Instagram can be a frustrating social network for marketers to manage. Originally created for use solely on smartphones, Instagram has slowly allowed brands more access to the social network from the convenience of a computer should you use a general social media dashboard tool that supports posting to Instagram – I recommend AgoraPulse for this purpose. However, compared to other social networks, analytics and tools access is limited. For example, Twitter allows developers to access a great deal of intel, which in turn provides marketers a plethora of options to gain visibility into their marketing efforts. Instagram, and the few tools that exist to support Instagram marketing, are limited in what they can offer you.
Those who have seen me speak on the topic of Instagram and how it compares to other social networks understand that Instagram is closer to Twitter in concept than it is to Facebook. Simply put, there are many social signals that brands can send from their Instagram business page that they simply can’t do from a Facebook fan page. While business pages on Instagram provide you some limited analytics and the ability to boost posts, their core functionality does not differ from that of an Instagram user. In other words, similar to Twitter, Instagram provides brands unparalleled opportunities for organic engagement that the pay-to-play Facebook fan pages and LinkedIn company pages do not.
In my never-ending search for social media tools, I happened to find the Instagram marketing tool Combin sometime ago. No, this is not one of those bot tools that will get your account restricted. It is also not a “tool” that is in business to simply sell you fake followers or engagement. Combin is an intelligent marketing tool that provides you a wealth of intelligence around your community and potential users you should engage with. You do have the ability to perform actions scheduled from Combin to be done on Instagram, but all of these actions are done on a one-on-one basis and can also be done by yourself on Instagram.com without using a 3rd party too to perform these actions. In other words, by using this tool correctly, you will not be in violation of any Instagram terms of service.
Combin is not a web-based SAAS service but an actual Instagram marketing app that you install on your computer. I have a Mac and can attest that the app works perfectly in this environment. I assume that it will work equally well in Windows. Linux is also supported for the tech geeks out there.
So how exactly does Combin provide you visibility into your Instagram marketing efforts?
Analyze Your Instagram Marketing Performance
When you login to Combin, the first thing you will see is your profile like the one pictured above. Under each of the photos that you have been posted to Instagram, you will be able to see the number of likes and comments per photos. I have found that this screen is simply the easiest way to visually and quickly understand which types of visual images are working and which aren’t. If you have followed my advice and siloed your content into content buckets, you can easily calculate averages and use this intelligence to tweak your content strategy and aim for the goal of 1.5%, then 2%, and ideally 3% engagement on all of your photos. If you have a brand page, these numbers will become more and more difficult as social network algorithms will always favor people over brands. More to come on this in a future blog post.
Understand Your Followers
If you’re reading this you probably are already active on Instagram and have accumulated a few hundred or a few thousand followers on Instagram. Who are these users? Combin will display all of your followers – and followings – and allow you to sort them as follows:
- Those you follow who follow you back
- Those you follow who don’t follow you back
- Your followers who you follow
- Your followers who you don’t follow back
Being able to see this information on a large screen – and under each photo having the ability to immediately jump to the Instagram.com profile page of any user – will give you a great feel for who is in your community, who has reciprocated your follow, who is following you that you might want to consider following back, and so on.
Find Your Influential Followers
An extension of understanding your followers is the ability to easily search users by number of followers, and in doing so quickly understand who amongst your followers might be an influencer. As I write in my upcoming book on influence marketing The Business of Influence – that social influence is not equal to size of community – clearly those that are more influential tend to have larger communities than the average user. By providing functionality to easily view your Instagram followers in descending order by number of followers they have, Combin does give you incredible visibility in helping you assess who just might be the influencer(s) lurking in your community that you might want to focus your engagement on. It might also help recommend which potential influencer you might want to consider following back as well.
Search for Instagram Influencers
Up until now I have discussed the ability to analyze your own profile as well as your community of followers and followings. What about the rest of Instagram? Combin has you covered with its search functionality. The beauty of doing searches on Combin is not only the ability to sort through the search results by number of followers, but also the ability to filter the results in the following ways:
Searching by hashtag and/or location allows you to filter by when the post was posted (Anytime, last two weeks, last week, or last day).
Searching by users allows you to find followers or commenters of each user in addition to being able to filter out only those followers that have been active over the past week.
Note that both types of searches allow you to leverage Combin’s new machine-learning technology. This is how Combin describes it in their own words:
The implementation of machine-learning enhanced analysis to Combin has optimized the search of Instagram accounts and posts, determining mutual interaction capable accounts with 90% accuracy. Taking into account such attributes as followers and following count, total amount of posts, publishing frequency, advertisement presence, and various interrelationships between these attributes, Combin analyzes the accounts and posts matching the search query and then filters out interaction inefficient users and their content.
In other words, with machine-learning enhanced analysis, Combin can place a filter among search results that, in effect, will rid the results of bots and other accounts that aren’t worth your time to engage with.
Find Your Potential Community
Influencer marketing is about marrying a community, not a campaign to engage with a select few individual users who have a large following. Combin allows you to easily sort through @usernames and #hashtags to help you find who you should consider putting on your radar for future engagement. The ability to see the commenters who engage with the influencers you might be targeting gives you a feel of estimating their audience demographic. By spending a little time doing some @username and #hashtag searches on Combin, you can easily begin to map out the Instagram community that you’ll want to engage with.
Selectively, Strategically, and Intelligently Engage on Instagram
Whether its influencers, followers, or community members you want to engage with, Combin allows you to easily find specific users and interact with them on a one-by-one basis. Yes, this takes time, but building real relationships takes time as well, and if you really want to be successful at Instagram marketing, you will need to invest the time to truly and authentically engage with others. At least Combin makes it easy to pinpoint them and visit their profile, saving you a tremendous amount of time. Their machine-learning enhanced analysis only makes your engagement on Instagram all the more effective.
Combin’s Impressive Roadmap
Have you ever invested in a tool only to find a few months later it had failed to innovate, and you were stuck using something that performed poorly compared to its competitors? It is refreshing when social media tools companies publicly announce their roadmap for the year, as Combin has done in this blog post.
Features promised to roll out this year that will excite marketers include:
Statistics section will provide an easy access to information about your account’s growth progress: how many followers, likes, comments have been received over the course of day, week, month, overall and within specific date range, which hashtags brought more engagement, and other reports useful for improvement of your marketing strategy.
Enhanced Location Search
User will be able to pick a point on an interactive map of a place of his current location or business interest, and extend the search radius to the preferred size. Combin will gather all posts that were published within this radius.
Direct Message and Comments Inbox
While general social media dashboards have begun to incporporate this functionality, if you are going to be spending time every day in Combin for your Instagram marketing, it makes sense that you want it to be your one-stop engagement dashboard for Instagram, right? All received replies, comments, text messages are going to be organized and easily managed from desktop. You will always be notified about new activity and be able to reply directly from the application.
After the implementation of this feature you might never touch the Instagram mobile application again. Uploading photos, adding captures and queueing posts to be published on preferable time will be available right within Combin.
If you are looking to gain visibility into your Instagram marketing efforts with a future-proof solution, Combin is a no-brainer, inexpensive application that you should be considering to add to your arsenal of social media tools.
To download Combin for free and get started, please click here.
FTC disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I only work with products, events and/or companies I believe my readers will benefit from. All opinions are mine. This is disclosed in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.