If you think Instagram represents nothing more than selfies and simple snapshots, think again. In this article, I’m going to show you 15 social media marketing examples from brands who know what they are doing on Instagram.
There’s a reason why 90% of the top 100 brands are on Instagram. The numbers don’t lie in regard to brands looking to tap into a base of over 1 billion monthly active users, hungry for imagery and products alike. Why not check out this guide to instagram marketing and data analytics here.
While making sales via Instagram was once a pipe dream, it’s quickly becoming a reality for more and more companies willing to put in the legwork. For example, Meller, an international sunglasses brand, explains how they were able to optimize their use of Instagram ads to increase both online sales and conversion rate with a 13.9% lower cost per click. They also saw positive results with their embedded Instagram feeds in their eCommerce.
After all, the platform isn’t just for millennials anymore; likewise, there’s a reason why Instagram’s ad revenues hit $20 billion in 2019 according to Bloomberg.
The question remains: how do you become an Instagram success story through social media marketing?
Some brands have a hard time wrapping their heads around Instagram marketing, which is completely understandable given the platform’s history.
Bear in mind that Instagram has evolved enormously since its launch in 2010: from the ability to leverage shoppable Instagram pages to User Generated Content and beyond, today’s brands are getting incredibly creative in regard to how they use to platform to build leads, show off products, and build a brand community.
Social Media Marketing Examples Done Right
We’ve outlined 15 brands below who are absolutely killing it right now in regard to creativity and ingenuity through Instagram marketing. Whether you’re a seasoned vet of the platform or are simply looking for some inspiration, check out what the brands below are doing and see how you can apply their principles to your own social media marketing strategy.
1. Ipsy (3.1m Followers) – Content that makes a connection
Who and why? With over 3.1 million followers, Ipsy provides a little bit of everything when it comes to showing off their subscription glam bags. All that while utilizing cool activations – like the one above – encouraging users to post with their hashtag to be featured on their Instagram stories.
Key Takeaways: Ipsy’s feed is a prime example of Instagram’s diversity in terms of content. In other words, you aren’t simply tied to product photos or even photos of people.
The beauty of Instagram is that it gives you the ability to do just about anything in terms of imagery. For example, Ipsy makes use of memes and motivational quotes in addition to their buzzworthy beauty products.
Remember: not everything you do on Instagram needs to be a sales pitch in disguise. Posting beyond your products can not only help you build your brand’s personality, but also give your base something to smile about.
2. Loot Crate (714k Followers) – Know your audience.
Who and why? Although this nerdy subscription box’s feed may seem a bit all over the place, Loot Crate represents a prime example of a brand knowing their customers all too well.
Key Takeaways: You should know your followers inside and out. Humor is the bread and butter of quirky brands such as Loot Crate, whose dedicated base of followers love to get a good laugh.
Furthermore, giveaways showcased how the brand wanted to give back to their community, which encouraged further interaction.
3. KARL LAGERFELD (5.2m Followers) – Bold, trendy and hashtag-friendly.
Who and why? Harnessing hashtags and bold imagery, KARL LAGERFELD is the exact sort of fashion brand Instagram was meant for.
Key Takeaways: If you haven’t already taken the time to create a hashtag for your brand, it’s better late than never. KARL LAGERFELD’S “#KARLxKENNETH” showcases their winning partnership with Kenneth Ize. Regardless of what you’re selling, hashtags are absolutely integral to modern Instagram marketing.
Through using hashtags KARL LAGERFELD have been able to gather images and videos from their loyal customers, displaying them in a lookbook on their website. After doing so, they saw an average order value increase of 20.84%. Find out more about KARL LAGERFELD’S excellent UGC strategy in this case study.
Additionally, similar to Milly (#13), eye-popping imagery and color schemes can go a long way to making your posts stand out in the crowd.
4. Top Vintage (149k Followers) – Love your followers and they’ll love you back.
Who and why? Although the brand is about retro fashion, Top Vintage’s feed encompasses everything about the future of instagram marketing. Their frequent “regrams” and diverse content are sources of endless inspiration for Top Vintage customers. Most notably Top vintage’s feed shows how they know their customers.
Key Takeaways: Don’t be afraid to let your followers do the legwork for you in terms of promotion. Top Vintage understood that their customers wanted to see real women using their product. Therefore they utilized User Generated Content by putting images of their loyal customers wearing their products across their feed.
