Instagram should be an essential part of any brand’s internet presence. It’s just as important as Facebook or Twitter, and might soon surpass them.
Instagram is currently the fastest growing social network, with a thriving user base of 400 million accounts composed mostly of young adults. It also tends to have the highest engagement rates of any platform. Brands are more likely to find success on Instagram than on other sites.
Here are 10 brands that show the rest of us how to market on Instagram the right way:
It can be tough for niche products and services to get a foothold in the market. This is where social media can help. Brands that might otherwise go unnoticed can make a splash on the internet if their Instagram content goes viral.
Dollar Beard Club, which delivers packages of beard oil and grooming products for a monthly subscription of only a dollar, is an example of a company that managed to do just that.
Launched as a parody of the successful Dollar Shave Club, the brand gained attention for its irreverent sense of humor. This is evident by just glancing at the content it normally puts out on Instagram:
The Dollar Beard Club also pays attention to trending topics. For instance, it jumped on the opportunity to joke about the newly rugged appearance of Aquaman in the recent Justice League trailer:
2. Red Bull
The energy-drink company Red Bull is known for featuring extreme sports in its marketing. This means it has plenty of material to draw on for striking visual content. Red Bull often enlists famous sports photographers like Christian Pondella to create images for their Instagram:
Kinetic, dynamic compositions like this have the ability to grab the attention of most Instagram users—even those who don’t typically follow extreme sports. The power of great photography is that it’s compelling to people of all interests.
However, still images aren’t always the best medium to use. In some cases, videos can be a more appropriate choice for capturing a subject or a certain moment. Movement can be an essential part of depicting an action, such as cliff diving.
Red Bull posts plenty of video content on its Instagram account, perhaps even outpacing its photo output. So feel free to choose whatever method best fits your content.
Airbnb is an online marketplace that allows people to rent out their living spaces to those looking for temporary lodging. With listings in 191 countries, Airbnb is a brand with a wide-reaching presence.
This means that Airbnb has access to a variety of locations and people, which it fully utilizes for a steady stream of Instagram content. It often features photographs sent in by users and the property owners offering their spaces for rent.
It’s a system Airbnb uses to their advantage. It provides them with a catalog of fascinatingly diverse images from different regions and cultures. It also acts as an effective and appealing way to showcase what the service can offer.
The company has also gotten involved in political discourse, which can be a risky decision from a business perspective. Airbnb found it necessary to speak up in this case, though. They used the hashtag #WeAccept to express unequivocal support for diversity and tolerance. This helped win over consumers who also felt strongly about the topic.
Social responsibility is becoming an important part of a brand’s image. Consumers favor brands that seek to make a positive contribution to the world.
Charity Water is a nonprofit nongovernmental organization dedicated to distributing clean drinking water to developing nations, as well as raising awareness about the effects of the ongoing global water crisis.
Their Instagram serves as a model for anyone wanting to boost their credibility as a socially conscious company. The content they publish is direct proof of the successful impact of their operations.
Most of Charity Water’s images and videos are focused on the people who receive the water. It is inspiring and heartwarming to see so many smiling faces among those truly in need.
Another major takeaway from their success is that Instagram users are attracted to content that stirs their emotions. Through our capacity for empathy, we are designed to respond to facial cues and expressions. Tapping into that can do a lot to humanize a brand.
Saturday Night Live is a television program with millions of viewers per episode and a dedicated fan base online. It’s an influential pop-culture staple that has been around for decades, so it doesn’t need to do a whole lot to attract attention.
SNL keeps its Instagram simple. Its content tends to be behind-the-scenes material, and it often hands over the account to its celebrity host for the week. This is a great way to build anticipation for new episodes.
Additionally, the candid nature of the content means that it can be produced on the fly. There’s no need to spend hours setting up elaborate photoshoots.
One recent post, for example, is a selfie that actor Chris Pine took during a script read-through:
This unfussy snapshot snagged over 40,000 likes in a day. It shows that sometimes the creative process can be interesting enough on its own.
6. Nike Lab
Nike is a brand so large that it requires multiple Instagram accounts to cover its various facets. The company has separate accounts for its various divisions, including NikeWomen, Nike Basketball and Nike+ Run Club.
Nike Lab has perhaps the most noteworthy Instagram presence. The focus of Nike Lab is to show off upcoming gear and apparel. Each post gives in-depth details about the product, showcasing its features and performance, as well as providing a visual teaser.
Customers enjoy getting informative previews of products. It’s practical, and gives them a clear idea of what you’re offering before they buy it.
Previews also generate hype and stimulate people to buy the product upon its launch. The release dates of Nike shoes have become big events. Some people will even camp out in front of stores to be the first to buy them.
GoPro is in a unique position when it comes to Instagram. Since its main products are durable “action” cameras, it makes sense that they would exclusively use images and videos made with a GoPro. It’s the ultimate platform to demonstrate what the cameras can do.
GoPro is another brand that relies on user submissions to supply their feed with content. Everything from skydiving to animal antics can be found on their page. A GoPro can be attached to most anything, so the possibilities are endless.
Incorporating user content is also a good way to build a community. Some companies encourage their followers to use hashtags by offering them the chance to get their content regrammed. Others, such as GoPro, have links to official submission forms in their bio.
8. Lorna Jane
Some brands might want to use their Instagram to convey a certain attitude, or to reflect the personality of their customers.
Lorna Jane is an activewear company based in Australia. Anybody who visits their Instagram page will be able to quickly identify their core demographic.
Lorna Jane specifically targets young, athletic women who value style and function in equal measure. This is evident in nearly every piece of content that they submit. Their images depict women exercising and living life to the fullest, and looking good while doing so.
There is a lot of value in consistency. Brands on Instagram should see each post as a way to reinforce what they represent and strive for.
National Geographic has been renowned for its award-winning photography for over 100 years. It would be a disappointment if its Instagram account failed to live up to its own standards.
Happily, it does not. Even on social media, National Geographic continues to deliver high-quality images.
Furthermore, National Geographic uses its expertise to its advantage. Every image is accompanied by an educational caption that describes the subject or explains how the photographer captured the image.
Instagram is filled with aspiring photographers looking to hone their craft. They appreciate any tips they can get from professionals in the field.
Some brands on Instagram think outside the box in their approach to the platform. The fashion retailer ASOS is one of them.
As well as maintaining its primary account, ASOS employs different Instagram users to act as brand ambassadors.
Brand ambassadors are valuable resources on many social networks, as they are regarded as honest and relatable. The public trusts their opinions more than those of a corporate spokesperson or celebrity.