In the past two years, 100 million people have discovered the filtering joys of Instagram. (Chances are you’re one of them.) And while Instagram is beloved for allowing us to snap and share our personal photos, it’s also begun to amass a following of brands that are leveraging the visually enticing platform to reach new audiences in creative — and effective — ways.
If you’re looking for inspiration on how to get started (or how to grow your current Instagram community with a cool campaign), check out how these five brands are already leveraging the platform well.
1. Free People
The fashion brand, owned by Urban Outfitters, recently attached individualized hashtag cards to its jeans. On the cards, customers were encouraged to take a picture of themselves in the jeans, post the photo on Instagram, and tag it with a specific hashtag. The result: Photos of fabulous jeans circulating not only on Free People’s feed, but their followers’ too. From there, moderators at Free People handpicked photos to publish on its website, turning its consumers into models and engaging with its community in a fun, impactful way.
A Latin American restaurant in Soho, New York, Comodo recently created an “Instagram menu” by asking patrons to snap photos of their meals through Instagram and hashtag them #comodomenu. Now, customers (and curious potential customers) are able to search the hashtag to see photos of the restaurant’s offerings, creating a more intimate and engaging dining experience. And whetting a few appetites, too.
3. Tiffany & Co
Earlier this year, Tiffany launched an Instagram campaign that offered followers three new Instagram filters: Tiffany blue, peach, and black and white. (Who doesn’t want more filters?) Followers were also encouraged to tag photos of themselves and their significant others #TrueLovePictures, which Tiffany featured a selection of on its True Love in Pictures website. The campaign was a great way for Tiffany to provide its followers with relevant, brand-related content, while also inviting them to take part in the experience.
4. Fashion’s Night Out
This year, Vogue’s Fashion’s Night Out launched an Instagram campaign around its iconic event, Fashion’s Night Out LIVE, that invited people taking part to tag their photos #FNO for the chance to have them published on the event’s microsite and Tumblr. The campaign provided Fashion’s Night Out with great user-generated content, plus a unique opportunity to connect with fashionistas taking part in the event in-person and virtually.
5. Red Bull
Recently, Red Bull held an Instagram contest that gave away two tickets to this year’s Red Bull King of the Rock Finals basketball tournament in San Francisco. To enter, followers had to take a picture of themselves with a basketball in unexpected, surprising locations and tag their photos #TakeMeToTheRock. The contest not only got followers excited, but also allowed Red Bull to further its reach within the sports community in a natural, but fun, way.
As you begin to create or amplify your presence on Instagram, focus on creating compelling day-to-day content. As with all of your social media platforms, make sure you’re posting often and with content that speaks to your audience.
And if you’re looking to launch a campaign, get creative! The more inspiring it is, the more your target audience will want to engage with your brand. And don’t forget to incorporate what you’re doing on Instagram across your other social media platforms so your community knows where to find you — and the types of fun content they can expect to find once they get there.
Know any other brands that are using Instagram in interesting ways? Tell us about them in the comments.