5 Brands Using Instagram Best

You know it’s good for posting lunch pics, but what about for business? Could Instagram be beneficial for content marketing, too? With more than 80 million users and 575 likes per second, Instagram represents a lot of opportunity for exposure and engagement—that’s why, for more and more brands, the choice to be on Instagram is a resounding yes.

Here are 5 brands making Instagram work for them!



Approximate number of photos: 225
Approximate number of followers: 869K

How Starbucks Uses Instagram

Big-brand coffee powerhouse Starbucks uses Instagram to showcase photos of people with its products. There are photos of hands holding Starbucks cups amongst fall trees, baristas hosting coffee tastings, a man waiting with flowers and a Starbucks cup for his love. The overall message is clear: Everybody’s drinking Starbucks, so shouldn’t you?

Level of Engagement

Beyond its huge number of followers, Starbucks sees hundreds of comments on every photo posted, so clearly the brand is doing something right. What’s more, Starbucks encourages user engagement by asking Instagrammers to tag coffee photos with #Starbucks.

Tiffany & Co

Approximate number of photos: 200
Approximate number of followers: 197K

How Tiffany’s Uses Instagram

Tiffany and Co mostly posts photos of its products, from bracelets to earrings to figurines. While followers respond well to those posts, the brand went one step further with interactive campaigns like True Love Pictures and Timeless True Love.

Level of Engagement

Tiffany and Co’s first campaign asked users to share photos about love and tag them #truelovepictures. That first concept was so successful, there’s currently a follow-up campaign underway, in which users post photos of couples they admire and tag them #timelesstruelove. What this does is get users sharing the Tiffany’s concept and identifying the brand with the concept of love and romance—key to the image Tiffany’s sells.


Approximate number of photos: 2500
Approximate number of followers: 354K

How Freepeople Uses Instagram

The Freepeople Instagram account provides a sort of behind-the-scenes view into the brand’s home office. Photos tend to be of Freepeople outfits, decorating inspirations, and style shots from staff around the office.

Level of Engagement

Every photo receives lots of comments, and there’s a #freepeople tag for users to post their Freepeople outfits in their own photostreams. What’s more, the brand posts photos of specific products, say jeans, and then asks followers to post photos of themselves in the same product, tagging it #myfpdenim, for example. Customers effectively model the brand’s product and promote it to all their connections.


Approximate number of photos: 700
Approximate number of followers: 552K

How Burberry Uses Instagram

Burberry posts photos of its products, either on their own or being modeled; pictures of Britain; and backstage shots of runway shows.

Level of Engagement

What Burberry does so well is use Instagram to provide followers with something they won’t find anywhere else. Instagram is where Burberry fans can see behind-the-scenes details about upcoming products, live photo shoots, and backstage moments. Not only has this highly relevant content created a huge following, but also active engagement on every shot.

Bon Appétit

Approximate number of photos: 300
Approximate number of followers: 25K

How Bon Appétit uses Instagram

The magazine’s Instagram profile describes the account as “photo dispatches from the Bon Appétit offices in NYC. Sometimes from other places.” It gives an insider look at what the magazine staff are working on, whether photographing on-location or researching at the office. There’s usually a photo of every new magazine issue once it launches, too.

Level of Engagement

Bon Appétit frequently links to staff members’ accounts as a sort of cross-promotion with the profile. Photos receive many comments, and BA will respond to user questions when appropriate. The brand also curates lists of the best food photos from Instagram on its website, giving followers another reason to want to grab Bon Appétit’s attention.

Shanna Mallon is a writer for Straight North, a Chicago Internet marketing agency. Follow Straight North on Twitter and Facebook.


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