Dec 4, 2014

5 Lessons From The Best Brands on Instagram

Laura Crossman
Dec 4th, 2014 - 4 mins read

With over 200 million active monthly users and 60 million photos shared every day, Instagram is one of the fastest growing social networks in history and today 86% of the world’s top brands have accounts – that’s 71% more than this time last year. That’s not to say every brand are making the most of this golden channel, in fact the tried and tested methods of sharing social content on Facebook or Twitter just aren’t relevant. Mobile audiences are engaging with visual content at a rate of over 416%  more than that seen in the past two years and now is the time for brands to be getting it right.


Simply Measured studied over 6,000 posts from the top 80 brands to see just what is, and isn’t working. Here are 5 lessons we can learn from the biggest brands on Instagram right now.


1. Post consistently

Image from Simply Measured

It’s no major insight that the most active brands drive the most engagement, it’s common sense. Users are far more receptive to brand content on Instagram allowing brands to earn a far higher ROI on resources here. In fact, engagement with brand posts is growing at a much faster rate than new brands actually joining Instagram – there really is no better time to invest in the platform.


2. Pay Attention To Your Captions

Image from Simply Measured


The average caption is just 138 characters long and that’s including hashtags – in fact there is no significant relationship between caption length and engagement. Remember that old adage, it’s all about quality not quantity? You should pay more attention to what you’re including in your caption, did you know that posts that tagged another user in the caption received 56% more engagement than those that didn’t? When used authentically (and not to spam users) you can utilise influencers own audiences to raise awareness of your own in post captions.


3. Tag Your Location, Location, Location



Coffee for here, please. ☕️❤️ #CoffeeLove

A photo posted by Starbucks Coffee ☕ (@starbucks) onNov 11, 2014 at 9:38am PST



Not all brands use location tagging – after all there’s no direct click through and posting away from Brand HQ just gives away the Community Manager’s out of office haunts. However, location tagging really does give users another way to find content – plus it can work as a handy reminder of the website address. Apps like WorldCam and Gramfeed let users search for images using just that and brands are starting to genuinely see engagement as a result. In fact, posts tagged with a location received 79% higher engagements than those let untagged – general consensus seems to be that brands that do tag are more socially sophisticated which pays off. Just don’t feel you have to tag every post!


4. Tailor Your Hashtags


You’re limited to 30 individual hashtags on Instagram – a fact and not a challenge. While nearly 90% of the top brands on Instagram used at least 1 hashtag, 91% used fewer than 7. We all know that hashtags help your posts gain exposure but it’s important to tailor yours to your brand – include a good mix of topical references and your brand name or any coined terms so your post isn’t lost in a sea of content. #Christmas might be completely relevant but how many other people and brands do you think will be using the same one?


5. Only Use High Quality Images



It sounds like an obvious one but it’s not to be underestimated – especially when you consider that ‘best performing content’ has a longer shelf life than average pictures even after the initial post has gone life. High-performing posts (posts with double the average engagement) peak later than standard posts, taking more than 13 hours to hit 50% of total comments. Brands can’t afford to think of it in the same vein as Vine where content can get away with being more raw and unedited. Instagram users will scroll through a single stream of images, it’s important yours stands out.


Fancy hearing more about how we can help you grow your Instagram following? Contact the team on [email protected]

Laura Crossman
Dec 4th, 2014 - 4 mins read