The strategy has been successful as they have a seen a 19.59% increase of conversions by those that have interacted with their UGC. Furthermore their numerous giveaways on their instagram shoecase how the brand gives back to their loyal community. Find out more about Top Vintage’s UGC strategy in this case study.
5. CLUSE (827k Followers) – Elegant content from excited followers.
Who and why? CLUSE is a masterful example of UGC in action, representing a brand whose shoppable feed exemplifies elegance.
Key Takeaways: Strive to let your product and followers market for you.
CLUSE gives credit to its evangelists via tagging and employs a shoppable feed to make matters easier on those looking to make a purchase. Such feeds are good social media marketing examples for brands looking to both score more sales and dedicated followers. After collecting over 19,000 images and videos, CLUSE saw an increase in their conversion rate by 19%. Check out this case study to find out more!
6. LuLaRoe (252k Followers) – Celebrate your base.
Who and why? LuLaRoe harnesses the power of UGC and hashtags to model their insanely popular line of women’s wear with positive vibes.
Key Takeaways: Create a more authentic Instagram profile by showing off other users’ content.
That’s exactly what LuLaRoe does. With almost every one of their photos, they display a retailer or user wearing their brand. By curating hashtags of brand evangelists, LuLaRoe has a seemingly endless stream of content showing off their fits. Plus, showing the retailers you can purchase from makes the whole buying process feel more authentic.
Additionally, the brand’s positive attitude (think: a diverse array of models who are almost always smiling) is a stark contrast from sterner fashion brands. Likewise, you should strive to set an appropriate tone for your brand’s imagery.
7. Beardbrand (190k Followers) – Selling a lifestyle.
Who and why? Offering a niche product to a highly targeted audience, Beardbrand lets their unique line of male grooming supplies speak for itself via their Instagram feed.
Key Takeaways: Some eCommerce brands may feel that they don’t have a place on Instagram or that their target audience is simply too small to justify a presence on the platform.
However, Beardbrand has amassed a sort of cult following among what they refer to as “urban beardsmen.” Through both professional models and product images in stunning settings, Beardbrand isn’t just selling beard products: they’re selling a lifestyle.
In addition to their products in action, Beardbrand also uses their Instagram marketing to conduct various giveaways to build hype around new product launches. Such giveaways represent a surefire way to create buzz and get followers talking about your products.
8. Death Wish Coffee (278k Followers) – Hard-hitting, heartfelt humor.
Who and why? Combining a sense of humor with a behind-the-scenes look at their killer coffee, Death Wish represents a perfect example of how any brand can make a connection with their audience.
Key Takeaways: Humor is an incredibly powerful marketing tool, so don’t be afraid to inject some jokes into your feed. Deeming themselves as the be-all, end-all of coffee brands, Death Wish’s bold memes perfectly match their in-your-face marketing message.
Additionally, Death Wish provides a behind-the-scenes look at their brewing process, giving their growing brand a personal touch that reminds followers that they’re still a relatively small operation. Consider giving your own followers a sneak peek of who you are and what you do as means of building that ever-so-important emotional connection.
It’s one of the best social media marketing examples of a brand knowing their audience and the kind of humor that suits them.
9. Zappos (395k Followers) – Simple yet sophisticated.
Who and why? Zappos ticks all the boxes of traditional fashion feed with a more professional vibe.
Key Takeaways: Sometimes it pays to get straight to the point. Real-life product photos in diverse environments can certainly speak for themselves.
Don’t feel trapped if you suspect that your Instagram marketing strategy is strapped for creativity. Zappos’s feed is relatively straightforward and serves as inspiration for those who aren’t trying to do anything too off-the-wall, all the while maintaining a professional tone. Use this brand when you’re looking for straight-laced and to the point social media marketing examples.
10. oVertone (569k Followers) – Eyecatching, colorful and thematic.
Who and why? oVertone’s color-coordinated Instagram is both eye-catching and thematic with the brand’s line of conditioners for bold, dyed hair.
Key Takeaways: This feed does an excellent job of grabbing your attention at a glance. Using a combination of user-submitted photos and imagery to create a clever, palette of colors, there’s no shortage of inspiration and ideas for followers looking to experiment with the brand’s products.
