Unless you know how to (magically) go viral, building an Instagram following is a tough business.
For a platform that’s constantly changing its algorithm, it can sometimes seem impossible to truly start gaining traction. And while we’ve seen lists like Social Rocketer consistently rank the best tools for Instagram, the temptation to forgo any platform and simply buy some followers is always dangling there in the air. However, doing that can not only tarnish your reputation…but end up losing more of your base than you would have gained.
The bright side, though is that there are plenty of tools out there to help start gaining followers and traction quickly. That’s why we compiled a list of some of the best analytics, design, editing, and collaboration software on the market to help bolster your following ASAP. Check them out below:
One of the top platforms out for attracting active followers, Hashtag For Likes has grown amongst the ranks of marketers for its intuitive platform that enables them to do hashtag research seamlessly. With a free and premium version, the research tool can not only tell you the strength of a hashtag but additionally provide insights into how you can improve your basket of tags as well. All-in-all, Hashtagforlikes is a premiere research tool to check out, and definitely something to help boost your follower count quickly on Instagram.
Social Gone Viral
The classic visual tool, PhotoShop can be a great tool if you’re a designer working solo that wants to keep consistency with their Instagram assets. As the platform has only gotten better with time, the best part of using PhotoShop is the ability to keep your branding materials all in-line under templates, which as noted by Zimmer Communications, with color increasing brand recognition by 80 percent, having consistent visuals is a must. Although still one of the pricier options for designing on the list, it’s also one of the most robust and easy-to-use.
For how much we hear about influencer marketing, BuzzSumo is the perfect tool for capturing the research behind that. As noted in a survey by The Influencer Marketing Hub, 92 percent of marketers believe Instagram is the most important social platform for influencer marketing, which is where BuzzSumo has gotten ahead of the market. From micro to macro (and everyone in between) check them out if you need a little help learning who exactly to target for your next campaign, as well as why they’re the ideal fit.
If editing photos isn’t exactly your forte, then Polarr is the app for you. As an AI photo editor, their platform aggregates the data from several sources to find what’s the best filters and settings to use. Perfect for those looking to produce visual assets quickly, Polarr is an absolute must to making your Instagram photos look pristine.
The compliment of PhotoShop, Lightroom helps tremendously with photo editing and finishing. Although utilized more by seasoned photographers, Lightroom is a great tool to learn in developing a knack for producing original content on your photos.
As one of the biggest social media management platforms out, Buffer is the perfect solution for scheduling, collaborating, and building out your social media strategy with your team. With a clean, smart design that anyone can hop on and use, Buffer’s biggest strength is their ability to keep building new products and services within their platform that are not only useful but easy to use from day one. Although their pricing varies per their lineup of products and services, each one of them is well worth every cent.
According to Trace Security, 81 percent of company data breaches are due to poor password protection. And you know what happens when someone hacks your Instagram? Suddenly, we lose all our following and have to start over from square one. Instead, utilizing a service like LastPass can help tremendously in keeping your account protected and secured.
For those who have never designed before, Canva is the perfect solution for you. With simple and easy click-and-drag options, they offer an array of templates and options to use for your Instagram stories and posts. With a ton of great features in their Free version, check them out if you or your team want something everyone can collaborate on.
The competitor of Buffer, Hootsuite is a social media management tool that has made vast improvements with their Instagram integration. As a pretty feature-rich platform, HootSuite’s biggest claim to fame is their in-depth analytical tracking. This is an especially great option if you’re looking for an option to help scale into an enterprise-level quickly.
One of the most unique platforms out, IFTTT (If This Then That) helps with automating functions and features across multiple platforms. With a vast listof different functions, IFTTT is an excellent choice if you’re looking to bring traffic in from other platforms; for example, aggregating posts from your WordPress directly into your Instagram feed. Check them out if you’re looking to make your Instagram marketing efforts run more full-circle.
An underrated marketing aspect of Instagram is link-tracking, which is often where we analyze the success of a campaign. Although Bitly made its mark as a link shortener for Twitter, they’ve since improved into being a great use for Instagram campaigns as well. Give them a shot if you’re looking to test results on just how far your content goes.
Influential is an AI-powered platform that helps in analyzing your Instagram audience. This is a platform used by such household names like Pepsi, Wells Fargo, McDonald’s, and even Venmo to gain more insights on their bases. With how much smart data can help inform better decisions, Influential is a top-choice if you’re looking to run campaigns like they do in the big leagues.
