Instagram isn’t just an outlet for the selfie-obsessed. The photo-sharing site is now a bona fide social media juggernaut — with recent statistics revealing that Instagram now has more than 500 million users. Some 300 million of those log in daily. What’s more, 80 per cent of Instagrammers live outside of the United States — a positive for brands all over the globe wanting to reach their local market.

Instagram’s edge over other sites

Social media sites are not created equal. Each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Instagram, for example, is excellent for reaching younger audiences, with 55 per cent of users aged between 18 and 29. In even better news for business, more than half of Instagrammers report that they follow their favourite brands on there.

It’s not just for the B2C-focused organisations though. Instagram has been shown to be effective for B2B as well. And research shows that simply including another user’s handle in an update results in 56 per cent more engagement.

If your product or service has any visual aspect at all (no doubt it does), you would be wise to open an account. The site allows for rich and creative visual storytelling to an engaged market, with brands enjoying higher user engagement rates here than on both Facebook and Twitter.

Brands that rock Instagram

While it’s true that many of the below examples have sizeable budgets to work with to create these bright and creative pages, that doesn’t mean you can’t take some inspiration and ideas for yourself. Let’s look at 7 brands that are working Instagram the right way.

National Geographic

National Geographic was unafraid to follow the trend early on, and it has paid off. Boasting nearly 61 million followers, it posts images and videos several times per day, often with multi-paragraph descriptions accompanying them. A call-to-action to visit the website, the Nat Geo TV channel or a link to their sister Instagram pages, is always included.

Credit: natgeo Instagram


At their core, Oreos are simply black and white cookies. So how do you get creative with such a product? Visit their Instagram page to see their unique take on things. With 2 million followers, Oreo has a quirky, entertaining style that includes Halloween and Christmas themes, a moon landing set and a beach scene made of Oreos. The page is worth checking out simply for the fun of it.

Credit: oreo Instagram

General Electric

So what do you do if you don’t have a “fun” brand like Oreo or National Geographic? General Electric has overwhelmingly shown that you can still have an interesting account with plenty of followers regardless. GE has mastered the art of playing to their strengths, focusing on engineering and impressive technical images for their 250,000 followers.

Credit: generalelectric Instagram

charity: water

Beautiful, uplifting photos that tell a story of hope. Charity: water has this strategy down pat. With 310,000 followers, some posts feature people who have raised money; some of those who have benefited from donations in a variety of ways; and some link to the agency’s film. Charity: water states on one of their images “A photograph is more than a picture; it’s a story. And stories have the power to change the world.” And that is precisely what they’re doing.

Credit: charitywater Instagram

Credit: charitywater Instagram


With one small, inexpensive product to market, how did Sharpie go about amassing their 142,000 Instagram followers and having enviable engagement rates? The number of likes on each post is frequently above the 8,000 mark, with hundreds of comments. Well, they simply showcased their colourful products at work and encouraged others to do the same.

Credit: sharpie Instagram


PayPal had the challenge of using Instagram — a platform focused on the visual — without having a tangible product to show. The tech giant has transformed itself from a faceless corporation into one that shows the human side of their services. PayPal has done this so well, that it was a finalist in the 6th Annual Shorty Awards and now has more than 53,000 followers.

Credit: paypal Instagram


The yoghurt company has a clean, wholesome page that not only makes you hungry but also provides recipes for the images shown. The marketing “cherry on top” is the #madewithchobani hashtag that’s included in the majority of posts. The 134,000 followers don’t feel as if they’re being marketed to but rather as if they’re being a provided a service. This is the sweet spot other brands should aim for.

Credit: chobani Instagram

Credit: chobani Instagram


You don’t need a huge marketing budget or a professional stylist and photographer to run a successful Instagram account. Creativity, clean images and avoiding sales pitches will go a long way in gaining loyal and happy followers.

The team at Lush is experienced at creating a social media distribution plan as part of a content marketing strategy that is tailored to your brand. Contact us to find out more.


Like what you’ve read? Sign up to the Lush newsletter for fortnightly advice to help you market your business better, tips from our video production gurus, and a podcast or two from our favourite podcasting team, Brand Newsroom. In the meantime, you might enjoy reading these:

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