Entertain | Inform | Inspire

How to build a following that loves to hear from you!

Build-a-followingNOTE: Prefer to hear me walk you through this info with an actively engaged audience? You can download a 90 minute version in this link. All proceeds from the purchase price go to Youth Literacy: reading and writing in Guanajuato, Mexico.
This info was assembled for an audience of writers – AL the principles mentioned pertain to YOU and your own work, I promise.

Let’s Start!

In order to truly engage with a following you’re interested in connecting with you have to spend some time defining what it is you’re up to and with whom you want that to matter. To accomplish this, I have created this rather extensive post about how to work the logistics of creating and maintaining a robust presence online that serves your purpose.

I will start you at the ideal beginning of how to define what you’re up to with your project, why you’re doing it and who it’s for. I’ll help you determine how to develop a natural ‘voice’ for your brand to adopt and determine the sorts of messages you might create to connect with your audiences. I’ll discuss the merits of the various online platforms as they relate to your goals and some of the specifics of your target audiences. And finally I’ll help give you some insights into how to create the content that’s going to put you on the map with your followers.

First Things First

Before we can start building a following online we have to figure some very basics every business must define for itself; the fundamentals of why we’re going to do what we’re going to do. The hows come after.

  1. What Business Are You In?
  2. What is Your Brand’s Mission?
  3. Who is Your Brand?
  4. Who Do You Want to Connect With?


What Business Are You In?

willy-wonkaFor writers it may be that you start by thinking you’re in the business of  selling books…..but what else?

What are the greater aspects that people are buying?

It may help to rephrase the question: What Solutions are you offering?

  • Creating the best stories in the world.
  • Information Sharing.
  • Providing respite.
  • Helping people laugh.
  • Helping people dream.
  • Spreading ideas.
  • Helping people help themselves.


Your Brand’s Mission


After you’ve defined your brand’s personality and what it is you’re in the business of selling or offering, it’s time to clarify your professional Mission and set down some specific goals to achieve that.

Mission Statements for Writers:

Here is a great article to get you started figuring our your Mission Statement if you’re a writer.


What are the elements of a successful mission statement?

  • Present tense–not “I will do this,” but “I do this.”
  • Answers the following:
    • What you do
    • Who you do it for
    • Why you do it
  • Succinct language. State your purpose as clearly and concisely as possible. Be specific.
  • Prominently visible. Refer to it. Use it.

More Great Questions: http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2013/08/03/mission-statement/


Who is Your Brand?

Myers-Briggs-Illustration-croppedWho, or what, is your brand? You or your Projects? If you, then keep in mind this is your Public Persona. And even if your brand is a ‘what’ it is useful to give it a personality so you can create messaging that sounds like its coming from an identifiable and likable personality.  It can be enlightening to take a personality test on behalf of your public persona or brand. I like using the Meyers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator because of all the research available about the 16 personality types. You can take it for free using this link. Here is a slightly different version of the free test if you prefer. Be sure to answer all the questions on behalf of your public persona or brand!

The short video below explains the basic concepts. Mind you, this video is geared to high school students, but you get the idea.

There’s a follow up video too you may want to view. Click here.

So, now you have one of 16 personality types for your brand. For fun, you can begin to identify with who this character is by seeing which Downton Abbey character your brand is similar too.


Creating the character for your brand helps you establish your brand’s ‘voice’. And this ‘voice’ helps you relate easily with your target audiences:

  • People who will buy your work
  • other professionals
  • publishers
  • editors
  • bloggers
  • etc.

How to Define Your Audiences

target-audiencesNow you get to figure out exactly who it is you seek to appeal to with all this effort! Oh, I know, we all want everyone to love us and our work, but the fact is, unless we do some refining, our messaging is going to become too generic to appeal much to anyone. So careful thought should be given as to who your work is most likely to connect with. Start by asking yourself some simple questions:

  • How old are they?
  • Where do they live?
  • What are their interests?
  • Who is the person who will pay me for my work?
  • Who are the people that influence the people who will pay me?
  • Who are my supporters?

Here is a super easy to read guide to help you further your audience refinement.

And here are 12 more questions to help you figure this out. They start with:

1. When you

a. came up with your idea
. decided to sell this product
wrote your book, etc.],


a. did you think it would help?
b. did you plan to sell it to?
c. were you writing to?

