Success Secrets We Can Learn From 4 Brands Dominating Instagram

For businesses that think Instagram is little more than a social network for posting selfies, consider that some of the biggest brands across the globe are spending considerable time and energy to influence Instagram users and get their business—and with good reason. Instagram currently boasts more than 800 active monthly million users (through December 2017). Of those users, 59% are on the site every day, and 35% visit the site several times a day. That's a lot of web traffic, and some forward-leaning businesses are leveraging that traffic to polish their brands and boost revenues.

Instagram offers marketers a unique opportunity to put a visual face on their companies' brands, to humanize their businesses and create a powerful emotional connection with customers and prospective customers. There are many leading brands which have been able to do just that, creating compelling and memorable connections through Instagram.   

Here are 4 brands which are succeeding on Instagram, every day, and how they're doing that:

1.  Califia Farms


Califia Farms, a manufacturer of natural beverage products, has a distinct advantage for a visual medium like Instagram—the company has among the most attractive packaging of any brand on the site. In fact, Califia Farms has won top honors in the global packaging design category from Beverage World Magazine.  

Instagram gives companies like Califia an opportunity to highlight their visual distinctiveness, those cool, curvy bottles that consumers have come to recognize as the potent symbol of an active, healthy (read, California) lifestyle. Califia goes one step further, peppering Instagram posts with engaging videos that play up their brand messaging.   

Oh and by the way, have you tried their almond milk? It's incredibly delicious.

2.  Lorna Jane


Lorna Jane understands the importance of powerful images for selling its Australian activewear—but those images do more than simply highlight their clothing line. They burnish the company's brand, which appeals directly to its core market, Millennial women who place a high value on an active lifestyle. 

Said differently, the women featured in Lorna Jane's Instagram posts are as important as the company's clothing and accessories they're wearing.  So are the images of healthy food and fitness. In combining clothing, the women who wear that clothing and images associated with youth and vigor, Lorna Jane manages to capture the brand's essence, and Instagram is the social media platform which makes that possible. 

3.  Tentsile


Tentsile, as its name implies, sells tents, which they call "portable treehouses" that will "take your camping experience to a new level."  This brand clearly understands why they're on Instagram—the photos they highlight are aesthetically stunning, including geometrical wonders and their signature product silhouetted against a glorious panoramic sunset.  They're also smart to showcase their tents in all sorts of terrain, from rainforests to mountains to beaches.

But Tentsile does one more thing to take full advantage of Instagram's capabilities.  They sponsor Instagram Contests, something which allows marketers to achieve key branding goals, from growing their brand presence to building their list of followers.  Tentsile took the Instagram Contest one step further, co-marketing with partner companies, and requiring that, to participate, contestants needed to follow partner accounts as well as their own—and to "tag (their) 3 best adventure buddies in the comments below," expanding their reach and keeping the conversation about their brand going strong.

4.  WeWork


WeWork specializes in providing shared office spaces in cities and countries around the world—so it's not surprising their Instagram posts highlight the beauty of their co-working spaces and communities in scenes which are at once comforting and inviting.  They get additional traction by featuring some of the best moments from their branded events, like their WeWork Summer Camp, and they maintain brand consistency:  for example, they always include their compelling slogan, "Do what you love."

One of the things WeWork apparently loves is dogs, and their marketing team was savvy enough to recognize that their followers likely shared that passion. That was the genesis of their "DogsofWeWork" hashtag.  The dogs create an immediate emotional bond with WeWork's Instagram followers (who submit photos of their own dogs for inclusion)—and the campaign dovetails perfectly with their brand's promotion of laid-back culture.  WeWork reinforces the emotional impact by publishing an annual calendar featuring their followers' best canine photo submissions.

Social Media Has Its Benefits...

One of the key benefits of social media marketing for small and mid-sized businesses is its powerful impact coupled with a relatively low cost. Certainly, it's smart to invest in outstanding photography to make a splash on a site like Instagram. It's also smart to partner with an experienced marketing consultant or digital marketing agency who understands your brand and your vision.

What are your thoughts on Instagram and how are you using it to make impact? Comment below.