More than 700 million people use Instagram and 400 million of those users check the app daily.
With such a large audience, and some incredibly business friendly updates such as Instagram Ads, Stories, and Business Tools, Instagram is becoming a must-have channel in many social media marketing strategies.
So how can you stand out from the crowd and grow your Instagram following?
We’ve previously shared proven tactics for growing your following and easy ways to increase your organic reach. And this time, we would love to share a big list of free Instagram tools that’ll help you to grow your following.
Going beyond the usual photo editing tools, we’ll also be sharing tools for finding the best hashtags to use, running Instagram contests, displaying your Instagram posts on your website, and more.
Let’s dive right in.
30+ free Instagram tools to help you grow your following
It’s wonderful to think that there are so many free tools available to help you grow your Instagram following.
Here’s a round up of over 30 free Instagram tools that can help you with your Instagram marketing, everything from creating amazing Instagram posts and stories to finding the best hashtags, to planning your Instagram schedule, to analyzing your Instagram performance.
Note: Some of the tools mentioned below have limited features on their free plan and offer more features in their paid plans.
1. Photo Editor by Aviary
Photo Editor by Aviary is one of the most comprehensive and highly recommended photo editing apps. With the app, you can enhance a photo with a single tap, add effects and stickers, draw, add text, and more.
There are over one-thousand free photo effects, stickers, and frames in the app but more are available for purchase if you’d like to expand your library.
With PicFlow, you can easily create 15-second video slideshows for Instagram in three quick steps:
- Select your photos
- Select a music
- Set the timing of each photo by tapping
If you would like to make longer videos, remove the (tiny) watermark, or unlock more transitions between photos, you can purchase them from within the app for less than $3.
Canva is one of our favorite free design tools for creating images for social media, blog posts, and more.
The team at Canva has created many amazing Instagram stories templates that you can customize. The templates come in the ideal dimensions so you can focus on the design and not worry about getting the aspect ratio and size right.
Just pick a template and change the text, images, and background to your liking.
(Canva has an iOS app for those who like to design on the go. Or you can use it to download your designs to your mobile phone directly.)
4. Adobe Spark
Adobe Spark is another free design tool that we love at Buffer.
Here’s a unique feature of Adobe Spark that I like: just by turning a dial in the editor, I can get different design recommendations for my caption.
You can learn more about how to create Instagram stories with Adobe Spark and get 10 free Instagram stories templates here.
StoriesAds is an online tool for creating Instagram Stories ads (and good-looking vertical videos).
It provides several templates you can work with so that you don’t have to create a video from scratch. The intuitive video editor also prompts you about the things you have to change to customize the video.
As it is stated on the site that it is “Free for a limited time”, you might have to pay to use the tool in the future.
6 – 9. Other content creation tools
- InstaSize (Android, iOS, and Windows)
- PicPlayPost (Android, iOS, and Windows)
- Quick (Android and iOS)
- Studio Design (Android and iOS)
If you are interested in knowing more mobile apps for creating content, you might like our roundup of 26 apps to help you create epic content on your smartphone.
Planning your Instagram posts in advance can help you save time and ensure that your profile is well-curated and consistent.
As you might know, Instagram doesn’t allow third-party tools to post directly to Instagram, unlike most other social media platforms. While Buffer can’t help you post on your behalf, we would love to help you plan and schedule posting reminders.
On the free plan, you can plan your Instagram marketing for one account. If you would like to connect multiple Instagram accounts or get the analytics, you could give Buffer for Business a go.
11. Display Purposes
Display Purposes is a great tool for finding the best hashtags to use for your Instagram posts.
Simply type in a few hashtags related to your Instagram post and Display Purposes will generate a list of hashtags that are relevant and popular. It also filters out banned and spammy hashtags.
You can then manually select the hashtags you want to use or let Display Purposes pick what it thinks might be the best combination of hashtags.
Focalmark is very similar to Display Purposes, except that the suggested hashtags are generated from a list of handpicked hashtags (and it’s a mobile app).