All brands should strive to harness the power of User Generated Content to give their products a more personal touch. Additionally, much like MILLY, oVertone scores bonus points for creativity.
11. Dollar Shave Club (237k Followers) – Give them something to think about.
Who and why? Although a razor subscription service may seem relatively straightforward, Dollar Shave Club’s curious content keeps its followers guessing.
Key Takeaways: Educating our followers is usually done through written content; however, Dollar Shave Club employs playful infographics and “did you know?”-style content as means of engaging their base. Additionally, the brand provides tutorials for followers in terms of how to effectively use their shaving products depending on your skin and hair type.
Like humor, education and curiosity can be powerful tools to keep followers coming back for more.
12. Northweek (133k Followers) – Diversify your content.
Who and why? A combination of UGC and lavish landscapes, Northweek’s feed sets itself apart in the world of eyewear.
Key Takeaways: Dare to be different.
Northweek puts its eyewear on display in a variety of settings and not solely on models. Smart brands with a steady stream of UGC have a naturally diverse breadth of content that never grows stale.
13. Milly (143k Followers) – Breathtaking imagery.
Who and why? Milly’s Instagram features everything you’d expect from a high-fashion feed; however, the brand’s breathtaking imagery is something to behold.
Key Takeaways: From bold backdrops to colors that pop, there’s never a dull moment on this feed. While not every brand is going to have the benefit of runway models, Milly accompanies their posts with a sense of artistic flair which sets themselves apart from industry competitors.
In short, don’t be afraid to harness the power of color and let your creativity shine. Something as simple as a distinct color scheme could do the trick versus setting your products against a dull, drab backdrop. This is one of the strongest social media marketing examples of a brand popping the color all over Instagram.
14. Staples (14k Followers) – A fun spin on “boring” products.
Who and why? Staples’ feed proves that even the most “boring” of products can pop through imagery and a sense of humor.
Key Takeaways: Through creative product positioning and mini-commercials, Staples is living proof that just about any brand can thrive on Instagram. Your feed doesn’t have to be filled with professional models or exotic landscapes to make a lasting impression: sometimes the simplest snapshots can get the point across.
15. Sparkfun (84.1k Followers) – Engage through entertainment.
Who and why? The smallest brand on our list, Sparkfun’s quirky DIY tech tutorials have huge viral potential.
Key Takeaways: While electronics may not be as seemingly sexy as a fashion or beauty brand, Sparkfun compensates with wildly entertaining “how-to” videos showcasing their products.
As video marketing continues to emerge as having one of the best ROIs around, remember that you aren’t necessarily tied to still images via Instagram.
Effective Social Media Marketing Examples – Final Takeaways
There’s a lot to take in from the aforementioned social media marketing examples and their respective successes via Instagram marketing. That being said, perhaps the three most important points for eCommerce brands, regardless of what you’re selling, are as follows:
Diversify Your Content – Don’t expect to just blast deals and expect any sort of traction from your followers. Likewise, switch up which types of visual content you put out there. From personal photos to infographics and beyond, the possibilities are seemingly endless: there’s no reason to tie yourself to one a single style of imagery.
Consistency is Key – In the case of all of the brands detailed, updating your feed daily is not only an expectation but also a means of ensuring that you’re making as many impressions as possible on your followers. Again, this signals the need not only to consistently put out new content, but also diversify it as mentioned above. For this reason, it helps to have a means of curating UGC to keep yourself from constantly scrambling for new content.
Make a Connection – The final and perhaps most important thread between these brands is the fact that they actually try to connect to their customers and followers. Whether it’s a personal touch or simply giving your base a shout-out, the seemingly simplest of touches can go a long way toward a more dedicated base.
How Will You Switch Up Your Social Media Marketing Strategy On Instagram?
In short, eCommerce brands at large will continue to leverage visual content via Instagram as the platform continues to boom. As the field grows even more crowded, diversification and creativity will perhaps be what ultimately sets brands apart from each other.
With so many brands on board with Instagram marketing, do you plan on making any changes to your strategy? Has any imagery in particular worked well for you so far? Got any other amazing social media marketing examples? Let us know in the comments below.
Looking for more Instagram tips? Head to our complete guide to Instagram Marketing, where you’ll find everything you need to know about promoting your products on this crucial platform.