Instagram is a difficult social media platform for businesses to master. Here are five brands that show us how to do it well and boost engagement.

Instagram is still a relatively new platform, but that hasn’t stopped businesses from jumping on it like it’s the best thing sliced bread. And that’s when the danger occurs, because unless you use Instagram properly, it can really be a bit of a problem. The platform allows you to really brand your company effectively and to bring in real engagement. But getting it right isn’t always easy.

We thought we would take a look at some of the very best brands that are rocking it on Instagram right now and see if we can take some pointers on what they do. If there are lessons to be learned about Instagram and its possibilities, you’ll find them here.


Lego: Perfect timing with perfect video

This company has a plethora of Instagram accounts (something to do with the fact that they have a plethora of products) but the official one is the flagbearer.

Come here for all things Lego and a glimpse of real marketing genius. The company knows it has one of the most ‘visual’ products around, and it uses the Instagram channel to convey that instant joy people feel when they see Lego done well.

Lego changed its game as soon as it started to hit the movies and TV market with its figures. Now there is a real sense that if it’s a successful blockbuster movie, there’s a Lego set for it. But they are also working hard to make memorable images and videos for Instagram.

It’s hard to choose, but this Star Wars Lego video that worked on the father/son relationship and then latched onto the Father’s Day vibe is a perfect example of high quality, well-produced (and timed) video marketing.

Mercedes: Changing the future of car sales

Mercedes Benz has always been a bit of trailblazer. But their latest approach to Instagram marketing is ground breaking stuff in a whole new way. Take any car manufacturer’s site for a spin and pretty soon you’ll come to the point where you’re able to ‘choose your car’, through colour choices, wheel choices and so on.

Mercedes took that one step further by creating a multitude of accounts on Instagram, and allowing people to build their own GLA (a rather snazzy Mercedes model). Every single permutation and customisation was available through tagging.

Then, right at the end of the process, users of the service were encouraged by Mercedes to take the finished photo and spec to their local Mercedes dealership. In other words, customers were walked through their dream Mercedes build, and then pulled towards the checkout. It’s marketing genius.

Reportedly, it cost the company almost nothing to create this experience. But the end result was worth millions. The @MBUSA Instagram account gained 20,000 new followers as a direct result. Mercedes basically worked out that there was a whole new audience on social and that interaction was key.

It brought huge results.

Xbox: A study in cool imagery

This company has built a huge, dedicated fan base, so it would have been pretty difficult to screw up the Instagram account. But it’s important to remember that the fan base wasn’t necessarily on Instagram.

They are now. With an incredibly clever focus on the visual aspect of Instagram and the cheekiness and sheer ‘cool’ factor that Xbox has, the company has an account that is possibly the best-looking one around right now. It’s full of incredible photos that have been set up to not only look good but also make you think how did they do that?

For example, the one we have linked to below shows an Xbox controller (no slouch in the style stakes anyway) looking incredibly sexy with a Forza theme. Making the controller look like a next generation sports car can’t have been easy, but Microsoft pulled strings and created an amazing image.

The outcome? Over 43,000 likes and counting. Best of all, there are over 2,000 comments on this post alone. Not bad for an audience that doesn’t really have much time for that social thing (not when there’s gaming to be done).

Oh, and we recommend checking out the Xbox Instagram account. It’s huge, and there are many amazing images there.

Red Bull: Building anticipation and then delivering gratification

We know, Red Bull can’t really put a foot wrong on social. But they keep surprising us again and again. Huge and completely confident in their ability to create viral content, this video we have linked to below is perfect for Instagram.

It’s short and sweet and there is absolutely no way you are going to take your eyes away from the screen until the end of it. The level of expectation in the video is huge, and you simply wait for the payoff.

Perfectly shot, you instantly feel like you’ve gained the satisfaction you wanted at the end of it. So it has an immediate effect on you. Just like the drink.

H&M: Lose the models, focus on the product

We have said this time and time again. If you’re selling stuff (as in clothing or other physical products) you’ll be a lot happier on visual social media if you don’t use models.

It is becoming increasingly obvious that showing your products without human beings next to them (or wearing them) gives the audience a lot more to use when it comes to imagining. You can imagine using that gorgeous phone if you don’t see anyone else using it. And you can imagine wearing those pants if no one is filling them.

While this may not mean the death of the modelling industry, it is certainly becoming a trend. And H&M know this. They have made it their business to have model-free shots interspersed throughout their Instagram account, and the results have been excellent.

Take the one we have linked to below. This has 133k likes and nearly 650 comments so far. It’s a perfect example of the ‘no models’ rule and it is also well-presented. Whether you like H&M clothing or not, you can’t deny that this is an excellent shot and it’s all the better for not having any models in it.

The Takeaways

Instagram is a visual medium, no doubt about it. But you cannot crack it with some simple photos you took at the office.
These brands manage it well. And they (collectively) do the following:

  • Focus on a product, rather than the models who may wear it (H&M)
  • Use timeliness (like Lego)
  • Build anticipation with video, and then deliver (Red Bull).
  • Make your photos incredible (Xbox)
  • Maximise interaction (Mercedes)

If you’re going to ‘do’ Instagram, do it right. Follow the examples these companies set and you should find that the platform becomes a real winner for you. Want to know how your Instagram channel measures up? Use the LocoWise Instagram Analyser tool. Get stats, reports and the ability to instantly compare your Instagram account with others in your industry. Sign Up Free Today

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