Facebook, Instagram’s parent company, tells us that users’ interactions within the platform are increasingly with people they’ve never met.
With that said, Instagram is no place for those lacking in creativity or authenticity. This is a highly competitive platform where any companies live and die by the quality of their content.
In this column, you’ll find examples of 10 companies from a wide range of industries absolutely killing it with their Instagram advertising content today.
Honeybook is a client experience and business management platform, which is not necessarily the sexiest material for most people — but they make it work!
How do they do it? By striking a nice balance between helpful advice in digestible form and lighter, more human content in their advertising.
This strategy works on two levels. First, it gets people interested in Honeybook’s offering by providing free, easy-to-access value. Second, it makes their company human.
Even people in the market for a business management platform are going to be more interested in working with you if they think your employees are happy and your mission is true.
It’s possible that Elon Musk is running the Instagram account for Chipotle.
For those unfamiliar with his infamous meme sharing on Twitter, what we mean to say is that Chipotle posts definitely lean into humor — and the sillier, the better.
This relaxed attitude is exactly what a huge company that wants to be your local burrito shop needs. Posts have high engagement because they’re funny, shareable, and often incorporate games or sweepstakes.
One can expect a company called Madewell to stick to the point, and that’s exactly what we find in their ads.
The posts on their Instagram aren’t the most game-changing or innovative, but they don’t need to be. As more and more clothes shopping is done online, customers are always looking for images of the brand in action.
Madewell focuses on showcasing their clothes in comfortable, casual, carefree settings.
Vans shoes have always been about being a little rebellious. The brand is all about getting out and doing what you love, and looking good while you do it.
Their content perfectly captures that same spirit that they’ve carried since 1969.
Products are featured throughout their feed and advertisements, but they aren’t just trying to sell you shoes.
They’re telling you that if you’re fun, cool, and unique, then you should be wearing Vans.
Instagram has always been the place for travel inspiration. So many influencers capitalize on our wanderlust, and many companies do as well.
Suitcase brand Away does this especially well.
Instead of focusing only on their suitcases, they mix beautiful travel pics, product shots, and cute pictures of fluffy animals. It almost feels like they’re cheating at the game. But hey, if your industry is as appealing as travel, roll with it!
6. Sprouts Farmers Market
Even more than travel, Instagram is a place for food pics, and Sprouts Farmer’s Market constantly steps up with some truly wonderful ones.
They also mix in helpful recipes and inspiration, all from ingredients that happen to be sold in their store.
Who wouldn’t want to purchase food from Sprouts Farmer’s Market when they were the ones who gave you the excellent idea for a particular (and beautiful) meal in the first place?
7. Vital Proteins
Vital Proteins isn’t the only company on this list that utilizes celebrities for advertising (hello, Jennifer Aniston!), but they also do a fantastic job of utilizing video to show just how easy it is to use their products.
Each ad and organic post on their page has a clear shopping call-to-action, making it easy to take the next step.
8. Discover Corps
Discover Corps is another travel company playing the advertising game right.
Their company has many different types of vacations – those with a focus on wildlife vs. culture, the different locations around the world, and family trips vs. women-only dates. They organize their ads beautifully to focus on just one aspect of a trip and then target appropriately.
Plus, their photos are real, organic photos of those who have enjoyed their trips as opposed to stock imagery (just take a look at their “highlights” section!).
Instagram is an excellent place to connect with other new mothers for support and learn about the many baby products out there for each unique child (which as a new mother, can be very difficult to navigate).
OwletCare does a great job with Instagram advertising because they rely heavily on testimonials and stories from real parents, including photos and videos of their product in use with their past customers.
They manage to create very real-feel ads without looking amateur, helping to give new mothers confidence in their product.
Last but not least, there is GoPro. The makers of these video cameras for extreme sports have been in the social media game for longer than most brands and have made compelling content that spans Instagram & YouTube and a whole host of crazy activities.
Their formula is somewhat simple: just post the most epic, beautiful pictures they can get their hands on.
Their execution, however, is what sets them apart.
It goes without saying that all the content is taken using their cameras, but GoPro will often sponsor even small-name athletes and travel influencers just to get this content.
In a space where you constantly need to find new, compelling images to stay in front of your audience, this investment in content creation is totally worthwhile.
Bonus: Lush Cosmetics
Major credit goes to the art director here. Lush, the cosmetics chain that we could write a whole branding article about, has posts that are so visually appealing you feel like you can smell the product when you look at it.
Their whole profile is really just a masterpiece of product photography.
Lush also takes on major social issues as part of its brand. This pushes them beyond just cosmetics and creates a larger brand that supports inclusive values.
Even though all of their content is organic, we thought their page still warranted a shout-out!
As you can see, it really doesn’t matter what you’re selling if you have the creative mind to consistently come out with content that entertains, informs, and/or inspires the people that see it.
Your ads will perform well and you will grow an audience of customers whose identity is wrapped up in your brand.
The key here is to not try to mimic these (or other) brands that have found success by using a certain formula. You need to promote content that is uniquely related to your brand and has its own voice.
Be honest with who you are as a company and don’t be afraid to take risks.
- 4 Secrets of Instagram Marketing That New Ecommerce Stores Often Miss
- 11 Ways to Promote a Local Business on Instagram
- Social Media Marketing: A Complete Strategy Guide
All screenshots taken by author and used with permission, July 2021