Top brands on Instagram and what they are doing well

Nearly half a billion users are on Instagram every month. This powerful platform reaches users with images paired with short messages and hashtags. Here we feature some of the top brands on Instagram and what they are doing well with strong examples of how to grow a social media following.

National Geographic (@natgeo)

National Geographic is a household name due to its popular magazine. Its history as a print publication doesn’t stop National Geographic from adjusting and keeping up with the times. The brand takes photos from real travelers from adventurous and wondrous sites around the globe. 72 million followers follow the narratives and stories published on the brand’s account.


Here, an example shows an image of Pleneau Island on the Antarctica Peninsula with a description that gives behind-the-scenes information and allows users to feel as though they are accompanying photographers on their adventures.

Ben & Jerry’s (@benandjerrys)

This beloved ice cream company has attracted 684,000 Instagram followers with its playful creativity and innovation. A recent post showing an open ice cream container with the caption “Welcome to our ice cream eating simulator” is a prime example. The same personality from the brand’s TV commercials and the silly names of the flavors carry through to its social media content.


The above post gives followers an example of how to enjoy Ben & Jerry’s in creative ways. It inspires a party treat to enjoy with family and friends in moments that create fun memories. The company also offers a link in its profile, so the user can click through to valuable content like recipes for cold party treats.

Target (@target)

Target runs a creative, colorful, and playful Instagram account with photos featuring products, fun activities, and design suggestions. Target now also uses a shop the feed feature. A link in the profile description directs users to a page where they can click on one of Target’s Instagram photos, and they are redirected to a Target page where they can buy the featured products in the photo.


From the product page, an online customer can choose to have an item shipped to their home or they can choose the option ship to store and pick up the item later at their local Target.

Another effective Instagram strategy that Target uses is the creation of supplemental accounts that are designed to appeal to specific demographics. For example, the account @targetstyle features affordable fashion and style that customers can achieve with Target’s products. Dwell followers, interior designers, and fashion lovers are the audience for this feed.


The account features hashtags like #sharemytargetstyle and #TargetStyle. The #sharemytargetstyle hashtag encourages users to post photos of themselves wearing Target’s clothes or of rooms in their homes decorated with Target’s products. Note that this account also has a shop the feed feature for followers to buy the styles they like from the photos while learning how to dress and design their homes on a budget.


These online marketing strategies have many benefits for these brands, including creating an online presence, creating a personality, and developing relationships with audiences. Instagram is a short and sweet way to create connections with potential customers, even if it is based off of something that is only loosely associated with the brand. For example, Starbucks asks users to post photos of themselves sharing their coffee with friends. This taps into customers love of fun and memories with the special people in their lives, rather than trying to reach customers through their love for coffee alone. These strategies also encourage users to engage on content, including tagging, commenting, and liking photos.

Contact us at Square 1 Group to learn more about online marketing strategies, social media best practices, content creation, and web design. We are a dedicated web development team that is passionate about providing individualized service to every client.

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