The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Tools for Social Media Managers

August 15, 2018
Kyra Goodman

You’re eager to take your brand’s Instagram account to the next level. But, by now you’ve noticed that the functionality within the Instagram app itself can be somewhat limited. Sure, you can snap a photo, apply a filter, and write a caption,

You’re eager to take your brand’s Instagram account to the next level. But, by now you’ve noticed that the functionality within the Instagram app itself can be somewhat limited. Sure, you can snap a photo, apply a filter, and write a caption, but you want to do more. You want more polished looking photos, more strategic hashtags, and better insights into what content is resonating with your audience. Here’s the good news: You can get all of that. While it might not be directly within Instagram, there are plenty of Instagram tools and add-ons you can use to step up your brand’s Instagram game, get creative, and make the most of those marketing efforts. We’ve pulled together this list of 29 helpful tools and resources in a variety of categories that will make managing your brand’s Instagram account a breeze.

Photo Editing Tools

The filters within Instagram are cool, but you’re looking for more tools that will help you create professionally-edited graphics—without the hassle. Look no further than these photo editing tools.

1. Snapseed

Cost: FreeAvailable as an app for both iPhone and Android devices, Snapseed has been touted as one of the best photo editing apps available. However, due to its advanced features (think things like selective edit brushes, curves, and white balance), many claim it’s a better fit for more serious photographers.

instagram tools

Image Source: Snapseed

2. Over

Cost: FreeOver makes creating gorgeous images totally painless. With plenty of templates, tons of stock photos to choose from, and a huge array of different graphics, you can easily create awesome, branded images.


Cost: FreeVSCO is a big name in the world of photo editing apps—and for good reason. In addition to there being plenty of presets to make your photos pop, VSCO also offers a community of creators that will always leave you feeling inspired.

instagram tools

Image Source: VSCO

4. Lightroom

Cost: Starts at $9.99 per monthIf you’re looking for highly professional photo editing, then you’re sure to love Lightroom—an Adobe photo editing tool that boasts plenty of options for polishing your images. With tons of sliders, presets, and other tools, Lightroom packs in a lot of features. But, that also makes it a better choice for users with some photo editing experience.

5. A Color Story

Cost: FreeIf it’s a wide variety of filters that you’re looking for, A Color Story won’t disappoint. Whether you’re searching for a quick way to make your images more bold and colorful or more light and airy, A Color Story is sure to have a collection of filters that meets your needs. You’ll also find plenty of other fun effects and useful editing tools.

6. Afterlight 2

Cost: $2.99There’s no shortage of tools and features in Afterlight 2. One worth noting? The option to create your own filters—which is great for maintaining a cohesive aesthetic on your Instagram grid. Afterlight 2 is constantly adding new features and functionality, which you’ll get access to whenever you update your app.

7. Sked Social

Cost: Plans start at $25USD per monthWhile you might think that Sked Social is only for scheduling your Instagram posts, there’s also a photo editing tool that—while incredibly powerful—is straightforward to use. With Sked Social’s in-browser image editor, you can edit and crop your images, add filters from one of the different categories, or play with the brush tool to add different effects. You can also add text, stickers, and frames to make your images stand out, and adjust the focus of your image.

Creative Instagram Story Ideas - Sked Social

Stock Image Resources

Taking your own photos can be challenging—particularly when you don’t fancy yourself a skilled photographer. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources out there where you can find amazing stock photos. Forget the stiff and fake looking stock images of the past—these sites offer photos that are unique and awesome.

8. Unsplash

Cost: FreeChances are good that you’re going to be able to find the image you need on Unsplash. With over 550,000 photos from over 90,000 different photographers available on the site, there’s a huge variety to choose from. More photos are being added every day, so you don’t have to worry about running out of options.

instagram tools

Image Source: Unsplash

9. Pexels

Cost: FreeWhen it comes to stock photos, Pexels is another popular option. There are hundreds of thousands of photos available (and more being added every single day!) that are completely free to use.


