When Instagram started, it felt more intimate than most other social networks; just you and your friends swapping photos on your phones. As it’s grown, it lost some of its indie cred, but remains fertile ground for great viral marketing.
Instagram is important for building brands, whether you’re a greenhorn musician looking to boost your social media profile or a harried media marketer. The photo-sharing mobile site exploded in 2012, and now it’s considered an ascendant social media tool on par with Twitter or Facebook (though in some ways, more similar to Pinterest). But it’s hard to figure out what you should post to attract new followers and hold the interest of your loyal fans.
Startup Instagram analytics service Nitrogram makes it easier to figure out which posts hit and which fall flat. The new service provides up-to-date information about your posts, using colorful graphs to show your strengths and weaknesses clearly. It’s really easy to sign up: Just enter in your Instagram user name and email. Wait for a confirmation that your report is ready. And then you’re up and running.
Nitrogram takes some of the guesswork out of creating popular posts. You may never know which photo of your dog is the cutest, but using the service’s data breakdown, you’ll definitely be able to figure out whether using #cutedogs or #puppies4ever wins you more fans.
When you open up the service, you go to your Insights homepage, where you see your overall audience, and they’re sorted geographically. Next to the audience section, there’s a breakdown of how people engage with your account: how many likes do you have? How many comments? It shows you whether engagement is going up or down based on a time period you set. I was a little chuffed to learn my “likes” decreased by 17.7% over the past 30 days. Guess I better kick it up a notch!
You can see your followers laid out on a map of the world, which is always fun, and you can consult a series of graphs precisely charting how people engage with your account. It’s pretty easy to pick out patterns.
With spoke with Nitrogram’s Community and Content leader, Thibaut Davoult, about the “explosive Instagram marketing” service. Davoult explained that Instagram’s focus on photos means it works a little differently than other social media services; however, he also noted that since you use hashtags on Instagram as well as Twitter, they share a key feature.
He explained how people can parlay the insights of Nitrogram into more successful Instagramming: “Learning more about your audience and Instagram community is the first step to being successful on Instagram. It lets you adapt the content you share to be more engaging and appealing to your audience.”
Nitrogram just received an update that will make it even more helpful, since now it can organize analytics around hashtags. If you use hashtags in your post, Nitrogram will tell you others commonly related to the ones you choose, and it will show you which users get the biggest results using the same hashtag as you.
So, do you need Nitrogram if you’re just a casual Instagram user? Probably not, unless you’re really keen to build up followers just for your own personal satisfaction. It’s more of a branding tool than something you need to maximize personal enjoyment on the photo-sharing app.
That said, people take Instagram seriously. You can buy followers, just like you can on Twitter, and for some groups of teens and even adults, amassing large numbers of followers is a kind of game. No matter why you want extra followers, Nitrogram provides valuable insights that will help you build a fan base organically instead of simply purchasing bots.
The basic version of Nitrogram is free, but if you’re super serious about building your brand, they also have plans customized for users with very high follower counts. They range from “Fireworks,” which is geared toward people with under 10,000 followers (which will set you back about $45) to “Big Bang,” which is priced on request and aimed at users with over 200,000 followers.