Instagram has gone from a chronological feed to an algorithmic one. For startups and small businesses, this means having to work doubly hard to engage followers while trying to successfully leverage the app’s capricious “intelligence”.
You could use a DSLR and some heavy-duty PC software to churn out catchy Instagram images, but sometimes you have to make do with just your smartphone and a less-than-professional camera crew. Here’s a look at some apps that can help spice up the content that your startup can use to lock in a strong presence on Instagram.
Not all phone cameras are created equal, but there are apps out there that level the playing field to an extent. These are especially useful if you need to quickly capture up-to-date pictures of your product or service for Instagram followers.
Camera+ ($2.99 for iPhone; 4.99 for iPad) is an iOS app famed for its Clarity filter, which can deftly fix common problems like a camera shake or poor lighting without having you go through a bunch of confusing controls. Android Camera Zoom FX ($ 2.99) offers comparable features on Android, and is especially useful for its stable shooting and variety of post-processing features.
Adobe Photoshop Express (free) is perfect for when you need to quickly edit pictures on a smartphone. The app allows you to create your own presets, which is a handy feature that not a lot of other editing apps offer.
Creating fun content for promotional campaigns means making sure you get the images just right, but also manage to get important information across at the same time.
An easy way to get details across is with typography and overlays. Quick (free) – available on both iOS and Android – makes it simple to overlay text on images, which you could use to add a hashtag or a website URL to any image. Typic ($2.99) offers typographical image manipulation features that are more artistic, in case you’re feeling adventurous with your editing choices. SnapPen ($0.99) keeps it simple with an app that simulates a pen – great if you have some artistic talent want to take a more “raw” approach by just doodling over your images.
Sometimes the thousand words that a picture conveys isn’t enough, and you need to step up to video.
iOS app 8mm Vintage Camera ($1.99) was used to shoot Oscar nominated documentary Searching For Sugar Man; it has since become a popular choice for anyone looking to record stellar video on smartphones. If you already have a bunch of videos or photos that you’d like to combine into a video collage, VidStitch (free) gets the job done on Android and iOS. Vintagio ($3.99) is a powerful editing app that can be used to add filters and soundtracks to videos.
Your Instagram marketing strategy isn’t quite complete without a strong GIF game.
GIF repository and hosting service Giphy offers a mobile app (free) not only to give access to its vast library of gifs, but also the Giphy Cam feature, using which you can record GIFs. Well-known image editing app VSCO’s GIF-creation app DSCO (free) takes advantage of its parent’s imaging technology to help create quality GIFs that can be recorded over a maximum of 2.5 seconds. So while Giphy is more for goofy GIF loops, DSCO lets you create GIFs that have a more refined feel to them.
At times, you may need to post pictures of the team or specific team members – you know, to make things personal! There’s a suite of apps specifically geared towards such occasions.
For the more vain of heart, FaceTune ($3.99), which can be accessed on iOS and Android, offers an easy way to “touch up” portraits. The app lets you easily correct details such as skin tone, facial structure, hair and even teeth color. If you prefer an app that makes some of those edits automatically, Pixtr (free) would be the way to go.
Once past the editing stage, you may need to combine pictures of the team members into a single image. PicStitch (free) is a great app to put collages together on iOS. PicFrame (US$ 0.99) gets the same job done for those on Blackberry and Android.