Instagram is a great way for brands to connect with their audiences. No wonder, as more and more young people are spending more time on the platform than they do on Facebook. This is leading many companies to add Instagram into their social strategy. Today we’ll look at some ways to do this by looking at a few great Instagram marketing tools.
What Are Instagram Marketing Tools?
We’ll skip the obvious sarcastic answer. Instagram marketing tools can fulfill a range of different functions. Part of Instagram’s appeal for users is its simplicity. The drawback of this, however, is that it lacks some of the native marketing functions you get with the other big social networks.
Instagram marketing tools typically try to bridge this gap. They let you do things like schedule posts, carry out analysis and generally make your marketing efforts more effective. These can also be focused around specific goals like getting new followers or increasing site traffic.
There are a lot of Instagram marketing tools out there too. Some are all-rounders. Others are focused on specific tasks. So how are you supposed to know what will work for you? This article should help you figure that out. Let’s start with a quick overview, and then we can look at each tool in a little more detail.
|Software||Starting From||Best Thing About It||Biggest Problem|
|Later||Free||Visual content scheduling||Limited monthly posts|
|Tailwind||$9.99 per month||Hashtag monitoring||Less attractive scheduling|
|Iconosquare||$29 per month||In-depth analytics||Basic post scheduling|
|Soldsie||Free||Use Instagram for eCommerce||Paid by number of clicks|
|Buffer||Free||Cheap general social media manager||Limited analytics at lower price points|
|Sprout Social||$99 per month||High level of functionality||Expensive|
So, you clearly have a lot of options. These Instagram marketing tools have different levels of functionality. There are some big gaps in the pricing too. So let’s take a look at which ones are good in which situations.
First up, we have the aptly named Later. This is a tool aimed mainly at scheduling posts. While there is a free version available, the business plans begin from $19 per month. There’s also support for Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
What makes Later really great as a scheduling tool is the layout. There’s a calendar view, where you can view each of your posts as though they were tacked onto that specific day. Alternatively you can schedule your posts in terms of how they’ll eventually look on your feed. You simply drag and drop them into different squares of your profile.
There’s also a decent suite of analytics. You can use these to see what’s working best in terms of timing and hashtags.
That leads me neatly onto Tailwind. This one starts from $9.99 for small businesses and bloggers. This giveWhile it also supports post scheduling and analysis, its main USP is social listening. There’s support for Pinterest as well as Instagram.
The listening functions help you to plan your Instagram strategy. You can monitor hashtags which are relevant to your blog. That way, you can understand how your audience are likely to engage with your brand.
This can also be used to discover new hashtags. That way, you can find new topics which will engage your audience even further.
Starting from $29 per month, Iconosquare is billed mainly as an analytics platform. Like most of today’s Instagram marketing tools, it also covers a couple of other functions. It can also be used for scheduling posts and moderating your comments section.
On the analytics front, you can track all of the main metrics in a very clean and pleasant interface. This includes reach, engagement, and community growth. I particularly liked that you can also make a heatmap of the times when your followers are online, so you can be sure of picking the best times to post.
You can, of course, track the performance of individual posts. What’s even better is you can use Iconosquare to do side by side comparisons of your current and previous posts.
Soldsie is definitely the most specialized of today’s Instagram marketing tools. In fact, it exists to solve exactly one problem. On Instagram, you can’t add links to your posts. You can just add one to your bio. That’s not ideal if you’re want to use your Instagram to sell products.
With Soldsie, you can easily get around this. The way it works is you use your bio link to let direct users to a custom store based on your feed. That way, they can quickly find all of your featured products without having to go searching elsewhere.
There’s also a set of analytics tools built in, so you can track your engagements and the success of ROI on your marketing efforts.
When considering Instagram marketing tools, you’ll also want to think about a general social media management platform. Buffer is one really good option if you want to go down this route. It stands to reason that paying for different platforms for each social network isn’t the right option for everyone.
Buffer gives you all of the social media features you’d expect. For Instagram, this includes all of the basics, such as scheduling, analysis and hashtag monitoring. It’s all tied up in a bright and very intuitive user interface.
I also liked that it’s available as a browser extension, as well as iOS and Android apps. That way you can quickly work on your Instagram strategy as and when you need.
Some of the other advanced features on offer include a dedicated social CMS. This is of course a very powerful tool for fostering brand loyalty. You can even manage several Instagram profiles from a single dashboard, which is useful for larger companies who operate across different markets.
There are agency level features too. One of the standouts here is the ability to automatically generate detailed reports. This is, of course, vital if you’re planning too make Instagram one of the main pillars of your marketing strategy.
That should hopefully give you a flavor of what’s available. There are a couple of good options here if you want to carry out a specific task on Instagram, or if you have particular goals. As far as Instagram marketing tools which do a bit of everything go, for my money it’s hard to look past either Buffer or Iconosquare.
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