December 27, 2016

Instagram Tools to Maximize Your Marketing Efforts

If used correctly, Instagram can be an extremely effective tool for your brand’s marketing arsenal. Starbucks and BMW have shown that brilliant marketing can mean big boosts in user engagement and sales. As one study by Simply Measured showed, in a roughly three-month period, Starbucks increased its user engagement to over 180% using marketing tactics like contests and hashtags. You don’t need to be a heavy-hitter like Starbucks to use these strategies, though.

We’ve put together a short list of tools available for maximizing brand recognition, user engagement, and off-app traffic to your site. Read on for more!

Scheduling:

When you’re running a business, you have a number of important things to manage; your employees, project timelines and deliverables, revenue tracking, etc.  But don’t forget about your brand’s social media presence! Scheduling your posts in advance can be really helpful in freeing up time you can spend on other aspects of building your company. Luckily there are plenty of scheduling apps to choose from that are able to help you automate the posting process. Schedulegram, Later (formerly Latergramme), and Socialdraft.com are just a few out there.

Schedulegram allows you to post content directly from your computer – no more emailing yourself photos and then transferring them to your phone. Schedulegram is particularly useful if you’ve just completed a massive download or have big archives of photos on your desktop or laptop. It’s also useful because you can use it to manage more than one account easily from the same dashboard.

Later is also a great management tool that offers multiple features to help you plan, schedule, post, and even analyze your marketing strategy. Their calendar feature allows you to plot posts, contests, and other marketing initiatives – which not only saves you time but also creates a more streamlined and cohesive Insta page. Sit down for just an hour or two and plan out an entire week of posts (with captions!) so that your feed is meticulously curated and professional.

Like Later, Socialdraft.com offers a visual calendar for your posts as well as opportunities for collaboration with other users. This is especially useful if you have a marketing team collaborating together on your brand’s marketing efforts.

Hashtagging:

Hashtags can be instrumental tools for increasing the discoverability of your Instagram page. When Instagram users search keywords and those same words appear as hashtags in your content, your posts will come up in their search. To maximize this powerful Instagram feature, you’ll need to know what hashtags are trending. Sites like Websta.me provide lists of top trending hashtags for you to browse and use for your own captions. Iconosquare, which is also great for analytics (more below), can help you find hashtags related to your product so that you can add more targeted hashtags to your posts.

A mixture of both trending hashtags and ones focused on your audience/brand is always a good idea for increasing the scope of your discoverability. One source recommends using a three-pronged approach: brand specific key words, product category keywords, and location-based words for three different types of hashtags. Just be sure not to over hashtag your posts – that can look messy and unprofessional. Keep your hashtagging to no more than 5 per post.

Editing:

Posting great photos is a pivotal piece of an awesome marketing campaign. But, unfortunately, we’re not all born with artistic talent or creativity. But, you’re in luck! There are apps for that! VSCO Cam and Afterlight are some of the most popular photo editing apps that allow you to adjust exposure, add filters and textures, and crop your photos so that they look professional.

Add a little graphic flair with text layered on top of your photos with tools like Word Dream and Quick. Overlaying text is great for advertising sales, drawing attention to promotions, or announcing contests. It also visually breaks up your feed so that it isn’t all images.

Sponsored Posts:

Sometimes it’s worth it to pay a little bit of money to get more out of your marketing on Instagram. Sponsorship can really boost your engagement and spread the word about your brand. Finding the right influencer on Instagram is crucial to increasing your reach. As noted above, tools like Websta can help you search the most popular hashtags related to your brand. Once you find Instagrammers who share your interests, take a look at their pages. Users with massive followings just might be the right ones to help drive traffic to your page. If there is contact information in that ‘grammers bio, use it to reach out and initiate a dialogue with them. Usually, a slow and steady approach works best when you’re asking for something, so try to generate a rapport with that person before asking them for help. Find out what they charge for allowing a post with your product in their feed and go from there. If you’re having trouble finding the right person for your brand, there are many sites out there that can help link you up with the best opportunities for sponsored posts. Instabrand, WeConnect, GoSnap, and Famebit are just a few companies that help connect brands with sponsors.

Shopping:

Having a plethora of followers is great for your ego, but increasing revenue is the main goal of any marketing campaign. You’ll use your marketing strategies to not only drive traffic to your website but also to provide plenty of chances for your followers to purchase things from your brand. Later (mentioned above) has some great features, like their Linkin.bio, for driving traffic to your website to shop. Tapshop is another tool for making the leap from viewing to buying super easy. They provide you with a link you’ll put in your profile that takes users directly to an e-commerce page featuring your products. Shopify your Instagram page with just one click!

Analytics:

After all of this work you’ve done to solidify your marketing campaign, you’ll want to know how your brand is stacking up against the competition. There are tools available to help you parse analytics. Among them, Iconosquare is a great tool to use for monitoring analytics if you prefer to work from your computer rather than your phone. With it, you can see which hashtags and filters are working well and use the Popular tab to find out which posts are getting the most comments and likes. Piqora monitors analytics like comments and likes and also analyzes your hashtags for efficacy. And Crowdfire lets you find inactive followers and un-followers as well as monitor how your posts affect your unfollow rate. It’s as useful to know what not to do as it is to know what to do!

Reposting:

The genius marketing strategies of big-hitters like Starbucks rely heavily on reposting User Generated Content (UGC). Reposting lets you capitalize on UGC that is relevant to your brand, generating a dialogue with your followers that is unique. This kind of follower engagements can only strengthen brand loyalty. In order to harness those followers (and not seem like a jerk who steals other people’s content!), you’ll need to be sure to give credit where its due. Picstagrab and Repost are tools that help you to easily acknowledge the original source of pics and videos when you repost them. You can also use both of these tools to search popular hashtags relevant to your brand and find cool new content in the process. Repost is great, too, because it allows you to bookmark pictures and videos you like and post them later.

Now that you’ve got the right sites and apps in your toolbox, get started on your most effective marketing campaign yet!