You can’t rely on Instagram’s 24 standard filters and 30-hashtag limits when you’re competing with one billion active users every month. To cut through the noise, you need to think outside the app. Roll up your sleeves, don your creative hat and call in third-party software for back up – here are four of our favourite apps to help you stand out on Instagram.

Source: iTunes

1. Iconosquare

If you’ve ever wished there was a Yellow Pages for finding Insta-celebrities, Iconosquare is the answer. As well as providing analytics on audience growth, traffic and engagement, Iconosquare also identifies notable Instagram influencers in your industry by exploring the relevant community, including the competition. A free, 30-day trial allows plenty of time to get acquainted with the game-changing app, and after that it’s just $30 per month for full access.

Source: iTunes

2. Afterlight

At $2.99, there’s only a small price to pay for jam-packed Afterlight. Responsive, easy to use and loaded with fine-tuning features, the Afterlight app levels up your photo game beyond Instagram’s native editing abilities. It also allows you to add trendy film-like filters, customised frames and the ability to save presets for future posts.

Source: iTunes

3. Continual

Gone are the days of trying to get your point across in a 15-second Insta-story. With Continual, you can record a video for however long you need and the app will splice it up into 15-second snippets, ready to upload into Instagram stories. Seamless transitions also mean that people stay engaged for longer. Although Continual will set you back $8, it’s worth the investment to prove to your followers (and competitors) that you’re serious about stories.

Source: iTunes

4. Pixaloop

Fact: a still image of pouring coffee or surfers carving up waves doesn’t do the real thing justice. Lucky for serial ‘grammers, there’s now an app for that: Pixaloop. Brought to you from the team behind the award-winning Enlight creative suite, Pixaloop can animate, freeze and cut a static image to give it life beyond your iPhone gallery. Other features include speed control, sky filters and the ability to export to social media in multiple formats, including directly to Instagram stories. Subscriptions are billed monthly at $5.99 or a one-time purchase of $89.99, but is well worth it for that double-take factor.

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