When it comes to getting exposure for you brand online, there’s no doubt that Instagram is the top way to get your brand or product out in front of potential customers with little-to-no advertising spend. With the exponential growth Instagram has seen in just the last 3 years, it’s not that much of a surprise that built-in analytics into the Instagram app itself has taken some time to develop. Or, if you’re lucky enough to have an employer or client that already understand the value of social media (you’ve already acheived a great hurdle), then you just want to know how to spend your time the most effectively.
When you’re working for a client, they typically only care about the ROI. “How are all these efforts that we’re paying you for (or not paying you for, if you’re a generous person) helping grow our business?” and it’s definitely a good question. In the meantime, while Instagram still works to build out their analytics platforms for businesses and brands, you need to be able to prove that what you’re doing is actually worth something beyond double-tap on their feed. Unless you’re lucky enough to have the best job in the world where you literally just get to play on Instagram all day (seriously, can we switch jobs?), posting on the company (or personal) Instagram page is probably just one of many things you have to do to get through your day.
Those who know me well, know I’m an economical person. Like I’m so economical that I should get “why should I pay someone to do it for me when I can do it for myself for free?” tattooed somewhere on my body. That being said, the apps I’m about to suggest are not only free (yay!) or mostly free (still yay!), they actually give quite robust details that you can share with your client or employer to prove the value of social media.
I have to give mad props to the designer Zachary Shakked. Command is my go-to app when it comes to Instagram analytics. In the free version alone, you can get:
- best days/times to post
- most liked posts
- most commented posts
- most engaged followers
- so, so much more.
There are in-app purchases available where you can purchase access to most popular hashtags used on your posts as well as manage your followings. Seriously, this app is amazing. Really the only limitation I’ve found so far is that it’s only available on mobile, so if you’re trying to write a report or share some important numbers with your clients/employer, it’s gonna take some switching back and forth. But for such detailed information and for free, I’m okay with making the sacrifice.
Forgive me for screaming but, WHY HAS IT TAKEN SO LONG FOR THIS TO BECOME A THING AND WHY AREN’T THERE MORE!? I LOVE Hopper. I don’t use it for my personal accounts because I’m definitely not cool enough to plan out my Instagram posts at really any time in advance, but I did recommend it to my coworkers and use it at my office. Previously, all of my clients were real estate, so I was curating a home decor lifestyle feed. I planned out every single one of my posts for the entire month and it was plug and play. In conjunction with Command or Websta, Hopper will hands down make your life easier. It includes the option to:
- add filters
- add text
- crop/rotate photos
- schedule well in advance
- add comments
- add emojis to captions
- and more!
Okay so I have 2 disadvantages to using Hopper. The first one being that it’s not free (#sad). But starting at just $19/month, it’s definitely budget-friendly. The second disadvantage is something that you wouldn’t know until you’ve actually started using the software, and that’s that because their servers are based in Germany, when you first set up an Instagram account, make sure you have access to the email address that your Instagram is associated with. I cannot stress this enough. If you forgot the password or it belongs to someone else, make sure someone that you can talk to has access to the email account. Instagram sees it as someone trying to hack you account, so they’ll first send you a verification code via email. If you cannot confirm this code, you will be permanently locked out of your account. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. But once you’ve verified the account through Instagram itself, then you’re good to go and don’t have to worry about it again.
Another awesome analytics app! Websta is a desktop-only analytics platform for Instagram. Here you can see things like
- best times to post
- most liked posts
- total number of liked posts
- most popular hashtags
- and more!
When used in conjunction with Command, you’d pretty much be an Instagram analytics guru. You can use you new found knowledge to go out in the world and optimize your Instagram postings, thereby making all of your efforts more effective (yay!)
The only disadvantage I’ve found for this app so far is that it does take a little while to aggregate the data. That’s just the nature of the beast. So if you’re in a rush to get the kind of data mentioned above, you’ll be out of luck for about 24 hours. You will get an email from Websta once it’s ready and you also have the option to get a daily digest emailed to you of your number of posts, followers and following, plus, once you log in you’ll get the aforementioned data and more.
UNUM is basically Planoly (formerly known as Planogram) but free. Plan out your next 16 Instagram posts in a beautiful feed in UNUM, and when you’re ready to post, you can do so from right inside the app. In UNUM you can:
- split one Instagram post into 9 posts to really highlight that one product or service
- edit the image before you post it (lighting, colouring, cropping, rotating, add text, basically everything you can do in the native Instagram app and more
- prewrite your captions and rework them before you send your post out
One thing I would love is if you could schedule right within the app. You could pair UNUM with something like Hootsuite and get a notification when it’s time to post, but that seems like so much extra work for a very minor reason. Otherwise, aesthetically and functionally this app is fantastic, and I definitely recommend it to anyone planning a storyline or curating a certain look/feel on your Instagram timeline.
Have you tried any of the apps mentioned above? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
*I have not been paid to mention any of the aforementioned apps, I just enjoy sharing my knowledge and sharing economical ways to grow your online communities!