Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, you are probably well aware that Instagram has exploded onto the market. After a $1 billion acquisition from Facebook, the photo sharing social network now has 80 million users and many brands have adopted Instagram as a marketing channel for visually telling their brands’ story.
This Friday we’re doing a twist on Twitter’s Follow Friday, but instead of finding the best people to follow on Twitter, we’ve made a list of the best brands to follow on Instagram. (We have also written about who to follow on Pinterest).
>>Also read about 8 Great Instagram Brand Campaigns
Here are 12 brands that are using Instagram to their advantage, and posting engaging and interesting images you’ll actually want to see:
Tiffany & Co.
Tiffany’s launched a campaign this past winter called True Love in Pictures (they used Postano to display user-generated content at their kickoff party in New York City). The company hired popular fashion blogging couple Scott Schuman (the Sartorialist) and Garance Dore to document love stories in New York and Paris on their Instagram account. The also allowed couples to submit their own #truelovepictures, displaying the best pictures on their website.
(Photo by our own Postano Team Member, Marcie Giovannoni)
Sharpie concentrates on artistic expression on their Instagram account, featuring snapshots not of the markers themselves, but rather works created using the markers. Focusing on their customers’ inspirations and artistic creations keeps Sharpie’s Instagram feed interesting and quirky – with everything from funny to breathtaking user-submitted shots.
Red Bull is consistently on “Best Of” lists for social media marketing, and the energy drink company’s presence on Instagram is no exception. Red Bull posts daily photos featuring their signature extreme sports sponsored athletes and celebrates “Flying Fridays” with airborne athletes for their adrenaline seeking fans and followers.
This small custom bicycle shop in San Francisco posts artistic and always creative shots of their beautiful bicycles against an array of backdrops in San Francisco. Bike lover or not, you are sure to appreciate the creative angles, colors and shots posted by the shop.
Ok, I’ll admit as an avid skier myself I may be a little biased here, but Freeskier magazine consistently fills my Instagram feed with drool worthy shots of mountain landscapes and gravity defying skiers and snowboarders that are sure to intrigue more than the passionate skier and/or snowboarder.
Between the Mars Rover landing and their innovative and creative social media presence, it seems NASA has been in the news a lot lately. And for good reason. NASA nails the Instagram piece of their social media marketing strategy, posting beautiful, captivating and intriguing images of space, stars, planets and more.
Maybe it’s because I like beautiful Bend, Oregon (Deschutes’ Brewery home base) and beer a whole lot, but Deschutes Brewery is consistently posting beautiful images of everything from mountain landscapes to beers to barrels full of hops that keep followers engaged.
Many fashion brands were among the first companies to adopt Instagram as a marketing platform (read how the Fashion Industry is using Instagram ). Marc Jacobs creatively used its account over the to ask followers to share their family moments by using the hashtag #marcfam. The company then showcased its followers’ photos and created a collage on its website for all to see. This technique gave customers a chance to participate in creative activity with the brand – and made for some great shots.
Even non-outdoors enthusiasts can appreciate the beautiful shots posted by the outdoor apparel and gear company Patagonia on their Instagram feed. Featuring stunning shots of landscapes around the world, Patagonia does a brilliant job of mixing in shots of their products with pictures of oceans, mountains and more to keep their followers engaged.
I stumbled across the Warby Parker Instagram account after I saw several of my New York based friends participating in their “Insta-Walks” campaign in NYC. The trendy glasses company regularly posts creative shots of the Big Apple shot through the lenses of their glasses – giving new and interesting perspectives to the city.
Nike does a fantastic job of using hashtag marketing and user-generated content – posting photos to their Instagram feed of user-submitted shots with the hashtags #makeitcount #riseabove and others. Nike’s Jordan brand has taken the strategy one step further, aggregating and showcasing the best of the #RiseAbove hashtagged photos on a page on their website.
Telluride.com has the advantage of having one of the most spectacular backdrops in the world to showcase in their Instagram shots, but the destination lodging and travel site regularly posts stunning shots of mountains, snow, wildflowers, and the many festivals and events that take place in this breathtaking Colorado resort town.