Get to Know These Instagram Apps

Get to Know These Instagram Apps

In this five-part series on Instagram, we reach the fifth installment. Here, you’ll read about Instagram image and video apps.

Instagram Apps for Your Images and Stories

Of course, I first have to start with Canva, my favorite image-creating app. It’s so easy to use, and fortunately, you can even use it to create your Instagram stories.

Also, you can use Canva to create images for your blog and to resize images for social media.

Canva offers ready-made templates, or you can create your own. I used Canva recently to create a two-page Instagram Story about my Pinterest ebook. Then I highlighted it so if you go to my profile, you’ll see it below my bio.

You can learn how to use Canva by watching some of their tutorials.

Canva is free to use; however, there is a paid version. All you’ll ever need is the free version unless you work with teams or want to access its paid features.

Buffer Stories Creator 

Buffer, the social media scheduling app, has Pablo, an image creating app, and now Stories Creator.

Creating Stories with Buffer’s app is super easy so try it out.


You can start using PiktoChart for free, but the fees are $24.17 a month for it’s Pro plan.

If you want to hit your following with data-driven Instagram Stories, PiktoChart can help.

Framatic – Collage Editor 

The app has 36 adjustable layouts, 32 vintage borders, and 92 effects to apply to photos. You’ll find it in the app store for iPhones and iPads.

Using my favorite model, my dog, I can show you how it works.

Go to iTunes and pay $1.99 for the Instagram app. Be sure to connect it to your camera roll.

Select a collage style. I chose the three-image style. Using Framatic, I took three pictures of my dog.

Framatic - Instagram Apps

Next, I decided whether I wanted to create an Instagram Story or just add the collage to my feed. I chose only to add it to my feed.

Instagram Apps

Next, there were various options to add filters. I almost chose the black-and-white filter, but in the end, I decided not to add a filter and tapped Next.


I think that Framatic would be a great app to use for Instagram Stories. My only complaint is the watermark.


Instagram also has a collage creator. You can use images from your camera roll or ones that you take live. It also includes filters.

Just go to iTunes if you have an iPhone and look for Layout from Instagram.

Square Sized  

Square Sized is another app you can find in the iTunes store. Basically, it allows users to import photos from personal albums on Facebook and optimize them for Instagram. You can also use this app to edit your images.

LiPix – Photo Collage Maker, Picture Editor 

LiPix has 90 adjustable templates, 54 different borders, and 20 photo effects.

[Read more…]

How to Use and Share Instagram Videos and IGTV

How to Share Instagram Videos and IGTV

This is a five-part series on Instagram. In this fourth installment, we talk about Instagram videos and IGTV. (I kept this post short because I’m at a training today and I didn’t want to lose momentum in this series. Here we go!)

Let’s first review some basics:

  • You can record a video on Instagram and post. When doing this, your live video can be as long as one hour.
  • When you record a video to your phone and then post it to Instagram, your video can’t be longer than one minute. They also must be at least three seconds.
  • Videos posts to your Instagram Story has a time limit of fifteen seconds.

How to Record and Share Instagram Videos and IGTV

Here are the steps:

Record a video on your phone.

Open Instagram and tap the IGTV logo.

Instagram Videos and IGTV

Your phone will take you to your recorded videos.

You’ll see a plus (+) sign. Tap it.

Instagram Videos and IGTV


From your camera roll on your phone, tap the video you want to select.

Tap next. (I went back to capture the screenshots so as you can see, you can already see my title.)

Assign a title and description.


Finally, tap post. Your video will automatically post on your IGTV app as well.

This video example isn’t one I would typically create for Instagram. It would be better to share tips. But for the purpose of this blog post, I quickly created a more general video.

Note: You can also record a video in Instagram. Go to your newsfeed, tap the plus sign in the lower task bar, switch from photo to video, and record.

Instagram and IGTV

You can also add a video from IGTV to your Instagram Story. Here’s how:

Go to the App store and upload IGTV.

Log in to IGTV.

Select your video from your phone’s recorded  pictures and videos.

Tap the paper airplane icon.

Next, select “Add video to your story.”

Instagram Videos and IGTV

Tap the plus sign in the circle at the bottom of your screen.

Or, tap “Send to >.”

Finally, tap “Share.”

IG Video share

As you go through this process, you’ll see the option to add the story to Highlights. Highlights allows you to group old stories together in a new section that sits below your Instagram bio. This obviously gives greater emphasis to them.

How to Use Instagram Videos

 Wondering how to use Instagram videos as an author?

