I have always loved Instagram, and while it is not my main focus (I am more of a Facebook girl) I do enjoy testing and tinkering with Instagram. I can also happily say that I have NEVER used a bot or automated service to grow my engagement or following, which I think speaks volumes for the type of following I actually want (hint the kind that matters to my business and my life)

Check me out on Instagram

 

Today for Tool Time Tuesday I want to share with you some of the handy dandy Instagram tools I use to help make the whole experience better and more manageable.

 

 

First up I want to talk about hashtags. Hashtags are a vital part of any good Instagram strategy. Instagram caps your hashtag per post use to 30. My suggestion is to go for 30 on every post but at the very minimum 11. Now finding the right hashtags can be a chore so the following tools are helpful to manage that process and get you back to your day.

 

Hashtags:

For Display Purposes 

This has quickly become one of my favorite tools that I use. Because I schedule about 90% of my Instagram post (using tools I will be discussing in a moment) I like to have a useful desktop friendly tool I can use to search and find relevant hashtags to cut and paste into my posts quickly. For Display, Purposes does all that and more. Not only can you search relevant hashtags, but it also gives you suggestions AND formats your chosen hashtags in a way that is easy to cut and paste, including the use of the five dot layout.

 

hashtagify.me

A popular hashtag research tool that allows you to search and find relevant hashtags based on their usage. I don’t use this tool as much as the others since I discovered that many of the suggestions are not as good as other tools give, but it is worth noting because it is so popular among IG users.

 

Leetags (mobile app)

This is my go-to hashtag app that I use when I am posting unscheduled posts on the go. Leetags is a mobile app available for both Android and iOS. You search a hashtag, and it gives you a list of relevant hashtags that you may want to use. It also gives you stats on how often those hashtags are used. It is VERY easy to operate this tool as it features simple click functions with easy copy and paste.

 

Schedule:

 

Later 

Later is a fantastic social media scheduling tool that allows you to schedule out and plan your Instagram posts and feed. They offer a full suite of tools that can help curate, post, plan and measure your Instagram strategy. I love how you can pre-schedule out posts then they get pushed to your mobile device to be published. Although I no longer use Later myself, I do recommend it as a straightforward and clean solution for anyone wanting to pre-plan their Instagram posts.

 

Buffer 

Since leaving Later, I have brought all my social networks into Buffer. I have always been a buffer fan. I  have been using Buffer for well over 5 years to schedule out all kinds of social media content across platforms for not only myself but also my clients. WHen they introduced the integration with Instagram, I knew I wanted it all under one roof. Buffer is a fantastic tool that does much of the same things as Later. Schedule out your Instagram posts, and they will push to your device at the scheduled time so you can post them.

 

A note on scheduling tools in Instagram: It is currently against Instagram Terms of Service to use a schedule company or tool that posts for you. So if you do, do so at your own risk. The tools I suggest are well within the TOS because they push posts to your phone where you manually post them. If you are managing anyone else’s Instagram accounts, I would like to stress the importance of not using any tools that could potentially get your client’s accounts shut down.

 

Repost:

 

Curating user-generated content with tools that allow you to repost can be a very effective way to grow your Instagram following. If you wish to do this I would suggest an app called Repost.  The Repost for Instagram app is stupid easy to use and allows you to give credit to the original source.

 

Since we are on the topic of Reposting. I think it is very important that we discuss at least briefly the legal around reposting someone’s work on Instagram. In terms of copyright you do not have the right to use any kind of app or copy and use anyone else’s work on Instagram without their permission. Instagram is not designed like Facebook, which makes it easy to share while attaching the original source. I have heard and seen stories of people getting sued for a simple repost without asking. The easy solution is to simply ask. Most people will say yes, some people will say nothing, some will charge you for the use of their photos and some may say no thank you. But you better just be safe rather than sorry.

 

Be sure to ask before you repost OR ELSE

Via Buffer:

To get permission for reposting the post, you can use any one of the following ways:

Send the post owner a direct message

Comment on the post
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