Cost: FreeStockSnap is another resource that offers hundreds of thousands of free stock photos. StockSnap curates only the best images from a huge pool of submissions so that you’re presented with only high-quality results in response to your searches. StockSnap’s tag-based category system also makes it painless to find exactly the type of image you’re looking for.

instagram tools

Image Source:

11. Gratisography

Cost: FreeIf you’re in search of stock photos that aren’t quite predictable, you’ll find what you need through Gratisography—a stock photo platform that claims to boast the “world’s quirkiest collection of free high-resolution pictures.”

instagram tools

Image Source: Gratisography

Video Editing Tools

Video content on Instagram is highly engaging. But, it’s easy to think that creating compelling videos will involve a lot of hassle and headache. That doesn’t have to be the case. These various tools empower you to create awesome videos in a way that’s simple, straightforward, and even fun.

12. Quik by GoPro

Cost: FreeIt’s all in the name—this video editing app makes the process, well, quick. You can easily add text, transitions, effects, and music (and even auto-sync your chosen tunes!), manually trim shots, choose different fonts and filters, and do all sorts of other things that will help you create compelling video content that looks like it took you hours to put together.

instagram tools

Image Source: Quik by GoPro

13. InShot

Cost: FreeInShot enables you to easily edit your videos, including adjusting their speed and boosting their volume. There are plenty of other fun effects you can play with—like voice-overs, text, emojis, and music—that will take your video content to the next level.

14. Videorama

Cost: FreeAvailable for iPhones and iPads, Videorama is just what you need to create stunning movies without investing hours of work. With a powerful clip editor, the option to overlay and animate text, and plenty of music and effects (including Hollywood-style sound effects), you’ll find everything you need in this easy-to-use tool.

15. Final Cut Pro X

Cost: $299.99For those who are looking for more professional video post-production options (and are willing to foot the bill in order to do so), Apple’s Final Cut Pro X is a great choice. Used on your desktop—and not from the convenience of a mobile app, like many of the other options—you’ll find plenty of increased functionality to give your videos a boost. There’s 360-degree video editing, advanced color grading, the ability to add closed captions, and so much more.

16. Lapse It

Cost: $2.99Time lapse videos are fun and engaging to watch, right? But, they seem like they could be difficult to create. Not anymore. Lapse It makes it easy to capture time lapse videos on both Apple and Android devices. You just capture images in the highest resolution your phone’s camera allows and then Lapse It takes care of the rest.

instagram tools

Image Source: Lapse.It

17. Horizon

Cost: FreeDid you take a video vertically and now decide it would be displayed far better horizontally? You aren’t stuck—you can use Horizon to easily convert that vertical video to a horizontal video. There are also filters and other features (like slow motion support) to help you create attention-grabbing videos for your feed.

Feed Planning Tools

You want your overall Instagram grid to be aesthetically pleasing. But, maintaining a cohesive look can be tough—particularly when you can’t get an instant grasp on what your current feed is looking like.

18. Sked Social

Cost: Plans start at $20 per monthSked Social is here to help. With Sked Social's Visual Instagram Planner, you can easily drag, drop, plot, and rearrange your photos in a grid format to see what they’ll end up looking like together on your account.

instagram tools

Read our direct comparison of Later vs. Sked Social vs. Planoly to see how they measure up feature-for-feature.

Hashtag Tools

You know that Instagram hashtags are important for getting more eyeballs on the posts you work so hard on. But, it can be tough to know what ones you should be using with your photos. These tools make it easy to refine your hashtag strategy and increase your reach.

19. AutoHash

Cost: FreeIf you’re tired of searching for and then manually adding the best hashtags for your photo, AutoHash will invest all of that elbow grease for you. Add your photo and AutoHash’s system will recognize what’s in that image and then suggest relevant hashtags. You can then press a button to copy all of the hashtags to your clipboard and paste them within your Instagram caption or in your first comment.

20. Focalmark

Cost: FreeSimilarly to AutoHash, Focalmark uses an algorithm to suggest hashtags that will help your content reach and then resonate with the right audience. The algorithm filters through thousands of hashtags to suggest ones that fit your image category. Those hashtags are then ranked in order of their reach and their authenticity.