While some marketers frown on reposting content, MeetEdgar is looking to not only combat that trend but put up real numbers with it as well. As a platform that schedules and automates your content, they not only take away the heavy lifting but help with the aspects you may not have thought of…such as user-generated content. Which, as noted by Pixlee, with 59 percent of millennials stating that UG helped them inform purchase decisions on major electronics, MeetEdgar is the type of platform that smashes expectations left and right.
Although we hate to admit it, a lot of us get our news from social media. In fact, according to Pew Research’s Center for Journalism, 67 percent of Americans report they get at least some of their news from their social feeds (and yes, that includes Instagram as well). To help you choose which news is relevant to you, a tool like Feedly can be great to add into the arsenal, providing an aggregate of news specific to your industry. Check them out if you’re looking to improve the quantity of content you’re providing, as well as your insights as a thought leader.
Repost For Instagram
As it can get messy screenshotting and reposting content, a service like Repost For Instagram can be a great addition to your arsenal. Not only do they give the original creator credit, but also leaves the content (whether it be photo or video) in pristine condition. Perfect for the times you’re asking for feedback or survey results.
A completely free tool to use, IG Audit helps sniff out fake followers on your account (as well as your competition’s, if you choose). While you might be thinking that every account probably has a few fakes in there, you’d be surprised at not only how many people build an organic following, but how quickly fans will turn away from you if they find out you’ve been faking the funk. Instead, it’s smart to check yourself and sniff out those who could bring down your reputation.
Facebook For Business
Of course, advertising on Instagram can always be a great choice for building up your follower base. If you’re not familiar, Facebook For Business(Facebook’s advertising platform) is as robust as it gets when it comes to learning about your audience. With targetting that can include from where someone attended high school to what’s their estimated income, running some advertising campaigns on Instagram is always a wise choice in learning more about what type of content you should be producing to attract more followers.
As an analytics platform, Sprout Social is a big help with finding who your authentic audience is. Utilized by some of the top brands in the world like Subaru, Ticketmaster, and Edelman, they offer an all-in-one solution that can help quite a bit in getting to know your base. Which, as noted by Vision Critical, with brand authenticity being listed second only to loyalty discounts for millennial customers, it’s an absolute must to know how you can tap into your audience consistently.
One of the fastest rising platforms out for Instagram, Later has been a stellar addition to the analytics and performance world. Perhaps you’ve seen their flagship product LinkInBio (which offers an aggregator for all your posts), Later has a whole arsenal of tools to check out, as well as some of the most insightful content on the market. Yes, Later is an absolute gem, and definitely a great addition to any social media marketing basket of tools.
According to TechCrunch, Instagram completed a major overhaul last November and cleaned house on a lot of fake followers. Although this helped tremendously, one of the best systems to come out in keeping transparency on fake followers is Hype Audit, which offers full, in-depth reporting on any profile you want. Although you have to pay for the extensive version, it can be well worth it in checking the health of both your profile as well as your competitions.
If you’re looking for more of a customized, branded solution for your profile links, then Linktree is your best bet. As you’ve probably most likely seen their work on the pages of musicians, videographers, and producers, their platform enables you to design a beautiful one-stop-shop for your latest single, project, or campaign.
A stronghold in the visual editing industry, VSCO is not only a great photo editing app, but also has an amazing community as well. Especially as a lot of Instagram photographers utilize multiple editors, this isn’t a bad one to keep in the bag…especially if you’re looking for a group of like-minded individuals in the photo community.
A rising force in the data aggregation world, Iconosquare is an excellent choice for monitoring, publishing, and analytics, providing a platform that hosts everything in a clean, beautiful interface. As one of the most unique features is its ability to add multiple team members to an array of Instagram accounts, Iconosquare is an excellent choice to consider if you’re working with multiple agencies or partners from different disciplines.
On average, hashtags raise engagement on posts by approximately 12.6 percent, which is why utilizing like a service like Autohash can be so clutch. With Autohash, you’ll be given an array of different hashtags to use in your posts based on categories, saving you from having to do the heavy lifting and research. Check them out if you’re looking to add some clusters of tags to your posts.
As an app provided by Instagram themselves, Boomerang is an absolute must to check out. While we’ve all seen the types of back-and-forth videos they produce based on short (1-2 second) clips, this is always a fun choice to throw into your marketing mix for creating content.
