Best brands on Instagram to copy for growth in 2018
In this guide we are going to show you the best brands on Instagram in 2018.
From top clothing & fashion brands to best streetwear, food and even exercise brands.
You’ll learn how they grow their huge Instagram following and how you can copy them and grow yours too.
Free video training: Copy these brands and grow your Instagram
The best brands on Instagram
Most ecommerce brands still struggle with getting the most out of Instagram.
There is only a short ‘window’ of opportunity to implement a strategy that really capitalizes on the platform’s recent shift to a more-business oriented approach.
More competitors are waking up to the marketing power of Instagram and the competition is increasing fast.
By picking apart what makes particular brands successful, and then re-engineering it for your business, you can market the smart way.
There’s absolutely no need to reinvent the wheel.
That’s what this post is all about: we’ve done the hard work already by picking out 40 of the best ecommerce brands on Instagram, with plenty of post examples, highlighting why they kill it.
There is a lot to fit in, so let’s get straight into it…
The best fashion & clothing brands on Instagram
British clothing retailer ASOS has created a team of brand ‘ambassadors’ with the freedom to post from their own accounts, which are tied back to the main ASOS account through tags. Brand stylists with accounts like @asos_debbie and @asos_megan have each established their own following in the vein of popular fashion bloggers, posting images such as the two shown below.
You can see from @asos_megan’s post that it’s not just about clothing and accessories. But when there ARE product shots, original and unique images from stylists offer huge potential reach for ASOS. This is reflected in its 5 million-plus followers, despite only recently becoming a household name in the UK.
Chubbies made themselves famous for their American flag shorts and the stars and stripes still feature heavily in their collection.
What Chubbies does excellently is engage its target audience – 18-40 year old U.S. males. It is the ultimate ‘brotailer’ and, in keeping with this, it posts plenty of curvy females posing in their shorts as well as making great use of ‘bro humor’ with memes, funny shots and even text-only jokes , as opposed to just product images.
Already over 300,000 followers are hooked.
You probably won’t be surprised to see Nike listed as one of the best clothing brands on Instagram. Often praised for its great use of the social networks, it certainly has plenty of resources to recruit the best exponents of social media marketing. The mega-brand is not only one of the best brands on Instagram; it is amongst the largest (almost 70 million followers).
As well as running its ad campaigns, Nike is one of the best brands for Instagram stories; it uses image and videos to tell inspirational athlete stories that hit home with the target audience and, with Nike being Nike, they can (and do) call on almost anyone in the sporting world to generate huge interest.
Even if you running a dropshipping store, try imitating these big Instagram brands to get success.
Nike Lab shows another side of the Nike mega-company, where it returns to its core business – its innovative sports shoes. This feed shows a little of the story behind each shoe it releases, using video and images to inspire interest in the science behind sports shoes.
Each shoe is released with three high-quality product images or pictures of the experiments it performs on them as they are designed and manufactured. This is usually backed up with three high-quality videos. Everything about this Instagram account screams high quality.
It might not have as many followers as the main Nike account but 1.2 million ain’t bad!
Over 18 million followers say that H&M are getting it right too, as one of the biggest and best fashion brands on Instagram.
The company combines model shots of its product ranges with video style guides that provide tips for how to look your best.
It likes to show its products as little collages, showing what goes with what – a creative way of help inspire the audience make selections in matching sets (and to upsell). There is not much text on H&M – they generally keep it to the point.
Lululemon sells yoga-themed clothing, mainly for women. It uses its Instagram feed to cater to women looking for a happy, healthy lifestyle and to demonstrate how their clothing can help.
As you might expect, it features plenty of pictures of women stretching in yoga studios but also demonstrates how its apparel fits into the great outdoor lifestyle with biking, mountain walking and other healthy pursuits – with some stunning images.
Chanel has major star value – and as such it has become one the best luxury brands on Instagram. Its Instagram account usually focuses on celebrities and blockbusting events, keeping the association with the top end of town as you might expect.