AutoHash uses its computer vision algorithms to recommend the best hashtags to use.
Select a photo in the app and AutoHash will analyze the objects in your photo and suggest relevant hashtags. If you have your GPS turned on, it will also suggest location-based hashtags.
AutoHash is currently available on Android only.
UNUM wants to help you design your perfect Instagram gallery.
The visual planner in the app allows you to see how your gallery would look like after you post your next few photos. You can also edit your photos and videos, draft your caption and hashtags, and schedule your posts with the app.
In its free plan, you get 18 grids to plan your posts and 500 photo and video uploads per month, which I believe are sufficient for small-to-medium businesses. If you would like to have more planning grids and a higher upload limit, UNUM offers two paid subscription plans at $2.99 and $6.99 per month.
Later is a popular marketing platform for Instagram, which allows you to visually plan and schedule your Instagram posts.
Just like Buffer, at your scheduled times, Later will send you a notification via its mobile app, prompting you to post on Instagram.
On the free plan, you can schedule up to 30 photos per month, search and repost user-generated content (UGC), and get basic analytics.
16 – 17. Other planning tools
18. Repost for Instagram
Before you repost any photos or videos, remember to get permission from the post owner and give her or him credit in your caption. This is required by Instagram’s Term of Use and is doing right by the amazing creators and businesses on Instagram.
To get permission for reposting the post, you can use any one of the following ways:
- Send the post owner a direct message
- Comment on the post
- Connect via email
Some people do ask for a fee for using their photos since it’s part of their livelihood. Be sure to iron out such details before reposting any Instagram post.
We have found that hosting giveaway contests on Instagram is a great way to drive engagement and reach on Instagram.
ShortStack has a tool for organizing user-generated content (UGC) contests, where participants enter by posting a photo with your hashtag on Instagram. ShortStack will then collect and display the UGC, which can help you increase your brand.
On the free plan, you can host an unlimited number of contests and collect up to 100 entries. ShortStack also has paid plans if you want to collect more entries and get more advanced features.
Gleam takes a slightly different approach to social media contests. It has an Instagram widget which you can add to your website and drive visitors to your Instagram account.
For example, you could require people to follow you on Instagram or view a particular Instagram post to participate in your contest.
On the free plan, you can host an unlimited number of contests, accept an unlimited number of entries, and select up to 10 winners. If you would like to get more features such as adding a feature image and customizing your widget, Gleam has two paid plans: Pro ($39 per month) and Business ($149 per month).
21. Feed Them Social
Feed Them Social is a WordPress plugin for displaying your social media feeds on your website. By having your Instagram feed on your website, you could encourage your visitors to check out and follow your Instagram account.
According to reviews of the plugin, it takes only a few clicks to set up the feed and the team provides excellent, timely support.
You can see a demo of our Instagram feed here.
22 – 24. Other WordPress plugins
25. Instagram Insights
Instagram Insights is the Instagram analytics for users with a business profile.
In there, you can see the performance of your Instagram posts and stories and get insights about your followers such as when they are active on Instagram.
If you would like to learn more about Instagram Insights, we went more in-depth into the metrics you can get and the things you could do with your Instagram analytics in our Instagram analytics guide.
If you don’t have a business profile on Instagram, you could use an Instagram analytics tool like Squarelovin.
Squarelovin has a free Instagram insights tool that provides you with your engagement and growth metrics, shows your posting history, and suggests the best times to post.
27 – 30+. Other analytics tools
For more Instagram analytics tools, check out our Instagram analytics guide where we share seven more free Instagram analytics tools.
What’s your favorite free Instagram tool?
Growing an Instagram following is challenging. But with the right tools, it can become much easier to create quality content, engage your followers, and analyze your performance — which will help you grow your following.
What’s your favorite free Instagram tool that I’ve missed in this post? It’ll be great if you want to give it a shout out below and share what you like about it!
Image credit: Unsplash and the respective tools