28 Instagram Tools to Grow Your Following: The Official List (2019)
It’s the age-old question: how do I get more followers on Instagram?
Previously, I’ve shared the tricks of the trade.
Today, I’m going to share the tools.
I’ve complied a complete list of the must-have Instagram tools of 2019.
It’s broken down into the following sections:
Let’s jump right in.
If you are going to grow your Instagram followers, you need a distinctive style.
One that people recognise instantly as you among a sea of other images.
To do that, you need an editing app.
Here are my pick of the best.
VSCO is one of the best free camera apps out there.
An easy-to-user interface and gorgeous presets (10 of which you get for free), make VSCO a hugely popular editing platform for Instagrammers.
This in-depth VSCO tutorial does a fantastic job of explaining how to use VSCO, detailing every step from opening up the app to previewing the final, edited image.
Cost: For only $20 a year, VSCO really is a bargain. Want to try before you buy? Sign up to a 7-day trial to have a look around and see if it could work for you.
If you want clean, bright and sharp images, try Google’s Snapseed.
One of the features worth mentioning is the brush tool.
This tool allows you to precisely adjust specific areas of your photographs.
Increase the brightness, up the warmth, reduce the saturation – all with the swipe of your finger.
For example, do you want to make the colour of your trainers or lipstick pop?
Do you want to sharpen an object in the background of your image?
Snapseed offers professional level editing with a super simple interface.
Cost: Free. Available on both iOS and Android.
For images that look as though they’ve spent hours in post-production, check out all-in-one photo editing app Afterlight.
What makes this app special is the extensive library of filters, overlays and textures.
In particular, the dust and light leaks. With these, you can add a film-like effect to images or a rainbow prism to add a touch of a colour.
Cost: One time cost of $2.99.
4. Photoshop Express
Anyone can use the PS Express app and start creating eye-catching images and collages straight away.
The interface is clean and the icons clear. You don’t need to be an Adobe pro to use this editing app (which is great news for novices like me!).
The only downside to this app is the lack of creative control compared to other apps.
Check out this review for a closer look at the pros and cons of the Photoshop Express app.
Cost: Free, although you need an Adobe account to use it. Available on both iOS and Android.
Widely known as the “Photoshop alternative” Pixlr is a great option for low- to moderate-level editing.
There are a number of options to add lighting effects, filters, and other alterations.
So if basic, intuitive editing is what you’re looking for, then give Pixlr a go.
Cost: Free, with additional filters and overlays available to purchase in-app. Available on Android and iOS.
If you love cool effects and typography, you’ll love Over app.
In Over’s words: We believe that no matter who or where you are, you should be able to pick up your phone, open our app and design whatever you need.
Over offers a ton of royalty-free photos, fonts, graphics and templates to build a standout brand you can be proud of.
And no longer do you have to worry about being a dab hand at complex design software.
Cost: Free. However, there are a variety of subscriptions available to unlock more features. For example, Over Pro is $9.99 per month, which gives you access to 100,000+ ready made graphics, fonts and images.
“It’s like a graphic designer in your pocket”.
That’s what Wordswag promises. And with a wide range of custom text layouts, quotes and backgrounds available for you to choose from, it’s easy to see why.
Take any tip, quote or text and play around with the fonts at your disposal.
The app is easy to use and allows you to create unique stories, buttons and social media graphics in no time at all.
Cost: One time cost of $5, available on iOS and Android.
Related post: 8 Reasons Why You Should Use Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories are fun.
Instagram Stories are also a fantastic way to build better connections with your audience.
And you don’t need to be a world-class videographer or editor to create something stunning.
Read on to find out why.
Those Instagram Stories you’ve been drooling over?
Unfold is probably to blame.
This free app provides a series of templates that users can add photos (from their gallery or from a selection of stock imagery) and text to before uploading to their Story.
It’s aesthetic is simple, clean and modern.
This isn’t surprising, as one of the founders drew his inspiration for Unfold from his favourite editorials and independent magazines.
Cost: Free, with a selection of in-app purchases priced at $1.99 and $0.99. Available on Android and iOS.
Canva is a graphic design tool for people (like me) who can’t use Photoshop.
And for Instagram Stories, it’s a Godsend.
Now, you can easily create cohesive, on-brand Stories, choosing from a huge range of backgrounds, hundreds of different fonts and a ton of graphics.
If you’re a Stories newbie, it can feel intimidating to know where to start.
How do you make a Story that showcases your business effectively?
This Canva Instagram Stories step-by-step guide removes those concerns, and also includes a section on creating your very own, personalised Stories Highlights Covers.
Cost: Free, with a selection of in-app purchases priced from $0.99 to $21.99. Available on Android and iOS.
The Magisto app allows you to make amazing videos in three simple steps.
1. Choose an editing style
2. Upload your own videos and photos
3. Add a soundtrack from the library
You can instantly share these high quality videos across social media.
