Instagram is the place to be for marketers. The number of monthly active users is at an all-time high and more people than ever are using the social network before they make a purchase or decide on a restaurant.
If you want to successfully market on Instagram, you need more than just the Instagram app on your iPhone. In this article, we'll show you 6 must-have Instagram marketing tools. These will help you make better content, get a better understand your audience, and increase engagement.
Social Report: analytics, direct Instagram scheduling, and more
First things first: you need a post scheduling and analytics tool at your disposal. More specifically, you need one that supports Instagram scheduling.
Our favorite is Social Report.
Social Report is the most full-featured social media management tool on the market. It has excellent smart scheduling tools, in-depth analytics and reporting, and even a social inbox that shows all of your brand's @mentions (on Instagram and elsewhere) and social media messages in one easy-to-digest inbox.
But best of all, the tool has support for direct scheduling to Instagram Business Profiles. This means that you don't need to transfer images from your computer to your iPhone to post to Instagram or use the "smartphone workaround" to schedule content. Just schedule it from the web, and you're good to go.
Even cooler, Social Report has a built-in image editor that you can use to add filters, crop, and make other adjustments to your photographs. This lets you take your images from start to finish without leaving the Social Report app. Sounds great to us!
VSCO: take your Instagram edits to another level
VSCO is the Instagram editor on stereroids. It has a ton of built-in filters, advanced editing features, and even a built-in photo sharing mini social network. Use the app to take your Instagram editing to the next level and make crisper and more engaging images. When you're ready to post, VSCO can automatically output your photo to an Instagram aspect ratio for easy posting.
VSCO has Android, iPad, and iPhone apps, so you can use it on-the-go no matter the device.
Canva: make graphics for Instagram from the web
If you’re looking to add visual flair to your blog posts, Canva is one of the best free media graphics tools around. There is a paid pro version, but the website’s free version already provides hundreds of professionally designed layouts, photos, illustrations, and font types. You can create engaging social media images with no previous graphic design skills or expensive Photoshop license needed.
You can export your image to an Instagram-ready size, so it's ready to post ASAP. The tool also support image sizing for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and more so you can easily cross-post your images across all of your social channels.
Social Drift: automate your Instagram growth hacks
Social Drift lets you put your Instagram growth on autopilot. After connecting your account, Social Drift automatically follows accounts, likes images, and comments on posts that are within your industry. This gets your name in front of new people and helps you gain followers.
But Social Drift doesn't like and comment on random images. You can customize the types of content that Social Drift interacts with to ensure you only get followers that are interested in your product or service. For example, the app lets you focus on certain demographics, follower counts, and more.
Using Social Drift to acquire new followers is more effective than buying followers to pad your follower count. Why? Simple: Social Drift brings real people that may become customers to your account, not fake accounts that were created with a script.
Remember though: these hacks don't work as well as they used to. It's important to supplement your Instagram growth hacks with high quality and engaging content so your content shows up at the top of your follower's feeds.
Storyheap: make Instagram Stories on the web
Love Instagram stories but hate making them on your smartphone? You're not alone.
And then we found Storyheap.
Storyheap is a web app that lets you create and schedule Snapchat and Instagram Stories in your web browser. The app has a drag-and-drop story builder, so it’s just as easy to make stories on Storyheap as it is in the Snapchat or Instagram app.
Even better, it has built-in filters and photo editing options, so you can spice up your stories without calling a designer.
After you're finished making your Story, Storyheap lets you publish it right away or schedule it for a later time. We like to make all of our stories on Monday morning and schedule them throughout the week. This saves time and lets our social media managers focus on other tasks.
Wishpond: easily make an Instagram contest
Running a photo contest is a great way to grow your Intagram following, increase engagement, and give back to your followers. You can host a "best" photo competition or simply host a raffle that requires your audience to like, share, or tag someone in an image.
Wishpond makes running these contests easier than ever. Using its Photo Contest feature, you can easily create photo contests complete with entry pages and galleries. Your audience can submit photos via Facebook, Instagram, or direct upload. Even better, you can require photos to have specific Instagram hashtags or a for entry.
Tip: Make sure to read our full guide on hosting an Instagram giveaway before starting one of your own. There are legalities and other nuances you should be aware of!
Armed with the right tools, you can make better and more engaging Instagram posts. Use these tools in-tandem to make the most impact quickly. On Twitter, tell us what tools you use to grow your Instagram account—we may include it in a future piece (with a shoutout, of course).
Want to schedule posts directly to Instagram? Use Social Report to manage your Instagram profiles.