ensure the feed will look dynamic and representative of my brand,” she said.
Cost: Free to download and use most features. Premium plans start at $4.99 per month.
Abbey Moore, who makes hand-poured candles for her business The Perfect Little Life, said having the right equipment makes all the difference for professional-looking product shots. Her husband is a photographer, so along with help from her team, she has high-quality cameras and lights at her disposal.
But whether you’re working with a DSLR camera or an iPhone, she said business owners can take great photos and edit them with a variety of editing apps. She uses Lightroom, VSCO, and A Color Story. “Those photo-editing apps are lifesavers,” she said.
The Lightroom app is one of the more advanced free photo-editing apps. It comes from Adobe, the same developer as Photoshop, so there are a lot of similarities in fine-tuning elements like color and exposure. It also has presets for easier editing.
Cost: Free to download and use basic presets. Memberships cost $19.99 a year to access more than 200 presets and bonus features.
Thanks to the emergence of VSCO girls or teens who wear oversized t-shirts, scrunchies, and carry reusable water bottles, this app has taken on a life of its own. But aside from being a buzzword of 2019, the app has editing tools for fine-tuning photos as well as preset filters that instantly add color and vibrancy.
A Color Story
Cost: Free for basic features. The ACS+ membership costs $24.99 per year.
A Color Story is another photo- and video-editing app Moore uses. The app has hundreds of filters, effects, and tools that focus on trending styles and pops of color. It also allows users to customize filters, schedule and plan out content, and batch edit multiple photos.
An annual membership gives access to more filters and features, like the Color+ tool that fine-tunes hue, saturation, and luminance.
Cost: Free for basic features. Unlock more features, starting at $1.99.
Morelli said she also likes using ImgPlay to create GIFS, or short loop-videos, for her content. The app can turn photos and videos into GIFS, adding animations, text, and filters for fun effects.
Cost: Free to use basic templates. Additional fonts and templates start at $0.99 (one time fee per each).
For her Instagram stories, Morelli uses Unfold, an app that formats photos and text into pre-designed templates that resemble the look of magazine spreads. “Unfold is helpful in creating beautifully designed IG Stories,” she said.
Cost: Free for unlimited designs. Additional fonts, templates, and features with pro subscription starting at $9.95 per month.
Matthew Cummings is the owner and glass blower behind Pretentious Glass Co. and Pretentious Beer Co., a taproom and beer brewery in Knoxville, Tennessee. One of the challenges of bootstrapping and running his own business has been designing materials as he needed them. “Over the course of seven years, there are a lot of things that don’t quite meld together,” he said.
His team uses Canva for all their text-based posts or for in-store printouts. With a monthly subscription, business owners get access to more fonts, templates, and customization tools — like a brand kit.
Canva is a free design program that has blank and pre-designed templates for social media posts, as well as flyers, menus, posters, logos, and pretty much any document you can print or share. You can login to Canva on your desktop or the mobile app to customize an unlimited number of designs with graphics, photos, and branding.
Cummings said he plans to roll out his own brand kit with Canva to create a more unified style across all of his marketing materials. This will give his team a style guide, custom branding, and a color wheel that syncs with the guide.