2. Does this audience currently buy

a. something similar to what you’re creating
b. this product or service elsewhere?
c. your book or books similar to yours?

3. Why specifically

a. do you want to create this product or service?
b. are you interested in selling this product or service?
c. are you writing this book?

4. How does your

a. idea
b. product or service
c. book

help your targeted audience or what problem does it solve for your audience? Read more here.

The Tools We’re Going to Use

Vintage Social Media

In the old days, you know, about ten years ago, social media was pretty easy to understand though its reach was fairly limited. These days using some of the same thinking we can extend our reach exponentially for not a lot of money.

vintage social networking


The Benefits of Social Media

Why Build a Following?

For starters:

  • Get ideas
  • Get inspiration
  • Build your tribe (professionally and your future customers and brand champions)
  • Sell your product
  • Sell your own book directly
  • Add value to your brand to become more attractive to publishers
  • Be seen as a trusted source of information in your selected fields


Understanding the Power of the Major Networks

Each of the most popular social networks tends to be used by large sections of major demographics. Each network is also good for various types of posts; photos, text, links, opinions, recipes, etc…

This fun graphic helps give you an idea as to what each major platform is best at:


Basically it’s like this:

Social-Media-Icons-on-sticks(these are all gross generalizations, but at least offer a starting point)

Facebook: powered by friends’ and friendly connections – photos, links, text, video, guarded opinions and announcements, sharing others’ posts. Starting to skew older, big with the Boomers, but youthful audiences still check it from time to time.

Twitter: short 140 character (though this is changing to much more) texts with links to photos. Humor is king on Twitter, as is breaking news and updates. Skews younger.

YouTube: videos, your own or those you carefully curate into playlists. Humor and awesomeness play big here. All ages, but more heavily towards younger.

LinkedIn: where professionals connect, not just for job seekers but a great source of intelligent interaction on professional topics. Career ages. Where to connect with other professionals in your fields of endeavor. Can find many writers based groups.social-networks-demographics

Instagram: all about the photo. Very popular with younger demographics, but also with visually-inspired older people.

Pinterest: Curated “Boards” arranged by topic, brands participate by allowing their tagged content to be pinned and by building their own curated boards that help establish the brand identity. Mostly women.

Yelp: mostly for businesses and consumers to review them. Don’t worry about this one unless you run a B&B in your spare time.

Google+: Oh Google+, why aren’t you taking off the way you should? Very popular with the techie cognizati but few else, build a page, grab your brand name just in case.  Currently still special, more educated audiences – big in project building. Many professional writers groups.

Spotify: where people who love music connect, interesting for fun, but maybe not something you need to address today.

FourSquare: a review site for shoppers, better you should pay attention to the reviews your work gets on amazon!


Match your Desired Audiences with the qualities of these Networks

Don’t Forget these important platforms where general demographics and chance connections have less meaning, these are the outlets you have more direct control over.

And Don’t Forget!

Your Own Website – where you can link to all your other online presences and collect subscribers to your own newsletter.

Your own e-Newsletter: Where you share tips, treats, promotions and tidbits with your most dedicated followers

Your Own Blog: where you can keep the conversation flowing, test ideas, play with thoughts, etc…

Other platforms especially important to writers:

GoodReads: where the truly enthusiastic readers go to write reviews and get recommendations for what to read next.

Amazon.com Author Page: make sure you have one that links users to your other major online presences.

How We’re Going to Use These Tools

A Word About User Names and Brand IDs

In a word: Consistency!

Pick a user name that can be naturally associated with your project. In some cases this is going to be your own name if you’re a writer. In other cases this may be the name of your brand.

Example: For my art I go with HappyArtMarti. You can find me on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest with this user name. My website is happyart.com but by the time they invented all these new platforms others took the HappyArt monniker so I added Marti onto the end and now it all coordinates! Don’t goof around with slight variations like: happyart-marti or Marti’s-happyart or such things because no one is going to be able to remember all the nuances, including you! Pick ONE NAME and stick with it!

Set Goals

One year Goals

  • Build web presenceset-goals-04
  • Web site
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • e-newsletter
  • Twitter
  • Create my Tribe of Supporters!
  • Inspire them to become your project’s champions
  • etc.

