Instagram is my favourite social network. It's the simplest, yet most stimulating to me. It's a basic human instinct to be attracted to pretty things, so I guess it follows that a social network specifically for pretty pictures would do well. Brands often treat Instagram as an optional extra, but it's becoming clear that it's one of the most engaging platforms for consumers, and a lot of companies and agencies are starting to do really creative things with it. It's important to be aware of the fact, that I'm not a customer of all of these brands, but I would be. That's the power of Instagram. Although some of the products are unattainable (because of shipping costs, etc.), the way they use Instagram makes me want to buy them anyway. You'll also notice that these brands for the most part don't fuck around with 16:9 crops (I believe that's cheating) or text on their images. They rely on the strength of the imagery to get their message across. So here they are, my 10 favourite brands on Instagram:
Harry's is a company that makes high-quality, affordable razors and shaving products. Their Instagram account is full of the imagery that would be associated with a shaving brand, but it's the fact that it is executed so exquisitely that sets them apart. They have a great hashtag, #ownyourAM, which they use for most of their posts, which has been used more than 2000 times. The other thing I love about their Instagram is that not all of their posts are focussed on product. They put a lot of effort into developing, for lack of a better word, a "vibe". It makes me want to buy their product and it helps me understand their brand and their company. That's what you should aim for in a brand Instagram account. Check their website out here.
These guys make awesome products that range from hand-made backpacks to jackets and hats that are perfect for the outdoors. Their mission is all about authenticity and quality and it shows in their Instagram account. Their feed is filled with images that were generated by their customers, which shows the relationship that they've developed with their audience. Check their website out here.
You should be reasonably familiar with Yuppiechef, if not because you're a loyal customer like me, because of their adorable Youtube pre-roll featuring Bella the Puppychef. If you aren't familiar with them, they're a South African e-commerce site, lauded for their sterling customer service, which sells merchandise primarily for the home, i.e. things for the kitchen, bedroom, etc. The reason their Instagram is one of my favourites is not just because of their use of beautiful photos, but also because of the utility of it. They share recipes, how-to's and more. They also provide insights into working at Yuppiechef, which further enhances their reputation. Check their website out here.
Temple Coffee is a retail and wholesale roaster based in Sacramento, CA. Their Instagram is predictably filled with shots of coffee and coffee related products. They make use of a lot of user generated content, but there's a focus on high-quality images and they won't use just any pic. There's also an emphasis on the the craft that goes into roasting and brewing coffee, which makes their pics incredibly attractive. Check their website out here.
This is a menswear brand that was launched locally, in Durban, but has got some acclaim worldwide. Sol-Sol uses their Instagram as something of a look book, and it really works. The feed is a reflection of their minimal style of clothing, with muted tones and stark contrasts present throughout. It's an effective way to convey brand messaging and their posts always tempt me to pull out my credit card. Check their website out here.
The good people at Warby Parker make some of the coolest frames out there. They're a relatively new company, but they've made a big splash. A great thing about these guys is that for every pair of glasses they sell, they give a pair away to a person in need. What I love about their Instagram feed is that there's a very human feel to it. The marketing department has developed a personality for their social media, and it really comes through on Instagram. There is a obvious focus on product, but it's done in a fun, sometimes personal way. I'm very close to ordering a pair of their Barkley shades. Check their website out here.
Another apparel company who have nailed Instagram are Herschel Supply. They have a small, but really sharp marketing team who "get" social. They have a massive following on Instagram, and they leverage that to curate great UGC. They created the hashtag #WellTravelled for consumers to use in their pics, and it's worked a treat, with 154 835 uses as of writing (Obviously not all of those are for them, but a large portion will be). Check their website out here.
I don't really have to say much about Nike. They just win at Instagram.
Not only do these guys make bikes that make me sexually aroused, but they create some pretty awesome multimedia marketing content. They're a mid-size bike company from Colorado and everything they put out has a very distinct vibe of adventure, nature and performance. Their shots are always in beautiful settings, with riders doing epic things. They make some of the best mountain biking videos I've seen, so you should take a look at their Youtube channel too. Check their website out here.
Fifty Three are the software and hardware makers behind Paper & Pencil - one of the best creative apps for iPad and the best stylus for iPad. Their products are used to create beautiful things, so they use their Instagram to share that. Never mind that their products themselves are beautiful. It's a recipe for an awesome Instagram feed and they execute it pretty perfectly. Check their website out here.
To sum up...
It's pretty clear that I have a 'type' of brand that I like to follow. For me it's all about quality. When I see a brand that's put a lot of effort into their Instagram feed, and have really crafted it, I assume that they do the same for their products and services. Hope I've exposed you to some awesome new accounts to follow. Let me know if there are any awesome accounts that you follow that you think I should be following!
Cape Town based creative and strategist in the advertising industry. I love food, cycling, running, adventure, and my family. Things I write about: food, travel, technology and some personal stuff.