Tuesday, 12 April 2016

An Epic Guide To My Favourite Free Iconosquare Alternative: Squarelovin'

I don't know if you've noticed at all lately, but Instagram has become a total social media game changer for me lately. Not only has it become my favourite of the medias, but it communicates my creativity, is fun for experimenting and learning, and has seen interaction and pageviews increase through Nellie and Co. too, so it's well worth your time and effort.

I recently shared how you can schedule your Instagram content with Latergram.me, but if you're serious in wanting to make Instagram one of your go-to social medias, you're going to want to make sure you know what's working and what isn't, and how you can improve, and that's where Squarelovin' comes in. Latergram.me and Squarelovin' have totally changed how I use Instagram, and where Latergram.me helps me prepare, Squarelovin' helps me track my stats.

But what really makes Squarelovin' such an awesome tool?

1 | It's absolutely, totally, completely and utterly free

In comparison to a lot of other services, this is a BIG selling point. Chances are, you are not a business, and you probably don't want to be, but that doesn't mean you don't want to take your Instagram marketing and content sharing seriously. You might want to know what people like most, and what they shake their heads at, and Squarelovin' allows you to do that, for free. If you're looking for a cheaper, less in depth alternative to Iconosquare's $28.80 price tag, look no further.

2 | Your stats are collected every day, without fail

I find I don't have to login each day to get my stats, although I would recommend it, which is an absolute godsend in terms of keeping up without the constant need to clock in and get the ball rolling, however, some people have reported that they have had to, but those reports are a few years old. The only time I've ever suffered a problem collecting statistics is when they suffered a small issue with their systems, but it was only down for around 5 days, and they worked super hard to get it back up and running as quickly as possible, which was pretty excellent in terms of customer service, and even better when you remember that they do it all for nadah in their back pocket.

3 | You can view your feed in grid form

This is without a doubt one of my favourite features, and although you can still view it in a listed format, the grid format allows for a better viewing experience, more content to be seen, enables you to like the photo with a simple click, all without hindering the entire user experience at all. It's definitely made checking out other content and seeing my feed a better feeling overall.

4 | It calculates your optimal posting times

Once again, it's worth remembering that they does this for free, without any of the sending to your email address Websta.me uses, and doesn't have the hefty price tag either. There a few downsides to the optimal posting times (I talk about this a little further in the post), but generally, I've never had any problems with this area, in fact, it's one of my favourite areas on the whole site and has totally changed how I post my content, when, and how I prepare it all with Latergram.me.

These points don't do Squarelovin' justice though, so I've thrown together an in-depth guide to Squarelovin' covering most of the areas you'll ever need to use and know about, how you can understand all the information, and how it can help you in the long run.

The first thing you're going to want to do use your Instagram account to log in, using pretty much the same idea as Buffer in that respect. Once you're in, you'll be hit with the homepage featuring a lot of content from your followers, and that wonderful grid view that I absolutely love, and a lot of different options and places to explore with it, all of which we're about to get into.

Squarelovin's Homepage and Feed

As far as homepages go, this one is pretty much as simple as it gets. There are two options available viewing wise, the normal listed view, which shows the image on the left, with the caption underneath, a show of the tags they've used throughout, likes underneath and comments in the bottom right corner, or the grid view, my personal favourite. The grid view is truly much more helpful and effective than the list in terms of interacting and socialising with other peoples content. No scrolling endlessly only to have the app fling you to the top and have you start again, it's not a given on Squarelovin'.

The homepage itself has 6 other places for you to explore

1 | My Media

This section is the equivalent of your profile on the mobile app. You'll be taken to a very similar screen to your follower feed, expect all the content will be yours. You'll get a quick view of your likes and comments on each of your images, see your bio and web link, and get your following and follower counts too.

2 | My Likes

This area allows you to see all the photos you've liked. I don't use this area often, but it is handy in terms of going back and getting inspiration from other posts, or checking in on giveaways and monthly book challenges. I suspect this area could also become handy with the new Instagram algorithm coming into play, as the photos you like and interact with most will have an adverse affect on the posts you'll see first, so use your likes wisely, or just like everything that appeals so you get a good spread in your feed in future.

3 | My Followers

This area is exactly what the tin says it is, it's a place where you can see all your followers, all in one place.

4 | My Followings

This area is very much the same in terms of the obvious, however, I know I'm more likely to use this area than I am to check out my followers. I can easily get a look for who I'm following, who might not be someone I want in my feed, or I may have noticed my lack of enjoyment from their content and unfollow them this way, rather than scrolling through or waiting for them to appear in my feed.

5 | Populars

This area is also pretty obvious in terms of it's content, it collects the days most popular content across the whole of Instagram and puts it all in one place for you. It's not an area I was all that much, but I do like to browse every now and again for the fun of it.

6 | Albums

I've not used this feature myself, although I image it's pretty great in terms of organising your content.

Squarelovin's Analytics

This is most definitely where the magic happens with Squarelovin'. In this area, you'll find all sorts of information on your Instagram profile, everything from your stats, to how to make improvements, to how well your content has performed and so much more. It's the area I use most frequently, and it really allows me to focus on what works, what doesn't, what need to be scrapped and what can be tweaked to make the most of what I'm doing on there. Let's get into more of the details.