21. Hashtag Manager

Cost: FreeFrequently using the same hashtags on your posts? Hashtag Manager allows you to save and create lists of your favorite hashtags—making it easy to keep them organized and then copy and paste them into Instagram.Here’s another quick tip: You can use Sked Social’s Hashtag Manager to create and save hashtag and username mentions and then add them to your Instagram posts—without having to re-type them each and every time. You can also create groups of hashtags to keep your hashtag library organized and easy to use.

instagram tools

Instagram Story Tools

Stories might be slightly newer to the Instagram scene, but there are still plenty of tools and apps that you can use to create highly-engaging Instagram Stories that connect with your audience.

22. Unfold

Cost: FreeWith tons of templates, font styles, and the option to export your creations directly to Instagram, Unfold makes it painless to create and share beautiful, attention-grabbing, and high-resolution Instagram stories.

23. Canva

Cost: FreeChances are, you’re at least somewhat familiar with Canva for creating all sorts of different graphics. But, did you know that the platform is great for crafting awesome Instagram story graphics? Use the custom dimensions to set a blank canvas at 1080 pixels wide and 1920 pixels high, and then start creating using Canva’s huge assortment of templates, fonts, graphics, and other elements!

instagram tools

Image Source:

24. Storeo

Cost: Free

One frustrating thing about Instagram stories is that you can only show 15-second video clips. Rather than getting cut off and trying to record within those strict time limits, you can record a continuous video and then use Storeo to splice it into 15-second segments. Just upload your video into the app, choose export, and then upload each slice to Instagram.

Scheduling Tools

You know that you need to maintain a consistent posting schedule on Instagram in order to increase your engagement. But, the best-laid plans often fall apart and it’s easy to get thrown off from the calendar you set for yourself. That’s the beauty of scheduling your posts—you’ll remain consistent, without having to worry about posting each and every day.

25. Sked Social

Cost: Plans start at $30 per month.

When it comes to scheduling tools, you knew Sked Social would be the one we’d list, right? Sked Social has everything you need to stay on track and easily schedule your Instagram content.Needless to say, Sked Social takes all of the pain and hassle out of staying consistent on Instagram.

Story Link - Sked Social

Analytics Tools

You don’t just want to post content for the sake of posting. You want insight into how your content is performing and resonating with your audience so that you can be more strategic about what you post next. There are a couple of analytics tools that will empower you with the information you need.

26. Instagram Analytics

Cost: FreeIf you have a business profile with Instagram, you’ll have analytics available directly through the Instagram app. These analytics aren’t super advanced, but they’ll give you a quick glimpse at some important insights like your total impressions for the week, your top seven recent posts, demographic information about your followers, and the times when your followers are most active.

27. Sked Social Analytics

Cost: Plans start at $30 per month

Sked Social can provide insights into how your posts are performing and keep you on track. You can gain quick insights into your follower growth, posts' performance, and average engagement.You can also select date ranges and export data to CSV for further analysis or PDF for reporting to others, with competitor reports a new feature that's coming soon!

Website Integration Tools

You put a lot of work into your Instagram posts, so it makes sense that you’ll want to highlight and share them as many places as possible. Your website is a great place to do that, and there are a few tools that make it easy to showcase your Instagram photos in real time directly on your company website.

28. Juicer

Cost: FreeJuicer makes it easy to pull posts from your social media feeds into your website. It doesn’t just have to be Instagram either—you can aggregate posts from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more to be displayed on your website.

29. SnapWidget

Cost: FreeSnapWidget is a customizable widget for your website that automatically displays photo and video posts from your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. You have a choice of a few different options—like grid widgets, scrolling widgets, and slideshows—to display your posts in a way that fits best with your existing site.

instagram tools

Image Source: SnapWidget

Do More With Instagram

Think you’re limited to only the functionality offered within the Instagram app? Think again.There’s definitely no shortage of other tools and resources that you can use to do more with Instagram and level up your game.Test out a few (or a bunch!) of the ones we’ve included in this list, and prepare to create an Instagram presence that engages your existing followers and impresses a whole new audience.Ready to roll up your sleeves and get started? Dive into everything you need to know to get creative on Instagram—and make the most of Instagram Stories!If you're looking to carve out hours in your social media workflow, sign up for Sked’s 7-day trial. Our all-in-one Instagram scheduler allows you to automatically post images, carousels, Stories, videos and more. Tag locations, users and products and manage all your hashtags in one place to save 5+ hours every week.

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