8 Instagram Tips to Maximize Brand & Social Media Results

Instagram Lessons From the Fortune 500 [Research]

Selfie 25% of Fortune 500 companies have an Instagram account according to TrackMaven. In aggregate, they’ve posted over 19,009 photographs and 243 videos through September 17, 2013.

These F500 corporations provide social media and branding lessons for other businesses seeking to take advantage of the power of visual content on Instagram.

To put these figures in perspectiveInstagram reaches over 150 million monthly active users and it has achieved this in less than 3 years. These users share over 16 billion images each month – an average rate of 55,000 photographs per day. 60% of Instagram’s users are located outside of the US. The impact of this visual content is even greater when you take into consideration that 83% of learning is visual according to Annalect.com.

Here are 8 tips from Instagram’s Fortune 500 experience that you can use to maximize your brand and social media results.

1. Over 9o% of these 123 Fortune 500 companies have posted at least once and over 15%  have posted (photo and/or video) at least once in the past month. This means there’s limited Instagram activity on average since less than one in ten F500 firms have only staked out their account.

Instagram Rate of Adoption by F500-Track Maven

  • Instagram tip: Like other social media platforms, you need to actively use Instagram to gain the benefit of being present there.

Instagram Top 10 of Fortune 500

Take a deeper look at Fortune 500 participation on Instagram to see some interesting trends.

Instagram Top 10 of F500 by Follower photos and videos -Trackmaven

2. Top ranked Nike with 2.3 million Instagram followers and Starbucks with 1.5 million followers outdistance third placed Footlocker’s 511,022 followers. Since there’s a big dropoff in Instagram follower counts through out the Top 10, there’s room for an organization to break into the top tier with a coordinated and consistent program to encourage prospects and customers to share images.

  • Instagram tip: Understand that others, especially Nike and Starbucks, have a significant head start. An organization would need to coordinate their marketing and content efforts across platforms, social media, owned party and third party media. As Instagram continues to grow this will become more difficult to achieve.

3. Footlocker tops the list of photographs shared with 1,018 images while Nike rounds out the bottom of the Top 10 list with 606 photographs. There’s less than 500 images difference between the top and bottom of the list.

  • Instagram tip: Boosting your Instagram presence is doable with focused effort including a regular schedule of posting and promotion process.

4. Video is an even bigger opportunity than photographs because it’s a newer offering that marketers have been slow to adapt. Disney is in the Top 10 with a mere 6 videos.

  • Instagram tip: Gaining traction in the video category is relatively easy since it’s still a very new functionality where there are no true leaders. Brainstorm an interesting way to use short videos to build your offering.

 Instagram interaction

5. On Instagram, there’s a high correlations between interactions, both likes and comments, and the number of followers a firm has. This remains true even when Nike and Starbucks, the outliers, are removed from the data.   Instagram Followers vs Interactions-Track Maven

  • Instagram tip: Use Instagram for follower engagement. It’s also a great place to get potential customers interested in your offering.

6. As with any other social media platform, it’s easier to get users to do a small action than one involving work or creativity. On Instagram, 97% of the interactions are likes which require a mere couple of taps versus composing a comment.  Instagram interactions -TrackMaven

  • Instagram tip: Make it easy for followers to act. Provide content they want to share and talk about.

 Best day and time to post on Instagram

7. While companies tend to post during the week during business hours, Instagram posting peaks on Thursday. When standardized, there’s very little difference. Further the timing of photograph distribution is normal with a slight exception for midday business hours.  According to TrackMaven, 3-4 PM EST is the most popular time – 1,662 F500 photos were posted then. This makes sense since it’s middle of the afternoon on the east coast and lunch time on the west coast.

iInstagram posting day- Track Maven-1 iInstagram Hourly Distribution-Track Maven

  • Instagram tip: No special day of the week or time is better than others. Test posting at times that followers are active.

Instagram hashtags

8. Hashtags have a surprising impact on Instagram interactions. TrackMaven found that using 4 to 5 hashtags maximized Instagram interactions. But more than 5 hashtags depressed engagement. iInstagram Hashtags - TrackMaven

  • Instagram tip: Use hashtags carefully and test what works best with your audience.

To leverage the power of visual content, enhance your brand’s presence on Instagram by setting a schedule of regular content sharing based on TrackMaven’s findings. This will improve your social media engagement.

What other Instagram tips have you found to be successful and why?

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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  • Patti

    so good info about instagram, heres more about IG http://afollow.net

  • Ann Daniel

    Thank you so much for this article, I want to stress on the point of keeping your customer loyal to you. one of the things you can maintain this is by answering their question on social media channels. put into consideration that you may have angry customers that you need to handle, don’t reject or delete their question but answer professionally and try to work with them to solve the problem.
    Thank you,
    Ann Daniel
    http://smarttouch.me/en

  • Scottie Leonard

    Thank you Heidi for such an awesome article. Yes definitely these
    are the best tips that anyone can use Instagram for. While vine was popular
    with its 6 seconds looping video feature, now Instagram is already on its way
    with more efficient video feature which is more reliable than that of vine I guess.

    Thank You,
    http://www.empowernetwork.com/wordsforeverlast/

  • http://www.hisocial.com/ Hisocial

    Hi Heidi, I like your tips on using Instagram in business. I completely agree that this is a great social network for businesses nowadays and I appreciate the statistics you’ve shared in the intro. Tips number 3 and 6 are particularly important, in my opinion.

  • Lily Waldron

    I think the fact that around 83% of learning is visual is something that companies really need to think about. Many companies have taken advantage of that by putting picture on Twitter and Facebook, but why not use Instagram too? It’s what it’s there for. Helpful article!

  • http://www.prosemedia.com/ Justin Belmont

    Heidi, great article. It’s fascinating to see Fortune 500 companies
    using Instagram to their advantage. It’s just another way to foster
    positive interaction—the correlation between the amount of likes and
    comments and the number of followers is very telling. Getting people
    talking about your product and driving conversation with their likes and
    comments is crucial.