Three Tools That are Instagram Game Changers
Treat social media like a business. You’ll see higher engagement rates with your followers, build trust and personality, and notice an increase in traffic to your site.
Mandy Kellogg Rye from Waiting on Martha said it best during her session at the Southern C Summit: “social media is a business.” Since launching Lavin Label, a lifestyle blog, in March of 2015, I can personally tell you, she’s right. Having adopted the business mindset of social media early on, I have seen first hand the growth of my readership and engaged followers.
In her recent article for the Southern C, Mandy Edwards recommends focusing on the platform the majority of your audience is on and going to them. Personally, I could not agree more. For Lavin Label, our most engagement is on Instagram. In fact, Instagram has become for many social media savvy consumers, a first look into identifying what your brand is all about. If they like what they see, they become more likely to go to your website and invest the time to learn what your brand has to offer.
Given the power Instagram offers to grow a brand, check out the three tools that helped me increase followers and maximize engagement for Lavin Label:
1. Learn your Instagram Analytics with Iconosquare. If you use Instagram, then find a third party app that allows you to see important data to maximize your use. Iconosquare is a free application that I use. It runs reports daily. The 3 main areas that I delve deeper in my daily reports are:
- New + Lost Followers. Followers come and go daily. Don’t worry, we’ve all been dumped on Instagram. It’s the nature of the platform. Some accounts are spammers or fakes and they get deactivated; some accounts are just looking to increase their followers and will unfollow you if you don’t follow them back. But there are a few things you can learn from this data.
- If you’re losing more followers than you are gaining, look at your own patterns. Are you posting too much? Is the content that you are posting valuable to your followers? Do your images reflect your brand? If you need tips on how to keep our Instagram feed interesting, check out Lauren Hopkins’ recent article on the Southern C.
- I usually look at the profile of the person that unfollowed me. Is there anything that I can glean? Do we have different interests? Is it a fake account?
- Community Engagement. Iconosquare allows me to see when my Instagram followers are most engaged. It gives a great snapshot of when they are most active by day of the week and time. So when are the best times to post to Instagram? Well, it all depends on your community.
Screenshot above from Iconosquare Statistics showing posting habits.
- Most Engaged Followers. Iconosquare also tells you your top 10 most engaged followers. I always look at this list. If they have similar interests, I usually follow them back and engage with their content. This is helpful in many ways.
- It tells you who your followers are. What do they like? What do they eat + drink? Where do they shop? What are their hobbies?
- It shows them that you appreciate their support + likes. This is what helps build trust and community, I think, on Instagram.
2. Post pictures to your Twitter Account from Instagram with IFTTT. If you are limited on time and you do not create content specifically for Twitter, then you should check out IFTTT. We all know that Instagram has a share button that allows you to instantly share your content to other social media platforms. However, when you share to Twitter it does not bring over the images like it does to Facebook. This was a big deal breaker for me because I didn’t want my Twitter feed to be just text and links. So, I set up recipes with https://ifttt.com and every time I post an image on Instagram it publishes the text AND image to Twitter. You don’t even have to press the Share button. Yes, this was a game changer for me. As a result, I’ve have been retweeted by Tibi, Pier 1 and Minted. If I didn’t have this set up, I’m pretty certain that they would not have retweeted plain, boring text.
3. Take iPhone Photography Seriously using Snapseed. I use the apps Snapseed and VSCOcam daily on my iPhone. There are other apps that you can use as well. However, I really like Snapseed because of their gesture based controls and ease of use. For example, I can easily adjust brightness in select areas by swiping the screen. Once I edit the image using the app, I pull it into Instagram. I rarely use the filters that Instagram offers.
I created a timelapse video that shows you the impact that Snapseed can make on your images.
Photo Editing Example from Monica Lavin
I’d love to hear your tips and tricks, too! Please let me know which editing + analytic apps that you use! I am constantly learning how to improve and hope you have found this article to be helpful!
Featured Image: Lavin Label courtesy of Kelli Boyd Photography
Hi Monica! I love your tips – I just downloaded Iconosquare and signed up for IFTT (I’ve never heard of it 🙂 I, too, use VSCOcam daily but haven’t played much with Snapseed. I steer clear of the Instagram filters but will sometimes bump up the sharpness, brightness, and tone down the temp. Thank you so much for sharing what works for you – you have a beautiful feed! ~rachel
Great tips! I am new to Instagram and was not familiar with any of these tools. Thanks for sharing, I enjoy your I-gram posts!
Thanks Laura and Rachel! Please let me know how it works for you. (And please do share what else you might try!) I also use Schedugram to schedule my IG posts and that’s worked really well, too. Thanks again!