Instagram marketing is getting more popular each month - in fact, just this week, Instagram has revealed that it now has more than 2 million active advertisers on the platform.
Given this, it's no surprise that various tools and apps are also being developed to assist with such efforts - there the tools that provide you with better filters (or just with more of them), analytical insights, scheduling capacity, growth hacking tips and monitoring options, among many other capabilities.
To help you sort through the ever-expanding list of Instagram tools, in this post, I've chosen the top five apps I use which add value to any marketing strategy on the app - which are also either free, freemium or include a free trial.
Here are five top Instagram marketing apps worth checking out.
What it does: Awario is a social media monitoring tool - it locates mentions of any given keyword (or keywords) across all the major social media platforms, including Instagram.
To find mentions of your brand or product in Instagram specifically, you need to set up an alert and untick all other social media platforms and the Web.
You'll then see mentions with and without the #hashtag, and you can reply to any mention without leaving the dashboard. You can also connect multiple Instagram accounts and reply using any of those without having to login and logout at any point.
Awario also helps you determine which mentions you should pay attention to by sorting mentions based on the mentioning accounts' number of followers. This is not always the key metric for all brands, but it does serve as a helpful prompt for particularly high profile responses.
Awario can also show you a list of brand-relevant Instagram influencers (people that have mentioned your product a lot and have a large number of followers), while there's also capacity to produce reports on mentions' analytics from the dashboard.
Available options: Awario offers a free trial for two weeks. The Starter plan, tailored for small companies, costs $19/mo (10 alerts, unlimited users).
Free version: https://awario.com/
What it does: Buffer is a scheduling app - it lets you schedule posts to be published to all the major social networks from your dashboard, though it does work a little differently for Instagram.
For most platforms, it's essentially a 'set and forget' process - you choose a time you want a post to be published, and to which network, and Buffer will take care of the rest. Instagram, however, doesn't allow third-party tools to post direct to the app, so after you've scheduled your post in Buffer, the Buffer app will send you a reminder about when to post on Instagram, based on your chosen date and time. The app will then redirects you into your Instagram account, where you can review your scheduled post, apply filters, and post it. Its helpful in ensuring you post at more relevant times and in managing your content strategy across various platforms from one place.
Available options: Buffer is a freemium app - you can connect one Instagram account for free. Awesome Plan, that starts with $10/month lets you add more than one account.
Free version: https://buffer.com/
3. Simply Measured
What it does: Simply Measured is a social analytics tool. Their Instagram Account Report provides clear stats and insights on the number of your posts, the breakdown of post types (e.g. video and photo), total engagement, engagement per post, the number of likes per photo, and how your overall performance is trending. It'll also help identify keyword mentions in the comments, filters that are performing best, locations of your top-performing posts, and the best days and times to engage with your audience.
The tool basically gives you a comprehensive overview of how effective your Instagram efforts are, what you have to change, and what exactly worked and should be repeated in future.
Available options: Simply Measured offers a free Instagram report for users with up to 25,000 followers.
Free version: https://simplymeasured.com/free-social-media-tools/
What it does: Crowdfire is one of the few tools that helps you grow followers with minimal effort.
Follower growth is the thing most social media marketers struggle with - it's one thing to post great content, it's another to get that content seen. What's more, you can't just have any followers, you need your key target audience to see your content - so how can you expand your audience and boost your Instagram footprint to get your strategy moving and build engagement?
To a large extent, Crowdfire helps you do exactly that. It lets you mass-follow the followers of your competitors, which, in most cases, will consist of the target audience you also want to reach.
Research shows that around 30% of the people you follow will follow you back, and that percentage is potentially higher if your product is something they might be interested in. To ensure constant follower growth, unfollow people that haven't followed you back a couple of days later - Crowdfire shows you who these people are and lets you mass-unfollow as well. All of this without you having to even log into Instagram.
Available options: Free users can add one Instagram account. Paid plans start at $9,99 and allow more users and some additional handy features. or full clarity on the plans available to you and your business, it's best to contact Crowdfire for more information.
Free version: https://web.crowdfireapp.com/
5. Instagram Insights
What it does: Instagram Insights provides you with all basic statistics you need to make sure your efforts on Instagram are reaching the right audience - and producing the result you want. If you don't have the time and resources to try out additional tools, or if you're not sure Instagram is even the way to go in your marketing strategy, start by using Instagram Insights.
You'll have access to free analytics once you've set up your Instagram business account - which you'll absolutely need in any case. The app will show you total impressions of your posts, their reach, profile views, and website clicks, and also the basic demographics of your audience and their top locations. You can also see the times of the day most of your followers are online, which can be extremely useful.
Available options: Free once you've set up your Instagram Business account.
Free version: https://www.instagram.com/
There are plenty of tools out there to help with your Instagram marketing efforts. To choose wisely, you should first formulate your business goals for Instagram. Are you looking to use it for brand exposure or to simplify purchasing? Are you going to carry out social media campaigns on Instagram? Will you use it for market research?
After you've established your goals, choose a couple of tools with free trials according to your key objectives, try them out, and go from there. I would, however, suggest you give one or two tools outside of your usual list a try once in a while - after all, sometimes you don't even realize you need a tool for something until you've tried it.