Instagram is seriously dominating right now. This platform, which is focused on visual aesthetics, is all about pretty pictures and giving your audience a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what your brand is all about. Instagram is personal, and it feels that way. It feels as if the photos you see in your news feed are that of your friend, even though it might be of a brand who has no idea you exist. That’s the appeal of it: the personal, the behind the scenes, and the pretty pictures.
Though it’s a personal platform, and not a business-like platform, there is still a lot of strategy that goes into building a following on Instagram. I’ve rounded up 10 brands that are doing Instagram absolutely right, and I’ll tell you why.
A Beautiful Mess is a popular lifestyle blog. Elsie and Emma, the faces behind the blog, have perfected the craft of connecting with their audience and building a brand. A lot of that comes from their bright, colorful aesthetics. But the main reason that they’re doing Instagram right is that they’ve created multiple hashtags for their brands such as #ABMlifeiscolorful and #ABMlifeissweet. Readers are welcomed to hashtag their photos that pertain to their brand’s hashtags, and A Beautiful Mess shares their favorite photos on their account. This is brilliant for multiple reasons: 1. It gets readers to engage with your brand and use your hashtags to bring awareness to your page. 2. It allows you to have a huge pool of content to choose from to share without actually having to develop your own content.
The reason why Budweiser is doing Instagram right is because they really make you feel like you’re in a fun, bar atmosphere all the time. Whenever I see Budweiser in my news feed, I instantly want a beer. That means they’re doing their job right. One interesting thing I like about Budweiser is that they rarely show people’s faces in their photos: They always focus on people’s hands, whether they’re pouring beer, drinking beer, opening beer, etc. This is great because it’s not distracting–I’m not focused on what the person looks like, all I’m interested in is the beer.
3. GoProGoPro is one of those accounts you follow to live vicariously through others. Since GoPro is a video camera you use to record adventure, they’ve devoted their Instagram to adventure. The account, filled with stunning photos, plays off the dreams of their audience. Also, GoPro encourages their viewers to utilize the #GoProAwards hashtag where users submit their best GoPro photos. GoPro then posts their Photo of the Day from this hashtag. This brilliance is the same tactic that A Beautiful Mess used in #1.
As a workout brand, Nike motivates people to exercise through their page. They share photos and captions that make you want to get out and get active. In most of their captions they share inspirational quotes too, which really connect with their viewers. For a country that’s consistently trying to be more active, being a hub for motivation has really proven to work well for Nike.
Oreo always amazes me with its social media strategies. Essentially, Oreo has one cookie. Yes, it has double-stuffed, and thins, etc., but all in all they’re marketing just one cookie. They’ve been able to successfully build an entire brand using one cookie. This blows my mind. Anyways, one thing I seriously love about Oreo is that they use the little Instagram videos all the time. As you can see in the screen grab above, 5/6 out of their latest posts were little videos. These videos are extremely engaging, and shows that the brand seriously cares about making their content awesome. Making videos for each post is much more involved than posting a photo. Props, Oreo.
Like GoPro, Redbull plays off of their audience’s adventurous sides. Unlike GoPro, the brand’s product really has nothing to do with adventure. Okay, yes, it is an energy drink, which means that it gives you energy to do adventurous things. But, coffee is also an energy drink, and you don’t see coffee brands branding themselves in this hyper-adventurous way. However, now when people think of Redbull, they associate it with adventure. It’s synonymous. And that’s largely in part to their social media strategy. Redbull shares photos and videos that make their viewers think “I wish I could do that,” or “I can do that, with a little help.” Most of their posts don’t even feature their product, and somehow it still works.
Starbucks has mastered the artsy, coffee aesthetic. The mood they convey and the filters they use are consistent to make you feel like you’re hanging out in a coffee shop. And though Starbucks is a big chain, they try to convey that they’re a small, local shop. And it works. They’re also a brand that utilizes customers’ photos and posts them to their brand, which really makes users feel connected and special.
8. The Skimm
If you haven’t heard of The Skimm, it’s a news site that skims current events and summarizes them in a way that’s enjoyable to read. They put out a skim every morning, and they’re getting increasingly more popular, especially with millenials. Their Instagram is a little different than most, as in they use a lot of word-heavy posts. Instead of following the “only post pretty photos” rule, they post a lot of graphics and screenshots of funny texts. They love to make readers laugh, and they love to keep them up on current events, and readers are definitely responding positively. They share a “quote of the day” each morning that is either an interesting, humorous, or notable quote from a prominent person or brand in the news. Readers look forward to this quote of the day, and specifically come to their account for this quote. They also show readers’ photos of them reading The Skimm, which basically sends the message of, “Other people are doing it, so you should be too.”
I really love the Vans brand, primarily because they’ve been around for so long, but they still feel super current and trendy. Of course, that’s largely due to their marketing, specifically social media marketing. They advertise their shoes in a way that’s not too salesy. They’re selling their shoes to customers, without their customers feeling like they’re being sold to. Does that make sense? It’s a sneaky tactic, but it works. They have everyday people modeling their shoes, in everyday situations. But, those people are extremely cool, and they instill the subliminal message that if you wear the shoes you’ll be extremely cool too. Brill.
10. Warby Parker
Warby Parker is pretty much the Toms of eyeglasses. The same way that Toms donates a pair of shoes each time someone buys a pair, Warby Parker donates a pair of glasses. The social worker in me loves that, but that’s not why I love their Instagram. I feel like it used to be really nerdy to wear glasses, and Warby Parker has made it cool. Their photos make you want to wear glasses. Their feed is full of clean, aesthetically pleasing photos. They also use their creativity in images, because seriously, how many times can you make glasses look interesting? Apparently a lot.
Alright, those are my 10 favorite brands that are absolutely killing the Instagram game. I know their a ton out there that are notable, and I’m discovering new ones every day. And I love how many people are utilizing this visual platform to really connect to their audiences. Yay photos, yay social media.