9 Must-Use Apps to Spice Up Your Instagram

With more than 1 billion monthly active users, Instagram is a powerful social media platform.

One-third of U.S. adults use Instagram (second only to Facebook), according to Pew Research. It’s the most popular social media platform for teens (72% say they use Instagram, while only 51% use Facebook).

Instagram, though, is more than a visually oriented social network; it presents great content opportunities for brands. Over 200 million Instagram users visit a business profile at least once a day. One-third of the most-viewed Instagram Stories are told by businesses.

One-third of the most-viewed Instagram Stories are told by businesses, says @Instagram via @cmicontent.CLICK TO TWEETUnlike other social media platforms, though, Instagram is focused on mobile. To develop an active and successful Instagram account requires familiarity with third-party tools to help you edit images and video and manage content. That’s why I created this list of nine of my favorite Instagram tools.

First, let’s talk about photo editing tools.

1. Adobe Lightroom

Adobe Lightroom is available for both mobile and desktop devices, but I’m focusing on the mobile version. Compared to other mobile photo editing apps, this one has a steeper learning curve.

It’s an Adobe app, and in case you’re not familiar with Adobe, it’s known for professional visual editing tools like Photoshop, Premiere Pro, Illustrator, After Effects, and more.

The auto adjustment in this app is designed to bring out the best of the photo with minimum side effects such as grainy and oversaturated pictures. The trick is to use the auto-tuning first, then adjust the details.

How to use it

  • Import your photos to Lightroom’s library.

  • Then, auto-tune your image with the “auto” button.

  • Adjust the rest of the image (e.g., brightness, color balance, sharpness).
  • Throw in one of the pre-loaded profiles if necessary.


Similar to Adobe Lightroom, VSCO helps users of all skill levels achieve a professional-like result. It provides a wide selection of filters and editing tools to help you create an aesthetic for your photos.

Image editing is a creative process, but these are the best practices that have been used widely by professional editors and amateurs alike:

  • Adjust the perspective of your photo with crop, skew, straighten, and perspective tools.

Use a tool like #VSCO to create a “new” image for #Instagram with a crop or skew, says @breadnbeyond via @cmicontent.CLICK TO TWEET

  • Tune your image to achieve your aesthetic (e.g., brightness, hue, color balance).
  • Use the skin tone slider to adjust portrait images.

  • Choose a filter that complements your image and adjust the intensity.

  • Layer the filter if necessary.

VSCO is available on iOS and Android – and what’s even better is that it has an image sharing board that allows you to trade tips with other VSCO users before posting your final edit to Instagram.

3. Snapseed

Google app Snapseed has gained popularity, especially among Android users. It is one of the most user-friendly photo editing apps available. The interface is simple, sleek, and to the point.

.@Google app #Snapseed is one of the most user-friendly photo editing apps available, says @breadnbeyond via @cmicontent. #toolsCLICK TO TWEET

But don’t mistake its simplicity for lack of features. You can do a lot within this nifty app – from basic image tuning all the way to adjusting tonal contrast and double exposure.

Now that we’ve covered three popular photo editing apps to spice up your Instagram pictures, let’s talk about video editing tools.

4. Hyperlapse

Microsoft’s Hyperlapse helps you shoot or edit video to create time-lapse visuals. This easy-to-use app uses only a few buttons on the screen.

.@Microsoft’s #Hyperlapse lets you create time-lapse visuals, says @breadnbeyond via @cmicontent. #toolsCLICK TO TWEET

You can adjust the speed to make your time lapse shorter or longer. You can shoot your Hyperlapse at normal speed (but why would you?), as well as two times, four times or up to 32 times regular speed.

Stabilize your camera as best as possible. Even though the app has an innate feature to remove as much wobble as possible, you get the best results when your video is perfectly stabilized.

5. Quik

Quik is a free video editing app from GoPro. The design lets you capture, edit, and post your videos on the fly. That’s why it only has a handful of features.

From what I’ve experienced, those features work well. It searches for footage (with your permission), curates the best moments, trims and edits your clips, and even adds transitions. And it’s all automatic.

However, you still can edit your clips manually if the automated edits do not suit your taste.

6. Adobe Premiere Clip

The free mobile counterpart, Premiere Clip, can link with Adobe’s Premiere Pro. But Clip also works well as a standalone app. (Editor’s note: Adobe Premiere Clip is no longer available for download. If you have it, you can continue to use it and Adobe will offer technical support until March 17, 2020. The company says it’s now focusing on Adobe Premiere Rush.)

Two editing modes are available:

  • Freeform – Manually edit your clips and retain the most control of what your final clip looks like.
  • Automatic – Adobe trims your clips and adds transitions to make the editing process faster.

An automatic color-correction feature makes your video look true to life. You can add music from your device or choose from the built-in music library. If you’re an Adobe fan, you’ll be happy to hear that it synchronizes perfectly with other Adobe tools like Lightroom and Photoshop.

While you can explore many more video-editing tools, you can’t go wrong picking any of the three mentioned. I also recommend checking out this great compilation of video marketing tools that contain both mobile and desktop versions.

Now, let’s talk about content- and traffic-management tools.

7. Linktree

You know how there’s only one spot for a link in your Instagram’s bio? Well, Linktree provides you with a free tool to create a single link that will show all your platforms (i.e., website, Facebook page, store page). If you’re pushing visitors to visit your blog and your store page, for example, this app is a lifesaver.

.@Linktree_ is a free #tool to create a single link that will show all your platforms, says @breadnbeyond via @cmicontent. #toolsCLICK TO TWEET

8. Repost for Instagram

Repost is a handy tool to share other users’ content (with proper attribution) with your followers.

The app enables you to bookmark photos or videos you want to repost later. It also offers a search feature like Instagram’s native search with hashtags or user name. Reposting is easy with only one button to tap.

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT: 7 Great Instagram Scheduling Tools for 2019

9. Story Saver

Story Saver’s Downloader provides a way to save other people’s posts and stories for multiple purposes. You can go beyond simply sharing the post and add your own spin, use it for new content, etc. Just remember, do everything with the owner’s permission.

This app is free and simple to use. You can search for posts and stories from other people without having to follow them, as long as their account isn’t set to private.

Go for your Instagram close-up

These tools will help you create better Instagram posts and generate high-quality organic followers. However, Instagram is a platform full of creative people and brands. Even if you have these tools on your phone, if you don’t have the creativity, you’re going to have a hard time.

To become one of the regularly visited brands on Instagram, be creative and use these tools to deliver Instagram-worthy content. Don’t forget to ensure that your Instagram posts and stories marry well with your overall content marketing and social media strategy. That way you can maximize creativity and messaging across all channels.

And once you have a great Instagram idea, try a few of these apps to see which ones best suit your needs.