For the past few months, my friend Ryan has been managing a boutique called Apricot Lane in a nearby shopping center. I
know 80 to 90 percent of the stores in this area are out of my price range and, because they are so expensive, their typical customers are more likely to
be women in my mom's age group.
I assumed Apricot Lane was another boutique for women older than me. That is, until my friend started an Instagram account for the boutique. She
posted photos of the clothes, jewelry and new items. She even posted photos of people I knew modeling the clothes.
I fell in love with the different styles and fun items. I realized my preconceived notions were wrong, and was quickly convinced I needed to visit the
boutique. Not only did I visit, I brought my mom and sister with me, who also loved it.
My wedding photographer and wedding planner are also on Instagram. I hired them both before I
started following them on Instagram, but every time I see their photos I am even happier both of them will be part of my wedding day.
They post fun photos of their office construction, clients, DIY projects and everyday life. By giving me a peek into their lives, I feel closer and more
comfortable with them as people and professionals. As my trust for them grows, I am inspired by their creativity and love for their professions.
By building identities on Instagram, Ryan changed my perception of her boutique, and my wedding planner and photographer continue to grow my loyalty as a
Perhaps this was their goal when they began their Instagram accounts, perhaps it wasn't. Either way, I'm proof that their time spent on Instagram is
reaping benefits. But how else can they measure their Instagram success?
Here are four free tools small businesses can use to do so:
I just started exploring this tool, and it looks perfect for small businesses looking to track their social media success, find out which network reaps the
most benefits, and determine how social media affects the bottom line. I have to explore it some more, but it's worth trying for Instagram and more.
This tool is solely for Instagram. It provides statistics, such as the amount of photos you have, likes received, comments, followers and more.
I like how it shows you the photos with the highest engagement, the day and time your users are most engaged, your most engaged followers, and your growth
and loss in followers. You can even manage contests with this tool.
This tool allows users to download analytics on different profiles for free as long as you agree to share a tweet to promote the company. You can download
a detailed—and I mean detailed—Excel document that even shows you the engagement your photos had outside of Instagram. The free analytics report
is definitely worth sharing a tweet.
This tool shows engagement rates, statistics per photo, follower count and the number of photos shared.
Regardless of which tool you choose, it's important to measure and track your brand's Instagram success.
Tracking your account's metrics
and the engagement of your community can help you learn more about your audience, grow your existing followers, understand what your audience values and
convert your followers into loyal customers.
Do you use Instagram for your business? Are there any other tools you'd recommended? Please share!
is an account executive at CRT/tanaka. A version of this article originally appeared on WaxingUnlyrical.com.