What We Learned from the Best Brands on Instagram

Brands have come a long way on social media. There was a time in which brands were lagging behind the messes, taking cues from individual content creators when it came to trying out new social trends and establishing new social initiatives. Not anymore. Today,  brands are investing more talent and resources into cultivating engaging experiences for their audiences across channels. Social media gives brands to connect to their audiences openly and, often, informally, and brands are taking advantage of these interactive environments and serving their followers with content that is

The 2016 Shorty awards featured the best of brands in the social space. From startups to fortune 500 companies, the nominees across the 66 brand categories prove that brand marketers of all verticals are no longer just entertaining social media… they’re betting on it. 

One of the platforms that is proving to be a focal point for many brands at the moment is Instagram. With 80 million photos shared every day,  video expansion, recent algorithm announcement, and impending business features , brands are recognizing the powerful creative potential offered by the platform. A few brands have already distinguished themselves from the pack, as evidenced by their recent Shorty showings. Here are a few of the lesson we’ve learned from the brands featured in the Overall Instagram Presence category.

Create a Community
Airbnb’s Instagram feed is filled with breathtaking shots and compelling personal narratives that transport its followers on journeys across the globe. Airbnb is well aware that it would be nothing without its community of travelers and hosts, and as such, the company’s Instagram feed is rich with community stories. The excitement, wonder and awe that is displayed in each not only makes followers want to double-tap, but it also entices them to follow suit and create life-changing Airbnb experiences of their own. Through their social storytelling efforts, Airbnb has been able to transfer the global community feel of their service onto the smartphone screens of social media users everywhere.



Utilize UGC
When Disney Baby launched their Instagram account they already had two things working in their favor: the magic of Disney and the irresistibility of cute baby photos. And when combined this duo packs a powerful punch. But Disney Baby did not just rest on their laurels, instead, they sought to engage young moms by offering a creative outlet for them to share shots of their littles ones interacting with Disney. Through their use of user generated content, Disney Baby is effectively engaging young moms everywhere and giving them a chance to participate in a large-scale global community.


Think Outside the Box

In the spring of 2015, Reynolds Kitchen launched an ambitious Instagram campaign: they turned their entire feed into one never ending feasting table, aptly titled, Endless Table. .Each tile, featuring a delicious dish, was a piece of the larger puzzle. Reynolds has effectively maintained this campaign, and continues to expand their endless table with new recipes and displays. Each post is a beautiful food shot and complete with a link to the recipe, so when followers see these table additions appear in their News Feeds they are enticed by the food photography. But when these individual tiles are pieced together within Reynolds’ profile, the effect is powerful. Rather than thinking about one post at a time, Reynolds has mastered Instagram by considering how each posts contributes to a greater social story.


Enhance Your Influence

Lokai’s colorful Instagram feed is focused on the experiences of their bracelet-wearers. From surfing waves to surfing the crowds at music festivals, Lokai’s Instagram feed send the message that Lokai is for adventurers. Although Lokai’s playful content is enticing as it is, the company taps into influencers to further their reach and amplify the brand’s message. Influencers post lifestyle shots wearing the bracelet to naturally introduce the Lokai lifestyle to their followers.



Buddy Up

When SmartUSA launched their 2016 Fortwo model, they did so with the help of Instagram. They used the creativity platform as a means of informing audiences and showcasing the personality of the Fortwo model. The compact model was built specifically for two people, so SmartUSA launched a Fortwo Instagram campaign that paired two distinct Instagram users, @Fortwo_jake and @Fortwo_jill to work together to tell one complete Instagram story. Instagram is first and foremost a social platform, so allowing users and influencers to create content in tandem is a strategic way to spark engagement and creativity.


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