It knows what it’s huge (17.5 million-strong) audience wants – and panders to it, dropping in star names whenever possible and including plenty of catwalk models for good measure.
Adidas takes a slightly different Instagram approach to fierce rivals, Nike. While both are among the best shoe brands on Instagram, Adidas has only roughly a third of Nike’s followers.
Its Instagram posts are quite minimalistic, and though the sports shoes are again heavily featured in images and video, there are also plenty of lifestyle shots of apparel that look at of how their gear can be worn in the real world; it is far less celebrity-oriented than Nike….
The first thing you notice about Urban Outfitters on Instagram is the number of lifestyle shots they include. Very few models in studios here; plenty at the beach, in the garden, in the street or elsewhere, demonstrating their urban clothing lines on Instagram and showing followers how their gear should be worn.
With 6.4 million followers, these shots are clearly resonating with their audience. Along with its young model shots, Urban Outfitters includes promotions and gathers curated content from its followers, which is featured on the community page on its website. Click the links on these shots and they take you directly to the product pages on its store – that’s smart!
The young target market of this U.S. women’s fashion retailer is reflected across its 12+ million-strong Instagram account, making it one of the biggest and best clothing brands to follow on Instagram.
Combined with shots to showcase product sets are lifestyle images of young models displaying how the clothes can inspire a new look. Two other strategies work well: they make a point of showing ‘larger size’ women in their images to showcase their range of sizes; and they feature user-generated content, adding a link for followers to shop for the items in their bio.
Vogue Magazine combines several proven strategies to attract a huge following of over 14 million. It intersperses images of current news events (see the screenshot above on the day of President Trump’s inauguration) with the latest in fashion and a fair smattering of celebrities.
It also uses captions to drive followers to the magazine’s website – via the link in their bio, as you can see in the two posts below. They change this link frequently and this can be a great strategy for a website with content added frequently.
Vogue, like Instagram, is an extremely visual brand. It seems like a match made in heaven – and because of this, Vogue invests heavily in Instagram, including plenty of celebrity video.
Under Armour was born in the age of social media, in 2006, so it’s no surprise that it’s using it well. This American brand of sports apparel takes a different stance to Nike, appealing more to the committed underdog than to the aspiring celebrity.
That’s not to say it doesn’t use celebrities. For instance, the skier Lindsey Vonn was featured recently after battling her way back from repeated injuries; they regularly feature engaging behind-the-scenes stories of athletes using their gear.
Its Instagram feed helps it to tap into the passion involved in keeping fit, showcasing its innovative sportswear designs via image and video, and including its hashtag #IWILL in its captions.
Vans’ 6.7 million followers have made it one of Instagram’s most successful shoe brands. It didn’t get there by just showing repetitive images of its products. Instead it showcases its shoes in lifestyle situations –from skateboarding shots to camping, surfing, and other outdoor scenes.
As you might expect, there are plenty of shots of adventure enthusiasts wearing their shoes, appealing to the young, predominantly male target market. But these are interspersed with more sedate beach and park settings for the ladies.
Louis Vuitton uses its Instagram feed to display its celebrity value. As one of the world’s oldest and most-recognized premium brands, it’s no surprise that its account has over 14 million followers. Even if you can’t afford the products, it’s one of the best fashion brands to follow on Instagram.
LV has always marketed right at the top end of town, so you will find the international celebrity photos and red carpet events featured here.
However, in a nod to the younger audience that dominates Instagram, it also showcases some more down-to-earth products, includes behind-the-scenes peeks at the LV offices and its fashion shows, and also posts about its charity work in its classic square post images.
One of the best street-wear brands on Instagram is Converse, with over 5 million followers. Similar to Vans, it also uses its Instagram feed to show how its products fit into people’s lifestyles.
With its predominantly young target audience, its feed is dominated by user-generated shots and model shots of millennials adventuring and going about their daily lives. Consistency is maintained by using a select set of filters for shots, helping to present a coherent brand strategy to followers.
