SHOTZR BLOG

How Top Brands Use Instagram

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We analyzed 10 of the fastest growing brands on Instagram.

Our sample set included brands big and small, with physical products and non-physical products. Growth was based on Instagram follower count growth over 2018.

  • Google
  • Airbnb
  • TripAdvisor
  • YETI
  • Madewell
  • Squarespace
  • Moxy Hotels
  • Nature Valley
  • Wework
  • Sprouts

THE POWER OF INSTAGRAM FOR DIGITAL MARKETERS.

Top brands know that Instagram is a powerful asset to increase their audience and customer base, but few are using it effectively. To better understand how brands should be using Instagram, I analyzed thousands of Instagram posts from the fastest growing brands on Instagram. 

I’ve distilled dozens of analysis based on thousands of Instagram posts into three actionable takeaways. Follow along for 5 Actionable Takeaways based on data, insight, and statistical analysis of best Instagram practices. You can download the free eBook, How Top Brands Use Instagram, here.

#1: CAROUSELS, IMAGES, AND VIDEOS

Although Carousels require more photos for a post, they result in 13% more comments than either videos or images. However, it’s important to note that Video, Images, and Carousels all perform within 3% of each other. While it is good to have diversity in your posts, Video and Carousels require more time to put together. So, when in doubt, just stick with a single image.

ACTION ITEM #1

Although Carousels require more photos and take more time to post, they are worth it when it comes to engaging your community through comments. When in a rush, stick with single Image posts – they perform nearly as well.

#2 - DON’T FOCUS ON PRODUCT SHOTS

72% of all images from top brands on Instagram do not feature their product at all. Images with product in them do, on average, receive 5.9% more likes and comments on Instagram. However, given how much more difficult it is to obtain photos like this, it may not be worth all the extra effort. Instagram can be used to form a relationship with your community, not just to pitch your product… make sure your images are not just all about you.

ACTION ITEM #2

Treat Instagram as a conversation, and post frequently about topics and causes important to your community. While product shots do perform slightly better, top brands only use 1 out 4 posts to focus on product.

#3 - POST 8X PER WEEK. AIM FOR 9-11AM OR 7-8PM

Top brands on Instagram have one thing in common… they post a lot! On average they post 8 times per week. Don’t just post on Instagram to get it out of the way. The top performing posts are made between 9AM – 11 AM and 7PM -8PM. Post when your customers are the most active. While top brands post most often during the week (with Friday being the most popular), weekend posts perform equally well… don’t forget to post on the weekends occasionally too!

ACTION ITEM #3

Posting often is the most important factor; aim for 8 times a week. Don’t neglect the weekends, and aim to post between 9-11 AM and 7-8 PM.

#4 - AIM FOR 200-500 CHARACTER CAPTIONS

Most of the top performing brands on Instagram keep it short and sweet, with captions just 50-100 characters in length. Yet, when it comes to performance, longer-form content receives the most likes and comments. Posts with 200-500 character captions by far received the highest response on Instagram. Use both your images and your captions to tell a story that engages with your community on an emotional level.

ACTION ITEM #4

Stories arrest the feed. Make sure that your images – and your captions – tell a compelling story. While it may be easier to keep the Caption brief, 200-500 character captions tend to receive higher responses.

#5 - DON’T WORRY ABOUT @MENTIONING PEOPLE

55% of the posts from top brands on Instagram do not @mention anyone in the caption. Instagram posts that do not @mention someone perform 3.2X better than posts that do.

This may be an indication that User Generated Content posts do not perform as well as non-UGC images, as most UGC images are accompanied by an @mention thanking the contributor.

ACTION ITEM #5

Don’t worry about @mentioning people in your main caption. Posts without @mentions tend to perform better than those with them. 

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