With 1.3 billion monthly active users, and a projected 1.4 billion by 2025, Instagram is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. It’s become a prime place for building brand awareness, showing personality, connecting with influencers, and promoting products. There are many ways you can incorporate Instagram into you social media marketing strategy, but it can be tough to know where to start.
Worry not — here are 20 Instagram marketing examples to help give your creativity a boost.
13. American Express
17. Sesame Street
20. Metropolitan Museum of Art
One of the shining stars of social media to come out of the last few years is undoubtedly the language-learning app Duolingo. On the surface, the app is a straightforward educational service, helping users learn new languages with bite-size lessons and quizzes. Gamification comes into play with "Streaks" that encourage you to use the app everyday.
Duolingo tapped into their target audience community culture with a masterful campaign that brings their owl logo to life in hilarious skits, many of which poke fun at their aggressive push-notification style.
The campaign serves to build their brand personality as one that doesn't take itself too seriously, and yet takes their mission of helping users master a new language very seriously. It strikes a wonderful balance and encourages engagement, which is a prime KPI for any social media marketing campaign on Instagram!
In contrast to what many might recommend, Duolingo's Instagram profile is not exactly visually cohesive, utilizing a mix of video and photo content, some animation, some illustration, etc. but it seems to be working for them!
As a leading SaaS company, Salesforce uses their Instagram profile to great effect for bringing their brand to life, with posts featuring their team to help humanize the product, lots of lighthearted humor and personality. They actually have a similarly all-over-the-place layout and variety to Duolingo, utilizing their mascot heavily and including a wide range of photo and video styles, but again it seems to work for them — perhaps it subconsciously signals the sheer depth, breadth, and reach of Salesforce as a company.
Overall, the throughline on the Salesforce Instagram page is energy. A lot of energy, radiating from people, events, announcements, and their mascots. Their content exudes excitement while also remaining grounded and informative.
Disney's streaming platform, Disney+, does a great job with their Instagram marketing, highlighting new shows, announcing when films or shows are added to the platform, and promoting upcoming projects which is a great Instagram marketing example.
Given the strong nostalgia factor of Disney, and the impressive number of properties they now own, this is probably one of the few cases when just posting about your "products" is still an effective way to drive engagement (positive and negative, that is. People tend to have a lot of strong opinions when it comes to Disney+ programming!).
The Disney+ Instagram page demonstrates a strong commitment to keeping their target audience in the know, but it is a promotion-heavy feed. So they do intersperse their content with various memes, humorous posts, and posts that celebrate things like #NationalPetDay to help break up the flow.
If there's one company that consistently kicks it out of the park when it comes to social media marketing it's Dove. The company has managed to carve out a specific niche in their marketing language which focuses on female empowerment, expanding the rigid definitions of "beauty", and highlighting the importance of mental health.
Their Instagram feed is people-forward and very diverse, which has become a hallmark of their marketing style an approach.
Over the years they've used branded hashtags to bring attention to various body image issues and the impact of social media on women's self-esteem. One recent example is "DetoxYourFeed" which encourages people to think twice before following accounts that could encourage unhealthy habits and negative self-talk.
Apple's ongoing "Shot on iPhone" campaign is a masterful example of Instagram marketing for a particular product through the use of UGC (user generated content).
Due to the fact that Apple so consistently shares posts that use the #ShotoniPhone hashtag, it has become an ubiquitous part of Apples online community. Nearly every post on their feed is user-generated content, which is a powerful flex — and they only have one Story highlight for promoting their most recent iPhone version.
Tip: Read about things we can learn from Apple's marketing strategy.
IBM's Instagram profile strength comes from its style consistency which makes it a great Instagram marketing example.
Their posts are people-forward and tech-forward, the combination of the two doing a great job to illustrate their brand personality and humanize the forward-thinking technology legacy of the company.
Their content is science and tech-heavy and doesn't shy away from appealing to true computer nerds, whether it be from a historical perspective or an interest in where technology is headed. You know immediately that if you follow IBM you're in for thought-leadership, deep dives, and interesting industry discussions.
Featuring a mix of UGC and employee spotlights, Starbucks uses their Instagram profile to promote new products, provide drink-making tutorials, and build the Starbucks culture and brand personality. Even though they always seem to have a new type of brew or blend coming out, they always make sure to celebrate their cult favorites as well.
And while not their primary content type, Starbucks does lean into meme culture quite successfully, as with this post assigning classic Starbucks drinks to Taylor Swift songs:
Aside from showcasing their footwear products, Adidas uses their Instagram presence to shed light on social issues as well. And they don't shy away from boldness with their Instagram marketing. In particular, they started the hashtag #WithWomenWeRun after learning that 92% or women feel unsafe when running:
Adidas also works with sports influencers and posts sport-industry-related content, widening the scope of how their company may be perceived.
