[20] Best Brands On Instagram To Inspire Growth

Last updated February 20, 2018
Best-Brands-On-Instagram

To be considered a top Instagram brand, it’s not JUST about raw follower numbers.

Of course that helps.

But let’s face it: NIKE could suck at Instagram marketing (they don’t, by the way) and they would still have about 20 million followers because of their brand recognition.

As it is, they have over 70 million followers because they’re very good at what they do.

But it’s often pretty hard for a startup or small ecommerce business trying to make a name for itself to really identify with leading brands with monstrous followings.

If you’re a new business startup in the food industry, it’s more likely that you’ll identify with King Arthur Flour than Taco Bell, for instance.

There is a tendency to think that unlimited marketing budgets are the reason for the success.

Until now..

Scroll to the bottom to download the Best Brands Cheat Sheet. Learn the top 40 strategies the best brands on Instagram use to grow.
Best-Brands-On-Instagram

So, for the purposes of this post, we’re going to avoid the very biggest – and focus on those brands that have really cracked Instagram marketing to the point that the platform is one of the keys of their success.

You’re going to see just how they’ve stolen the show with clever use of the various features of Instagram marketing.

Some have nailed user generated content; others create unique and stunning visual content; others still run great contests or use video better than the rest; and some completely rock at behind the scenes images.

There are many Instagram features to help you and your brand stand out. So it helps to know how some of the most successful brands have latched on to these features and shown the rest how to do it.

This applies no matter what your business; we can all learn from success.

Below are 20 of the leading Instagram ecommerce brands taken from a cross-section of sectors: from fashion and beauty to food.

Take a look; take notes; and tweak your own Instagram marketing strategy with anything that resonates with you.

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel; just apply the stand-out strategies that are proven to work for other brands and watch your results get better.

Soon everyone will be ‘doing Instagram’ better. It will pay to get in there while there is still an opportunity to steal a march on the competition.

Because as you know, marketers ruin every new channel eventually.


Stand out with: Humor for the target audience

Chubbies

Chubbies Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/chubbies/

Chubbies has grown considerably from the day it first released its simple stars and stripes shorts. While the US flag still features heavily in the collection, Instagram has helped it grow and diversify.

At the core of the strategy on Instagram is humor. Not just any humor – the type that appeals to their core target audience of 18-40 year-old U.S. males.

Chubbies Example 1

A brand that is happy to portray itself as a ‘brotailer’ includes plenty of memes – an approach that this has helped to grow its following to almost 350,000.

Chubbies Example 2

WHAT CAN YOU BORROW FROM CHUBBIES?

Talk the language of your target audience – and if you use humor make sure it hits the right notes. Niche down into a subculture that you can speak to directly.


Stand out with: Lifestyle shots to showcase products

Lululemon

Lululemon Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/lululemon/

Lululemon is very clear on its target audience and also very clear on how it benefits from its products: women aged 20-40 who enjoy yoga and wear their yoga-themed clothing to look and feel good.

Lululemon Example 1

It showcases this in regular lifestyle images and videos on its Instagram feed: happy, healthy women being active and looking after themselves: both in the yoga studio and outside in more creative environments.

Lululemon Example 2

WHAT CAN YOU BORROW FROM LULULEMON?

Demonstrate exactly how your products improve the lives of your target audience. Show use of the products in situ, similar to the audiences real lives, so they feel connected and relate to the content.


Stand out with: A shoppable feed

Madewell

Madewell Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/madewell

Madewell is a relatively new clothing company that mainly sells women’s jeans, shoes, bags, and other accessories.

Madewell Example 1

The company has successfully turned its Instagram feed into a shoppable store, providing regular links to the items featured in posts. It uses the Instagram platform to extend brand features, with high quality images featuring the neutral colors that it is known for.

Madewell Example 2

WHAT CAN YOU BORROW FROM MADEWELL?

Make your products shoppable – right from your Instagram feed. If your US based you can do this natively in Instagram. If you are outside the US (as of January 2018) you can use premium tools such as Foursixty or cheaper ones like Snapppt.


Stand out with: High-quality close-up photography

M.A.C Cosmetics

M A C Cosmetics Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/maccosmetics/

M.A.C Cosmetics equals stunning makeup photography.

Every image and video the company releases on Instagram oozes color, quality, and professionalism, helping to showcase its products. They demonstrate just what’s possible with makeup.

M A C Example 1

Once you’ve been left spellbound by the image, you get the chance to purchase the products used in creating it…by clicking on the Like 2 Buy link in the profile.

M A C Example 2

WHAT CAN YOU BORROW FROM M.A.C?

Got a product that needs high-quality close-up photography? Then do it justice…Image quality on Instagram is nearly always more important than quantity.


Stand out with: Unique, eye-catching models with attitude

Frank Body

frank body Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/frank_bod/

Frank Body scrubs only started in 2013; but it has steadily built its following through Instagram and firmly established itself in its niche.

Frank Body Example 1

How does it set itself apart? By regularly featuring the types of models seldom seen when promoting beauty products. They back this up with attitude-filled captions that appeal to the target audience of young to middle-aged females.

Frank Body Example 2

WHAT CAN YOU BORROW FROM FRANK BODY?

If you need to use models for your brand, what can you do to set yourself apart? Focus on larger size women? Pick a specific style of model that is connected to your target group. Don’t just copy everyone else.


Stand out with: A strong tagline & consistent brand colors

Glossier

Glossier Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/glossier/

Glossier promotes a simple tagline that sums its brand up: it sells beauty products but with a “skin first, makeup second” attitude. This down-to-earth approach resonates with the target audience.

Glossier Example 1

Glossier has been successful in rapidly growing its following on Instagram since 2014. Its images back up the tagline by promoting the importance of skin care – using their products: usually with its trademark pink hues.

Glossier Example 2

WHAT CAN YOU BORROW FROM GLOSSIER?

Back up your tagline with images and videos that demonstrate what you stand for. Pick a color palette that suits your brand and stick to it. Having too many colors can muddy your Instagram timeline and brand aesthetic on Instagram.


Stand out with: Playful video & GIFS

Califia Farms

Califia Farms Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/califiafarms/

Califia Farms specialize in natural, dairy-free beverages. Its attractive packaging (in particular its curvy bottle) has won awards and helps it to immediately stand out.

Califia Farms Example 1

The visual element of the brand is further highlighted using video and GIFS, which often have a fun and playful element to them:

Califia Farms Example 2

WHAT CAN YOU BORROW FROM CALIFIA FARMS?

Use video and GIFS creatively and humorously to grab the attention of your target audience.


Stand out with: Seasonality & simplicity

EOS Products

EOS Products Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/eosproducts/

EOS Products make lip balms, creams, and lotions for skin care. They keep their Instagram feed simple and focused on high-quality images that feature their standout products:

eos Products Example 1

There is often a seasonal setting for products, accompanied by engaging captions that talk to the target audience.

EOS Products Example 2

WHAT CAN YOU BORROW FROM EOS?

Use high-quality product images in seasonal settings. The ecommerce events calendar is your friend, black friday, easter. Use it as a foundation for content creation.


Stand out with: User-generated content

King Arthur Flour

King Arthur Flour Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/kingarthurflour/

King Arthur Flour is an old company that has taken to Instagram like a duck to water.

Showcasing delicious-looking creations using its famed flour, the business recognizes that engaging its followers is easiest if they ask their own customers to provide the images (user-generated content or UGC):

King Arthur Flour Example 1

Posts are submitted by users carrying a hashtag that King Arthur Flour promotes. The featured posts demonstrate what’s possible with flour and inspire other followers to get creative.

King Arthur Flour Example 2

WHAT CAN YOU BORROW FROM KING ARTHUR FLOUR?

Got a product that can be used to create something wonderful? Ask users to send their creations in, using a unique hashtag. User generated content, used in conjunction with creative projects can really inspire growth.


Stand out with: Freebies & discounts

Prodjuice

Prodjuice Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/prodjuice/

The small Australian juice company, Prodjuice, has grown significantly through Instagram.

This has been largely due to sharp photography showcasing the healthy aspects of its product – and the promotions it runs through its posts: everything from 10 percent discounts to freebie offers:

Prodjuice Example 1

Note the use of text captions on the images to make offers to followers:

Prodjuice Example 2

WHAT CAN YOU BORROW FROM PRODJUICE?

Offer freebies or discounts via text annotations over images and then provide a link to them in your bio. But be careful not to sell in every post. 10% is probably the max.


Stand out by: Letting your images do the talking

Whole Foods Market

Whole Foods Market Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/wholefoods/

Some brands stand out on Instagram by simply allowing their images do the talking.

Whole Foods Market is one of the best food brands on Instagram for this: stunningly colorful images that show just what can be achieved with its organic products:

Whole Foods Market Example 1

Most of its posts are works of art and are mainly provided by customers. These require very little in the way of captions; but most still include details of the foods used in the creation and sometimes links to recipes.

Whole Foods Market Example 2

WHAT CAN YOU BORROW FROM WHOLE FOODS MARKET?

Do you want to be known for creativity? Invite compositions from customers and the best ones can help to showcase your products…the best art directors for your brand could be your customers (plus it’s cheap staffing ;).


Stand out with: Graphic art, consistency & humor

Frooti

Frooti Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/thefrootilife/

The Indian fruit juice company, Frooti, takes an original approach to Instagram: rather than featuring photos of its products, it creates amusing graphic art posts.

Frooti Example 1

These posts often have a dash of humor, based around its mango colors, its Frooti bottles, or some other aspect of its brand:

Frooti Example 2

WHAT CAN YOU BORROW FROM FROOTI?

Do you have well-defined brand colors? Use them as a consistent focus for posts and see where you can get creative with graphic art. Create a brand guideline and stick to it. Make your feed recognizable.


Stand out with: Inspirational quotes for the target audience

The Honest Company

The Honest Company Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/honest/

The Honest Company, co-founded by Jessica Alba, specializes in “effective, safe, delightful, accessible, responsible” household products.

Its target audience is, unsurprisingly, mums:

The Honest Company Example 1

The standout posts are those that have humorous, motivational quotes aimed at mothers:

The Honest Company Example 2

WHAT CAN YOU BORROW FROM THE HONEST COMPANY?

Speak directly to your target audience using inspirational quotes. If you borrow a quote from someone famous on Instagam, @mention them to see if they share and hack followers from their account.


Stand out by: Going behind the scenes & showcasing the spirit of your product

Herschel Supply

Herschel Supply Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/herschelsupply/

Herschel makes retro backpacks and accessories. It’s easy to showcase simple lifestyle shots of people using their products. Instead, they combine these with posts centered around the spirit of travel and adventure (which their products help enable):

Herschel Example 2

They also include posts with interesting behind-the-scenes shots:

Herschel Example 1

WHAT CAN YOU BORROW FROM HERSCHEL SUPPLY?

Go behind the scenes to show more about the spirit of your product. People love authenticity. That is what makes Instagram unique, you can be real.


Stand out with: User-generated content

GoPro

GoPro Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/gopro/

Few Instagram “Best of…” articles fail to feature GoPro. The brand does such a great job of user-generated content that it leaves other ecommerce businesses trailing in its wake.

Go Pro runs daily photo/video competitions that feature the most stunning footage.

GoPro Example 1

There are few studio images featured. Instead, we get the best of the natural world, the sporting world, and the world of adventure – speaking directly to the hearts, minds, and spirits of the target audience:

GoPro Example 2

WHAT CAN YOU BORROW FROM GO PRO?

Ask followers to post images or videos of how they use your products. Try a ‘photo of the week’ competition to incentivize submissions.


Stand out with: A strong blend of text & image

Paper Source

papersource Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/papersource/

While Instagram is largely about visual content, don’t forget the power of words too. As well as inspirational quotes, you can add text overlays to images to give them more meaning, communicate promotions, or to get your target audience thinking…

papersource Example 1

Paper Source does this very well, combining creative photography of its products with text:

Papersource Example 2

WHAT CAN YOU BORROW FROM PAPER SOURCE?

Got something you want to say? Say it by creatively adding text to images.


Stand out with: quirkiness & boldness

Etsy

etsy Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/etsy/

Instagram is a place where you can really be yourself. However quirky that may be.

etsy Example 1

Etsy is a good example of quirkiness. The brand features eye-catching merchant-generated content in its posts. These display the full range of creativity that its products and designers are known for. In fact, it brands itself as the place to find anything you’re into.

etsy Example 2

WHAT CAN YOU BORROW FROM ETSY?

Display the full range of your quirkiness – be bold and adventurous.


Stand out with: Contests & community

Tentsile

Tentsile Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/tentsile/

Tentsile makes camping equipment…which it manages to install in some amazing locations:

Tentsile Example 1

They reach out to their target audience in two main ways: by running contests to engage them and by giving something back to what’s important to them – they plant 18 trees for each tree tent sold!

Tentsile Example 2

WHAT CAN YOU BORROW FROM TENTSILE?

Understand what’s really important to your target audience and run contests that help to engage them.


Stand out with: product sets

Urban Outfitters

Urban Outfitters Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/urbanoutfitters/

Urban Outfitters use a number of proven Instagram marketing strategies, including lifestyle shots of its clothing, user generated content, emojis in captions, and so on:

Urban Outfitters Example 1

It also does an excellent job of showcasing product sets – often useful for clothing and accessory brands and retailers: it can provide extra creative inspiration for the target audience.

Urban Outfitters Example 2

WHAT CAN YOU BORROW FROM URBAN OUTFITTERS?

Got a series of products that fit well together? Showcase this in posts via product set photography.


Stand out with: Shoutouts

Lorna Jane Active

LORNA JANE Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/lornajaneactive

Lorna Jane Active is an Australian manufacturer of women’s sportswear. But it doesn’t always feature sportswear in its posts and it uses its Instagram feed to promote health and wellness for women.

LORNA JANE Example 1

Lorna Jane includes shoutouts to partners and complementary brands. Mentioning other brands and featuring their products makes it more likely that they will reciprocate: a great way to spread good will and to get in front of more potential followers.

LORNA JANE Example 2

WHAT CAN YOU BORROW FROM LORNA JANE ACTIVE?

Contact complementary brands and try to get mutually beneficial Instagram shoutouts.


Best Brands On Instagram

If you’re an ecommerce business on Instagram, you probably already know the extraordinary power of visual content.

The platform provides a perfect opportunity not only for you to showcase your products but to establish a base on which to gather a large following; engage them with original content; communicate your values and your personality; and ultimately establish a brand.

This can also generate significant traffic to the shoppable pages on your website.

The 20 ecommerce brands featured above already know that – and have achieved considerable success in working towards it. They have all taken slightly different paths to get there and we can all learn from their strategies.

If you view Instagram as a platform to build emotional connections with your business, you will get far more out of it than treating it simply as another product page of your online store.

Copy The Best Brands On Instagram & Grow

Learn the top 40 strategies the best brands on Instagram use to grow.

giles thomas

Author:

Hi, I’m Giles Thomas. Founder of AcquireConvert, the place where ecommerce entrepreneurs & businesses go to learn how to increase conversions & profits. I’m also the founder of ecommerce growth agency Whole Design Studios. I’m a head marketing mentor at the Google Launchpad Accelerator & Google Marketing Expert. Ps. Check out my new blog RisePro.co

Comments

2 Responses or Pingbacks

  1. pratibha says:

    thank you so much for sharing this info…its helpful..great blog

  2. Awesome post. It really gives a clear idea about the topic. I will definitely follow the instruction. Thanks for sharing.

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