5 Brands to Learn from on Instagram

Posted on by Zach Billings
Categories: Instagram Tagged: , , ,

Instagram has been making moves recently, growing their user base to over 130 million monthly users and adding a micro-video function (sorry Vine). Despite all this user adoption, it’s still being ignored by a lot of social media marketers. If you fall into this category and want a little inspiration, we’ve got the top five accounts on Instagram for you to check out. Maybe they’ll give you that boost you need for your own business social media strategy.

The list is put together by Nitrogram, who is the premier source for Instagram analytics. They base their top list on number of followers and number of branded hashtags, so you get a pretty accurate picture of actual user engagement. Lets look at the top 5:

5. TopShop is a women’s clothing and fashion store. Like most of the brands in the top 5, they benefit from having a very visually appealing product to market through Instagram’s often times retro aesthetic. The reason they succeed above other clothing stores is that the put effort into taking flattering pictures of their products. Many brands will take the picture and apply a filter, and that’s it. TopShop goes the extra mile by arranging visually appealing shots with interesting setups and angles.

4. Adidas is the world famous sneaker company that is primarily associated with athletic shoes. They amplify this association by having an Instagram account that is equal parts straight product shots and sports action shots. They’ve done especially well by focusing on the less popular American sports of Tennis and Soccer. This niche lets them grab a largely ignored (by mainstream advertising) segment of the American sports fan and capitalizes on Soccers wide European appeal.

3. Forever 21 is similar to TopShop, but has one major difference. Where TopShop has creative pictures of their products, Forever 21 has creative pictures of models wearing their products. This is why they’re higher up on the list. You have all the same benefits of the stylish photos, but you get to see how they look on a person, which adds value. An offshoot of this is you get more male followers because of the pictures of girls in underwear and bathing suits. It’s a little crude, but no one can argue sex doesn’t sell.

2. Starbucks is a social media juggernaut. They have taken the trendy essence of their brand and built it into their digital presence. On Instagram, nearly every picture has one of their drinks in it, but the pictures themselves are so nice you barely even notice the brand sometimes. The real power of Starbucks is in the hashtag though. It’s a brand that is cheap enough for some people to buy everyday and it’s such a lifestyle that people take Instagrams of their daily coffee and use the #starbucks hashtag. You can’t buy that kind of social media success.

1. Nike is the top brand on Instagram by any metric.They have the most followers in the top 5 (though not the most overall, that honor belongs to the Ellen Show). Their real victory is their hashtag total. Starbucks does well with just over 3 million, Nike garners nearly 5 times that, with a whopping 13.3 million. To give more perspective, Disney has the second most with only 7 million. The biggest lesson to learn from Nike is try and get people to use your hashtag. It drives engagement, spreads your brand, and builds overall goodwill.