By Hannah Walton
Instagram is a place to create, to view and to share. Formerly known a medium where teens post heavily-edited selfies with their friends, this social networking app is now attracting more and more users, with a total of 600 million Instagrammers as of December of 2016. Due to the prominence of images on Instagram, it’s the perfect platform to portray a brand using visual aids.
In 2016, Instagram added tools geared specifically for businesses, including brand profiles, which allow customers to contact them directly through the app. Concerning analytics, Instagram also released a tool so that businesses can view how their content is received by the public and the amount of impressions, reaches and engagements.
Many companies are taking advantage of Instagram’s new tools and the app’s emphasis on images and videos. Here are the top 5 brands that are using Instagram as a marketing strategy, and what tactics work well for them:
National Geographic: 78.6m followers (https://www.instagram.com/natgeo/)
National Geographic is a magazine that contains articles concerning science, geography, history and world culture.
→ What works for them? Thematic posting.
National Geographic posts photos following a trend of nature and culture. This is a great way for a brand to showcase their identity. Developing a brand personality generates credibility, which is important to maintain existing and attract new consumers.
Nike: 72.9m followers (https://www.instagram.com/nike/)
Nike, Inc. is currently the world’s biggest brand of sports shoes, clothes and equipment.
→ What works for them? Varying the content they post.
People get bored looking at the same types of content posted over and over. Nike has found a way to intrigue and engage viewers by constantly varying their types of posts. Whether they post photos or videos, events or products, celebrity still shots or sports action pics, Nike keeps mixing it up, enticing more and more followers to their brand.
ACG means All Conditions Gear. And All Conditions means all conditions. In 1981, Nike's designers created a line of products for those who wanted to take on any activity, in any condition. Originally designed for outdoor adventure, today’s ACG is now built for the ultimate landscape: The city. Move. Adapt. Protect. See the @NikeLab #ACG Collection at nike.com/nikelab.
Adidas: 15m followers (https://www.instagram.com/adidas/)
Adidas is the second largest sportswear manufacturer (behind Nike) in the world.
→ What works well for them? Posting motivational photos.
If a company designs and sells sportswear, what better way to share their merchandise than uploading photos of athletes wearing some? Adidas’ feed is full of photos and videos, mostly of people doing inspiring things in their Adidas products. Adidas distinguished themselves from their competitor, Nike, by not conforming to their method of posting. The Adidas ʼgram features more posts of people running and working out, which is super motivational to their followers. After seeing their Instagram, it’s hard not to want to hop on a bike and ride over to the gym in your new Adidas shoes!
Starbucks: 14.6m followers (https://www.instagram.com/starbucks/)
Starbucks Corporation is a coffee company founded in Seattle, Washington, and is very popular worldwide.
→ What works well for them? Appropriate use of hashtags.
Hashtags are often abused and misused. They allow users to find similar photos, but overuse creates a cluttered and disorganized post. However, Starbucks harnesses the power of the hashtag by using hashtags that are specific and relevant to the post. PSA: be polite and only use up to 5 hashtags in a caption or comment. 🙂
Shiseido: 262k followers (https://www.instagram.com/shiseido/)
Shiseido is a Japanese Western-style pharmacy that sells beauty goods including anti-aging skincare, makeup and fragrance products.
→ What works for them? A feed pattern of 3’s.
This tactic that Shiseido adopted is very appealing to the eye of consumers, especially when looking at their feed as a whole. This helps draw new consumers to check out their products. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean this tactic works for every brand; in fact, Shiseido takes a bit of a risk doing this, because any deviation from the method would alter their beautiful pattern. In addition, Instagram’s new algorithm now displays posts in one’s feed based on what they think users would like rather than the time they were shared. This new method disperses Shiseido posts randomly through one’s feed, and to understand the seemingly random posts, they would be required to view their profile directly.