How Are Businesses Actually Using Instagram?
Creating great photos to promote your product or service is the basic strategy that pretty much any business will use to promote itself online.
But there are other more inventive things you can do here as well. At the same time, it can certainly be helpful to look at other companies to see how their Instagram account is being used for inspiration.
Here are some examples of companies that are using Instagram well then…
Sharpie has a very popular account on Instagram and is a fantastic match between brand and medium. The great thing about Sharpies is that they can be used to create images and messages and these are what you will find when you visit the Instagram account.
The other great thing about Sharpie is that they manage to encourage the involvement of their users and followers who can post their own messages too. The Instagram account has shown the company to be hip and on the ball, it has demonstrated the versatility of their product and it has led to a lot of new sales!
Red Bull is simply fantastic at social media. On Facebook, Twitter and YouTube they are constantly uploading videos and images of people doing flips on bikes, performing amazing athletic feats and generally living the ‘Gives You Wings’ message.
On Instagram, things are no different and you have images and video clips of surfing, motocross, festivals, mountain ranges and more.
This is a great example of a company that doesn’t sell a visual product, nevertheless succeeding in a visual medium by focusing on the lifestyle, the message and the ‘feeling’ of what goes down well on Instagram.
Starbucks is another company that has shown itself to be very savvy with social media. The company has a presence on pretty much every social media site and is likewise doing very well on Instagram.
They encourage engagement in a positive way by posting the photos that their customers submit and they have a lot of humor on display too and the ability to poke fun at themselves.
This is a great way for any company to get people to warm to it. At the same time, Starbucks wins because it again sells a lifestyle –some people are passionate about coffee and coffee is also a big deal in a lot of foreign cultures – all things that the company has taken full advantage of!
For those looking for a personal brand to emulate, Schwarzenegger is a particularly good example. On his account, he shows images of red carpet openings, posters for his movies, workouts in the gym and personal messages for his fans.
There’s a lot of humor on the account but also a great insight into what his life is like. He’s done a great job this way of staying relevant even as he is getting older and a lot of younger celebrities can learn from him! He’s also big on Twitter, Facebook, and even SnapChat!
Beyond the Weak
Beyond the Weak is a fitness brand that sells t-shirts and other products and that has a pretty smart system going. The brand simply shares images of followers who take photos of themselves working out, especially when they’re wearing their t-shirts.
This way, they get a lot of free promotion from other users and have very effectively engaged their user base.
L.A. Clippers are a fantastic example of a company that does Instagram well. Of course the L.A. Clippers are a basketball team and they use their account to post awesome images of players taking shots, training, working and more.
These photos are dynamic, dramatic and with great choices of filters – they look like they belong in a magazine.
Target Style is a fashion company that shows off its clothes, outfits, and ideas in an amazing series of photos. Not only do they do this with pictures of people wearing their clothes, but also with photos of people backstage, of fashionable interior décor, of happy looking people and generally of things to take on holiday…
It’s a great place for people to get inspiration and to feel fashionable simply by following and it’s great for selling the company’s products.
How Companies Are Using Instagram Influencer Marketing
We discussed the concept of influencer marketing earlier and saw how it could be highly beneficial for any business. How are other brands using this strategy?
One good example is Birchbox, which teamed up with lifestyle blogger Emily Schuman, who runs Cupcakes and Cashmere. They got her to curate their May box of products and she, in turn, posted five separate Instagram images promoting the partnership.
Between those five images, she managed to generate 18,000 likes for the brand and reached over 550,000 users.
Boxed Water is a brand with a very eco-friendly message. They work with influencers like Jaime King, Megan DeAngelis, and Aidan Alexander and have a campaign where they will plant two trees for every image with the #Retreehashtag. This generated 2,600 photos with the tag in the space of one month.
This is something interesting to consider for your own brand. People love getting behind a cause and they love getting behind a message. If you’re a charity, or if you’re supporting a charity, you’ll find it much easier to find influencers you can work with.
You don’t have to be a charity to benefit though – just make sure that you have a clear mission statement and that your business stands for something more than just ‘earning money’.
Even the most cynical businesses normally started with some kind of aspiration – even if it was just to provide delicious food and make the world a tastier place. Try to remember what that mission statement was and then start shouting it from the rooftops and getting people to believe it. Sell it through your imagery and use it to get more influencers on board!