Five Year Goals

  • Be Very Visible Online
  • Keep your Info Updated, current and related to your next projects
  • increase your followers
  • increase your subscribers
  • continue creating awesome work and awesome online content
  • connect with other professionals
  • engage in online forums where you can establish your brand as a solution

Quality vs. Quantity in numbers

  • Having actively engaged, supportive followers, your core of your promotional Tribe, is more important than simply collecting massive numbers of random followers who don’t care much about what you’re up to.
  • If your resources are limited, focus on Quality over Quantity.

Your Messaging:

Entertain • Inspire • Inform

No matter what platform you’re using, you want your messaging to fall into one of three major categories. To increase credibility, gain trust and become a brand people want to follow you must add value to your followers’ day. You can do this by following an easy to remember recipe:

  1. Entertain, Inspire or Inform 95% or more of the time
  2. Go for an ‘ask’ (a request to look at a product, write a review, share a post, etc) 5% or less.
  3. Create or curate content that stays true to your brand’s Mission and that will connect somehow with your specifically identified audiences!


  • Humor
  • Cartoons
  • Funny Videos
  • funny photos
  • Silly Quotes
  • Fun STuff
  • Fluff
  • Recipes
  • Behind-the-Scenes stuff
  • Shared Tweets, etc…


  • Quotes
  • Photos or photoquotes
  • Uplifting or Poignant stories
  • Ask interesting questions


  • news
  • research
  • tips
  • annotated links (where you may share a link by tell your audience specifically why you’re sharing it with them)

The Four Agreements


In his book, “The Four Agreements: A Personal Guide to Personal Freedom” author and philosopher, Miguel Ruiz, perfectly describes the right tone and timbre you should apply to all your Brand’s professional, public interactions. 

Always do your best.
When you do your best the vast majority of your followers will comprehend that is your goal and stand by you when the chips are down. Plus that person you bend over backward to reach out to will likely remember your effort and that positive energy will reflect back on your brand exponentially!

Don’t make assumptions.
If you need clarity on what someone is saying just ask for it! If you have a hunch let your followers know you’re exercising a hunch and ask for feedback. Stay open to learning, discovering new things about your audiences, their perceptions of your efforts and how their reality defines for them what your brand is all about.

Be impeccable with your word.
Speak truth. Don’t make false claims or empty promises.

Don’t take anything personally.
Don’t fall into a dead end trap of absorbing any personal attacks from any outside sources you connect with through any media. Stand ready to solve problems, clear up issues and be helpful but don’t absorb any potential ill will expressed in any misunderstanding.

The Details

How to Plan, Direct, Create and Post GREAT Content that Matches Your Mission to Your Target Audience’s Needs and Wants

Set Post Standards

Think through types of content your brand will share and which it will avoid.What-The-Buck

Set parameters for each of the main hot-button topics as these relate to your brand, its mission and your messaging goals. Will you discuss:

  • Politics?
  • Religion?
  • Opinions?

If so, on what topics will you dive into and what will your official position be? 

Be careful, you don’t want to stir up unwanted reactions! Be prepared to discover some amazing things about your fellow human beings some of which may ‘parrot’ some pretty strong opinions they’ve gleaned from outside sources. Just remember one of the Four Agreements above “Don’t take anything personally.” (Play video at your own risk….lol)

A Note About Personal Attacks.

Some time over the course of interacting with the greater publics through your various outlets you will discover as do all public figures sooner or later that you may become a target for an undeserved personal attack. While it is certainly within your rights to clear your brand’s good name if you can possibly stand it, wait long enough for your followers to do that for you; and they will. If you have been impeccable with your word, etc., as above and there truly is no genuine basis for the attack, your more dedicated fans and followers are going to know that and will come to your defense on their own!

The truly wonderful thing about this happening is:

  • Their defense will carry much more weight because they are seen as having nothing to gain by being your champion,
  • By defending you they actually increase their own dedication to you and your brand
  • Watching this unfold is going to make you feel absolutely great!

Now, if there is some kernel of truth within a personal attack, publicly thank your critic (or crank as the case may be) for reaching out and suggest you take the discussion offline into the realms of personal message or email. This still demonstrates your integrity and helps you not fight an unwinnable fight out in public.

