Instagram is one of the most effective marketing tools for reaching potential clients, and it’s definitely a must-have tool for photographers.
No matter what business you’re in, you need to be able to show what makes your brand unique, and be able to tell a story that your clients want to be a part of.
Which is what makes Instagram such a great tool.
It lets you share your story in an engaging way, and it’s a place where your clients are active.
Managing Instagram can be challenging because you can only upload images from a mobile device, and you can’t use the app for things like scheduling ahead.
So here are some excellent tools that will make managing Instagram easy, and save you time while growing your following.
The Repost App lets you easily repost Instagram images from other accounts. It also gives the image owner full credit by placing a watermark on the image, and you can choose where the watermark is placed.
Layout is a new app from Instagram that lets you create multi-image layouts quickly. There are a lot of collage apps out there, but this one is simple to use and well designed.
Over is an app that lets you add fonts (or even logos) to your images.
Instrack let’s you track new followers, people who unfollowed you, and people who blocked you. It also lets you easily follow and unfollow others, and gives you great engagement stats from your account.
Flipagram is an app for creating a slideshow with photos, videos and music that you can share on Instagram.
Vidstitch is a video collage app that allows you to combine videos and images to share on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Vine.
VidLab can be used to create videos with music, text and voice-overs that can be shared on Instagram or other social channels.
Automating Instagram: IFTTT
IFTTT is a web service that lets you connect other web services and apps together to create automated time-saving workflows. IFTTT performs specific actions based on ‘Triggers’ you set up to for specific channels, like Facebook, Twitter or the Buffer App. IFTTT calls these ‘Recipes.’
Post Instagram images to Twitter instead of links
One of my favorite recipes is posting Instagram images to Twitter. When you post to Twitter directly from the Instagram app, it will only post a link to the image instead of posting the image directly in Twitter. I want images to show in my Twitter post rather than having to click a link to view, and IFTTT does that for me automatically.
And you can even use IFTTT to save all your Instagram images to Dropbox.
Scheduling Instagram Posts in Advance
Schedugr.am lets you upload images to the web and schedule Instagram posts in advance. We used this service for a while until they were shut down briefly by Instagram. The service itself worked very well, and definitely made posting to multiple accounts very easy.
Instagram does not allow posting of images through 3rd party apps and services using their API. Schedugr.am has found a work-around with a complex setup where they post on your behalf. You can learn more about how that works here.
Onlypult is another service that let’s you schedule posts to instagram in advance, however after trying the service we decided to pass. It didn’t feel very secure, and the customer service was terrible. After talking to a few others, we found that their experience was similar as well.
Takeoff is an iPhone app that let’s you schedule your Instagram post.
The app doesn’t post to Instagram automatically. Instead you upload an image to the app, then it sends a notification reminder when it’s time to post, and you can simply add the image to Instagram.
It will automatically schedule posts for times when most of your followers are most likely to be on Instagram. It also makes hashtag suggestions based on your account.
Latergramme is an app that is similar to Takeoff that lets you easily plan & schedule your Instagram posts either from the web or from the iPhone app. You create your Instagram posts from either the web or the app, then Latergramme pushes scheduled images to your phone.
Latergramme also has a calendar feature where you can see all the images you have scheduled.
Analytics & Management
Iconosquare provides detailed analytics for your Instagram profile. The most useful thing about Iconosquare is seeing the optimal times for posting images and when most of your followers are using Instagram.
- See the number of likes and comments received
- View your Top 5 most liked and commented images
- Use the hashtag cloud to show you your most used hashtags, alongside trending hashtags
- Get optimization tips with the best time to post or see how filters impact engagement
The Crowdfire App is an easy way to manage followers on Instagram. You can quickly follow or unfollow multiple accounts, and also see key stats for your account like:
• Non-followers – shows people you follow who don’t follow you back.
• Fans – people who follow you, but you don’t follow back.
• Recent followers – all of your new followers.
• Recent unfollowers – tracks people who unfollowed you.
• Copy followers—this feature lets you copy all the followers from another Instagram account, add them to a list, and start following all or some of them.
• Friendcheck—you can use this to check to see if an Instagram account is following you.
Photodesk is a Mac app for managing your Instagram accounts right from your desktop. It makes managing multiple accounts very easy, and it does almost everything except post to Instagram.
Here are a few of the features that are most useful:
- Download images and videos from any account – we share a lot of other photographers images and videos so this saves us a lot of time.
- Browse, search and store tags – great for tracking hashtags for contests or your branded hashtags.
- View any new follow requests, and see who followed you.
- Track likes and comments on your account.
- See all the images you’ve liked.
- Quickly like multiple photos.
- Create photo albums with your favorite images.
- Favorite accounts to see only updates from certain accounts – this is especially useful if you follow a lot of accounts.
- Automatically download all your Instagram images to your desktop.
- Create templates for commenting on images.
- Organize followers by creating albums or folders to track groups of people.
SumAll is another analytics tool used for measuring social media engagement.
Websta (formerly Webstagram) is an online tool for managing your Instagram account, and it also allows you to search for popular hashtags on Instagram as well.
You can also organize posts into boards, and embed Instagram images and hashtags on your website.
SnapWidget lets you display your Instagram photos on your website. It’s easy to setup – you just enter your details and add it to your site. It will work on any website, and it’s mobile friendly as well. There is a free version as well as a paid version – the paid version having a few more customizable features.
Ink361 is a web app for managing your account that lets you create albums, sort followers into ‘circles,’ track stats and embed an Instagram gallery on your website.
All of these tools are meant to help make marketing easier and more consistent for you in your business. Which helps you grow your business and do more of what it is that you love.