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5 Lessons You Can Learn From The Top Brands On Instagram

Here are five interesting insights for marketers from a new study that examines how consumers are engaging with Fortune 500 brands on Instagram.

5 Lessons You Can Learn From The Top Brands On Instagram

Half of the world’s biggest brands are now on Instagram, and Starbucks, Nike, Publix, Foot Locker, and Disney are the best of the best, according to a report from marketing analytics platform TrackMaven.

Nike has the largest Instagram following, which is 5x larger than Starbucks, but Starbucks wins overall with the highest engagement ratio (which TrackMaven defines as the “average number of interactions per post per 1,000 followers”).

Publix was recognized for impressive audience growth (adding 30,000 followers), Foot Locker posted most often (1,274 photos and 338 videos), and Walt Disney Co. was tops for video interactions (7 million).

Obviously, these brands have an inherent advantage on Instagram. They sell products that make for powerful visuals.

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In all, TrackMaven analyzed a year’s worth of content – 41,071 Instagram posts to be exact – from B2C and B2B brands from May 1, 2015 to May 1 of this year.

So what else can you learn about marketing on Instagram from 250 of the world’s largest brands? Here are five insights from TrackMaven’s look at how Fortune 500 brands use Instagram.

1. Likes Account For Nearly All Brand Engagement

Instagram likes vs comments

Instagram is a “sheer engagement game, not a reactive, community platform” for brands, according to TrackMaven.

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That’s because on Instagram, it’s all about likes – 98.9 percent of brand interactions came in the form of likes. Just 1.1 percent of consumers posted comments.

So if Instagram is all about engagement, that means you need to post compelling visuals. And don’t expect much else from the platform.

2. Brands Post Most Often On Thursdays & Fridays

Instagram post days

Fortune 500 brands posts most often between Monday through Friday, but Thursday and Friday are the most popular days on Instagram, according to the research.

Instagram post times

As for time of day, most brands prefer to post between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., with the biggest surge occurring during the hours between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

3. The ‘Best’ Day & Time To Post On Instagram

Although Thursdays and Fridays are the most popular days, Sunday had a tiny advantage in terms of engagement, probably due to the fact that it’s Sunday, which means less competition.

TrackMaven says that publishing between 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. ET will give brands higher engagement. Posts published received between 6.15 to 8.78 percent higher engagement. TrackMaven advises you to avoid publishing at 4 a.m. and between 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., as these times have the least engagement.

However, as always with any reports like this, this all heavily will depend on your industry and what your goals are. Posting at 1 a.m. may be entirely pointless for you, so test out different times that make sense for your business.

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4. Hashtags & Questions Increase Engagement

Instagram engagement boost

If you want to slightly increase your engagement, then should you consider adding a question mark or hashtag to your post? Yes.

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Exclamation points, however, should be avoided!

Though, honestly, we’re talking less than 1 percent here on either side. So let’s move on.

5. Brands Overwhelmingly Prefer #nofilter

Eighty-nine percent of brand posts used no filter. Juno, Lark, and Clarendon are the top filters of choice for brands

instagram posts by filter

However, according to TrackMaven’s analysis, brands could be getting more engagement by using filters. While no filter was the most popular, it was the 13th most effective filter.

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What were the most effective filters? Mayfair (which is the eighth most used filter), Hefe (ninth most used), and Ludwig (fifth most used).

So what’s the lesson? Simple enough: Try using these filters and see if it helps your engagement.

Image Credits

Feature Image Created by Author with Depositphotos and TrackMaven images.

All other images courtesy of TrackMaven


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Danny Goodwin

Executive Editor at Search Engine Journal

Danny Goodwin is Executive Editor of Search Engine Journal. In addition to overseeing SEJ's editorial strategy and managing contributions from ... [Read full bio]

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