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On September 22, 2015, Instagram announced on their blog that they reached 400 million users. With a combined channel total of over 60 million followers, these 5 brands below represent a massive 15% slice of Instagram’s entire community. Although brand engagement rates fell from 2014 to 2015, Instagram is still “The King Of Social Engagement” for brands. Previously, the best brands on Instagram experienced a 4.21% engagement rate. Facebook, Instagram’s closest rival (coincidentally its parent company), had 0.07% engagement.
In 2015, Instagram’s brand engagement rate fell to 2.26% (partially due to increased postings and a five-fold increase in Instagram brand channel followers). Nonetheless, the engagement rate for the best brands on Instagram is still a significant ~1,000% higher than its closest competitor, Facebook (0.21%, according to Forrester Research).
To better assess how the best brands on Instagram are building their channels, providing relevant content, and driving engagment, we took an in-depth look at each brand’s channel strategy. See how these 5 best brands on Instagram are building their channels here:
At 33.6 million followers, fitness apparel company Nike stands alone on this list of best brands on Instagram (at 7.9 million followers, Anastasia Beverly Hills is a distant second). Nike has had a long history of producing content centered on lifestyle images and motivational stories well before Instagram. As the top social media platform for sharing photos, Instagram is perfectly suited for Nike’s aspirational brand messaging.
Nike combines punchy, succinct phrases and well-shot imagery (see example above) that easily inspires any viewer to take action. By utilizing a variety of demographics, sports, events, and locations, Nike’s Instagram brand strategy appeals to fans worldwide as evinced by its massive follower base. In addition to Nike’s main Instagram brand channel, Nike also has several other branded channels driving traffic to and from each including @nikewomen, @nikesportswear, and @nikesb “Nike Skateboarding” all with close to or more than 3 million followers.
As the number one beauty channel on Instagram, best Instagram brand Anastasia Beverly Hills demonstrates how a uniform, consistent look can do wonders for channel growth. For their Instagram channel marketing strategy, Anastasia Beverly Hills emphasizes frequent, timely posts carefully selected and filtered for an aesthetic (from filters to specific color hues) its followers can instantly identify and resonate with.
In a Digiday article featuring the best brands on Instagram for beauty, intelligence firm L2 discovered that Anastasia Beverly Hills posted 62 times per week with an average engagement (likes, comments, and shares) of 68,000 per post. Anastasia Beverly Hills’ interaction rate equaled its next five competitors combined. When asked about Anastasia’s Instagram strategy, L2 analyst Jenny Shen notes that the brand’s approach isn’t necessarily the most original, but beats out its competitors with both frequency/consistency, and by leveraging influencer marketing.
Towards the tail end of 2015, best Instagram brand GoPro debuted its weekly creator cash awards for best photos, raw clips, and video edits. Many brands, products, and services are driving both engagement and traffic with giveaways, sweepstakes, and user-generated content features. GoPro, a tech brand, tailors its Instagram marketing strategy to the social platform’s strengths while simultaneously integrating the brand’s strong points: capturing incredible images, angles, and video highlights amidst action-packed shots.
GoPro’s single best brand strategy? Just like Instagram’s platform, GoPro’s brand channel features the user as the hero.
Starbucks is another best brand on Instagram leveraging creator content to drive traffic and engagement. For content, Starbucks combines seasonal imagery, user-generated images, fun shots, and witty captions for a winning Instagram brand channel strategy resulting in 7.3 million followers. Like Nike, Starbucks also leverages its own branded channels (e.g. @Frappuccino) and hashtags in addition to consistently tagging its commercial partners.
As one of the top Instagram brands for auto makers, BMW’s Instagram channel strategy combines sharp imagery, nostalgic “heritage” shots, enthusiast images, and influencer marketing for 5.3 million follower channel. For their latest influencer marketing campaign, BMW partnered with top men’s lifestyle blogger, Brian Sacawa of He Spoke Style to feature a multi-platform look at their brand new 7-series.
Many brands like BMW are recognizing the importance of providing relevant, engaging content with adjoining lifestyle storyline (as opposed to outright advertisements). Oftentimes the influencer-generated content is then repurposed and promoted by the brand across other social channels (Twitter, Facebook, Vine, YouTube) to further engage audiences on multiple touchpoints.