I have had this happen several times over the years and was able to parlay the unpleasant experience into a blog post or two that not only helped me feel great, actually brought some light to some tough topics others deal with. Here’s an example.

Create Great Content!

Develop your brand’s visual style.

  • select typical colors your will use also,
  • fonts,
  • develop signature template designs for various posts
  • (see Resources on web page for some really powerful and free tools)
  • Develop a signature style for your photos, including standards filters, shapes and subjects you’ll focus on

Ask yourself: “Does my content add value to my audience’s day?”

Does it:




Be Interesting!



Engage With Your Followers No Matter what Network or Platform You’re Using

  • Like all comments
  • Respond to comments
  • Ask questions
  • Solicit opinions on salient, relatable topics
  • acknowledge and thank critics and supporters alike
  • Don’t take bait!
  • Take personal issues offline (private message or email)
  • Respond to all messages in a timely fashion


Be Social!

  • Share
  • Discuss
  • Enlighten
  • Listen
  • Have fun!
  • Give credit where credit is due – supply links from referenced or borrowed content
  • Share others’ links when appropriate, relates to your Mission and  Entertains, Informs or Inspires

Take Better, More Share-Worthy Photos!

Seven Photo Tips

1. Keep Photos Simple

One interesting subject is all you really need to create a memorable photo

2. Shoot From A Low Angle

The majority of iPhone photos are shot from the chest height of an adult because that’s the most convenient way to take a photo, but it’s not necessarily the best way. You can easily improve your photos by finding a more interesting angle, and often the best way to do that is to simply shoot from a lower perspective.

3. Shoot From The Level Of Your Subject

The #1 mistake people make when taking photos of children and pets is shooting from the height of a standing adult. This creates a bird’s-eye-view and makes your subject disappear in the background.

4. Include Shadows In Your Composition

Pay attention to the shadows. Shadows can often be even more interesting than the actual subjects of your photos, so try to include them in your composition whenever possible.

5. Take Silhouette Photos

Silhouetting is one of the most interesting phone photography techniques. Sshoot against the source of light and your phone will take care of the rest.

6. Photograph Reflections

Reflections are easy to miss in real life but nearly impossible to ignore in photos. While you can find reflections on many different surfaces including glass, shiny cars and ice, water is probably the best surface for reflection photography.

7. Use Symmetry

The reflection photos above also use symmetry, which is another great photography trick. If you look at any of the reflection photos in this article, you’ll notice that the reflected and non-reflected parts are divided exactly in half, which looks great for symmetrical reflections.

Click this link to read more.
See below in the Resources section for a plethora of free and low cost photo filters you can add to your phone to tweak good pix and make them outstanding!

The gallery was not found!

More great advice from professional photographers that’s easy to understand and use in this link.

Some more simple tricks and tips in this link.

When to Post for Maximum Impact!

Boy does this ever depend!

On such things as:

  • What platform you’re using (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc)
  • When your audiences check in
  • The latest research
  • Your own specific analytics (available in the “Insights” section of your Facebook page)

Let’s start with when to definitely NOT post!


And now the most recently researched optimal times!


Take both of these charts with the proverbial ‘grain of salt’. What you will discover with time and perseverence is that you will have your own recipe of best times to post and connect with your various audiences. For example Iota McHippus connects with his best fans in the middle of the work day while HappyArt seems to connect better in the early evenings.

The Big Secret!

How to NOT Fail at This Stuff

Everyone is GREAT at keeping up with social media posting, responding and updating for the first month. But it takes real commitment and perseverence to stick with a program over the long haul. Where people typically fail then, is in not keeping up with the work required to check in to the online platforms you’ve determined are going to help you.

Let’s face it, this is work! It may be inexpensive monetarily to set up and launch yourself on a network, but to build real connections with people what is required is TIME to keep up with it all.

You don’t need a whole bunch of time every week, you can accomplish a lot in as little as an hour a week, but you have to be dedicated to actually doing that hour of work week in and week out.

Make and use Weekly Calendar!

I like to use a calendar for each project I run to help me focus on the work necessary to keep a project active on the various media I or my client and I have determined to use. It looks like this:


Choose The Networks You Will use

Prepare a list of weekly main topics:

Mondays – Updates

Tuesdays – Tips

Wednesdays – Inspirations

Thursdays – Results, Activities, Goals

Fridays – Photo Quote

Saturdays – Something fun or funny

Sundays – Reshape the top posts from the past week

Maximizing Your Efforts!