Their Instagram marketing conveys the message that they're not "just a shoe company". They're an essential voice in the world of fitness and active lifestyle, trusted by Olympic athletes and highly respected sports figures.
Netflix uses its Instagram profile to promote upcoming shows, lean into nostalgia for shows that have ended, and cultivate the Netflix community culture. They appreciate and use meme humor, but don't overdo it.
They trust their audience, posting imagery that might seem cryptic to anyone who doesn't watch a particular show, but "if you know you know" and the comments don't disappoint:
Aside from that, their Instagram feed is full of interviews, behind-the-scenes snippets, and blooper reels. They do a masterful job of building anticipation ahead of a new show or film releases as well which is really their bread-and-butter when it comes to their Instagram marketing.
UltaBeauty partners with diverse beauty influencers of all races and genders, which is what makes them stand out as a great Instagram marketing example.
Involving so many different beauty influencers to demonstrate their products helps Ulta reach wider and wider audiences, with the common denominator being an enjoyment of makeup. They have a powerful angle: good products (as evidenced by so many respected beauty influencers working with them) at reasonable prices that allow you to achieve certain looks without breaking the bank.
They also use their Instagram marketing to do a lot of myth-busting and de-mystifying of beauty products, skin and haircare routines. These posts also help project a friendly and conversational vibe helping them appeal to consumers who may feel intimidated by more cost-prohibitive and higher-end brands such as Sephora or Mac.
Luxury apparel and beauty brand, Prada, uses their Instagram profile to showcase their products, promote events, and highlight various partnerships. Most of their posts are fashion-forward, punchy, and edited to represent Prada's sleek and luxurious personality.
A partnership that made a splash in 2022 was with actor and activist Emma Watson. A unique pairing to be sure, given the initial juxtaposition between Watson's vocal and well-known activism, focusing on sustainability and gender equality, and Prada's reputation as a premier luxury brand, highly expensive and not known (or at least not recognized) for sustainability.
So the use of Watson as a spokesperson served several purposes. First, it got people talking about the brand, and of course the specific product she was promoting: a new perfume, Paradox. Second, it helped Prada position itself as a brand that cares about sustainability, and cares about lifting women up — the theme behind the Paradox marketing campaign.
Watson was heavily involved, directing and starring in the commercial herself as a short film, and promoting Paradox in highly stylized posts on her Instagram page.
Spotify's Instagram profile leans into a love of music through supporting various music artists, fun data-backed posts, light humor, and engaging conversation-driving posts:
A staple on best of lists when it comes to social media marketing, the Spotify Wrapped campaign has become a very popular and much anticipated end-of-year campaign for brands and consumers alike.
Everyone can get in on the fun, and there's even a subculture that's come out of it with people creating "fake" Spotify Wrapped templates to poke fun at how wrong or right Spotify gets their "most listened to" habits throughout the year.
Netflix jumped on the chance to highlight the cultural phenomenon that came from Season 4 of Stranger Things: an entire new generation getting introduced to Kate Bush's song "Running Up That Hill":
13. American Express
The American Express Instagram marketing approach is youthful, informative, and lighthearted — perhaps not what one might expect from a credit-card that may be perceived as more high-end, which is precisely the point. Their Instagram business profile goes a long way toward humanizing their brand, focusing on amazing travel, hotels, food, and experiences — all the things you can get with their card.
Amex also partners with celebrity influencers for various campaigns, helping to spread the word about their card perks and create an emotional connection with customers.
GoPro uses Instagram marketing to great effect, showcasing UGC that illustrates all the amazing activities you can do with a GoPro camera, and the kinds of amazing video footage you can achieve. Their feed is very cohesive, using heavily saturated colors, and dramatic photography and video.
Their pinned posts are the only product shots as well, which keeps the focus on their consumers using the product as opposed to cluttering the feed with a bunch of sales-y posts which makes it a great Instagram marketing example.
Uber is another company that uses UGC in their Instagram profile. They frequently share tweet posts (which albeit could be completely made up and not real UGC — but it still an effective marketing technique).
They also do a good job of creative marketing for a service that's fairly straight-forward on the surface. Uber partners with various influencers and celebrities for a wide variety of campaigns and promotions that highlight Uber as an essential part of everyday life.
SEMRush definitely leans into the humorous side of social media on their channels, and their Instagram business profile is no exception. They double down on the pain points felt by social media managers, content managers, and SEOs which helps create a sense of community and connection among their customers and the wider industry that they serve — a great tactic for attracting new buyers.
