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Aspiring influencers, listen up. There’s a lot more to Instagram success than just posting pretty pictures. It takes time, strategy and tools. Using the app alone is fine for selfies and cat pictures, but it’s not going to cut it if you want to earn a living from Instagram content creation. You need to treat this like a business right from the very start, and that means setting yourself up with the best Instagram tools for success. Let’s get into it.
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Instagram is first and foremost a visual platform so your images need to be aesthetically pleasing. No, more than that, they need to be beautiful. If you want to stand out from the crowd, X-Pro II and Valencia just aren’t going to cut it. You need to upgrade from the basic in-app filters and step into the wonderful world of Adobe Lightroom.
Lightroom is one of the most popular photo editing softwares amongst Instagram influencers. The mobile app is free and you can get the more advanced desktop version for $9.99/month as part of Adobe’s Photography subscription plan, which will also grant you access to Photoshop (and that’s bound to come in handy.)
This software really allows you to be creative and transform your run-of-the-mill images into works of art. For that reason, it’s one of the most powerful Instagram tools out there.
You can also use presets to quickly and easily give your feed a professional, cohesive look – they’re like a more sophisticated version of filters. There are lots of wonderful presets out there available for purchase on sites like Etsy, or from successful influencers themselves.
Once you get good at Lightroom, you can perfect your own presets and even sell them as digital products – it’s one of the main ways bloggers make money.
Instagram is a photography app so you’re going to need some decent camera gear to set yourself up for success. Heavy cameras might not be suitable for many influencer niches, so I’d recommend starting out with something portable. The Fujifilm X-T2000 is one of the best options out there.
Other equipment you’ll need includes:
The most successful Instagram influencers don’t post on the fly. A lot of forethought goes into those perfectly curated feeds. Your images don’t just have to look good on their own; you need to think about the bigger picture (i.e. your whole grid.) Planning software takes all the guesswork out of creating a beautifully cohesive feed. Instagram tools like Planoly and Tailwind can help you plan and schedule your content down to the very last detail – hashtags and all.
If you want to grow on Instagram, you’ll need to take advantage of the Stories feature. Stories offer a more raw, real-time look at the daily workings of your blog or business and allow your followers to get to know the real you a little better. There are lots of apps out there that can help you create eye-catching and engaging Instagram stories, such as Canva, Unum and Unfold. For a full list and lots more details, check out this article about my favorite Instagram story apps.
There’s no success without insight. Insights is one of the most powerful Instagram tools in your influencer arsenal because it tells you what works and when. It shows you the best times to post, how your audience is interacting with your content and how you’re doing compared to the previous week. Best of all, it’s totally free – anyone with an Instagram business profile can access it!
As you’re probably starting to realise, a huge amount of time goes into growing your Instagram account. Not only do you have to create, plan and post amazing content, you’ve also got to authentically engage with other accounts and be present on the app for much of the day. But you’ve only got 24 hours! It’s time to bring in reinforcements.
A virtual assistant can help you take care of the more admin side of your Instagram while you remain in full creative control. You create a strategy and they help you to implement it. For example, you might send your assistant your posts and stories in advance, then they will upload it at a specified time and engage with the comments and responses on your behalf.
A popular way to find a virtual assistant is via networking in Facebook groups such as:
You’re not on Instagram just for the likes. As I mentioned in this article, influencers make a lot of their money through brand collaborations and in order to do this, you’ll need a media kit. Your media kit is your calling card: it’s a CV and portfolio all in one. It should let brands know exactly who you are, what you’ve achieved, what your goals are and why they should work with you.
When a brand reaches out to you, one of the first things they’ll ask for is your media kit so you need to have one ready. It’s even more essential for pitching to brands. They won’t want to work with you if you’ve got nothing to show them!
The Reels feature is Instagram’s answer to TikTok and it’s proving a powerful way to attract new followers. Why? Because Reels shows users a nonstop stream of content it thinks they’ll enjoy, so they don’t have to actively seek you out. It’s a pretty new tool but one I highly recommend taking advantage of. For more on Instagram Reels, check out this article where I explain it all in much more detail.
What are your preferred Instagram tools? Let me know in the comments below. For more on growing as a content creator, why not check out my guide to affiliate marketing or my top tips for Pinterest success?
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Your Luxe Lifestyle was founded by luxury world traveler Isabella Garofanelli bringing you the very best the globe has to offer in travel, lifestyle, and wellness.
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