For brands looking to showcase products, drive a strong visual presence or drive brand awareness, Instagram is a go-to tool. With an estimated 71 percent of businesses using Instagram, there’s no reason not to advertise your brand on the popular photo app. It’s become a popular platform in lifestyle, nature and travel, not to mention, it's widely used by millions.

Whether you’re looking to up your follower count, boost engagement or increase conversions, we’ve compiled a quick list of the best Instagram tools for marketers in 2018.

Canva

This free desktop tool allows users to create professional-grade images with a myriad of features. You can add filters, backgrounds, text overlays, infographics and so much more. Canva understands that not every marketer is a designer, so there are countless templates to choose from that are already pre-sized to meet social media size requirements.

Advice to marketers: In order to make Canva work for your business, make sure you're using consistent fonts, colors and icons to distinguish your brand. Import your own brand assets and change layouts to make them unique to your business. Canva is an incredibly creative tool but you don't want to get lost in the endless visuals and graphics Canva offers.

VSCO

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Image credit: App Store

With ads, VSCO is a free mobile tool that takes your Instagram filters to another level. While Instagram includes its own filters and editing capabilities, this tool offers unique filters that help brands set the mood of their Instagram photos. Additionally, you can adjust lighting, saturation, sharpness and more to define your images.

For additional pro features, users can sign up for VSCO X for $19.99 a year.

Advice to marketers: There is much more to VSCO than filters. Explore all the endless photo editing options the app has to offer. You can create compelling, professional visual content beyond traditional Instagram features.

Easil

Instagram Stories are a quick and easy way to promote content, but showcasing that content in a captivating manner can be tricky with the endless filters, text features and icons at your disposal. Luckily, Easil lets users create eye-catching, professional Instagram Stories from pre-created templates.

Easil offers a free basic plan for users, and pricing goes up monthly from there.

Advice to marketers: Easil is comparable to Canva, but for Stories. Keep your designs central to your brand.

Over

Over is another quality photo-editing mobile app for users to create professional designs for releases, giveaways or product collection advertisements. There are more than 15 unique fonts and the possibilities are endless to create the perfect design. The best part about Over—it’s free!

Advice to marketers: Again, like Easil and Canva, don't get lost in the endless sea of templates and fonts. Use branding that makes sense to your company and stay consistent.

Adobe Photoshop Express

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Image credit: What Photography Gear

Adobe Photoshop Express is useful for non-designers who need that professional facelift for their Instagram photos but may not have the time or resources. The app allows users to apply filters and text, adjust perspective and orientation, make photo corrections, add borders and much more. Additionally, there is an Auto-Fix feature for one-touch corrections.

Advice to marketers: Photoshop Express is ideal for beginners and making quick edits to photos. Use Photoshop Express if you're looking for a professional look but with a user experience for new comers to Photoshop.

Shoppable Instagram Posts (Shopify)

Instagram, as with many social platforms, is a place of product discovery. Retailers using Instagram will find that Shopify’s tool for selling on Instagram is highly profitable. Shopify helps retailers grow their sales on Instagram by implementing social commerce experiences. Users who use both Shopify and Instagram can tag products directly in their posts to promote sales from discovery to purchase.

Advice to marketers: Engage your shoppers with content that shows products in use. Instagram is a visual channel and a place where users come for inspiration. Channel that into your posts to capture users' interest to increase sales.

Tailwind

Many networking sites offer in-app scheduling features, but Instagram has yet to roll out its own native scheduling. Tailwind offers a generous free trial for scheduling Instagram posts and it also recommends the best posting times. Additionally, Tailwind offers social listening features to help understand key trending topics in your industry.

Advice to marketers: Because marketers are busy people, scheduling out your Instagram posts is extremely helpful, but you never want to "set it and forget it." Always monitor your calendar and make sure that pre-scheduled content is still relevant when dates approach.

Instagram Analytics

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Image credit: Lifewire

Native insights on Instagram are just as robust as many third-party analytics tools. The analytics offered through Instagram allow you to breakdown demographics, behavior and view engagement metrics. You can view insights for individual posts or for your entire account. You can also evaluate data from your Instagram Stories.

Advice to marketers: Instagram Analytics is a powerful native tool that helps you better understand your audience and how they interact with your content. To get the most out of these insights, select your KPIs to measure success on Instagram and use the data to create a solid content strategy.

AutoHash

Coming up with relevant hashtags can be tricky, but this free tool allows you to find the best hashtags for your Instagram content. AutoHash uses smart computer algorithms to get you the best Instagram hashtags by recognizing the objects in your photo. It also lists the most popular hashtags by category. Using relevant hashtags improve engagement and follower metrics.

Advice to marketers: AutoHash should be used if you're strapped for hashtag ideas. The app uses image recognition to determine best hashtags for your Instagram post, but not all suggestions should be considered. You should stick to only a few relevant hashtags that will resonate with your audience.

Linktree

Because Instagram only allows one link in your bio and doesn’t hyperlink URLs in posts, getting people to a landing page is challenging. That's where Linktree comes in. It’s a free tool that provides you with a single link where you can customize a set of links to direct users to multiple locations. This might include a blog, product page or a social profile. This saves you time from changing your bio link every time you want to direct users to a new landing page.

Advice to marketers: Don't get too link-heavy. Display only the important links that will navigate users to convert or learn more about your brand.

Kyna Garrett

Kyna Garrett

Kyna is a Content Specialist at Strike Social. She holds a BA in journalism from Michigan State University and covers everything from media marketing to the latest trends in tech.