21 Mar

Instagram: What’s in Your Branding Toolbox?

Three brands on Instagram that you need to see 

By Ian Marker, Account Associate 


Working for an award-winning Cincinnati marketing and communications agency has allowed me to utilize multiple social media platforms to advance our clients’ businesses. From Facebook to Pinterest, we know that social media is useful, free and here to stay. But if you were to ask me my favorite social media site to use in 2018, I would have to tell you it’s Instagram. 


Let me first start out by reiterating the adage, “Not every social media platform is the right fit for every company.” This remains true today. That being said, it’s reported that 70.7% of U.S. businesses are using Instagram in 2017, which almost doubles the number of business accounts from 2016. 


Concerned that Instagram users don’t want to see what you sell? Well, it turns out they just might. Thirty percent of Instagram users purchased a product they first discovered on Instagram. Thirty percent might not sound like a lot, but 30 percent of 800 million monthly active users is, in fact, millions (240,000,000 to be exact).  


With all of those users, you may be wondering how on Earth the users will find your profile. It’s true, 240 million users will not have a brush with your newly-founded Instagram business account, but using #hashtags will help! Seven out of 10 hashtags on Instagram are branded, meaning they’re specific to a cause or business. They can raise awareness in a giveaway for a new hotel like The Summit, tap into a local digital community such as #OhioExplored or help bolster something as viral as the #ALSIceBucketChallenge. Hashtags are multi-use tools to link your content to millions of daily Instagram users.  


If I still haven’t convinced you with all the numbers, then you’re probably thinking, “No one wants to see photos of our (insert product or service here).” You might be right, unless you’re the Cincinnati Zoo or making Lamborghinis. This is the real beauty of Instagram. You can create a space for your BRAND to shine, not just your products and services. It lets users relate to your company’s brand and create awareness through emotional ties. There are numerous examples of these types of accounts, but the bottom line is that it works.  


Let’s check out some brands that convey their BRAND well through Instagram while pushing their products very little (or not at all). 

Crew– They use the bold flavors of their style to create images that people notice. It’s not the clothes on the models that stand out but the colors and clean styling of each photo that shows who they are as a brand.


REI – You won’t find a single image on their account of product sitting blandly in a studio while a photographer does some creative lighting to make it look good. REI is all about being outside and exploring the Earth, which is excellently represented in each of their photos.  


Reuters – How does a worldwide news organization share written news on a platform made for photos? They make the photos tell the story. 


Instagram is a great platform that adds another way for businesses to increase brand awareness to a vast digital audience, for free. Ask us if Instagram is right for your business or organization and we can help you set one up or optimize what you already have.