Swipe. Swipe. Pause. Read. Swipe. It’s so natural—and addicting, quite frankly. That flick of the thumb on a user’s Instagram feed is relaxing—even therapeutic, some might say. And the warm fuzzies don’t stop there—on an average day, the “like” button is pushed 2.5 billion times all over the world.
Yes, you read that correctly—billion. That’s a lot of little red hearts. It’s clearly a happy place to be; a mini magazine for millennials full of good vibes and positivity. That said, it’s also an incredibly lucrative place to be, if you own a business.
Think about it—on average, Instagram users spend upwards of 21 minutes on the app—a veritable gold rush for brands. And, with this year’s addition of the “shop now” button, combined with Zuckerberg’s goal to reach 1 billion Instagram users in the next five years, this gold rush has just begun.
Naturally, brands are flocking. Instagram is a huge player in driving e-commerce sales. But once they have an account, how do they make sure they succeed? There are the obvious PR snafus to avoid, like posting offensive or personal content, but how do companies make the most of this amazing product- and service-pushing platform?
Well, like all good things, it’s an art, and there is plenty to be learned from the masters. Here are five booming brands that clearly get Instagram marketing:
Burberry is a very, well…old company, but their marketing prowess on Instagram has skyrocketed them right into the hands of the 20-30 year-old e-commerce demographic.
One interesting move Burberry makes as a clothing company? They often turn on their location settings. In a 2014 Forrester Research study, posts tagged with a location receive 79 percent higher engagement.
Why? Two reasons: 1) it feels more personal and therefore engages and endears followers and 2) it connects a brand to place—in this case, Britain. More good Instagram vibes. More little red hearts. More sales. See where this is going?
2) Red Bull—Engage
A phone can’t give you wings, but Red Bull has found a way to energize their followers about a new sport: extreme engaging.
Whether skydiving in Barcelona, or riding a dirt bike on a wave in Tahiti—yes, really, it was their most-liked picture of 2015—they not only deliver exciting content, but they make sure to use plenty of #s and @s with every single image. This generates tons of engagement, features their sponsored athletes and seems to keep their 4.1 million followers wanting more.
3) Dunkin’ Donuts—Celebrate
Dunkin’ Donuts is masterful at using current events and trends to entertain and engage their followers. Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween—Dunkin’ has something made out of donuts for just about everything.
If you ever wanted to see each season of the year expressed in flour, sugar and caffeine, this is the place. They consistently post creative, visually stunning pictures using coffee and donuts.
How many companies can say that? And because of that, they remain one of the most popular Instagram accounts out there.
4) Warby Parker—Community
An eyeglass company has taken social media by storm, very carefully. With their do-good business model of donating a pair of glasses to someone in need for every pair sold, they make use of Instagram to promote their specific brand of wholesome community involvement.
They use Instagram to market events—like a heavily hashtagged community walk in New York. Because they are thoughtful and careful in what they post, their marketing organically grows their follower count, paving the way for faithful customers who believe in the brand.
Have you always wondered what a man in extremely well-fitting pants would do? According to Bonobos’ Instagram account, he has many options—attending parties on a sailboat while cruising the Hudson, peering out of his tent at a lake in the Swiss Alps or maybe even hopping out of his vintage Beamer to escort a blonde model down the Red Carpet.
At Bonobos, it’s simply a lifestyle—nothing more. And its Instagram account markets this lifestyle just like they curate menswear collections: with a great deal of precision.
Placed neatly between pictures of jaw-dropping intrigue and adventure are arrangements of perfectly organized boxes and stacked dress shirts. This rapidly growing Instagram account markets fine men’s clothing to over 54,000 people.
Learning From the Leaders
While you may not have Burberry or Dunkin’ money just yet, you can look to these five companies as shining beacons of unique and brand-specific Instagram marketing strategies. None of them stretches their brand beyond what it is, and each has a dedication to making their Instagram account a marketing machine.
When thoughtfully and strategically employed, Instagram can be one of the most powerful marketing tools around for your brand.