Whether you’re authoring your own blog post that you will reshare across your preferred networks, curating salient content from others you follow or running a special promotion you can repurpose your efforts across platforms to maximize both post engagement as well as reach.

Engagement = how many people like, share or comment on your post

Reach = how many people actually see your post

CrossPosting = repurposing a post from one network to post onto one or more other platforms simultaneously. So you can hook up services that will help you post onto your Twitter feed when you make a post on your Facebook Page.

Scheduling Posts: You can also use various apps and services to schedule your posts to occur sometime in the future. Tweetdeck, Buffer and If This Then That are all excellent post schedulers and coordinators you can use and they’re free! I use and like them all for different purposes and reasons.

Real Life Examples of social media engagement in action!

Iota McHippus

Iota-McHippusIota McHippus – Created to help me learn the power of Facebook Pages. He entertains with a decidedly snarky, bratty attitude. He gets to say all the things I can’t. He’s absolutely non-political, non-religious, though he may wax wistfully from a spiritual point of view now and again, as all horses do.

People have told me: “When I talk to Iota, I really feel like I’m talking to your little horse.”. I answer, “Me too.”. When I speak for him it feels like I really am him. For 3 years he had more followers than my own pages, lol. He’s an ESTP, by the way, just like Donald Trump, lol.


happyartHappyArt is the name I call my art. Matter of fact I resurrected my Masters degree in Marketing to help me promote my own art, this is where my marketing business comes from.  HappyArt keeps up with a Web Site, Facebook, some Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter and sends our occasional e-newsletters. It was created to help me sell more original art, books and illustrations. The Mission is “To help bring more smiles to the globe.” I highlight optimism, joy and the colorful.

I have published a number of books under the auspices of my art explorations, including:

Here is my Amazon.com Author Page.

Other Online Considerations

  • Your own website – At the very least, create a dot com for your brand where you can connect your followers to your various social media platforms.
  • YouTube – You can curate playlists if you don’t have the wherewithal to create your own videos. This is also a great platform to post your book’s video trailers.
  • Your own e-newsletter (and mailing list) – Start collecting the emails of people interested in your work, because sooner or later you will want to these people to have access to your news. The benefit with this is you have a much higher chance of having your message recieved!


Reach Out in the Real World Too!

  • Have business cards printed with your most active social media outlets indicated and ask folks to follow you at some point when you’re handing these cards out!
  • Talk about your activity out in the real world too! Make it obvious what you’re up to.
  • Shake actual hands when you can.
  • Attend actual meetings and events.
  • Hold your own from time to time!


Who To Follow to Keep Updated on Developments

seth-godinSeth Godin – the most recognized and celebrated social media marketing guru in the land!

And another favorite, the ever accessible Peg Fitzpatrick.

Social Media Today – updated almost daily with all the latest trends on all the most popular social media platforms.


or me! Sign up for my free informational newsletter (never any spam) or follow my Facebook page.

A Gigantic List of Truly Useful Resources

Online Groups for Writers


Writers and Artists Share Facebook Group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/237559129693688/

Writers– https://www.facebook.com/Writers-1510507419185410/?fref=ts

Writers Group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/memberswritersgroup/


APE – Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur – https://plus.google.com/communities/115977401813171258800

Book referenced below.

Writer’s Market Tools and Tips – https://plus.google.com/communities/110218523644459882783

Self Publishing – https://plus.google.com/communities/106426489682108553998

Inexpensive Help

Fiverr.com – For $5 a pop, you can hire graphic designers to make you an image post, hire an expert to set up posts for your various accounts, and do all kinds of quickie jobs on your behalf. https://www.fiverr.com/

Upwork  an online interface that brings designers, developers and all manner of professionals from all over the globe into your office one project at a time – https://www.upwork.com/

99DollarSocial.com – subscribe for $99 a month and get content posted to your various networks. https://www.99dollarsocial.com/ NOTE: I do this for about the same price, but it’s far more personalized. Check me out too! And here are my subscription prices.