And, if you’re running low on your own content, Magisto comes with premium stock footage from iStock for you to use.
Cost: Free. Premium subscription is $4.99 per month. Available on Android and iOS.
11. Adobe Spark
The wonderful thing about Adobe Spark is the creativity it enables. Especially when it comes to Instagram Stories.
Use the “This or That” template to create a fun game between you and your followers.
Or, turn a static image into a more dynamic piece of content with Spark Post’s one-tap animation.
There’s a lot of cool things you can do with Adobe Spark Post – too many to mention here.
Cost: Free. Or, pay a $10 monthly fee. This article explains why you shouldn’t do that, and instead pay for the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan. Available on Android and iOS.
12. Hype Type
Animated captions over your Instagram Stories? Enter...Hype Type.
The fun of Hype Type is not only in the flashy text itself. It’s the way it livens up even a mundane photograph, video or Boomerang.
Case in point: This New York mag feature about the writer’s sludgy commute across lower Manhattan, which resulted in a bunch of DMs asking her how she added the text.
Cost: Free. To remove watermark from images/videos: $1.99. Unlock all features: $19.99. Available on Android and iOS.
Easil’s single image and multi-page templates allow you to create uniquely branded and engaging Instagram Stories.
Here are a few of the templates Easil offers:
“Top Tip” Templates to share industry tips
“Behind the Scenes” Templates
“Fan Photos” Templates
“Instagram Live” Announcements
“Instagram Story Takeover” Templates
“Breaking News” or Event Announcement Templates
“New Product or Service” Templates
The great thing about these is they’re “drag and drop”.
You can just add your photo in, change the text, colours and fonts and boom. You’ve got yourself a Story ready to go.
For now, Easil is only available on desktop.
However, you can easily save your Stories on your computer, add to Dropbox and upload them onto Instagram.
Cost: Free for basic editing and selection of templates. The Plus subscription is $7.50 per month. Desktop only for now.
The next video editing app on the list is InShot.
InShot has a whole host of features you can use for Instagram Stories. You can play around with the background, make collages, add text/stickers/GIFs, and speed up or slow down clips for a cinematic effect.
And, you can easily convert your videos into the right proportions for Instagram Stories.
Say goodbye to stretched or pixelated videos!
Cost: Free. To remove the watermark is $2.99. Available on iOS and Android, though transitions aren’t yet possible on Android.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.
Hashtags are your friend.
Repeat after me.
Now, discover how you can find the right ones to grow your Instagram following in 2019.
Finding hashtags can be laborious. It can be a long, manual process.
Not with Autohash.
Autohash uses computer vision algorithms to match your image with relevant, popular hashtags.
All you have to do is upload!
Not only that, but the app also counts your hashtags (so you don’t exceed 30), lets you save your favourites, and shares your hashtagged photo direct to Instagram.
Cost: Free. In-app purchases from $2.99. Currently only available on Android.
16. Display Purposes
Display Purposes is probably the simplest tool to use on this list.
Once you’ve opened up the desktop-only tool, plug in whatever word best represents your image.
Then, see what hashtags are suggested.
For example, I typed in “food” and was offered a range of options including #foodphotography and #feedfeed.
Each hashtag is based on popularity and relevance, but there is also weighting towards geographical location.
And if you don’t want all 30 suggestions, move the slider to streamline the number of hashtags.
Cost: Free. Desktop only.
The second desktop-only hashtag tool to make the list is Hashtagify.
Use this research tool to gather real-time insights about any hashtag on Instagram, from its popularity ranking to related hashtags.
Or, use it to keep an eye on your competitors’ posts.
Cost: 3 subscription models, starting from $19 per month. Desktop only.
Contests can be a brilliant way to grow your Instagram followers, but how do you go about setting one up?
Let a tool do the hard work for you.
Have you got a Facebook page for your business?
If so, you can use Woobox to connect it to your Instagram profile and start running polls, quizzes and contests.
There’s a variety of contests you can run, from UGC competitions to hashtag contests.
And Woobox makes the setting up and managing of contests super simple.
Cost: Run small competitions for free (100 participants or less). For 1000+ participants, subscription starts from $37.
Quit trying to imagine what your Instagram profile will look like in three, four, five images time.
Plan ahead and keep your overall brand aesthetic consistent and engaging.
These handy scheduling tools will help you…
Extremely straightforward and simple to use, scheduling tool Plann lets you plan and curate your Instagram grid with zero stress.
For a few dollars a month, Plann shows your top posts, best times to share, follower growth, and best-performing hashtags.
You can also save sets of hashtags and plan, save, and schedule stories.
Finally, Plann’s “Sneaky Peek” feature allows you to take a look not just at your own analytics, but at the analytics of your competitors as well.
Cost: $4 a month (for 1 Instagram account and all the features). Available on Android and iOS.
20. Sked Social
The next Instagram scheduler on the list is Sked Social.
