In my last post, I discussed the different ways companies can use Instagram marketing to take their brand to the next level. Brands that achieve success with Instagram understand what their audience likes—both in the word’s standard meaning and its social media meaning.
The use of Instagram by big brands has increased tremendously within the past two years. Currently, 86 out of the Interbrand Top 100 are using the photo-sharing platform. In 2012, that number was only 54 out of 100. Followers and fans are also more engaged than ever before, with the average engagement rate rising 415 percent from 2012. These figures alone prove just how powerful a tool like Instagram can be. That said, there are some brands that have truly taken the lead with their Instagram marketing. Below are five of them, and if you’d like to learn even more about how to run an effective Instagram strategy, download our free eBook.
Ben and Jerry’s was one of the first brands to capitalize on Instagram’s influence. By featuring mouth-watering images of its famous ice cream, it has gained more than 400,000 followers. Ben and Jerry’s has strategically used Instagram to spread “ice cream euphoria” around the world. It has a strong commitment to its brand values and demonstrates this with its focus on building customer connections on a global scale.
Ben and Jerry’s is constantly regramming photos posted with related hashtags, as well as focusing on building brand awareness by promoting new and unique flavors through Instagram to generate buzz. Ben and Jerry’s has also proven Instagram ads’ effectiveness by strategically running them using images of its newest flavors or other enticing pictures. After just four ads, Ben and Jerry’s saw a 20-percent increase in followers. I predict Ben and Jerry’s will remain successful with its Instagram marketing. I mean, how can you go wrong with pictures like this?
Photo Source: Posted by @BenandJerrys on Instagram, credit to @marensdelights
Nike is without a doubt a top brand, if not the top brand, on Instagram. It uses the social media platform to connect with its audience in a unique, effective way. Out of all the Interbrand Top 100 brands, Nike has the most followers, clocking in at over eight million. It has a way of understanding its audience’s behaviors and the content that engages them.
In 2013, Nike ran arguably one of the most successful Instagram marketing campaigns to date, Nike PHOTOiD, which gave other brands the motivation to think beyond the status quo. Nike PHOTOiD let viewers use their own Instagram photos as inspiration for a pair of personalized Nike sneakers. This encouraged engagement not only on Instagram, but also with the brand’s products. Read more about the campaign and technology on the Nike PHOTOiD help page.
Nike continually proves it’s a mastermind of Instagram with its use of breathtaking imagery. In each Instagram post, it not only showcases its products in use, but uses creative images that tell powerful stories. Here is an example:
Photo Source: @nike on Instagram
Starbucks recently engineered a winning Instagram strategy that has earned it over three million followers. Similar to Ben and Jerry’s, Starbucks focuses on nurturing customer relationships by regramming posts with Starbucks-related hashtags. Recently, to celebrate the seasonal return of its famous red cups, the brand held a contest to encourage followers to post a picture of their red cup and tag it with #redcupcontest. The winner was announced on its blog and received an exclusive Sterling Starbucks Card. Starbucks is smart in that it capitalizes on personalized signature drinks and creates buzz around them in a genuine way. This contest was simple, yet effective, because it stimulated engagement by allowing people to illustrate their personal creativity through photographs—all while enjoying the product.
Photo Source: @starbucks on Instagram
Unlike the brands above, the NBA sells an experience rather than a product. When you look at its Instagram page, you feel like you have a courtside seat to all the action. Its page features videos of slow-motion slam dunks, sneak peeks inside the locker room, and players warming up before a game. With more than four million followers, it’s clear that the organization’s strategy of combining action-packed video content of players on the court and behind-the-scenes clips speak to its audiences’ interests and entertainment needs.
Going into the 2013–2014 season, the NBA increased its engagement on Instagram by bringing attention to its community-outreach initiative, NBA Cares. Between October 2013 and April 2014, the NBA account saw a 425-percent increase in followers.
Photo Source: @nba on Instagram
The famous red sole can be spotted instantly by any fashion lover out there. His shoes are sensational, spunky, and worn by some of the most glamorous people in the world. Who am I talking about? Christian Louboutin, of course.
Not only is he a genius shoe designer, but Christian Louboutin has created his own empire. His success has grown due to his massively successful Instagram campaign, which helps him connect with his three million followers by giving them an inside peek into making and designing his shoes, including photos of design sketches and images that inspire him. In addition, his Instagram is filled with images of shoes in all sorts of glamorous situations, which further encompasses his overall message of feeling lavish and utterly fabulous.
Photo Source: @louboutinworld on Instagram
All five brands are very different, but they found Instagram success for similar reasons. Their unique understanding of their individual audiences allows them to develop quality, engaging Instagram content, such as videos and stunning imagery, with the purpose of building and nurturing connections with followers. Providing value to your audience with quality content that engages and encourages action—sharing, regramming, liking, et cetera—produces the real results that these brands see.
Interested in learning more about Instagram marketing? Download our eBook: The Ultimate Enterprise Instagram Strategy Guide.