  • 30 minutes per week x 4 weeks $100/month
  • 60 minutes per week x 4 weeks $160/month
  • 3 hours per week $85/week

These are computers – Make ’em do MORE for you!

There are services that help us connect our accounts so we can spend a quality hour preparing a week’s worth of posts, schedule them and know the world is going to continue spinning even without our rapt attention. Some of these services are:

IFTTT – If This Then That – https://ifttt.com/ – FREE for smaller accounts (which yours will be)

Hootsuite – Another social media management platform.

Tweetdeck – a personal favorite, free, for Twitter.

Sprout Social  – another handy service but pretty expensive starting at $59/mont after your free trial ends.

This link offers a pretty handy comparison of these types of paid social media management services.

Excellent Guides in book form

The Art of Social Media by Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick. A great guide to help you tackle your goals one network and best-practice at a time.

Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising by Ryan Holiday

Content Creation Tools


From the NY Public Library – http://publicdomain.nypl.org/pd-visualization/

Unsplash – 10 FREE to use photos every 10 days – https://unsplash.com/

Subscribe: http://unsplash.us2.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=655606e77350bfa30e1ab5457&id=9493051dec

InstaQuote – Make beautiful quote photos to use on Instagram, Facebook – wherever! FREE app


—–> My Go To Favorite: CANVA https://www.canva.com/

I use it on my iPad to create a variety of image and graphic posts for all the major social media. Comes preloaded with templates for Facebook posts, banners, headers, same for Twitter and more. Automatically updates to new sizes.

FREE DESIGN TIPS: http://www.1001freefonts.com/

Post: NEW From Adobe – the leaders in professional graphic design – Post – a free app.  https://post.adobe.com/ – can use on your iPhone

Eye-Dropper For Chrome users:

This is a fantastic free plug-in for Google Chrome that allows you to get the HEX color code for any color from a webpage. Very handy when you see a color you like and want to use it in your designs. https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/eye-dropper/hmdcmlfkchdmnmnmheododdhjedfccka?hl=en


Designspiration not only has stacks of great design inspiration, it also has a cool feature that allows you to search by color palette. By doing a color search, you can pick up to 5 colors you like and see all the designs that have used that palette. It’s a great way to get inspiration for new designs. http://designspiration.net/

OVER –  Adds interesting text solutions to photos. Available as an app for iOS or Android http://madewithover.com/

QUOTESCOVER: QuotesCover.com turns any ordinary quotes texts into beautiful quotes picture for Facebook, Twitter header, Google Plus, E-Cards, Wallpapers, Pinterest, Posters and other print design. http://www.quotescover.com/ PC interface online

AFTERLIGHT: Some people (myself included) struggle to capture visually appealing photographs. Afterlight’s scalable frames, textures, and tweakable filters can be a real lifesaver.  Available as an app for iOS and Android  http://afterlight.us/

PiktoChart: Create infograms. Free first month, paid subscription thereafter (Can log in from Facebook) http://piktochart.com/

MoldIV app for iOS iphone or ipad https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/moldiv-collage-photo-editor/id608188610?mt=8

This is my favorite iphone photo collage editor app! It’s awesome because…

  1. It’s slick. I love the design and they don’t put too much ads unlike other apps.
  2. Lots of awesome features. You can adjust the frame, the background, add text and inject some cute stamps (really cute ones!) on your photo.
  3. Super easy to use! You can save it to your camera roll, other apps and you can easily share it via Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Flickr.



JUST FOR INSTAGRAM or Creating Awesome Photos!

Free and paid apps for devices and desktops


An average of 70,000,000 photos are posted to Instagram every single day. If those were actual print photos on the standard 10.5 millimeter photo paper,  they’d stack up to be 83 times times taller than Mount Everest. That’s a lot of family photo albums.

If you want to catch the attention of your Instagram Community, you’ll need to create images that stand out. Here are some of the latest and greatest third party Instagram apps that can help you create picture perfect photos and videos!

Sprout Social (Desktop)

From Sprout’s web app, users can easily respond to comments posted on all of their Instagram images and videos. Sprout allows users to manage engagement with followers and commenters in an efficient way, while providing the users with context through thumbnail images and comment history.