A tool recently released by Buffer, Buffer Reply is a customer service messaging app that can help you manage and respond to customer questions quickly on Instagram. As noted by Convince and Convert, 40 percent of customers who complain on social media expect an answer within one hour, which is exactly what Buffer Reply helps you combat. Give them a spin if you’re looking for a customer service manager to utilize with your team.
For those of us who’ve never edited a video before, Magisto’s intuitive platform makes it easy. Specifically designed to be an online editor for social, the editor makes it fun and easy to make videos quickly, which even includes an array of stock video to blend in as well. Yes, Magisto makes it simple to make high-quality videos without the need of a shooter, editor or production team.
If you’ve ever wondered about your reputation on pages that are not your own, then Brand24 is an excellent platform to use. They’re impressively able to scour through multiple pages to see if anyone is talking about your brand, as well as what type of feedback is being given. An especially great solution if you’re doing reputation tracking on an enterprise-level scale.
While it may come as a surprise, utilizing a platform like MailChimp to increase your following is actually a pretty smart idea. As noted by Hubspot, for every $1 spent on email marketing, an average of $38 is seen in return, which shows how much you can tap into a mailing list to boost your Instagram following. Getting started on email marketing not only will help increase engagement overall but drive people towards your Instagram directly every time you send out a blast.
As a scheduling app, Tailwind’s aim is to reduce clutter when aggregating content for your page. With a few different tools that can hold their own amongst the competition for Instagram, they’re an especially great addition for any small business team looking for a smart visual marketing platform.
For how important it is to learn where you’re traffic is coming to your Instagram, it’s also important to learn where it’s going out. By utilizing a platform like Google Analytics, you can not only begin to see what traffic is coming from Instagram to your website, but who, where and what type of customers are visiting your website but how you can utilize this data to increase your ad spend or organic marketing efforts. With free courses available from Google, learning Analytics can help make you better not just at Instagram, but digital marketing overall.
Hopper is a scheduling and analytics platform for Instagram with a mobile-first approach in mind. By offering multiple account management, Hopper is helpful in taking all the content you’re creating on desktop and making it seamlessly convert to mobile. Give them a shot if you’re looking for a platform that makes bulk management simple.
If you’ve ever seen an in-app buying on a regular Instagram account, chances are it was most likely Like2Buy. As one of the most popular tools used by fashion influencers, their big claim to fame is the ability to enable in-app buying without having to convert to a business account. Perfect for one-off purchases or limited-run sales, this is a great option to have in your back pocket for future campaigns.
Social Rank is a great way for you to get feedback on your audience without ever having to ask them. As 65 percent of a company’s business comes from existing customers, utilizing insights like this is an absolute must in not only retention but increasing sales as well. With a separate section completely for content tracking, check them out if you’re looking to build a stronger and stronger Instagram base.
As an alternative to Facebook For Business, AdEspresso enables you to conduct Instagram advertising campaigns directly from their platform. What makes this easier is it takes all the functionality and features of Facebook For Business, only delivering them in a much more seamless and easy-to-use platform. The best part? AdEspresso also makes it much more simple to work with teams on your campaigns as well.
A data-driven platform for influencer marketing, HYPR can be clutch in your research for which influencers to reach out to. As a big part of hiring influencers is focusing in on ROI, HYPR is great for targetting the niche or micro-influencers that will give you the best engagement and response for your posts. Although a relative newcomer, their smart approach to understanding the relationship between audiences and influencer campaigns will help them lead the charge, and definitely a company to keep an eye out for any upcoming influencer work.
An AI-based platform, Focalmark is a great tool for hashtag creation. Partly based on humans, partly based on algorithms, their goal is to increase visibility quickly. Give them a chance if you’re aim is to connect your photos to a wider audience at a rapid pace.
To round out our list is Juicer, which is an aggregator for all of your social media feeds into one place. As a quick way to ensure your posts are running full-circle, this can be an effective way of tracking how everything is going, as well as cross comparing your Instagram account against other platforms. Give them a shot if you’re looking for a solution to keep everything under one roof.
If you find yourself collaborating quite a bit on Instagram Stories and Posts with your team, then Figma is the app for you. With a free version that’s wildly impressive, Figma enables designers to work together in real-time in a project, which saves tremendously on having to go back and forth. And with 63 percent of users accessing the platform daily, the need to continuously produce original content quickly is a must; however, that’s exactly what Figma helps expedite to run smooth.