Whether you’re an influencer or a brand, by now you should know that there are no shortcuts to success, no easy ways to get to an impressive sum of followers, or staggering engagement rate. It takes lots of elbow grease. You’ve got to give people a reason to care, to follow, to click like, and comment. We’ve spoken about it before; about how finding your voice and developing it is important to yield the recognition you want. If you need a refresher (or happen to have missed it) click here to read our post. But if you’re up to date, and the headline of this post piqued your interest, let’s cut to the chase: There are a handful of tools we use that will help execute your social media strategies, particularly when it comes to designing, planning, posting, and monitoring your efforts. So without further adieu, here are the 3 tools we highly recommend:
First things first: Create. Before we get to tips on posting or tracking analytics, you’ve got to design what it is you’re putting out into the world. Afterlight is a great app to make your posts look the way they should. The new version (Afterlight 2) is $2.99 and worth every penny. It’s intuitive and easy to use; you can learn as you go, and with it you can:
- Edit – Hue/Saturation, Tones, etc.
- Dust & Light Leak Overlays – These are fun effects you can add on top of the photos to achieve a vintage aesthetic. *They’ve also added prism effects.
- Artwork & Text – You’re now able to add text to the photos. It’s customizable, too. Change the color, add a drop shadow, etc.
- Filters – As before, there are a ton of great filters you can use (that way you’re not limited to the ones on Instagram).
- Double Exposure – Another tool from the analog world, digitized and made available for you in this app. Self-explanatory: Put a picture on top of a picture.
- History – Don’t like a change you’ve made while editing? Undo!
- Full Quality Zoom – Your screen might be small, or your eyesight not that great; use this feature to get in close and make sure your photo looks as good as you think it does!
Now that you’ve got your content all designed and ready to go, it’s time to map it out. Planoly is the tool we recommend for scheduling. It’s available and accessible in app and web form. This one isn’t free either, it starts as low as $7 a month, and has other versions depending on your need (i.e. if there are multiple users—attention brands). But again, it’s worth it—and it’s tools are not limited to simply storing, scheduling, and arranging your posts. Admittedly, ours (as seen above) isn’t as coordinated as Planoly’s, for example, but we do what we can. For a terrific example of how to strategically arrange your post by color palate and hues, do yourself a favor and visit Planoly’s feed. It’s the perfect example of someone taking the time to map out their content in a visually stimulating manner.
As we said, that’s not the only benefit to Planoly!:
- Drag & Drop – As we detailed above: You can layout the posts so you can see how they’ll look once posted on your profile.
- Schedule – Yes, you’re not just arranging it. You can schedule your posts for as long in advance as you’d like.
- Auto Post – You can have Planoly send you a notification to tell you when it’s time to post, or you can “set it and forget it” by enabling Auto Post.
- PS. This includes Stories, too!
- Hashtag groups – On top of creating and storing your captions for the photos, you can use the Hashtag tool to create and save groups. For more on hashtag strategies, click here.
- Analytics – Planoly also pulls your engagement rates along with your top posts. (PS. Every profile on REP shows your engagement rate and audience interests, too, on top of other key analytics.)
Once you’re up and running, engaging with other users, and growing your following—you’ll likely want to know more about your audience; who has followed, who has unfollowed, etc. It might sound self-absorbed and a bit creepy, but ultimately, you want to know what’s resonating with your audience, who is dropping off, and who is checking you out. The more you know about your audience, the more you’ll know about yourself. Followers Tracker comes in a free version, but you’ll likely want to pay and unlock the other features:
- Account insights – Track your personal growth, likes and followers, etc. It’s a fairly comprehensive breakdown.
- Followers/Unfollowers – This is updated in realtime. Keep track of anyone who unfollowed and act accordingly.
- Ghost Follower – Yep! You can find out who’s been lurking your account.
PS. If you haven’t yet—consider turning your profile into a Business account on Instagram. You’ll be privy to a bunch of analytics that should be of interest to you. More on why and how to do it, here.
PPS. For other analytics tools, check out this list of 5 recommendations.