BeFunky (Desktop)

BeFunky is an incredibly robust web-based photo editing tool that you can use to clean up all of your pictures. The full suite of editing tools includes the ability to crop, resize, tilt, soften, sharpen and much more. The most convenient part about the tool is that you don’t have to sign up to use the free version.

PicMonkey (Desktop)

PicMonkey is a fantastic tool for editing all of your images, Instagram or otherwise. The first option you’ll see is to do an entire photo edit, which includes: cropping, resizing, coloring and more. You can also choose to quickly “touch up” your image, which includes the ability to whiten teeth, remove wrinkles, reduce shine and more.

Photoshop Express (Desktop & Mobile)

The web-based version of Photoshop seems to have all of the bells and whistles of the desktop application. The free version of the tool is somewhat limited, but you can always upgrade to the full version of the tool at an additional cost.

Canva – (Desktop & iPad)

Canva is an amazing online photo design tool with an emphasis on creating and customizing social media images. The platform has a built-in Instagram post template that will make it easy to create new photos or edit the ones you already have.

InstaEdit+ (Mobile)

The “Fast Photo Effects Maker for Instagram” InstaEdit+ is a highly reviewed mobile application for giving your Instagram photos some character. The app boasts over 100 different filters and effects to choose from.

Cropic (Mobile)

Cropic is a highly-rated Instagram tool that actually allows Instagrammers to post full size pictures to the site without having to crop. It also includes options to move, rotate, scale and flip your photos.

 Square Sized (Mobile)

This highly rated app is used by over five million people worldwide. The tool is used to post entire photos to Instagram without having to scale it down to the normal square size.

No Crop (Mobile)

As the name suggests, this application allows Instagrammers to post full size photos to Instagram. It’s currently rated with 3.5 stars and has over two million users.

Layout from Instagram (Mobile)

Layout is a newer app from Instagram that lets you create collages of up to nine photos at a time. These photos can come from your camera roll, or can be taken on the spot with the built-in Photo Booth. Layout also has a handful of creative tools, like the Instagram filters, for making your collages even more unique.

LiPix (Mobile)

LiPix is a social tool currently being used by over 40 million people across Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Tumblr. The application boasts 90 adjustable templates, 54 different borders and 20 photo effects.

 Video Editor For Vine, Instagram (Mobile)

This Instagram app allows you to upload any video from your Camera Roll or Photo Library to edit. The editing features include the ability to adjust brightness, contrast, saturation, shadows and much more. You can also add music or voice to your videos.

VStudio (Mobile)

This 4.5 star application has a number of free tools to edit your Vine and Instagram videos. These tool include the ability to adjust brightness, contrast, saturation, exposure and more. You can also choose from over 80 different filters to use.

AvFX (Mobile)

AvFX is another solid video editing tool for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more. Like the other apps mentioned, AvFX has the ability to record videos, add filters, add music and add voice overs.

Hyperlapse (Mobile)

Hyperlapse is an incredibly fun tool created by Instagram. It allows you to take time lapse videos, even while you’re in motion. The built in stabilization technology is what gives those using Hyperlapse the freedom to move around while they direct, which is a huge advantage of the tool.

 PicFlow (Mobile)

PicFlow is a tool used for turning your photos into video slideshows. All you have to do is upload all of the photos you’d like to include to the app, arrange your perfect order and then tap and hold each photo for however long you’d like it to appear in the slideshow.

Crop Video Square (Mobile)

The Square Video Editor makes it quick and easy to adjust video position, to resize and rotate videos, and to fill with background colors. One key feature that Crop Video Square touts is the ability to pinch to crop and zoom.

Share Photos With a Specific #Hashtag to Slack Channel

This IFTTT formula will pull all of the Instagram photos with a specific hashtag into a Slack channel. So if you use Slack, this is a quick and easy way to find the photos you’re mentioned in, which you can then go on to share with your followers.

 Automatically Post Your Instagrams as Twitter Photos

This is an incredibly efficient way to share your Instagram photos to Twitter, which is a great source of content for Tweets.

Automatically Post Your Instagrams to a Facebook Album

This formula provides another quick and easy way to re-purpose your Instagram content on your other social networks. Automatically pull your Instagrams into a Facebook album, so fans without Instagram can peruse your photos.


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Great Infographic and succinct and valuable info for ensuring your headlines aren’t too wordy nor your blog posts too short, or too long.