The following is a guest post by Lisa Michaels. Lisa is a freelance writer, editor and a striving content marketing consultant from Portland. Being self-employed, she does her best to stay on top of the current trends in the business world. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter @LisaBMichaels.
As social media continues to rapidly grow, brands are looking for new ways to engage with their users. Many businesses have recognized Instagram as an effective social platform to engage teens and young adults. In fact, this audience considers Instagram to be the most important social platform.
Whether it’s informing your existing customers about the new products and services your company has to offer or piquing the interest of potential customers – Instagram can be one of the most powerful social tools you have at your disposal.
With the increase in users on Instagram and the number of businesses deploying marketing strategies via this social platform around the globe, a number of tools have emerged to help companies use Instagram more effectively and quickly.
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If you are using Instagram to grow your business, you should consider adding these seven tools to your toolbox.
If you want to develop an Instagram feed that is engaging, you need to cultivate a supportive and active community of followers. Instagram works a lot like a relationship—the more you interact and encourage your followers, the more they will like your feed and support it through their likes and follows.
One effective way of boosting your followers and creating that community is by sharing photos from your followers’ accounts. You need an app to do this, as Instagram does not have a sharing function like Facebook or Twitter. To do this, try Repost. This app makes it easy to share followers’ photos and to credit them.
Also, you have the option of using Repost to save photos from your followers’ feeds that you can post at a later time – which makes your social curation strategy even more efficient. Finally, you can use Repost to search by a certain hashtag your brand is interested in or following, to find related photos that you can share on your brand’s feed.
ScheduGram is a web-based tool that allows you to use the platform to post directly to Instagram or to schedule posts for later. It is a popular tool among social media managers across the globe who need to be able to schedule posts ahead of time and collaborate with their teams.
This app is especially effective for social media managers who are overseeing multiple clients’ Instagram accounts. It lets you manage several accounts all on the same platform without having to log in and out of each account – which is currently the case if you are posting to Instagram directly from the mobile app.
Finally, ScheduGram also allows you to upload multiple photos at a time for immediate posting or to share later. When a post is about to go live, it can send an email to you and your team – just in case you need to make a quick edit.
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SocialRank is a great Instagram tool for helping you understand the demographics of your followers. It helps you discover your best influencers and collect and organize information about your followers so you can decide how you would like to incorporate them into your Instagram strategy.
For example, you can have your follower demographics organized into several different kinds of lists and then export that data into CSV, PDF and other forms. Finally, you can effectively execute location-based campaigns because this tool allows you to target your followers by their city and state.
SocialRank lets you target your audience better and deliver messaging and content that they are more likely to interact with.
To get the most out of your business Instagram account, you should think about utilizing contests. Contests are a great way to capture your audiences’ attention and get them to engage with you. Wishpond is a tool that can help you do that easily.
You can launch a hashtag contest via Wishpond that allows you to collect all the photos attached to a certain hashtag. You can filter people who have followed your brand already – if that is a condition to your contest and includes a voting element sent via email to help your audience participate in the gamification of a contest.
If you want to really understand your Instagram audience, you have to know something about their likes and dislikes – and Iconosquare is an analytics tool that can help you.
The app keeps track of key metrics such as the number of likes and comments on your posts. It also helps you cross-promote the content you post on Instagram with your other branded social channels, such as Facebook.
This app will help you manage posts and determine which content is doing the best so you can tweak your content strategy if necessary.
Pixlr is a photo-editing app that includes custom filters. It allows you to customize Instagram filters with different overlays and effects so that your posts fit into a theme or style. This is especially helpful during a branded campaign or contest.
If you have a photo that is less than perfect, Pixlr can help. It has a red-eye reduction tool, a saturation and exposure tool, and brush tools for customizing highlights and shading. You can be an artist and photographer all in one with Pixlr.
Finally, this app has a bonus feature of allowing you to create photo collages and share your finished products by sending them directly to Instagram.
From Curalate comes an app called Like2Buy, which turns your Instagram account into a shoppable feed and leads to more conversions. E-commerce will continue to rise as a trend on social media and what better way to promote your products and services then by featuring them on Instagram?
Instagram users can simply tap the product they would like on your feed, and they are given the option to buy. This app has been proven to boost sales revenues and make the buying process easier.
Finally, this app will provide you with metrics for understanding what viewers are clicking on –and how many of those clicks turned into conversions.
If you’re ready to see your social media marketing take off and your target audience of younger customers grow – then Instagram is your social tool of choice. With the help of these seven tools, you can boost your brand, get great exposure for your products and services and create a buzz among this hard-to-please crowd by developing a successful Instagram strategy. These tools will make finding content, curating it and posting it seamlessly easier and more effective than ever.
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