Say it with me: social media.
As a savvy entrepreneur or business, you’re already using social media marketing in some way.
But I’m here to tell you if you’re not using Instagram as one of your channels, you’re doing it wrong.
An Instagram growth service can increase your existing audience with a comprehensive marketing strategy that puts more eyes on your content. More eyes means more reach, more awareness, and more growth.
But before we look at how, let’s briefly consider why.
With 1 Billion Users Instagram Has Become One Of The Most Sought After Social Platforms For Businesses
That’s right. Instagram recently crossed the one billion monthly active users (and 500 million daily active users) threshold, joining the likes of Facebook as the heavyweights of social media. In fact, Instagram’s growth over the past few years has outpaced Facebook, Snapchat, and every other platform.
With numbers like that, it’s obviously an attractive platform for businesses and advertisers:
- 52% of SMBs are using Instagram
- 2 million monthly advertisers, and 25 million business profiles
- 71% of American businesses are on the platform
14 Instagram Tools That Will Give You An Edge Against Your Competition
A builder is only as good as his or her tools. With that in mind, here are 14 of the best Instagram growth tools to boost, monitor, engage, and understand your following.
Take a photo and slap on a filter? That’s so 2011.
To stand out on Instagram in 2018, you need to up the ante with video, live streaming, and more. Boomerang (available for iOS and Android) takes a series of 10 pictures and stitches them together in an infinite loop.
These mini-vids straddle the line between gifs, true video, and stop-motion photography. All the benefits of video – which has seen an 80% year-over-year increase on the platform – without the stress or hassle of actually having to make one.
Photos may have been the foundation upon which Instagram was built, but videos represent its present and future. Sponsored videos generate 3x more comments than a sponsored photo. Want to grow your following and increase your reach?
Use video. And use it creatively with Boomerang.
Think about your own consumer habits. How often do you shop online? Like most people, it’s probably a lot. Consider:
- 40% of American men between 18-34 and 33% of women say they’d ideally like to buy everything online.
E-commerce in the US is expected to hit just under $660 billion by 2021, and $4.88 trillion worldwide.
The number one online activity of Americans between 18-29 is email, followed closely by social media and services. See where I’m going with this? We love shopping online, and we love social media.
Foursixty turns your Instagram feed and user-generated content (UGC) into shoppable galleries. Your followers can click your products in photos and videos and purchase them with ease. Even better, your customers can share content with them using your products, and others can click and buy there, too. 92% of consumers trust UGC more than any other type of digital advertising.
Your followers are happy, and with the use of hashtags, you’ll reach an even bigger audience that’ll appreciate the convenience in which they can buy from you…which means they’ll become new followers.
How do you get more followers on Instagram? Give them more of and make it easier to do the things they want to do.
Sharing other people’s content on social media like Facebook and Twitter is a mainstay. It’s a huge part of why we love those platforms – the ability to find and share interesting stories, videos, links, and images.
Instagram, however, has never embraced that philosophy.
“That decision (to not have a ‘regram’ feature) is about keeping your feed focused on the people you know rather than the people you know finding other stuff for you to see.” ~Kevin Systrom, Former CEO at Instagram
While that makes sense, the fact remains that people love to share what they’ve found, and others love to see it.
Enter Repost (iOS and Android), an Instagram tool that lets you ‘regram’ while automatically giving credit to the original creator. Copy the link, paste it in Repost, and the app does the rest. Bonus points if you include another tip of the hat to the poster in your caption.
While most want to see your content, they’ll appreciate the variety and joy of discovery that comes with the occasional regram.
#4 Social Insight
Some social solutions include multiple social platforms.
If you really want to focus on Instagram, it makes sense to go with a tool that deals exclusively with it. Say ‘hi’ to Social Insight.
With a feature set that includes scheduling and posting, audience insights and management, and a complete metrics suite that tracks and monitors your growth, engagement, ideal post times, most popular content, and so on, it’s an Instagram growth tool with almost everything you’ll need.
The more you know about your existing followers and what exactly they like, the easier you can target new ones with more of the same.
Instagram can be viewed on your laptop or desktop, but creating and posting is a mobile-only situation. It has to be done on the app.
Unless you use a service like Grum. With it, you can schedule posts from your computer, without the hassle of alerts or notifications when it’s about to go out. Schedule it and forget it.
This is a simple tool with a single feature: scheduling. There are no analytics or any other bells and whistles. Upload the media (photo or video), create a caption, and leave the first comment (a great place to add up to 30 hashtags, and Grum will even count them for you). Click either ‘Post Now’ or ‘Schedule”. That’s it.
Schedule your Instagram posts for the week in advance, then focus on tracking performance.
Analytics is a part of doing business online. If you’re not tracking performance in some way, you have no idea how successful you are, where you’re falling short, or what to do about it.
What Google Analytics is to websites, Owlmetrics is to Instagram.
If you want valuable and actionable insights on your followers and growth, they have the hard data you need. Understand your audience demographics and preferences, while tracking your post and hashtag performance for everything you share.
That which gets monitored, gets managed (and grown).
The filters on Instagram have remained largely the same for years.
