How Top Brands Use Instagram for Marketing

As of April 2017, Instagram has approximately 700 million Instagrammers, over 400 million of which use the app on a daily basis. It also has more than 1 million advertisers and roughly 8 million business profiles. It’s no wonder more and more businesses adopt Instagram for marketing.  


The edge this photo-centric platform provides to marketers isn’t just in its following, but in the opportunity to present captivating visuals in the form of photos and videos. And with the integration of IG Live, IG Stories, and many new features, the app continues to find ways of making it a must-use marketing tool. 


Instagram content can attract potential customers and broaden the company’s reach beyond its target market. Through the visuals, the brand message is retained in the minds of the viewers long enough to influence their purchasing decisions.

How Top Brands Use Instagram for Video Marketing Campaigns

TrackMaven, a marketing analytics firm, recently conducted a study on how Fortune 500 companies use and maximize Instagram for marketing campaigns. Some of the top b2c brands and organizations included in the research are Disney, Starbucks, Nike, the Manpower Group, Western Union, and Omnicom.

Based on the research, here are the critical points on how these successful brands use Instagram as part of their marketing endeavors. 

  • Top brands tend to update their Instagram handles during the work week. Thursdays and Fridays are high in the rank. Weekends are practically graveyards, especially Sundays. 
  • As per Hootsuite, the best time to post on Instagram is sometime between 12 PM and 1 PM during the weekdays. Basically, during most people’s lunch breaks. Fortune 500 companies are typically online on their social media accounts between 11 AM and 2 PM. 
  • Ironically, even if the top brands don’t usually post on Instagram on the weekends, the highest engagement they receive for their posts are usually on Sundays. 

The Big Players Marketers Should Pay Attention To

Here are some top brands that make the most out of the benefits of Instagram for video marketing. Brand managers and marketing teams must study how these companies utilize the app.


• National Geographic

Followers: 82.4 million

With more than 80 million followers, Nat Geo is hailed as the most popular brand on Instagram. The world leader in geography and exploration uses long captions, which was once considered an IG faux pas, to spread awareness and educate its followers. 


• Nike

Followers: 74.9 million  

When it comes to optimizing Instagram for marketing campaigns, Nike is arguably the best at it. The sports brand posts photos that embrace the “Nike lifestyle” rather than just focusing on its products. It delivers motivational and inclusive visuals that resonate well with professional players and exercise noobs alike. 


• Starbucks

Followers: 15.6 million

The famous American coffee company is the poster child for best practices on Instagram for marketing campaigns. Starbucks is the master of using creative hashtags to promote new products and services, as well as events like contests and festivals. 


• Sephora

Followers: 12.9 million

The cosmetics retail brand has found success in their social media marketing by engaging followers with stunning visuals that reflect the brand’s image. Most of the photos and videos seen on Sephora’s Instagram have colorful patterns and a playful vibe. The cosmetics brand also incorporates witty captions on every post. The retail giant has a secondary account, Made in Sephora, that is exclusive for handling user-generated content. This is also where the company holds contests for their followers. 


• Vans

Followers: 9.1 million

Much like Nike, Vans uses Instagram to promote more of the lifestyle, instead of just products. The skateboarding shoe manufacturer uses social media, notably Instagram, to engage with customers outside their physical stores. Vans predominantly uses art and music in its visual content. It also optimizes Instagram to promote offline events – like its famous Warped Tour.

Marketers must look into and study the practices used by top brands on their Instagram marketing campaigns. From there, they can implement the strategies that will work well with their own brand.

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