There are tons of examples of brands that are killing it on Instagram.
When you look at the brands killing it on Instagram, you can’t help but wonder what they’re doing differently that has allowed them to be successful.
Is it their ability to take better photos than you?
Do they simply know a few tips and tricks that you don’t know?
Or do they know the steps required to create an engaged following?
Well, in some cases, it’s all of the above.
But that’s okay, you can follow their lead by studying the best.
Mobile photo sharing is one of the fastest growing trends in social media history.
With an average of 70 million photos garnering 2.5 billion likes every day, Instagram has quickly taken the lead in this area outnumbering Twitter with total active users worldwide.
Late last year, Instagram announced that its worldwide user base had passed 300 million. That’s a gain of 50% from the 200 million milestone it achieved only nine months prior. What’s even more remarkable is that Instagram’s users now outnumber Twitter’s 288 million users.
This massive growth has the attention of marketers in all industries.
Brands big and small are starting to see the power Instagram can have in driving engaged users and results.
Whether Instagram is currently part of your digital marketing mix or soon will be, there are plenty of examples of brands already doing right. Here are some of my favourite examples of brands getting creative and using Instagram to its full potential, taking risks and killing it.
1. General Electric
There isn’t anything sexy about light bulbs and kitchen appliances. And that’s exactly what you don’t see on GE’s Instagram account. Instead, GE uses Instagram to give users a unique look at its impressive engines and turbines that rock the energy, transportation and aviation industry.
GE posts high-quality beautiful photos of turbines and sunsets, videos of larger than life engines being built in mind-blowing production and aviation facilities, as well as motivational and inspiring quotes from brilliant scientists and engineers.
I suggest you give GE a follow. You won’t regret it.
One of my personal favourites is the #GEInstaWalk contest. Essentially the company invited six “#GE super fans” to tour their aviation facility in Peebles, OH consisting of more than 7,000 acres of machinery as the company’s Instagram co-pilots. Users were tasked with commenting below the photo with one sentence telling the company why they are the biggest GE #avgeek ever.
GE also ran a contest with the goal of finding its next “Instagrapher.”
More than 4,000 Instagram photos were posted and tagged with the hashtag #GEInspiredMe. The photos were then posted to Facebook where fans voted for their favourite. The winner was flown to Wales to photograph one of their world-class aviation facility.
This rare look inside GE’s work in the aviation and energy industry not only helps the company showcase its innovation and get people excited about their work, it’s brilliant for increasing customer engagement.
I love this brand because they have such a deep understanding of their audience and what their fans want and expect from them on social media, specifically Instagram.
Even before the Chobani joined Instagram, they were aware of the conversations taking place about their product on this platform and saw that their fans were posting photos of fan creations using the brand’s product – Greek yogurt. They listened first, and acted later.
When asked why Chobani added Instagram to its marketing mix, Hilary duPont, content manager on Chobani’s brand communications team said, “We want to be where our consumers are.”
It was that simple.
According to Instagram, the Chobani fans used hashtags like #creationaday and #chobani to showcase the yogurt as a core ingredient in their culinary creations and proudly shared photos of these creations before they were consumed, literally.
It was their passionate fan-base that inspired the brand to join the conversation. Consisting primarily of Generation Y Instagram users, the fit was a match made in heaven.
According to Chobani, their content strategy is also simple – post what their fans are posting. This mimicking approach is brilliant! Not only does it ensure their content is relevant and engaging for their fans, but it also helps to keep their content fresh, exciting, and creative.
“We’re on the platform every day so we know what’s trending,” said duPont. “If our consumers are posting about smoothies, we are, too. We want to be doing what they’re doing.”
Ah, Sharpies are the best! Am I right?
One of the most distinguished names in pens and markers, Sharpie takes a unique approach to Instagram placing them securely on my ‘most creative examples of brands killing it on Instagram’ list.
Rather than promoting their product (as most brands do on Instagram), Sharpie celebrates the art and experiences that their customers create with their product.
Filling their feed with fan-submitted sharpie-drawn art is a great way to engage fans and showcase their product in action from the perspective of the customer. This is user-generated content at its finest.
Red Bull is fearless when it comes to marketing, often pushing boundaries and dancing between brand awareness and pure entertainment. Their alliance to extreme athletic events further contributes to the brand’s edgy image, placing them more firmly in a position to push the envelope when it comes to marketing.
Redbull has never shied away from digital innovation and social media. It’s no surprise that they jumped into Instagram in its early days have been killing it ever since.
Red Bull is about so much more than its drink. It’s a lifestyle brand and that’s exactly how the company portrays itself on Instagram. The brand posts shocking, jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring photos of extreme sporting events and epic athletics feats. The content Red Bull shares with its fans is seamlessly aligned to the brand story.
Most famously, RedBull used Instagram to give its fans an up close and personal view of pilot Felix Baumgartner’s record breaking jump from space on October 14, 2012. Baumgartner successfully jumped 127,900 feet from space to become the first person to break the sound barrier record without vehicular power on his descent. Naturally, Red Bull was Baumgartner’s sponsor.
RedBull captured their audience’s attention with their step-by-step documentation of Baumgartner’s preparation leading up to the event.
Red Bull’s creative use of Instagram has earned it over 2.5 million followers.
It’s all about the content
You’ll probably notice that I put little emphasis on the amount of followers each of these brands have. It’s important to remember that the number of followers you have isn’t everything. It’s also about what you do with those followers, what you offer them and how you leverage your connection with them to accomplish your goals.
Instagram is more than just sharing and liking photos. It’s a channel that offers marketers a great chance to connect with their target audience and tell their story in a compelling way.
If you’re looking to spruce up your content, build a campaign or simply add Instagram to your digital strategy, you should check out my this SlideShare: