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 In ae-ideas, Blog Archives, digital consulting and research, social media marketing, Top Blog

A picture is worth a thousand words, and apparently everyone is starting to notice! With more than 4 billion photos posted and at more than 100 million users and counting, Instagram has gone from a fun iPhone app to a social media powerhouse. Follow our guide below and learn how the top brands are using, and killing it, on Instagram.

In case you don’t believe that Instagram is now a big deal consider this: the photo-sharing platform has now surpassed Twitter in daily users, according to Mashable. Just a few months ago, Simply Measured announced that 40% of the top brands in the U.S. had an Instagram account, and that number is surely to have grown even more since then.

So what are these guys doing right?

MTV – You can’t talk about top brands using Instagram without talking about one of the most influential television networks for young adults. You may chalk their popularity (1.1 million according to my phone as of now) up to the fact that they tap into the perfect market, but they do actually have a strategy. Consider the photo below…

Rihanna concert from MTV Instagram

This photo of pop star Rihanna at a concert in Berns, Stockholm garnered 15,706 likes and 229 comments. However, they tagged Rihanna’s Instagram, @badgirlriri, which has 3.3 million followers. One can only assume that the tagging upped the engagement.

MTV does have some plugs for shows, such as a recent photo of a show’s teaser with the caption “You watching?” This one got only 6,057 likes, so I think they know that it isn’t as effective.

MTV Instagram

The behind-the-scenes photos that are posted, like this one above with 24,945 likes, get a lot more attention from followers. In conclusion, they don’t have to push their shows, just show their stars interacting with fans and being themselves.

Of course, MTV has the added bonus of photographing well known tween and adult superstars alike, but you can still learn a thing or two from them.

AudiEven though they don’t quite have the volume of followers that MTV has, they do have a hefty fan base of 230,000. More importantly, what they do with that fan base is key.

AUDI doesn’t sell, sell, and sell. They simply… share their images. They let their products speak for themselves. Something that I believe is key in mastering social media advertising. Take the photo below…

Audi Instagram Photo

This photo is great from a photographer’s standpoint. It uses the Rule of Thirds to create interest, and it effectively draws your eye from left to right. It also shows off the cool brake light on their vehicle. The caption is, “This is our Black Friday”.

The photo garnered 25,678 likes and 333 comments.

Audi undoubtedly has an amazing product, but the fact that they let it sell itself on Instagram through their professional photos, as well as some from their users, makes them a top brand on the site.

Starbucks – With 992,000 followers, the key to their success is not surprisingly their coffee. However, they show coffee in a different way. You rarely see people in their shots. Similar to Audi, they let the product sell itself.

Around Thanksgiving they posted this photo with the caption of “So much to be #thankful for.”

Starbucks Instagram Photo

The photo had 46,774 likes and 461 comments. The trending hashtag on Twitter, #thankful, was connected to various updates on Twitter as well as Instagram, which helped Starbucks’ photo gain national attention. The hashtags also make photos searchable.

The photo below announced the seasonal introduction of their winter cups. Most people that love Starbucks, LOVE these cups. It reminds their customers of cold weather and delicious hot drinks. With the formula of a great photo design and the caption, this photo outshone the others with more than 50,000 likes and a whopping 958 comments! They also added another hashtag to make the image searchable.

Starbucks Instagram red cup

Starbucks also let’s their brand speak for itself, but incorporates hashtags and captions to increase follower engagement.

In conclusionFind your products voice and let it speak, don’t sell too hard and connect Instagram to your business’s Twitter page.

How do you currently use Instagram for your business? Tell us in the comments below or on our Twitter.

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