Using its drag and drop functionality, Sked allows you to plot out posts in advance.
It also has an in-browser editor to get your posts looking their best before you schedule.
This is a pricier scheduling tool, so for those on a budget, I’d check out some of the other options first.
Cost: Plans vary depending on number of accounts and followers, but base plans start at $20 per month. Available on Android and iOS.
One of the benefits of Planoly is its easy-to-user interface.
With a side-by-side view, you can identify gaps in your content while also previewing your Instagram grid.
The only downside is you need to upgrade for unlimited uploads to Planoly.
On the free plan, you can only upload up to 30 images. This limits the amount of experimentation you can do but that’s still pretty great for paying absolutely nada.
Cost: Free for 30 image uploads (on Planoly, not Instagram)/month. Available on Android and iOS.
Popular scheduling app Later promises that you can plan a week of Instagram posts in 20 minutes.
And it has detailed analytics and a media library so you can label your photos and videos and stay organised.
There’s also the Later blog, lots of downloadable guides to browse, and a selection of workshops to take part in.
All are free, and full of helpful information and actionable tips about how to grow your Instagram following.
Cost: Later has a free plan for individuals. For businesses, prices start at $19 a month (or $16 a month when billed annually). Available on Android and iOS.
Preview comes with drag and drop scheduling, photo editor, hashtag finder, and stock imagery.
The basic, free plan gives you access to two fantastic filter packs. And, you can edit within the app.
You can also save your captions and hashtag selections within Preview.
So, there’s no more need to copy and paste to and from your Notes app.
Cost: Free. For better analytics, hashtag analytics, and more filters it’s $7.99 per month. Available on Android and iOS.
Related post: 10 Ways to Gain Instagram Followers in 2019
If you’re not keeping track of your progress, how will you ever be able to grow your Instagram followers?
An analytics tool is essential to help you:
Plan your feed
Discover the best time to post
Learn useful insights about your audience
And, monitor your metrics.
But which ones should you consider in 2019?
After using it for my first job in social, I still believe Iconosquare is one of the best analytics tools out there.
It’s intuitive to use and comes with a bunch of cool features, including:
Best time to post
A post’s “lifespan”
Most engaging posts
Instagram Stories analytics
It is one of the most comprehensive analytics tools on the market. You can see from the image above how user-friendly the dashboard is (and this is just a snapshot of what’s on offer).
However, that does mean it comes at a higher cost.
If you’re just starting out on Instagram, or sticking to a budget, this would be a good option further down the line.
In the meantime, take a look at some of Iconosquare’s impressive case studies.
Cost: Basic plan starts at $29 per month. Have a go at the free 14-day trial.
25. Sprout Social
If you’re running multiple social media channels, from Pinterest to Facebook to Twitter to Instagram, it makes sense to consider a tool such as Sprout Social.
I say this partly because of its capabilities, and partly because of the cost.
It is a complete social media management solution for solopreneurs and businesses alike.
Its comprehensive dashboard breaks down your top-performing content and audience growth.
And you can see how your Instagram profile stacks up against the competition.
But one of its key features is the detailed Stories analytics available beyond Instagram’s typical 2-week limit.
This means you can start measuring the long-term success of your Stories.
Cost: Standard plan is $99 per month. Sprout offers a 30-day free trial so you can try before you buy.
For free analytics, choose Squarelovin.
This tool comes with the basics you need to start tracking your Instagram progress.
This includes best time to post, your most engaging filters, and top hashtags.
It’s definitely a much more rudimentary analytics tool compared to the others listed here. But as it won’t cost you a penny, it’s hard to argue with.
Picture.io is a free Instagram analytics app created by UGC marketing platform, Chute.
The USP of this tool is it creates your Instagram influence score – and lets you see your competitors’ scores, too.
It is calculated by an algorithm that takes into account metrics such as network size, engagement, and community trends.
If you need some informal feedback on your progress, Picture.io is a great option.
Last on the list (but definitely not least) is Keyhole.
This tool is great if you want to track a hashtag tied to a particular campaign.
And it provides real-time feedback on specific hashtags, keywords, and accounts, so you can start to see trends emerging.
One of the cool things about Keyhole, is it allows you to create a feed that tracks your competitors’ Instagram accounts to see what’s working for them.
The big caveat, however, is that this tool is the priciest on this list.
Unless you’re managing multiple campaigns/accounts and/or your account is at a stage where it requires solid tracking and analytics, have a look at other options.
Cost: $179 per month. Try the free preview – you can analyse some data for your own Instagram account backdating one year.
28 Instagram Tools to Grow Your Following: The Complete List (2019): Conclusion
As you can see, there’s lots of different Instagram tools to help you grow your followers in 2019.
From design apps to data and analytics tools, this list includes a selection of some of the best.
Do you see any missing? I’d love to know if you have a favourite Instagram tool that should be included above.