VSCO is a separate photo platform with its own sharing community. It’s a much more robust app with greater control over both taking photos, and editing them afterwards. With a $20/year subscription, you get access to hundreds of unique filters (the free account has the same functionality, but fewer filters).
Sharing content with filters that don’t exist on Instagram makes you different. Create your content on VSCO, download it, then upload to Instagram with a #vsco hashtag to a) help others find your enhanced photos, and b) rise above the din of Mayfair, Gingham, and X-Pro II pictures.
What’s better than looking at beautiful images and videos on Instagram?
Entering a contest or getting something for free while looking at beautiful images and videos on Instagram.
Meet Woobox, your one-stop shop for instant giveaways and hashtag/video/photo contests on Instagram.
But their strength lies in the requirements you set to be entered, and that typically includes following you and your brand amongst other things (tagging a friend, liking or sharing a post, sharing their UGC with a special hashtag, and so on).
Contests and giveaways increase awareness and the reach of your brand. They grow your audience. They get your foot in the door. Win-win-win. Do it all with Woobox.
Instagram lets you do a lot with your images: filters, basic editing, stickers, and text.
But Canva lets you do more with their Instagram post template.
Properly-sized and waiting to be customized, you can tweak the layout, browse the photo library, include grids, frames, illustrations, shapes, charts, or icons, add text in a wide variety of fonts and sizes, change the background, and more.
Create, save, download, and share with Instagram. Infinite possibilities to create the high quality content that wins new followers and keeps existing ones. It’s a must-have Instagram tool to take your creation to the next level.
The ability to monitor your Instagram account and those of your competition is invaluable. Ink361 is a dynamic Instagram management tool, providing actionable insight on engagement, growth, hashtag campaigns, and your competitors.
And with both free and paid plans, it fits the budget of those not yet willing to pay for growth boosters.
If you want to collect all UGC from a contest or giveaway, or from a live event via hashtag, you’ll want to aggregate those Instagram posts in one central location like your website or a landing page.
That’s Juicer in a nutshell.
And all in three simple steps: 1) Choose your account, 2) copy and paste the Juicer-generated code to the web page (or use their plugin for WordPress), and 3) monitor, tweak, and analyze the feed via their dashboard. Easy-peasy.
Bring both your and UGC content together to create a stronger sense of community between you and your followers, and the desire to join the group to others seeing it all for the first time.
Hootsuite needs no introduction. Along with Buffer, it’s the elder statesman of social scheduling, marketing, and monitoring.
Schedule, publish, collaborate, and analyze from one centralized and user-friendly dashboard. Monitor your posts, hashtags, your followers, the competition, and location tags.
Supercharge your social listening with Hootsuite Insights. What are people saying about you and your brand?
Track your ROI with Hootsuite Impact. Get real-time insights and benchmarking to better optimize your acquisition strategies.
Touting itself as the #1 Instagram marketing platform, Later has a lot to offer.
Different from many other schedulers, Later allows you to visually plan and schedule video, photo, and carousel posts to multiple accounts.
Impressive analytics identify what’s resonating with followers, what’s not, and when to best post for your audience.
Make your feed shoppable with Linkin.bio. Find and regram UGC by hashtag. Work from desktop, laptop, or mobile app.
One million users – including the likes of Yelp!, Lonely Planet, and The Huffington Post – can’t be wrong. Later + Instagram = Growth.
Hashtags matter. Posts with at least one hashtag get 12.6% more engagement than those without any.
Users typically search for new content and creators based on hashtags, so if you’re not using them, you may as well be invisible.
So where do you get them?
Hashtagify helps you track, find, and identify trending hashtags in real-time.
Having The Right Tools Is Great, But Without A Strategy They Won’t Do You Any Good
These are some of the top Instagram growth tools out there, but without an overall Instagram marketing strategy, it’s going to be much ado about nothing. Too many strings. Not enough hands.
You need someone overseeing the various tools, tactics, channels, and strategies. A behind-the-scenes operator pulling everything together on your behalf – watching and refining in real-time – so you can actually run your business.
You need a complete Instagram growth service.
How An Instagram Growth Service Company Like Social Upgrade Can Help You Grow Your Followers
Social Upgrade takes the logistics of growing your Instagram following out of your hands with our field-tested system. Sign up, and let us do the work for you, while you reap the benefits of a large, growing, and engaged Instagram audience.
Using targeted hashtags campaigns, we can identify, track, and engage with your existing and ideal users. We can deliver your content to the people that want and need to see it. We’ll monitor your competition, engage with their audience, and bring them into your flock.
That, and much more.
Instagram is becoming the social media platform. Are you taking advantage of that?
To rise above the crowd of one billion, you need to create spectacular, unique images and videos, monitor the right metrics, engage with and analyze your followers to better understand who they are and what they want, and actively tweak, refine, and polish.
These 14 growth tools represent just a fraction of those available, but if you don’t have the time to maximize their efforts, all the tools in the world aren’t going to get it done. You need a strategy to work with them.
Let us do what we do, leaving you the time and energy to do what you do. Our Instagram growth service takes you from a mere presence on the platform to a growing and influential presence.
And that makes all the difference.
How are you currently growing your Instagram following?