What are the best brands on Instagram? With the brand’s 800 million active users in 2017, it’s clear that Instagram presents a unique opportunity to engage with audiences or all kinds. In a world where content is king, Instagram is a must-have in any brand’s social media plan. Not only does it allow you to present your image and showcase your personality, but it’s also a way to keep-in-touch with your consumers. But how do you create content that resonates with your audience? How can you stand out and be remembered? What will it take for consumers to follow you? In this article, let’s take some pointers from the best brands on Instagram right now. For each of these brands, we’ll discuss what sets them apart and what you can learn from them. And we’ll also give you some tips on how you can use Sked (formerly Schedugram) to copy their strategies. Ready to get started? Scroll down and check out our list. Instagram for Business 101 Grab our ebook Instagram for Business to take your Instagram game up a notch! 1. Huda Beauty (@hudabeauty) Huda Beauty is owned by beauty influencer, Huda Kattan. It has a whopping 23.4 million followers on Instagram. What makes the brand standout? Huda keeps it real. Like all beauty brands, the feed has tons of makeup tutorials and glamorous photos. But what makes it unique is its funny beauty memes, satirical videos, and unique helpful hacks. One of the brand’s most viral hacks is tape contouring. In the video, Huda placed tape on her face, placed contour in the necessary areas, ripped the tape off, and blended everything into perfection. It seemed like a silly thing to do but the results were a lot better than she expected. The feed also features Huda trying treatments like lip injections and face-shaving. She’s done gross facials like placenta facials and snail facials. What can your brand learn from Huda Beauty? It is often assumed that every photo must be polished. But Huda just tries to be herself. She’s not perfect (nor does she try to be!). This makes her brand different from the tons of beauty brands on the Internet. So don’t feel pressured to post glamorous photos on Instagram all-the-time. People love authenticity so don’t be afraid to be silly, quirky or funny. Take a page from Huda and introduce silly hacks. You never know what might go viral. 2. Rolex (@rolex) Rolex’s Instagram feed is definitely far from ordinary. The brand has 6.9 million followers on Instagram—all thanks to their product posts. Their Instagram feed reveals stunning and vibrant photos of their latest products, alongside detailed captions of its sophisticated features. What can we learn from Rolex? If you want your brand to succeed, then put a lot of effort into creating great visual and copy. As long as you post great content consistently, people will notice. The second lesson is to capture your brand’s personality. The photos might have been simple, but it definitely made viewers feel that Rolex is truly a luxury brand. If you want to create stunning images like Rolex for your feed, then you’ll need to use some type of editing software. There are many great solutions out there but if you’re a Sked customer, you’ll probably find the app’s powerful, built-in image editor has everything you need to make your photos pop. You can use it to crop and adjust the levels of your photos and to add filters, frames, stickers, text, and other special effects (see the toolbar in the image below). 3. GoPro (@gopro) GoPro is one of the world’s best cameras for creators in action. It’s the go-to tool for creatives who like taking pictures and videos of extreme sports like snowboarding, skydiving and surfing, among many others. In fact, if you see a sports-themed video on Instagram or Youtube, there’s a good chance it was made with a GoPro. Not surprisingly, what makes GoPro’s Instagram feed great is its reliance on user-generated content. It shares the videos taken by customers from the GoPro community, and tags them for recognition. It’s a simple gesture, but it’s a great way to encourage people to keep posting their content. Additionally, GoPro’s internal team collaborates with an estimated 140 sponsored athletes. Consistent with their user-generated content, GoPro loves content focused on sports, travel and family. GoPro’s strategy consists of posting amazing user-generated content and in-house content. It seems to be working because last Q4 2014 it had an average of 70,000 new followers per week. It’s also grown from 1.4M followers at the end of 2013, to 13.5M followers in 2018! That’s a pretty good increase in a span of 5 years! If you want to leverage the power of user-generated content for your brand, then the fastest and simplest way to share posts is to upload them in Sked using the ‘URL’ option or with our free Chrome extension Sked Social Regram. All you have to do is download it from the Chrome Web Store, and then whenever you find user-generated content you want to regram, just click on the Sked Social Regram icon in your browser’s toolbar (red arrow below). Next, fill out the caption and first comment fields, then queue, schedule, or save as a draft (green arrow). Sked Social Regram will also automatically mention the original poster for you (so you don’t break Instagram’s rules). 