Short answer? Yes and… no. It depends on how you want to use Instagram. Let’s have a look at two different ways you can use Instagram.
Instagram Grid is like your portfolio with the best photos representing your brand and Instagram Stories are a great way to share random moments from your day and they disappear in 24 hours. Today let’s talk about the Instagram Grid:
When a user discovers your profile, they browse through your grid and decide if the story your profile tells about you resonates with them enough to want to follow you. It’s important that it has a theme, so it communicates your brand.
Instagram Pro’s (usually bloggers and influencers) even edit their photos in a unified way and carefully plan out the posts so they work together on the grid. Here are some examples:
However, when you look at the feeds of celebrities and personalities, you don’t see that level of effort as you do with influencers. For people famous outside of social media, it’s all about letting their fans in their lives, showing behind the scenes photos etc. Their feeds don’t look unified, but their face and status is a theme on its own. Here are some examples:
What should I choose?
Both ways of using Instagram are right and the choice depends on what you want to get out of using the app.
If you answered YES to these questions, then you should use Instagram as influencers do. Just know it’s a lot of work and you’ll need to put in a lot of hours before you begin to see any significant results. However, if you are excited about photography, enjoy expressing yourself this way or you have a particular project in mind, then you won’t mind all the work and you’ll have fun with the process.
Luckily for you, there are some really cool apps that can make it much easier for you to prepare the content for your Instagram in bulk. I’ve talked about batch creating in my e-book Social Media for Actors, but let’s recap why it’s useful to prepare content in bulk:
- Consistency: If you have enough content prepared, it allows you to always have something to post even on the busiest days. That way you won’t stop posting and keep a consistent posting schedule.
- Convenience: You don’t have to make time every single day to think of something to post. If you set aside time to prepare it in a batch, it will make your life so much easier.
Unlike with Twitter or Facebook, you can’t automate your posts. Instagram doesn’t allow 3-party sites to post on your account’s behalf. This means, that even when you use apps for planning, all you can do is prepare the posts and set a reminder. You’ll still have to do the publishing by hand.
Let’s have a look at some of the best apps out there:
I really like Planoly for its friendly user interface. My most favorite function is the grid planning drag & drop feature, where you can upload a bunch of photos, move them around and decide in which order you are going to publish them based on how they look next to each other.
You also have a calendar, where you see photos you posted on each day, likes and comments. In the analytics, you have some useful data, this will help if your Instagram account set on personal and not on business (where you have an analytics function). Another great function is the hashtag storage that allows you to simply add the hashtag cloud to a photo. Planoly has a desktop version that allows you to prepare the content on your computer.
UNUM only works as an app, it doesn’t have a desktop version. The app has very similar functions as Planoly does, including analytics, calendar etc. It’s easy to navigate and learn to work with this app if you prefer something more minimalist.
Later, formerly called Latergram, is a very simple app with a few functions that get the job done. Their desktop version is way more sophisticated than the mobile app with additional functions similar to Planoly and UNUM. A great thing about Later is that you can also use it for other apps than Instagram, it works for Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest as well.
All three of these apps are available for iOS and Android devices and have free (limited functions) as well as paid plans (more features). If you want to learn how to work with the apps, they all have YouTube channels or blogs with tutorials (Planoly, UNUM, Later).
Safety tip: All these apps I recommend because I’ve tested them out myself. I’ve checked user reviews for any red flags when it comes to safety. There are plenty of apps out there that have similar features, but you should always read user reviews and search the Internet for any warnings. Also, read the Terms of Service and think twice before allowing access to your phone or your account. Read more about Instagram safety tips in my previous article.
Wanna learn more about Instagram? Check out my e-book Social Media for Actors on SMFA-U.
Let the community know if you are using any cool apps they should know about in the comments below.