Instagram for Brands.

Robin HamiltonCreative Director

For the first time Instagram has shared figures on the number of monthly active users in the UK. Of the 300m global active Instagram users, 14m UK account holders are accessing the platform on a monthly basis.

The popularity of Instagram has largely been driven by trends in consumer behaviour and the shift towards more visual based communications, the ‘discovery’ mind-set as opposed to ‘searching with intent’, and the shift from desktop to mobile.

Users upload 70m photos via mobile every day, which generate a huge 2.5bn likes and demonstrates Instagram’s value as a platform with an engaged and active audience. In turn, this also presents a great platform for brands to generate awareness, build their audience, and develop relationships by aligning their products or services to the lifestyle of a typical Instagram user.

Before the launch of Instagram ads, users knew that by following or interacting with a brand, they wouldn’t be subjected to the hard-sell. With the introduction of these sponsored ads, and a higher rate of adoption by brands, we’ve taken a look at which brands are making the most of Instagram.


One of the most successful brands on Instagram is Nike. Currently the 19th most followed Instagram account with 32.3m followers, Nike has developed an understanding of their audiences’ behaviours and the content that interests them. They also have the 5th most used hashtag (#nike).

Nike 1

Nike posts a variety of different content; from images of celebrity photo shoots, through to products and videos. Notice how Nike are promoting their products but do so by using engaging and emotive images that appeal to their audience.

Creativity and a focus on relevant and topical subjects are key in the success that Nike have generated on Instagram.

nike 2

Ben & Jerry’s

As an early adopter of Instagram, Ben & Jerry’s have succeeded in using mouth-watering images of its famous ice cream to gain over 600,000 followers around the world. Instagram has provided a platform for Ben & Jerry’s to build customer relationships on a global scale, while maintaining a strong commitment to its brand values.

Not all of the images are of the iconic ice cream tubs. They post a wealth of user-generated images taken all over the world, images of the Ben & Jerry’s team, photos of causes and events that they support, as well as the occasional celebrity snap.

Ben and Jerry’s regularly regram photos with related hashtags, generate brand awareness with engaging content, and promote new flavours to generate buzz.

They have also run an effective Instagram ad campaign, generating a 20% increase in followers after just four ads.

ben & jerrys

ben and jerrys 2

bj 3


With 7.9 million followers, Starbucks is a brand that knows how to market on Instagram.

Starbucks has succeeded in creating a strong visual sense of the brand, using Instagram to reinforce its core values and to connect with millions of loyal customers.


While the photos focus on the products, the images are emotive and play on the emotional connections that Starbucks has built with their customers. A lot of their Instagram content is also user-generated, with images being posted from all around the globe.

By nurturing customer relationships by regramming posts with Starbucks-related hashtags, the brand was able to increase followers and engagement on the platform.

Recently, to celebrate the seasonal return of its famous red cups, the brand held a contest to encourage followers to post a picture of their red cup and tag it with #redcupcontest. The winner was announced on its blog and received an exclusive Sterling Starbucks Card. Starbucks is smart in that it capitalizes on personalized signature drinks and creates buzz around them in a genuine way. This contest was simple, yet effective, because it stimulated engagement by allowing people to illustrate their personal creativity through photographs—all while enjoying the product.




ASOS uses Instagram to showcase the latest trends, promote new products, offers, and style inspiration to their 4.1m followers.


Elevating their Instagram game further, ASOS have now introduced the LikeToKnowIt app, that sends you buyable links of the products that you like on Instagram.

ASOS post a range of lifestyle images combined with product shots that provide a brand style that the audience can relate and aspire to. In addition, ASOS also have a number of stylists who are prominent on Instagram and help feed into the variety of content posted on the main account.



As a brand using Instagram it’s important to keep your images fun, engaging, and interactive, while aligning your content with your brand attributes and values. Instagram offers a unique way to connect with your audience, and while it may not be suitable for all businesses, it can be a valuable tool in your social media arsenal.


Related Insights