One thing that has remained consistent over the past few years is Instagram’s potential to put your brand — both personal and company — directly in front of your specific target market.
It’s the social media platform experiencing the most rapid growth in the Millennial demographic, and its monthly active users are predicted to exceed 111 million this year.
My company develops and brings ecommerce brands to the market, and one of the first questions asked during the research and development phase is whether or not the product can easily be marketed on Instagram. If not, the idea is scrapped.
Instagram marketing can help you scale your brand quickly, and there are multiple tools available to help you along the way, each with their own strong points, depending on your specific needs and strategy on Instagram.
Here are ten Instagram tools to take a look at — and test drive — to help you fully leverage the social media network that is currently home to the most consumer attention.
To attract followers on Instagram, you often need to give before you receive. However, manually liking and commenting on content can be extremely time consuming.
That’s where an automation tool like SocialCaptain comes in. It interacts with other Instagram profiles so you don’t have to do everything manually.
Through the use of artificial intelligence, SocialCaptain is able to find and target real users that match your target audience. You can configure it to likes content, follow users and comment on similar content.
I suggest using something like this in addition to doing manual interaction. If you rely 100 percent on automation your approach can be viewed as spammy and not authentic. Leverage automation, but don’t rely on it 100 percent.
Hootsuite is the go-to scheduling tool for many — it’s one of the original social media scheduling and management tools and it’s compatible with most social networks.
You can manage your Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest accounts all through a single dashboard.
Hootsuite now allows you to publish content directly to Instagram, which is something that was lacking in the past. While Instagram offers a huge opportunity, you also can’t put all of your eggs in one basket.
This tool allows you to schedule content on all social media channels in advance, ensuring you have content set to drip across every network your audience resides on.
Grum is a scheduling tool as well, similar to Hootsuite. However, it’s specifically geared toward Instagram. If the majority of your marketing is on Instagram, some of its little features make this something worth checking out.
For example, it can be set to post content at a future date without needing you to confirm it later — which is something required with Hootsuite.
Another useful feature is the ability to automatically add the first comment to any of your posts. If you use hashtags, including them in the caption can sometimes dilute your message. Adding them as the first comment can make your content look a bit cleaner.
Tailwind is a multipurpose tool for Instagram, as well as Pinterest. It is a scheduler, analytics tool, user-generated content manager, social listening tool, hashtag monitor and audience manager.
Additionally, it’s built for team-based collaboration and has the ability to manage multiple Instagram accounts at once.
Tailwind is used by major brands such as eBay, Walmart, General Mills and Viacom. It’s also an official Instagram partner, leaving no doubt to whether or not it’s safe to use.
To succeed on Instagram, you need to pay close attention to analytical data, and Hashtracking is an easy to use tool that helps track your progress, analyze your performance, refine your content, expand your following and develop more effective campaigns.
Have you ever noticed some of the most successful brands on Instagram stick to a very limited color scheme? It’s a trend that is becoming more effective because it works.
Hashtracking has a feature built in, which it calls ColorTracking. It allows you to organize results based on the colors found in your content and discover the color schemes responsible for driving the most engagement.
Minter is another Instagram analytics tool, but in addition to receiving detailed insights about your own account, you can also keep tabs on competitors in your niche, which is the main reason I find this tool helpful.
By monitoring some of the more popular accounts in your niche, it allows you to stay on top of what’s popular and trending, allowing you to map out a content strategy that is more likely to attract and engage your target audience.
For agencies reading this looking for a tool to help run client campaigns, Minter allows you to export your data as a PDF, CSV, an Excel file or a PowerPoint presentation.
You can also include your logo to create branded reports, which can be scheduled to be sent out to clients on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
While Instagram is an amazing social network in terms of brand exposure, it doesn’t make for a particularly good marketplace. Why? Well, Instagram doesn’t allow links in captions — the only place you can include a URL is in your bio.
This can make driving users to your website to convert a struggle.
Boost is a tool that changes the way purchases are initiated on Instagram. Once you have Boost set up, all your customers need to do is use your custom hashtag — they can comment or text your #hashtags to make a purchase.
They are prompted via SMS to approve and finalize the purchase. It’s simple, fast and doesn’t require any downloads. It’s a great option for brands that want to get away from the exhausted “Link in bio” call-to-action.
Crowdfire is a social media management app that features several different tools in one. It is a post scheduler, content curator, follower manager, analytical insight and mention tracker.
While it’s a great addition to any Instagram marketing effort, it’s a couple other features that make it something I often recommend.
First, it works with a lot of platforms that don’t have many options, in terms of available tools. Crowdfire works with Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, WordPress, Etsy, Shopify, Medium, 500px, Vimeo and more.
Second, it has a Chrome extension that allows you to share any page on the internet to all of your social media accounts in two clicks.
Reposting content is a common activity on Instagram. Many brands repost in order to share user-generated content made by their customer, fans and followers. However, it can be a major inconvenience, since Instagram has yet to introduce any features to do it instantly.
You still need to download the image and then reupload it yourself.
Repost is an app that streamlines that process, allowing you to repost any photo or video, giving credit to the original poster too, which is always suggested when sharing other people’s content.
Reposting user-generated content featuring your products is one way to really get your customers excited to share on social media. Something as simple as reposting their content featuring your brand is an easy way to build long-term relationships.
Over gives you access to a full creative suite in the palm of your hand. You can use it to edit images, add text and enhance your content with a variety of filters. Over also has a large library of stock images and professionally designed visual templates to choose from.
Over was developed with Instagram Stories in mind. Stories allow you to really command the viewer’s attention and if you have access to the “swipe up” feature it’s a great way to drive sales using creative content.
If you have limited image and video editing experience, an app like this makes it easy for anyone to create compelling content.
This story originally appeared in Entrepreneur. Image courtesy of Anastasia Prish/Getty Images.