4. Airbnb (@airbnb) Airbnb’s Instagram feed contains awe-inspiring pictures of its accommodations from around the world. It doesn’t just post pictures of homes. It also features the amazing experiences that customers can have in these locations. The brand recently posted a picture of people playing in swimming holes in Haiti. This marked the brand’s initiative to join the discussion, after Trump’s controversial comments about the country. In its New Year Eve post, it posted a picture of people enjoying a shared meal in Mexico. This aimed to highlight the Mexicans’ unique way of celebrating New Year’s Eve. In another campaign, the brand showcased the magical experiences that people could have in the homes of their hosts’. It collaborated with media agency Amobee and creative agency TBWA/Chiat. They developed videos to showcase the unique experiences of their travelers. One video featured individuals viewing the Eiffel Tower from a balcony. In the ad’s text, it encouraged people to “Live There” in Paris. Besides showcasing its magical experiences, AirBnb’s has an ambitious approach to influencer marketing. The brand collaborates with the most famous celebrities on Instagram to get exposure. During the Superbowl LI the company provided Lady Gaga with a $20 million estate in Houston. To show her appreciation, she posted a thank you message and tagged Airbnb. Her photo got the company press in People, Buzzfeed, Vanity Fair among many others. At Coachella 2017, the brand provided homes for Wiz Khalifa, Drake, Martin Garrix and Lady Gaga. They posted pictures of their Airbnb experience on Instagram, which got the brand a lot of attention. So, what have learned from Airbnb? It pays to collaborate with huge celebrities and feature branded experiences. 5. Kate Spade (@katespadeny) What makes Kate Spade unique from the many international fashion brands? The answer lies in their detailed brand persona. The Kate Spade girl loves to go out on adventures, read literature, wear vibrant clothes and visit galleries. She’s independent, brave, playful and curious. So the brand’s posts are consistent with Kate Spade’s personality. In line with the brand’s colorful persona, Kate Spade’s Instagram maintains a colorful aesthetic. It has inspirational quotes for women and captions that maintain the brand’s personal voice and identity. “Our story lives in the tradition of all of the spirited, madcap heroines who have come to New York City and made it both the inspiration for and the location of their story,” says Kristen Naiman, Kate Spade’s Vice President of Brand Creative in an interview. “So if you think of the heritage of Sex and the City, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Nora Ephron, and Joan Didion, it’s all of those women that come to New York looking for that story, and it’s the adventures that they have along the way that truly comprise it. We’re in the business of telling that story: the imperfect journey, and the perfect dream.” The takeaway? Create posts that are consistent with your brand’s persona and identity. This way, you can create an iconic brand that Instagrammers will remember. Do you need help creating an aesthetic for your brand? Sked’s visual planner lets you design and preview what your images will look like on an Instagram before you publish them. All you do is open the planner, drag your drafts onto the Instagram grid (see below), and arrange them to create an attractive aesthetic. Once you’ve got your grid right, just click ‘submit changes’ and you’re done. 6. Game of Thrones (@gameofthrones) Game of Thrones won’t be coming back until 2019, but its Instagram account keeps the hype alive. The brand comes up with a series of entertaining GIFS and memes to commemorate the holidays. Last Halloween, it featured a quick video on how to get the Night Queen look. It also posted a #12DaysofGOT video to commemorate the holiday season GOT-style. Game of Thrones also knows that its fans, ruled by forever-nerds, love to buy their merchandise. As a result, the brand shares links to its merchandise on Instagram stories. It even came up with the witty hashtag #REPTHEREALM, these posts are profit-oriented but super fans love it. Last 2017, the brand also posted teasers to upcoming episodes to create hype. It definitely succeeded, since each teaser had around 600,000 views each! What can we learn from Game of Thrones’ Instagram strategy? It pays a lot to promote your merchandise to boost sales and social media presence. It’s also good to keep fans entertained through regular posts and teaser videos. If you have an Instagram business account that enables you to post links in your Instagram Stories, then you can use Sked to create and post them for you automatically. How to