According to a recent survey, the average internet user spends about 2 hours and 22 minutes on social media every day. That’s almost 36 days a year. While there is no doubt that social media is an invaluable tool for getting your work out there, you don’t need to spend that much of your time behind a computer—especially when you could be out in the world taking photos.
To help you stay behind the lens and away from the screen, we’ve compiled this indispensable list of nine intuitive, easy-to-use tools for building online influence. These apps and services will not only help you keep track of what’s trending, but also save you time.
For analytics, try Iconosquare
Iconosquare is an analytics platform that offers in-depth, easy-to-understand data about your engagement, reach, and more. It provides insight into your top competitors’ performance, as well as your followers’ locations and interests, so you can better target your posts for maximum impact.
What’s more, if you have an Instagram Business profile, you can use Iconosquare’s Scheduler to automatically post your images, saving you the hassle of having to set alerts every time you want to publish something. They’ll mark your optimal posting times with a star so you know when a high percentage of your audience is online.
For automation, try IFTTT
IFTTT stands for “If This, Then That.” The idea behind this free tool is simple: if you do something in one platform, it automatically makes changes to others. For example, you can set up an IFTTT “applet” that ensures every photo you post on Instagram is instantly posted to Twitter as well.
You can use the service to create triggers and actions for almost anything you can imagine using tons of channels, including Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Dropbox, Gmail, YouTube, Pinterest, and many others. If you’ve let one of your channels slip by the wayside, you can use this service to update it automatically and keep your followers engaged.
For hashtag help, try Display Purposes
Display Purposes is an easy-to-use web tool that helps you find appropriate hashtags for your work. Hashtags are a great way to get noticed by more people, and photo editors frequently use them to search so choosing the right ones is important.
Simply enter a relevant hashtag (or a few) into the Display Purposes search box, and they’ll generate similar tags for you. They also filter out spammy and overly generic phrases, so you won’t waste your time entering pointless hashtags. We tried it, and our searches brought up some of our favorite hashtags, plus some new ones we can’t wait to use.
For your Instagram bio, try Sked Link
Sked Link is another well-known tool for organizing your social media strategy, but what you might not know about is their new feature: Sked Link. Instagram only allows one link per bio, which can be frustrating if you’re active across different platforms.
By creating a Sked Link, you can incorporate buttons that direct followers to any website you choose: your portfolio, blog, newsletter sign-up, 500px Galleries, and more. Why limit yourself when you can promote multiple channels at once? As a bonus, your Sked Link account doesn’t need to be part of a Sked Social account, so you can use it for free.
For popular content, try BuzzSumo
BuzzSumo is an intuitive and easy-to-use social media research tool. Here’s how it works: search for a topic of your choice, and you’ll see the most-shared articles in that field. Use it to stay abreast of what’s happening in the photo industry, and engage your followers with fun links and discussions. Be sure to check BuzzSumo for viral photos across different platforms to understand what resonates.
Also, you can search within the “Influencer” tab to see who’s killing the social media game in your area of expertise. Follow those who catch your eye, and take notes on what they post.
For follower info, try SocialRank
SocialRank tells you about your most engaged followers, as well as those with a robust following themselves. You’ll get a better understanding of why some Tweets or Instagram photos gain traction and others don’t by seeing exactly who is interacting with your posts.
This is one service that allows you to get creative with your marketing. Maybe you offer a print giveaway for your most engaged followers, or you give them a shoutout on Instagram Stories. Down the line, you might consider partnering up with some of your most influential followers (e.g. organizing an Instagram takeover, swapping posts) to extend your reach.
Social media isn’t just about the size of your audience, it’s also about the level of engagement. If you receive an insightful comment from a valued follower, take a second to reply and build that relationship.
For captions and text posts, try Coschedule’s Social Message Optimizer
CoSchedule is an all-around great solution for marketing and scheduling, but they also have a suite of free tools to help you craft effective headlines, blog posts, email subject lines, and more. Enter any text into their Social Message Optimizer, and they’ll give you a score from one to 100. The higher your score, the better your chances of reaching more people.
You can evaluate your performance on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+. Be sure to select whether you’re posting an image, a link, or a video and feel free to include hashtags and emojis—Coschedule will tell you if it works or not based on the channel.
For keywords, try Keyword Tool
Keywords are essential if you want your work to show up in organic searches. There are tons of search engine optimization resources available across the web, including ahrefs and Serpstat, but if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to find new tags to add to your photos, Keyword Tool is a good place to start. Use it to browse common search phrases in Google, Bing, YouTube, and more, and then be sure to incorporate those phrases into your captions, descriptions, and metadata.
For protection, try Photologo
Forget tacky watermarks—Photologo helps you customize a unique and sophisticated signature. That way, you can feel safe sharing your photos online without worrying about them being stolen or shared without credit. If a potential client or publisher comes across an image of yours on social media or through a search engine, they’ll know to contact you for more details. If your picture goes viral, a Photologo will ensure your name goes viral too.