Every social media marketer knows that Instagram is the 2nd largest social network and requires our attention, regardless of what industry our business operates in. Instagram is also a social network that is extremely engaging and, similar to Twitter, can provide the smart marketer with organic growth opportunities should they invest the time into building relationships there.
Speaking of Twitter, we all know that it is also an engaging social network that is supported by a host of tools that social media marketers can use. What about Instagram? Instagram is surprisingly void of tools. For instance, I always asked myself, “Why isn’t there a tool to help manage followers available for Instagram?”
I no longer need to ask myself that question. Meet Instaplus.
Instaplus is the first Instagram tool I have found that lets you do any of the following tasks, all from the convenience of your desktop or mobile device:
- Schedule posts
- Like posts
- Follow other Instagram users
- Unfollow other Instagram users
- Comment on posts
- Send Direct Messages
Instaplus is simply the best Instagram management tool that you will find out on the market today.
Before I go through the workflow of how Instaplus works, two words of caution:
- The Instagram Terms of Service is pretty clear about only allowing you to post photos through a mobile device, even if it is scheduled from a PC. Instaplus allows you to directly post to Instagram from your PC without using a mobile app. There are many who will say that this is a violation of the Instagram TOS. On the other hand, there have been a number of apps that allow you to post to Instagram from a PC that has been around a few years, and these tools are still in business. Nevertheless, everybody must make the decision as to how much risk they are willing to tolerate and what potential consequences there might be.
- Instaplus allows you to automate many actions on Instagram. Automation in social media in general only makes sense if it mimics what you would do in real life. Would you make the same comment on 100 different photos? Maybe not. But if you were a big fan of a certain musician, would you want to follow the fans that also follow the same musician? Perhaps. In this way, although there is a lot of functionality that Instaplus provides you, choose only what you think makes sense for you and your brand. Obviously, if you only rely on a tool for your entire Instagram marketing strategy, you won’t make any real connections with people and your account just might get suspended, so it’s all about how to use these tools to complement what you do organically.
With the above being said, Instaplus is a powerful tool that actually is not a completely automated but a semi-automated tool. You basically set up what Instaplus calls tasks and then need to schedule each one. Instaplus requires you to set each task schedule manually, which I think is a good thing, as you should always be reviewing your efforts and optimizing from there.
Anyone who is interested in how to grow Instagram followers fast should be interested in this tool.
So let’s go through a scenario of the musician and use a real-life example, my favorite Japanese musician Yaida Hitomi. Let’s say I want to become friends with all of her avid fans. Truth is that it was Instagram that allowed me to become friends with her fans, to the point that I get invited to special events and have good seats reserved for me by friends at her concerts in Japan when I am there on a business trip!
Based on this scenario, this is how easy it is to automate what I was already manually doing in real-life through Instaplus:
Step 1: Choose a Promotional Task
After choosing which account you want to promote from (Instaplus allows you to add 5 accounts), you then choose from one of the tasks below that it supports:
In this case, I want to follow some of the other fans of Yaida Hitomi, so I am going to select “Follow.”
Step 2: Understand the Daily Limits Recommendations
Instaplus is so powerful that it can be easily abused. Should you abuse the tool, Instagram just might shut down your account. That is why immediately after selecting “Follow” you are shown the following screen:
Instaplus has probably dealt with users that have abused the platform and therefore have a good working knowledge as to the restrictions that Instagram has in place vis a vis maximum number of likes, follows, etc. per day. Of course, Instagram does not publish this information, and there is no guarantee about it. However, looking at the Instagram limitations that Instaplus recommends, it is clear that most users should have no problem operating within the recommended limits.
Once you confirm the limitations, it’s time to move on to architecting the promotional task:
Step 3: Select Source for Your Instagram Promotional Task
You can create the Follow task on Instaplus using any of the following sources:
Let’s dig deeper into each one of these options:
Instaplus will show you what looks like a Google Map for you to enter a name and/or an address. Once you do, it will match a location with its Instagram URL. Below are the results from my search for Osaka Station, and the Instagram URL that is already displayed appeared after I selected the results for Osaka Station:
Instaplus explains that this feature works as follows:
You could find geolocations of your interest using following methods:
1) Insert link to post in appropriate field;
2) Enter location name (city, place) into search bar;
3) Click the point on the map to see nearest (but not all) geolocations
Needless to say, if you are looking for users that upload photos and tag them at a certain location, this is a killer functionality to allow you to follow only those relevant people. In my case, fans of Yaida Hitomi are throughout Japan, so I would not use this functionality for this use case scenario.
