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Instagram might not have the user levels of YouTube or Facebook, but it’s getting pretty close. Every month, more than 1 billion people use the social media platform. Around 500 million people are active on the platform every day.

Instagram isn’t just for fun and games. Businesses are active, and users are actively engaging with businesses. About 80 percent of Instagram accounts follow at least one business.

All of this is to say that if your brand hasn’t jumped on the Instagram wagon yet, now’s the time to do so. And, you don’t have to go it alone. Plenty of Instagram marketing management tools are available to help you make heads and tails of the platform and to help you create a consistent posting schedule.

What Do Instagram Marketing Management Tools Do?

Instagram marketing tools offer a variety of features and functions. Some are designed to help you post better images, while others primarily help you streamline your posting process. There are also tools available that let you measure and track the results of your posts.

Take a look at how Instagram marketing tools work:

  • Improve Your Photos. If you’ve been avoiding Instagram because you’re no good at — or think you’re no good at — photography, then stop. Not only does the platform include built-in filters that can make a bad picture look good, there are also several photo editing tools designed to improve your pics. One of the more popular tools is VSCO, which not only edits and improves your posts, it gives you a chance to share them on both Instagram and the VSCO app.
  • Schedule Your Posts. Although the platform might have “Instant” in its name, the reality is that many posts are really “Latergrams,” whether they use the hashtag or not. But you can’t exactly pre-program your posts into the platform itself, which makes planning a posting schedule tricky. That’s where scheduling tools such as Buffer, Hootsuite, and Later come in. With one of these, you can plan out your Instagram content in advance and trust that it will post at the time you set. You can still create spontaneous, truly “Insta” posts when the need arises.
  • Make Your Posts Shoppable. One of Instagram’s biggest drawbacks is that you can’t put clickable links in the captions of your posts, although some accounts can include links in Instagram Stories. Some brands work around this shortcoming by typing “link in bio” into the caption. But if the links in your bio are always changing, then by the time someone sees your post and is interested in checking out your link, it might lead them somewhere else. Some Instagram marketing tools, such as Soldsie, aim to make your posts shoppable. The tool generates a link that leads to a shoppable collection of your posts. Anyone who’s interested in buying what they see in a post can click the link and shop away. Instagram also recently added its own shopping feature, which is currently available to business accounts in select countries.
  • Analyze Your Posts. Part of successfully using Instagram for marketing involves knowing how your posts are performing and whether or not people respond to them. Several tools are available that track and measure your posts for you. Hootsuite and Buffer both have built-in analytics tools, for example. If you use influencer marketing software, it also most likely includes analytics that allow you to see who’s following you, what your engagement rates are and how posts perform over time.
  • Create Instagram Ads. Instagram ads help you reach new audiences through the platform. Some marketing tools, such as MailChimp, include features that help you build out ads that will reach your target audience, such as people who subscribe to your email newsletter. You can also use a tool like MailChimp to analyze your ad results and see what works and what doesn’t.

Why Should You Use Instagram Marketing Management Tools?

Why bother using Instagram marketing tools? Why not just DIY when it comes to Instagram? For starters, Instagram tools help to take a lot of the guesswork out of using the platform. Once you’ve been using scheduling and analytics tools for a while, you get a sense of when the ideal posting time is and what types of posts resonate best with your audience.

Instagram tools also help to improve your posts. There’s a lot of competition on the ‘Gram, with everyone trying to put up the most attractive and visually appealing photos. Using tools like VSCO and other photo-editing apps help you create posts that stand out.

How to Start Using Instagram Marketing Management Tools

Getting started with Instagram marketing management tools is easier than it might look. Many tools are either free or offer a free trial, so you don’t have to shell out money to give them a shot.

It can be helpful to pinpoint your biggest issue or challenge with Instagram, and start out with a tool that will help to correct it. For example, if you’re struggling to get content up, then a post scheduling app might be the place to start. If your photos don’t pop, then choose an editing tool to begin.

If you find that you like the tools and that they’re helping you master Instagram marketing, you can add in more later on or start taking advantage of the other functions offered by certain apps, such as analytics.

With Instagram marketing, a lot of trial and error is involved. You might have to tinker with the tools you use until you find a combination or suite of apps that produces the results you want.