5 Instagram Marketing Tips To Gain Brand Awareness

Instagram Is For Brand Lovers [Research / Charts]

instagram branding If you think selfies and food when someone says Instagram, it’s time to think again. Instagram is for brand lovers.

Instagram is the tenth largest mobile app reaching one out of four smartphone owners, both iOS and Android, in the US according to comScore. Instagram has 150 million monthly active users who share 55 million photos per day!

Here are 5 Instagram marketing tips to help you gain better brand awareness.

1. Over 70% of top brands are active on Instagram according to Simply Measured research of Interbrand 2013 Top 100 Brands, collected 3Q2013. Brand usage is similar to that of Pinterest and Google+.

  • 2/3 of brands have an active Instagram account with photos posted.
  • 1/3 of brands have passed the 20,000 follower mark on Instagram.

Simply_Measured_Instagram-3Q2013-Topline_results Simply_Measured_Instagram-Top 10 brands Engagment 3Q2013

Actionable Instagram Marketing Tip: Stake your turf on Instagram. Like any other social media platform, it’s critical to be able to use your brand name. At last week’s Inside Social Marketing Conference, U-Haul’s Social Media Director mentioned that her firm had difficulty claiming their name on Instagram.

Also, take the time to determine marketing goals for Instagram. In other words, what do you hope to achieve by engaging on Instagram. For most firms, this means increased branding.

2. Under 5% of top brands post 50 times per month or more on Instagram. Roughly one out of five brands posts once a day. From a content creation perspective, this means you should be able to gain traction by posting one or two photos per day to be in the top quarter of active Instagram brands.

Simply_Measured_Instagram-Posts per Month-3Q2013

Actionable Instagram Marketing Tip: Integrate Instagram posting into your editorial calendar for visual content. Determine the type and/or subject of branded content that resonates with your Instagram audience. Don’t assume that one size fits all.

Follow memorable photography effectiveness best practices while providing a mix of different types of images to keep your audience interested. Just like food, people like variety.

3. Brand engagement in the form of likes and comments has grown an astronomical 350% in the past year. Understand that this type of growth happens when platforms are new and the amount of growth is calculated on a small initial base.  Simply_Measured_Instagram-Brand_Engagement_3Q2013

Only 22% of top brands in the automotive, media and luxury categories provide 59% of total brand posts and garner 83% of total engagement. By contrast, brands with less visually attractive products have lower posting and engagement.   cSimply_Measured_Instagram-Brand Categories-3Q2013

Actionable Instagram Marketing Tip: Find other ways to present your product and company in photographs to make them more appealing to your target audience. Take a lesson from companies like GE that show the beauty in their B2B products many people may not realize are created by GE.  GE on Instagram-1

Of course, it’s difficult to compete with the engagement of well-loved consumer brands like Nike. Understand that this magnitude of activity mirrors Facebook where General Electric has 1,008,606 likes and Nike has 15,991,201 likes.  Nike on Instagram

BTW–Another important lesson from these photos is to integrate your logo and/or name where possible.  Nike Logo on Instagram

4. Over 80% of Instagram posts by top brands include at least 1 hashtag.

Simply_Measured_Instagram-Hashtag-3Q2013

Actionable Instagram Marketing Tip: Use hashtags for content discovery but don’t overdo it. Like other platforms, use 1 to 3 hashtags to expand content discovery that’s relevant.

BTW–Take a page from GE’s Instagram playbook and use exciting, relevant events, like the Dubai Airshow, to spotlight and share images of your product.

GE Instagram takes advantage of current events

5. 94% of content on Instagram is photographs. This makes sense since it’s still early days for Instagram video and it’s competing with more established video platforms like YouTube.

Actionable Instagram Marketing Tip: Test some Instagram videos to see how they perform.

BTW–Here’s other research with 8 Instagram Marketing Tips.

Instagram has  reached a point where marketers should consider incorporating it into their social media marketing plans. This is particularly important if you’ve got a visual content marketing strategy in place.

How have you used Instagram and what were your results?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen


Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies. You can find Heidi on , Facebook and .

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  • http://sproutsocial.com/features/social-media-engagement Sarah @ Sprout Social

    Instagram is such an incredible tool! I’m not sure if you looked at how active users are, but undoubtedly most users check it once a week, if not once per day. Personally, I love following brands to see how creative they can get with a single photo (and no ability to link!). Great advice, Heidi.

    • heidicohen

      Sarah–Marketers need to think creatively about how to present their brand in the context of a photo so that it doesn’t detract from the image but supports their marketing objectives for Instagram. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

  • Ann Smarty

    Very useful information about instagram. It is a social platform that is worth evaluating, for your brand.

  • http://ideagirlmedia.com/ Keri at Idea Girl Media

    Great information – Thanks, Heidi!

    Instagram is a great platform for up and coming brands to gain some good traction and make relationships that can carry over to other platforms, and thus their brand. Hashtags are key.

    ~Keri

  • Raquel M Ramirez

    IG is a Super fun place to hang out and let your creative hair down. People want to feel as if they are getting something special from businesses that they will not get in any other platform. Hence, using Instagram natively will keep followers engaged as businesses open the curtain of their behind-the scenes. Great tips Heidi.

  • Kevin Hsia

    Really interesting to see who the top brands using Instagram are. I’m surprised you don’t see more fashion brands in the list!