This should be self-explanatory!
Instaplus allows you to create a User List from user ID URLs (for instance, http://instagram.com/nealschaffer would be nealschaffer). You can create custom lists for influencers, fans, employees, etc.
In my use-case scenario, I would enter Yaida Hitomi’s Instagram username and proceed to the next step:
Step 4: Select Users to Follow Source
The devil is in the details, and fortunately, Instaplus’ robust functionality has you covered. The screenshot below shows you the option to have to choose a source for those you want to follow related to the targeted user account:
Here is how each of the following options works:
- Followers means that you will follow the followers of the target account
- Followings will allow you to follow the same users that the target account follows
- Likers will follow those that have liked the posts published by the target account
- Commenters will follow those that have commented on the published posts of the target account
So many options! In this case, I want to connect with the real fans of this musician. However, commenters would be very limiting in terms of numbers of people I can engage with. Therefore, I am going to choose Likers, because these are fans that not only follow this musician but have actually engaged with her posts.
Step 5: Choose How Many to Follow per Task
Now it’s time to delve further into the details. Based on the given parameters above, how many users should I follow per task?
This option is pretty self-explanatory, but it does allow you to only follow those with public or a mixture of public and private accounts. Instaplus also has the advanced functionality of skipping those usernames that you have already followed so that you don’t follow them again in case you have unfollowed them since.
One thing to point out here: You need to be careful as to how many people you follow, unfollow, like, etc. as part of best practices of what you should NOT do on Instagram. As Instaplus say in their FAQ,
No matter how long you’ve been using the service, we recommend you never exceed 1000 follows and 1,500 likes per day.
I recommend a VERY conservative approach that would mimic what you would do organically, which would be a fraction of the above recommend maximum.
Step 6: Apply Advanced Filters
This step allows you to apply some powerful filters to help you find just the right Instagram user you would want to engage with.
Let’s take a look at these options one by one, including my recommendations for each one:
- Number of followers: You can choose to only follow those who already have a minimum number of followers. Most average people don’t have thousands of followers, so targeting those with, say, 10 to 300 followers might be a good way to ensure you are following “real” users who will notice your following.
- Number of followings: You can choose to only follow those who already follow a minimum number of people. Similar to what I mentioned above, a good target might be those who are following from 50 to 500 other users.
- Number of posts: Only follow those who have a minimum amount of activity in terms of posts published. I would recommend you follow those who have posted at least 10 times and thus are truly members of the Instagram community.
- Last post: Ensures that you follow only those who have been actively publishing within the last number of days that you specify. By following those who have posted in the last 3 days, for instance, you can ensure you are doing your best to follow active users who might follow you.
- Source has an avatar: Ensures that you only follow those that have gone through the trouble of uploading an avatar photo. You definitely only want to follow others who have taken their time to upload their avatar!
- Stop words & white words: Entering terms here will over-run the above functions in terms of not following (stop words) or following (white words). This provides you some extremely robust functionality. For instance, using stop words like shop, buy, popular name brands, etc will help you to avoid business accounts if that is your intent. On the other hand, for white words you can use popular male and female names, which helps to define that these are real users.
Learn how to use these robust options to pinpoint only those users that are of value to your campaign.
Step 7: Schedule the Task
As mentioned before, Instaplus runs on a task process, meaning that you need to schedule an instance for each task. As you can see from the screenshot below, Instaplus allows you to run a single task immediately, schedule a single task to run in the future, or using the Pro Schedule we can schedule multiple tasks.
After we enter one date and time in the Pro Scheduler, we have the ability to copy the given time a certain number of instances at a certain time interval between instances in numbers of hours. This is how we can schedule the task to be performed regularly over a period of time.
After completing the schedule you are finished! The Instaplus user interface includes a Task History item which allows you to see the results from each task, including if there are any errors, and Instaplus will actually email you a report with the completion of each task by default to keep you posted (pun intended!).
As you can see, Instaplus is a robust tool which deserves consideration to help you with some of the heavy-lifting of Instagram engagement.
Their value proposition is compelling: With the right mix of organic publication and engagement supplemented with Instaplus, it is possible to get your first 1,000 followers during the first month of using the tool. Their basic account also allows you to promote up to 5 Instagram accounts, so you can multiply your results potentially by 5 times a month. All that for just $14.99 USD per month, and I’d say using Instaplus is a smart investment.
Have you seen a tool like Instaplus before? What do you think is its killer functionality? Please chime in – and make sure you sign up for a free 7-day trial of Instaplus by clicking 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.