The other day I received an email from the folks at Iconosquare. This is what the message said:
On June 1st 2016 we will launch a new version of Iconosquare. The current version will no longer be available and the public Instagram viewer will be shut down.
This new Iconosquare is not just a visual redesign, but a whole new product with new features. Some major changes will accompany this release. You can keep using the current version of Iconosquare for free until the 1st June 2016. After that day the new version will only be available to PLUS and ELITE users.
Just when I got comfortable viewing my instagram feed chronologically and, although simple, the free version lets me manage my account in an easy, straightfoward way. Also, iconosquare makes managing comments easy too (btw, I get more comments on instagram than I get on my blog). But my lovely blog readers are way more loyal than my instagram followers. It's pretty common that instagram users will eventually unfollow once they hit 5k and you don't. But I digress.
So, I did a little research.
So, I did a little research.
There are a number of alternatives out there, however, some seem to violate the TOS of instagram, so it pays to read the small print carefully.
*Update - just heard back that Ink361 will change its format. The version will no longer be available
Check out Ink361, where you can conveniently log in with your instagram account. It let's you view the instagram feed chronologically (yay) and manage comments, although the format does take getting used to. Published images automatically have Pinterest / Twitter / Google+ buttons, so you may crosspost easily. There's a backup function for your images / albums. You can also create circles similar to Google+. Useful if you want to check out certain topics, i.e. jewelry, foodpics etc. Although the statistics aren't in depth, they are suffient for my purposes. Among others you can check hashtag popularity and most liked posts. The down side is there are a lot of ads within the feed itself and also in the side bars. In any case if you do not want to pay $$$ for iconosquare's Plus or Elite versions, then I'd recommend switching to Ink361.
As mine is a relatively small instagram account I currently don't need tons of data, however, Dasheroo seems like a decent place to start. I'm specifically intersted in their small business dashboard, which is also free. Dasheroo lets you configure your dashboard to your preferences and check your stats on multiple apps, such as Twitter, Facebook, Google Analytics and Instagram. Seems efficient to me. I haven't tried out all the features yet, but it doesn't look like you'd be able to manage instagram comments. Rather it's an analytic tool for managing your account(s) and perhaps to check current social media trends. Something to keep in mind for when my account grows :)
Lastly, I wanted to share whether the changes to the feed on instagram several weeks ago have affected my sales negatively. Happy to report that this is not the case! With the right hashtags and a great photo you can still reach tons of potential customers. The only thing I've noticed is my growth rate has slowed down. I used to get several new followers per day. Now it's maybe one every three days. But as I mentioned it's not the follower count that's important, it's the quality of followers :)
I still need to figure out how to add a new instagram widget, since my current one will disappear once iconosquare's free version shuts down at the end of this month.