  1. Talk about your newest book.
  2. Explain why you became an author.
  3. Discuss your process when you write.
  4. Showcase your favorite books (by other authors).
  5. Use a video to talk about a contest.
  6. Ask questions, such as which books are your readers’ favorites.
  7. Do a fun video with your dog or cat.
  8. Create a video showing the room where you write.
  9. Take a walk in the woods and explain why you like the path you chose.
  10. Ask your readers what they would like to see in your videos.

How will you use Instagram videos?

Want to know all of my best social media marketing tips? Get a copy of Social Media Just for Writers.

Social Media Just for Writers 2nd Edition

Well written, well researched – well thought out. This book is a must have!

Ryshia Kennie 

Frances CaballoAuthor of this blogFrances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She wrote several social media books including Social Media Just for Writers and The Author’s Guide to Goodreads. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, and finding new readers. Her clients have included authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for her free email course.

Online Book Marketing Strategies for Writers


Using Video Marketing? Why It’s Important and 3 Apps to Try

video marketing

I keep telling writers that video marketing is huge, especially this year.


There are several reasons why you need to incorporate video into your marketing. Here are a few:

According to Comscore, adding video to your website can increase the chance of a front-page Google result by 53 times. To find some video SEO tips, read this post from Vidyard.

Video Marketing Is Popular and Effective

video marketing - 3 apps to tryPeople love videos and videos tend to be more successful in capturing consumer attention. Okay, now think about all those videos you watch on Facebook, for example. Aren’t they more fun to watch that the posts you have to read? I rest my case.

Video attracts more engagement on social media. Think back to Facebook again. Videos more often that posts go viral or at least draw thousands of Likes. People love video.

According to BrainShark, 65% of viewers watch more than three-quarters of a video, which is more than I predict people read of text. So with video, consumers (readers) pay attention to more of your messaging.

Create Strong Emotional Connections

With video, you can create strong emotional connections. Remember the Budweiser commercial featuring the blonde Lab? That video had me in tears. Video, according to Vidyard, is the “most powerful way to evoke emotions online.” Vidyard goes on to say:

It’s King because it offers a slew of attributes above and beyond traditional content like tone of voice, face expressions, and music, to name a few.

Finally, video has a higher conversion rate than text. So, if you want your readers to buy more books, do more video.

2 Video Apps to Make Production & Editing Easy

Producing video needn’t be expensive. You don’t need to hire a videographer for every video you post. Here are some apps you can use.

Wave videoWith this online application, you can make video ads and videos for social media. The app offers 30+ formats optimized for every social media platform.

A cool aspect to is that it has a 200-million stock video clips library at your access. It also has 300,000 royalty-free audio clips that range from symphonies to piano tracks and more.

You can customize your videos with fonts and watermarks.

Afraid you’ll be overwhelmed by this app? It offers tutorials and workshops to teach you how to create and edit your videos.

Pricing starts at $39/month.

[Read more…]

Are You Ready for Video Because It’s Huge!

Are You Ready for 2018 Because Video is Huge!

Video is incredibly popular. Experts estimate that in 2018 and beyond, video will just continue to expand.

Listen to what Marketing Insider Group stated:

“As we turn the corner to 2018, the evolution of video marketing isn’t slowing down. In fact, with one more year of technological innovation and creativity behind the camera, the world is in for more captivating video content over the next year.”

Facebook Live

Back in 2015, consumers spent an average of five-and-a-half hours a day watching video content. That number continues to rise. On Facebook alone, some 500 million users view 8 billion videos on a daily basis.

And since Facebook Live debuted in April 2016, its popularity has soared. Here are some interesting numbers:

  • Facebook Live stream search popularity has risen over 330% since it’s rollout.
  • Between January and May 2016, Facebook saw a 300% increase in live videos.
  • 5% of all Facebook Live broadcasts happen inside Groups.
  • One out of every five videos on Facebook is live.

Video, because people watch so much of it, is useful in marketing. At the same time, it’s important to keep your videos to approximately 90 seconds. Five percent of viewers will stop watching a video after 1 minute and 60% by 2 minutes.

Video in General

In 2016, HubSpot, a software and internet marketing company, published a list of statistics about video. I’ll just mention the highlights.

  • 90% of users say that product videos are helpful when deciding whether to buy something, such as a book
  • People recall great video ads, even up to 30 days after seeing them
  • 92% of mobile video consumers share videos with others
  • If a consumer enjoys a video, the intent to buy increases
  • Video can improve your website’s SEO and will improve click-through rates
  • Videos increase consumer conversions or purchases

Video and YouTube

As if all these facts and findings weren’t sufficient reasons to create videos and post them on YouTube, consider the following significant benefits as well:

  • Videos on YouTube tend to be highly ranked, so your video could appear high in Google search results. That’s awesome for SEO (search engine optimization).
  • The human connection is important in book sales and videos allow your readers to hear and see you.
  • Videos can drive traffic to your website, blog, book landing pages, or Amazon.
  • You can use video for your blogging.
  • If you write nonfiction, you can create training videos.
  • If you write fiction, you can talk about why you wrote your books.
  • And let’s not forget that you can be creating a book trailer – which is essentially a video commercial for your book and the link to this can then be promoted on your website, blog, and across all your social media platforms.