One area where they are particularly effective is in balancing pure humor with promo posts that bring it back to the product. If every post did, it would quickly get old, but the way they incorporate it reminds their fans of useful services without shoving the product front and center:
Visually, they stick to very consistent color schemes and branding, adding to the strength of their personality.
17. Sesame Street
Beloved children's television series, Sesame Street, has grown and adapted admirably with the times, being a show that first premiered in 1969!
Their Instagram pages is everything you could want from the delightful denizens of Sesame Street. The content is full of old clips and new clips, sharing those favorite moments when celebrities come to visit, lots of educational content of course, and sprinkled in with plenty of fun content to keep PBS kids of all generations motivated.
They also do a good job of cross-promoting with a consistent posting style showing various character Tweets all on the right side of their Instagram page (if viewing on desktop):
Creator of the most comfortable socks in the history of socks, according to the very scientific method of: this authors personal preference, Bombas uses their Instagram profile to lean into the cozy feel-good side of content:
And not just feel-good from a physical product perspective. One of their key initiatives is supporting homeless and at-risk populations around the country. And it's not just lip-service, they truly follow through and much of their Instagram content reflects that.
Outdoor outfitter and apparel brand, Patagonia, is another great example of a company that demonstrates great follow-through on their initiatives and promises. Their dedication to eco-responsibility is abundantly clear throughout their Instagram content.
Visually, their posts make use of crisp, saturated colors, professionally shot video, and plenty of action shots featuring customers wearing their products in the great outdoors.
So, Patagonia uses their Instagram marketing for two main purposes:
1. To showcase their products being used, worn, out in the elements, getting dusty and wet, being put through the same strenuous workout as someone rock climbing, camping, or completing a black diamond ski run.
This is an effective way to position their brand perspective and personality. Patagonia doesn't want to show their attire pre-worn, nice and pristine on a showroom hanger. They'd rather see it being used and enjoyed as intended.
2. Which leads into the second purpose that we mentioned before: demonstrating their commitment to environmentally conscious initiatives and raising awareness. Patagonia is a prime example of executive positioning done right, and their posts on Instagram go a long way to showing action, not just lip-service, to their consumers.
20. Metropolitan Museum of Art
Museums may seem like stuffy, out-of-touch institutions, but one of the more famous museums in the world, the Metropolitan in New York, is trying their best to break that stereotype with their Instagram marketing.
Their content is full of engaging, interesting, and educational content that brings viewers inside the inner workings of a museum, like this post that shows how a 600-year-old tapestry gets cleaned!
Upon writing this blog post, the Met Gala had just occurred, so many recent posts on the Metropolitan Instagram profile were focused on detailing that event. While it's a unique and extremely popular spectacle, the Met Gala is not where the museums' Instagram marketing shines.
Rather it's in the more relatable content featuring enthusiastic scientists, historians, museum personnel and patrons where they really shine.
Conclusion of the Best Instagram Marketing Examples
And we’re done! There’s 20 of the best Instagram marketing examples. It's important to note that all of these companies take different approaches in their Instagram marketing, so there's no right way or wrong way to run your Instagram marketing strategy. But here are a few common denominators to keep in mind:
- Use of video. It's no secret that short-form video is a favorite type of content among social media users, and if brands want to maintain high engagement they need to make sure their using Instagram Reels and Instagram Stories.
- Visual cohesion. Now there are a few business on this list that don't adhere to strict visual cohesion on their Instagram profiles, but in general this is a recommended rule to follow.
- People-forward. A majority of these Instagram marketing examples use the platform to showcase their teams and customers. Taking a people-forward approach as opposed to a product-forward approach is a great way to inspire trust and build a more engaged following.
- Meme culture & humor. Many of these profiles lean into humor for increasing engagement, appealing to a broader audience, and staying on top of certain visual and audio trends. Just make sure you know the references you're making inside and out. Nothing worse than trying to hop on a meme and failing!
- Influencer partnerships. Instagram is one of the best social media platforms for influencer marketing, and most of these brands take advantage of it. Influencers help you reach more consumers through a trusted voice and word-of-mouth.
- UGC. Lastly, Instagram is also a fantastic place to execute a UGC strategy. When you're tagged or a branded hashtag is used (such as #ShotoniPhone), Instagram makes it easy to find these posts and reshare them — which is a self-fulfilling prophecy in that it encourages others to use your products and tag you in their posts, in the hope of being featured.
So whether it’s through influencer marketing, short-form video, or by leveraging nostalgia, each of these profiles is an excellent example of the potential of Instagram marketing.
Meltwater's Suite for Marketers can help you make sure your Instagram profile page is ship-shape, high converting, and engaging! Fill out the form below to find out how.
This article originally appeared in Wishpond Blog.
This article was written by Carlo Pacis from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
Article updated in 2023.