1 | Overview

Your overview features some of your basic information, things like the total amount of posts you have on your account, the total number of likes you've received, and the total numbers of comments. Then follows a small graph of your last 7 days follower progress, either growth or decreasing numbers. Below that is small preview of your last 4 posts with the number of likes, comments and percentage of engagement from your followers, and then a quick overview of your scores; the number of likes, comments, engagement rate, love rate, talk and spread rate of your last 15 posts.

2 | Monthly Analytics

First you'll get an overview of your last 6 posts, which doesn't differ all that much from the Overview. You'll also get to see how many photos your posted in the last 30 days, which is good helpful if you're looking to schedule your posts with Latergram.me and want to stay within your monthly limit for free.

You'll then get a run down of your likes, how many you've received, your average over the 30 days, how many you had in the previous month and the percentage difference, and the average amount your posts from last month received, and the difference between those two as well. You'll than have your most liked content featured underneath.

On the right of that, you'll have exactly the same, but for comments instead.

Then on the very bottom, you'll have your follower growth in the last monthly period in graph form, which is really helpful and handy if you're tracking or taking note, or just want to see how well doing a certain something has been for you and your profile.

3 | Postings

Your posting is just a very quick rundown of you content on Instagram, so the first area features a graph of your content posting right from day one to the current day, and on the left, you'll see a small image of your first image on Instagram.

Following that, you'll find another graph showing how frequently you post per month from the day you started, and will compare it through each year. You'll also get some quick information on the amount of posts you've shared through each year since you started your account.

At the bottom of this area, you'll get a run down of how frequently you post on each day of the week, and times you've posted most in the day, which works well when taken note of alongside your optimal posting times, so you can what's worked and what hasn't.

You'll also see what your most used hashtag is, and your most used filter.

4 | Engagement

This area sorts out your data in terms of your average likes, and total number of likes, and puts them into a more technical graph, which really shows you the growth and quality of your images in comparison to the likes.

You'll also have another similar graph further down the page, but in terms of your comments.

In between these two graphs, you'll get a sweet overview of your most liked and most commented on content, which can really give you some idea of what your followers like most, although it's important to remember that you shouldn't be trying to post what everyone else wants and doing what you enjoy and what you want to post.

5 | Optimization

Without a doubt one of the best areas of Squarelovin' is the optimal posting area. You'll start with your best days of the week and times of day to post based on your last 90 days, and you'll have some handy dandy graphs to help you with that.

You'll then have another graph that goes into more detail on the graph before, highlighting in amber and green the better days and times for you to post based on your posts already, and the days and times you should maybe consider not your best so far. Of course, this graph is much more comprehensive, but it's also easily biased.

For example, a lot of my content is posted around 11pm at night, so it would naturally be one of the most popular times, but I've recently started experimented with other times of the day, which means these times would show up as not as worthy, in comparison to later at night, because there's no as much content that has been engaged with at that time. It's worth remembering to experiment in this area.

Quick Tip: Your optimal posting times will automatically be set set to German timezones, and although you can go into your account settings through the top right corner next to your image and change your country and your continent, your times will still reflect the Germany time zone. Although this is slightly inconvenient, using a converter and getting into the habit of knowing your optimal posting times does make this easier to remember.

Following that, you'll be able to see which of your filters is gaining the most attention and engagement, all your tags that you've ever used, and the most popular tags being used on Instagram, so you could take some ideas from there too.

6 | Community

This area is pretty basic in terms of showing you your number of followers and the number of people you're following. You can also see these numbers on a graph further down, which can really be helpful in terms of seeing if your following increases while the amount of people you follow does, and it's good to see some interaction between the two of them.

There are a number of other statistic collecting tools out there for Instagram, some paid, some free, but Squarelovin' has been the most consistent, easiest to use, and nicest of the free alternatives, and when there have been issues, they've been prompt in fixing them, which really, is the best kind of free service you can get, above and beyond. It's easy to pick up and learn, and it's easy to adapt to using too, so if you're looking for a way to get to know your numbers for free through Instagram, use Squarelovin'.

Do you track your Instagram stats? Would you use Squarelovin', or do you use another program?


  1. I currently only use Twitter for my blog social media - haven't touched Instagram at all. Still, this app sounds insanely awesome - that optimisation feature that calculates the best posting time is awesome! Noe...if only there's an optiom for it in Google Analytics xD

  2. I started using it thanks to you (I literally do everything you say) and have been loving the analytics feature. It's helped me TONS, so thanks! I'm surprised your best times to post are so different from mine since we're both from Europe but I guess the numbers are more personal that I thought.

  3. I can't wait to check this out later! How often would you recommend posting to Instagram?

  4. I've been looking for a website that can tell me the best time to post to Instagram, so thank you so much for introducing me to this! I love Instagram, and I love participating in the bookstagram community, so this will help me to reach even more people. Although I don't think Instagram really helps me generate blog traffic, it's a lot of fun, and I've made loads of friends! Thank you so much for sharing this :)

  5. I am regular reader of your blog and no doubt it all stuff is awesome. The best thing about your sharing and posting is that you always provide content that is helpful for both the newbie and experts. Looking for more stuff and tutorials.

    Love from Tech Solutions Desk

  6. Thanks For Sharing, not good as iconosquare but its free..!