Easily Add Links to Instagram Stories The first step is to log in to your Sked account, then go into your Billing/Profile Settings and turn on Instagram Story scheduling (see below). Next, navigate to the Upload Post dashboard, choose your Instagram accounts. Select Story in the left “Upload Menu” menu, and then upload your images or videos. Note, Sked cannot upload links to video uploads. After reviewing and editing your posts, enter the URL of the web page you want to link your post to in the ‘Post URL’ box. After that, just queue or schedule your Story post to publish automatically and you’re done. Once that’s done, enter the URL of the web page you want to link your post to (see the blue arrow above). After that, just queue or schedule your Story post to publish automatically and you’re done. 7. General Electric (@generalelectric) General Electric has 322,000 followers on Instagram. It spans industries such as transportation, home improvement, aviation, among many others. While it specializes in technology and innovation, its content engages with audiences, who aren’t in the science industry. How does General Electric build their brand? It adds humor and conversational language when talking about its technical subject matter. In a post about its latest gas turbine, General Electric highlights their new products’ features and capabilities. You don’t need to be a science genius to appreciate how revolutionary it is. In another post, General Electric posts a drone shot that overlooks the Limmern Pumped-Storage hydroelectric plant. It’s easy to appreciate the hydroelectric plant’s capabilities because the caption simplifies the technical but awe-inspiring details. In summary, General Electric’s products aren’t the usual products on social media. But GE is able to highlight its relevance through posts that highlight the brand’s achievements. 8. Califia Farms (@califiafarms) Califia Farms has amassed 88,000 followers on Instagram. Almost all posts have carefully-curated photos featuring their product. Not surprisingly, the secret behind the brand’s Instagram success is its attractive packaging. In fact, it won the design category from Beverage World Magazine. Since its products are photogenic, it’s easy to feature it as the subject of the photo, or as an accessory for a healthy lifestyle. The takeaway? How do you show off your brand on Instagram? According to Califia Farms, create an attractive package that reflects your brand’s image. Become an Instagram Marketing Expert Download our 100+ paged ebook: Instagram for Business to learn how to better utlise Instagram to create engaging content. 9. Denny’s Diner (@dennysdiner) What’s so special about Denny’s Diner? For starter’s their shrimps can lift weights, their chickens can drive and their meatballs can touch the sky. Don’t believe me? Then check out their Instagram feed filled with clever and downright weird food photos. The brand’s entertaining content and witty captions have garnered them 220,000 followers on Instagram. In an interview with MediaShower, Denny’s Senior Vice President of Digital Strategy, Kevin Purcer, said that the brand stood out because of its unique sense of humor. They placed witty references to popular culture and comedic masterpieces. What can brands learn from Denny’s success? Know what your brand’s voice and personality is and create storylines with an unexpected twist. 10. Cookin’ with Mima (@cookinwithmima) Cookin with Mama is owned by food influencer Mariam Ezzedine’s and it has 2.5 million followers. The brand has a range of food porn from diverse cultures, with easy-to-make healthy recipes written in the caption. But perhaps what sets it apart is the brand’s attention to feedback. In an interview given for Huffington post she says, “You learn a lot from your audience! What unfolded after the idea was the incredible amount of feedback I received from followers all around the world. My goal was to make more people happy by expanding on the suggestions my followers provided. The biggest lesson learned was keeping an open mind and listened to the feedback. They have been my greatest teachers in the process.” This might sound obvious, but consider this: most companies don’t ask feedback or ideas from their followers. They might receive useful suggestions, but brands don’t always pay attention to what their followers think. What Mariam does is that instead of ignoring criticism, she listens to what her followers have to say. The second lesson to be learned is to post recipes. It’s great to post food porn, but it’s even better if people had the means to turn their food fantasy into reality. What are some of your favourite/best brands on Instagram? If you’re looking to carve out hours in your social media workflow, sign up for Sked’s 7-day trial. Our all-in-one Instagram scheduler allows you to automatically post images, carousels, Stories, videos and more. Tag locations, users and products and manage all your hashtags in one place to save 5+ hours every week.