Let’s face it, we’re all on Instagram now. The app just hit 1 billion monthly active users, and it’s incredibly addictive. Every ‘grammer will find themselves in a seemingly limitless frenzy of scrolling and liking every now and then, completely oblivious to the ordinary, unfiltered world we actually inhabit.
If you’re one of the few remaining uninitiated, you might want to check it out. It seems unjust to see Instagram described as a “photo-sharing platform,” as it’s (increasingly) so much more than that. For one thing, it’s an incredible opportunity to showcase your brand, develop an audience and create positive connections with people.
The average time spent on the app has been rising steadily for a while, and Instagram now rivals Facebook itself for minutes spent per day. (And, as you can imagine, it’s a lot).
Insta’s power is down to the simple fact that everybody loves images and everybody loves videos. So give the people what they want.
But where to start? You’ll do a lot worse than take inspiration from the 5 Instagram accounts featured below. They are ticking a lot of the right boxes, and getting a lot of likes and followers as a result.
But there are many different routes to Insta-success, so let’s look at a few.
Instagram can feel at times like a kind of alternative reality where everything looks a bit perfect and life seems pretty chilled and awesome. It’s inspirational.
While there are downsides to this, there is no doubt something positive and uplifting about having a portal to a better world in the palm of your hand.
It’s worth keeping in mind that people expect a high level of aesthetic quality on Instagram, and that there is plenty of competition out there. You should pull out all the stops to make your content look amazing.
Airbnb are a great example of a brand that uses Instagram to paint a gorgeous portrait of what life could be like as one of their customers.
Their account is a literal stream of insanely perfect visions of going on holiday. It makes me want to stop writing this blog and immediately take a vacation in someone else’s home. (I won’t though, don’t worry.)
As a company, you are ultimately attempting to sell whatever it is you sell, and to communicate your brand.
But people don’t use Instagram because they love the ads… They want to be entertained.
Try to have fun as much as possible, and transmit a bit of your personality while you’re at it.
Oh – and do stories!
As a Danish company, we’re in love with Lego anyway. But even if we weren’t, we’d be very jealous of their Instagram.
They’re delivering on the creative potential of their product and the recognition of their brand. It’s non-stop happiness, colors, and LEGO.
One moment there is your favorite movie character alive and well in Lego form, the next a full-size sports car made entirely of little plastic bricks, the next adorable kids building something together.
Everything is awesome.
Speak their language
One thing: know your audience.
This might seem like a challenge before you’ve really developed one, but you should have a pretty good idea about who your customers are already even if you haven’t.
When you post, you shouldn’t be blatantly posting in the style of a corporate entity, but as an Instagram user who also happens to be a company – and one that your audience will recognize.
Oh – and use hashtags!
theSkimm are clear about who they are and who their target audience is: they are a membership media company for ‘female millennials,’ and they started life as a subscription newsletter.
So they know exactly who they’re talking to, and brilliantly find the right tone and mix of content with everything they do.
They have a great engagement rate, and a hashtag capturing the spirit of their posts, which is the perfect blend of humor and the serious stuff – #skimmlife.
Don’t be afraid to show the real you. A company is what its staff make it, after all.
Instagram is awash with fantastic imagery and you’re competing with the biggest organizations, the hottest influencers and the most active media companies in the world.
What gives you the edge is the fact that you are you, and no one is quite like that. Or, at least, they shouldn’t be. So share what makes you unique, and what brings you closer to your followers.
Supercell, a mobile game company from Helsinki, Finland, offer their followers a window into their world.
You get design drafts for characters and game landscapes, updates on releases and company milestones, and a glimpse into some of the finer moments of life at Supercell.
Their posts are straightforward, honest and light – creating a sense of authenticity that is hard to fake. And it looks like they’re having a lot of fun.
There is no one type of post that you should be posting, and there is no one type of content that you should always be focusing on.
Your audience won’t want to follow you if you keep serving them up the same old stuff. But that said, there is a benefit to having your own recognizable style and feel.
While you should always vary the content you post to keep things interesting, you should also try and ‘curate’ your posts, so they have that “you” feel and look good when viewed as one. (On this subject, you might be interested in our recent blog in crafting a visual identity.)
Oh – and post videos!
Scrolling down through HubSpot’s Instagram, you’ll see that their style has changed over time, but each time the posts all fit together and harmonize with one clear aesthetic.
They use a recognizable aesthetic, often using a clean white desk with a laptop and coffee cup set against their brand orange to let you know it’s them while you race through your feed.
Within this consistency there is room for a lot of variation, from a wide range of quotations and motivational phrases to memes, shots of their office space and photos of books they’ve been reading.
What is your secret to Insta-success? Let us know in the comments below.