 How to Get Started on YouTube

Just go to and click the signup link. Sign in with your Gmail account or create one. When you click upload next to the empty avatar, a popup will appear confirming your name. Click Create Channel, and you’re on your way to creating a YouTube account. Remember to use your author name when selecting a name for your channel or YouTube account.

[Read more…]

Indie Author Weekly Update – April 7, 2017

Welcome to another edition of the Indie Author Weekly Update. Below you’ll find an array of posts from social media to fake news in publishing to Amazon keywords. I hope you enjoy them.

I chose a poppy for the above image today because they are blooming all over Northern California where I live. They represent a touch of spring that’s here. I hope you’re enjoying the flowers in your world as well as your writing.

Indie Author Updates

Growing Your Presence on Social Media from Digital Pubbing: “Social media is great. You can connect with people easily, you can learn new things, and you can share awesome content. It’s also a lot of hard work, because you want to make sure you are posting high quality content that resonates with people, and it takes some effort to measure and tweak your strategy.”

[Read more…]

Indie Author Weekly Update February 3, 2017

Indie Author Weekly Updates

Today’s Indie Author Weekly Update encompasses every topic, from increasing ebook sales to book promotion and from Facebook to building a website. I hope you enjoy these blog posts from across the internet from experts in publishing and social media.

On a personal front, I’m busy getting ready for the San Francisco Writers Conference, where I’ll be teaching two sessions and participating in two panels. If you’ve never been to this conference, you should check into it. Even if you can’t attend the entire conference, there are pre- and post-sessions that are available separately. Besides, you can’t beat the setting: the conference is at the Mark Hopkin Hotel. I hope to see some of you there.

Indie Author Updates

A Powerful Shortcut for Discovering Keywords to Increase Ebook Sales  Digital Book World: “Indie authors and ebook publishers have a powerful tool for increasing book sales that costs nothing and already exists in their online book selling setup: keywords. The keywords associated with an ebook in an online store can help drive readers to your sales page. When you attract more people to your book’s sales page, the more opportunities you have to make sales.”

[Read more…]

Indie Author Weekly Update January 6, 2017

 Indie Author Weekly Update

I hope you enjoy this installation of the Indie Author Weekly Update. I’ve got quite a potpourri for you. Don’t miss Jane Friedman’s look at platform building as well as Joanna Penn’s video on looking forward to accomplishing your goals in 2017. Both are great pieces. There are many great posts in this week’s update and I hope you have time to check them all out.

On a more personal note, I hope you had a lovely holiday break. I know that I did. And best of all, it’s been raining here in Northern California, where we’ve suffered a terrible drought in recent years. So that’s cause for celebration, right? Okay, get busy and enjoy the weekly updates!

Indie Author Updates

Building a Platform to Land a Book Deal: Why It Often Fails from Jane Friedman: Platform, in a nutshell, is your ability to sell books based on your visibility to the intended readership. If you’re a total unknown, then you may be turned down for lack of a platform to support your book’s publication.

[Read more…]

Indie Author Weekly Update December 9, 2016

Indie Author Update

I hope you enjoy this week’s edition of the Indie Author Weekly Update. Be sure to read Joel Friedlander’s series on how he got his start in blogging and soared to success. It’s a fascinating story.

So why the dogs in the image above? Why not? Those who know me well, know that I love dogs. I have an English Lab and fostered dogs for the Golden Gate Labrador Retriever Rescue. Why the snow in the above picture? It doesn’t snow where I live, but it is brisk and feels like it might snow.

I hope you enjoy this week’s selection below and that you have a lovely weekend. Keep warm!

Indie Author Updates

Video Will Be Huge in 2017…Get Ready! from BookWorks: “Video is incredibly popular. Experts estimate that in 2017 and beyond, video will make up 69% of consumer internet traffic. Back in 2015, consumers spent an average of five-and-a-half hours a day watching video content. That number continues to rise. On Facebook alone, some 500 million users view 8 billion videos on a daily basis. Video, because people watch so much of it, is useful in book marketing. At the same time, it’s important to keep your videos to approximately 90 seconds. Five percent of viewers will stop watching a video after 1 minute and 60% by 2 minutes.”

[Read more…]