One of our most popular blogs ever was a review that Nikki wrote in January about the best apps for curating and scheduling the perfect Instagram grid. If you haven't seen it you can read the article here: Top 4 apps for curating the perfect Instagram feed
Since then a lot of the apps we discussed have introduced new features and we have also been impressed by others that we hadn’t originally included. Rather than update the previous post we thought it was best to just write a brand new one, so here it is!
Plann was the first ever scheduler that I tried, it has a simple interface and easy to use drag-drop feature that allows you to move your posts around until you find the perfect grid configuration. Plann also gets bonus points for it’s amazing hashtag archiving tool that lets you save groups of tags ready to post. This is a real time saver in my opinion!
Cost: Free download. Little: $0USD/month; Basic: $3USD/month; Premium: $5USD/month; Unlimited: $9USD/month The free plan allows you to upload 10 photos a month.
Why we like it:
User friendly. You don’t have to spend time watching tutorials. It’s very easy to use.
Drag and drop arrangement (Note - this feature only works on images that you haven’t posted yet, you can’t rearrange your existing posts, we get asked this question a lot!)
Save hashtags. You can store your favourite collections of hashtags ready to copy paste straight onto your future posts.
Editing tools and filters. These are some of the great new features that were added since Nikki’s previous review. The crop is really helpful if you are sharing screenshots (like Creatively Sqaured challenge features!) and there are also lots of cool filters to try out.
Share gallery with another user. If you are working with a team in managing an Instagram account, this is a cool feature that keeps everyone in the loop.
Import from Dropbox and more. This was another dealbreaker from Nikki’s original review that has been updated in the newest version of the app.
Save to camera roll feature. This is helpful if you edit the image within the app but want to save it to your phone for further use.
Things to consider:
There is a bit of lag when you do bulk uploads especially with videos.
Mobile only - No desktop version of the app is available
There is no media library for you to save posts you aren’t ready to place into your grid yet
Use it if you want a simple, low cost visual solution to planning the perfect feed.
Aside from the lag time when doing bulk uploads, nearly all of reservations that Nikki had about Plann from the previous review has now been addressed. In addition to it being a really easy to use visual planner I think the ability to save hashtag collections is this apps secret weapon! For what you get it is quite reasonably priced at $3 a month for unlimited use
At the time of the previous review Unum was a firm favourite among the Creatively Squared ladies. We particularly loved the ‘phantom mode’ feature where you could hide your existing posts which would show you how your feed would look if you deleted any of the photos from your grid. This feature isn’t as useful now that Instagram as introduced their archive feature as you can now hide your posts within the app and reinstate them later if you want. Unum does have another great feature called ‘grid shift’ which allows you to toggle the view between your upcoming posts and how the grid will look right after the next one goes live. It also has basic analytics, editing and drag drop to rearrange your photos in the gallery. You can save drafts and captions which includes a recent tags feature for remembering hashtags you use regularly
Cost: Free download. Select: $4.99USD/month; Elite: $6.99 USD/month. The free plan allows you to plan up to 18 images in advance.
Why we like it:
Move multiple images at once. Unum has made rearranging photos super quick and easy.
Save captions. No more last minute cramming on what to say in your posts.
Tile splits. This is such a cool feature. You can split your image into nine tiles, so you can make one big epic post stand out in your gallery. .
Cool editing tools. It has all the necessary options you need to edit your photos-from brightness to memes.
Calendar overview. You will have a view on all the scheduled posts so you would know if you missed a date or if there are overlapping posts.
Add other Instagram accounts. You can do so for free and it is unlimited!
Draft mode is a great feature that allows you can play around with different versions of your grid and save them as a draft to compare what looks better.
Temporarily delete images with ‘Phantom mode’. If you need to know how your gallery would look like without a certain post you can hide it from view and the grid will rearrange without it.
Things to consider:
It’s super slow to get started, especially if it is your first time and all the previous Instagram posts are being loaded on the app gallery. Uploading a single photo has a few second lag time as well.
Does not allow imports from Dropbox nor Google drive.
No save to camera roll feature.
Use it if you want to experiment creatively!
Unum has some wonderful features and you can get a lot of mileage out of the free version of the app. It is great for experimenting with your feed and makes it easy to try new things. However the app itself is not the most intuitive or easy to navigate but once you familiarise yourself with everything it can do there is a lot to love.
Later is another app that you can use to schedule your Instagram posts. I love that there is a desktop version of the app and the search and repost is a great way to add content and moodboard images from other Instagram accounts. I like that you can build up a library of content that sits there ready to post but the downside to this is you have to manually schedule each one if you want to preview how it will look in your feed. The free account only allows you 30 posts per month so if you don’t want to lose all your credits you then have to remember to unschedule them until you are sure you want to post them!
Cost: Free Download. (For Individuals) Plus: $9USD/month; (For Businesses) Premium:$19USD/month; Starter: $29USD/month; Brand: $49USD/month
Why we like it:
Plan from desktop, laptop, and mobile. If you like to edit and schedule your Instagram post on a screen that’s bigger than your smartphone, Later gives you that option.
Media library option is great as it allows you to build a supply of images ready to post. You can also upload from your Dropbox or Google Drive accounts.
Add other social media accounts. Aside from Instagram, Later also let you schedule posts for Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. This is heaven-sent if you want to distribute the same content throughout your other social channels.
Search and repost feature is amazing, as we feature a lot of different peoples photos on the Creatively Squared account this means we aren’t losing quality by screenshotting the images to share them.
Things to consider:
Pricing. If you post more than once a day this scheduler is on the more expensive side of the spectrum for personal use.
Can’t edit photos. This is a bit of a turn-off for me. Even though I edit my photos prior to uploading, I’d still love to have the option to play around with brightness, saturation, and filters before I post my pictures.
Use it if your content is ready to post and you are super organised and know what you want!
The free version with 30 posts per month would be fine for most people but if you post more than once a day you will need to upgrade to the paid version. I would say this is the best scheduling tool, and although it has a grid view feature, I wouldn't say it is appropriate for creative planning. I am a Google Drive user so I love that I can add images from there as well as Dropbox and being able to access it all from the desktop makes it extra convenient.
So let’s wrap it up for you:
Choosing the right app for you is a personal choice and the different features will appeal to different people. All of these apps have the same basic functionality and promote safe posting via notifications, analytics and support multiple Instagram accounts.
PLANN - Use it if you want a super simple, easy to use and affordable planning tool for Instagram that gives you creative control over the visual look of your feed
UNUM - Use it if you want something that allows you to be a bit more creative and experimental and you don’t mind a bit of a learning curve
LATER - Use it if you want a powerful social media scheduling tool for staying super organised and keeping your current visuals consistent.