Inexpensive (or Free) Instagram Tools & Templates to Elevate Your Account
Your business instagram account is set up, you have a few hundred followers, and you get a handful of likes for most of your posts (less than you used to)… But you’re not seeing action on your Instagram page or any substantial growth no matter how much time you put in!
We hear you! It is super frustrating to have a business Instagram page set up, but getting no engagement, and therefore leading to no ROI. BLEH! Thankfully, Instagram is a platform that can be easily improved with a few simple additions/changes. And no, you don’t need to be a marketing wizard to make this magic happen! With some inexpensive or free Instagram tools and templates, you have the chance to elevate your account and actually start seeing those numbers go up! Ready to get going? Here’s how you can get more followers on instagram.
Category Planning with PlannThat & Preview App
One of the best ways to ensure your Instagram page is hella’ appealing is to have a post layout that shows off your business/services with quality images, branded memes, and candid shots that people will like, comment, and share! Of course, the biggest struggle for business owners is “WHAT do I post??” The answer is simple – anything and everything related to your business, sorted into categories that will make a gorgeous layout! (Okay it sounds a lot more complicated than it is.)
All you have to do is come up with 5-9 different ‘categories’ or ‘themes/types’ (consider these your business pillars and values) that you would want to share on your Instagram page. Sort your images into these categories, and then create a rough template to follow each month for all of your posts (you can use a layout/grid program like PlannThat or simply create your own grid using an Excel table!).
It’s important to make a distinction between categories and tactics. The categories are the pillars of your business and what really defines you. Tactics are ways that you can showcase those.
EXAMPLE – Jumping Elephant Categories:
- Life of a Social Media Manager
- Small Business
- Service: Social Media
- Service: Blogging
- Get to know Sarah
- Service: Strategy
- Social Media Tips
- Service: Online Course
Jumping Elephant Tactics:
- Branded memes
- Behind the scenes posts
- Business features
- Branded Sales posts
- Sharing customer’s tagged posts (UGC*)
- Inspirational quotes or tips
- Stock Images with text overlays (try to use these as little as possible as they often lessen the quality and personal touches of your business)
- Your business in action (the retail team selling products in the store, massage therapist giving massage, you hard at work on your computer in the office, etc.)
Not sure what the layout will look like? Take some of the photos you have on hand and test the look of it using a FREE Instagram tool such as the Preview App! Still have no clue on how to create a good layout? We can create a stunning ON-BRAND layout and styled grid for your page that will turn every browser into a follower!
Custom Branded Memes with Canva or Jumping Elephant
Sharing pictures of your staff at work or your many products is great to increase awareness of your business and what you sell, but there is so much more you can offer your followers! Our favourite way to break up sales posts AND add styled grid options to your page is through the addition of memes! No, not the ones with the little boy pumping his fist because he is stoked it’s Taco Tuesday (although we do love those memes too), but memes that offer your followers INSIDER information with your logo on them. Your custom branded memes can include:
- Personal quotes
- Tips and tricks
- Industry statistics
- Industry news or updates
Memes often include text, your company colours and fonts, and insightful tid-bits that excite, inform, and engage your audience. We suggest using the free tool, Canva – a great program for desktop and mobile to design and create images of all kinds – to change these up each month!
Hashtags with Your Amazing Research
For those of you who are copying and pasting the exact same hashtags into your captions, it is time to STOP! As of the most recent changes in the Instagram algorithm, using the same hashtags over and over is actually how you get penalized by the platform. Instagram sees the repeated hashtags in your post and thinks “hmm… this account obviously isn’t working very hard to get good followers and engagement, I guess we won’t share their post to the top of the feed today.” This will NOT get you the followers and engagement you need!
When it comes to hashtags, you should be using 10-15 UNIQUE, SPECIFIC, RELEVANT, and ENGAGING hashtags that compliment your posts/business. How do you do this? Start researching! Find a hashtag relevant to your business (ex. #elephantwrinkles) and then see what other hashtags people are using (ex. #wrinklesnomore #agebeforebeauty #elephantproblems #elephantbeauty).
Not able to take the time to research hashtags or don’t know where to begin? Our 150 Hashtag service will find you the best and most relevant hashtags that you can use throughout your posts – personalized for you!
Branded Highlights with Canva
No need to download a separate app or program for this one! All you have to do is add highlights on your Instagram page for ultimate page appeal! Want to make branded feature highlight images that showcase your products, brand colours, or little icons? Canva is a great Instagram tool for doing this and has templates built in! Log in, start a new template, and then switch the colours or icons for the exact size of the Instagram highlights!
Again, we can create Instagram hightlights for you! Our designer rocks!
Instagram Scheduling with Hootsuite
We see it all the time – business owners who want to improve their Instagram posts, but are posting them by logging on to their phones, grabbing the photo from their gallery, writing the content, coming up with some (less than perfect) hashtags, and hitting “share.” WOWZA. The amount of time this takes to share a post is soooo much!
Save that time for those amazing spontaneous posts (which, let’s be honest could probably just be Instagram Stories) or doing further engagement. INSTEAD, create your posts ahead of time (create a calendar template to change each month) and SCHEDULE THEM! One of our favourite scheduling Instagram tools is Hootsuite (it’s free for 3 accounts!) – drag and drop your images, copy and paste your content, and then hit ‘schedule.’ DONE.
Ready to make your Instagram account one to brag about? Try these inexpensive or free Instagram tools and templates to start creating a page that is worthy of your time and effort! Trust us when we say that these small changes will go a LONG WAY in improving the engagement of your page, the number of followers you have, and the opportunities for growth!