The best beauty brands on Instagram
M.A.C Cosmetics (now part of Estee Lauder) has built a huge following of over 13 million on Instagram by showcasing with eye-catching imagery exactly what is possible with makeup; and then it gives this following the tools to purchase what it needs.
Note how close-up photography is used to great effect in the below posts. In every post, the caption details the full list of products used in creating the image, so that followers can head over to the store and purchase it.
Another smart move by M.A.C is to ‘regram’ posts from other makeup artists, which saves the time and expense of continuously hiring models.
Frank Body is an Australian range of body scrubs that started in 2013. It’s a great example of how a new company has used Instagram to help build its brand.
Already with almost 700,000 followers, Frank Body posts combine product demonstrations of the scrubs applied on models with humorous posts aimed at the target audience of young females (sometimes only text with no image).
They have a separate account for Before and After shots and encourage customers to post user-generated content of the scrubs being used.
Glossier is a great example of how a brand new company can use Instagram as the foundation (forgive the pun – it’s a makeup company!) of its growth strategy.
With almost 400,000 followers generated since launch in 2014, the company grew out of a beauty blog written by owner Emily Weiss. Building the company largely through word of mouth on social media, it builds engagement and trust on Instagram with shots of its products being applied in real life by the target audience combined with shoutouts to related brands and reviews.
Old Spice is a good example of a company that was able to re-invent itself using social media. Its Instagram account has become an important part of this, with over 80,000 followers, who it keeps entertained with witty images and videos.
When its posts are promotional, they are often removed after the expiry period so that the feed stays fresh and relevant – a good example of actively maintaining an account.
EOS Products keeps it simple. Even its bio is simple: “EOS Products makes stylish and effective daily-use beauty products.”
It sticks to high quality product images (sometimes in seasonal settings) with engaging captions that show its target audience what’s possible with its beauty products, often with a hashtag using that product name. Almost two million followers say it works
Free video training: Get more Instagram followers
Another of the best beauty brands on Instagram is Bare Minerals, part of the Bare Escentuals company that was purchased by Shiseido, Japan’s leading makeup company. Its appeal has recently spread to Asia and this has boosted its following
With close to 400,000 followers on Instagram, it uses the perfect marriage of Instagram with makeup to display high-quality visual material that often uses simple text annotations over lifestyle images to promote the brand. It also promotes some user-generated content.
Benefit Cosmetics is a prime example of consistent branding on an Instagram feed. The first thing you notice is that everything is very pink on the feed…just like its logo. The second thing is its entertaining, quirky, and feel-good nature, featuring not only high-quality beauty visuals, but tongue-in-cheek posts that use wordplay and have a lot of attitude – following its maxim that “laughter is the best cosmetic”.
Although it is well-established and was founded in the mid-seventies, it’s still somewhat surprising that this U.S. brand is approaching 6 million followers; that puts it firmly in the Big League as one of the biggest and best skincare brands on Instagram.
King Arthur Flour was founded in 1790, so next time you hear a company say “Instagram’s for the new guys” ask them to think again.
If you can build a following of 138,000 as a 226-year old brand with a niche product, then there are no excuses for any brand not to be having a good go at killing it.
It’s not just about flour and baking, of course. It’s about the personality behind a well-established, reliable product. Posts show its flour used in creative ways, by different types of chefs, in different seasons, showing what’s possible with flour. It also includes behind-the-scenes shots. That’s much more interesting, of course, than bags of flour. Take a moment to think about that with your products or services.
Prodjuice is an Australian juice company and another example of a small company growing into something bigger using Instagram. With 123,000 followers, it’s one of the smallest in the top 40 but still well worth a mention, as many readers will relate to it.
Its growth on Instagram is mainly thanks to its simple, clean, high-quality photography featuring vibrant colors on neutral backgrounds, often in a classic flat-lay style. Its posts demonstrate healthy ways to enjoy juice, as well as featuring other health and wellness-related subjects. It also promotes freebies and links to them in its bio, which is a great idea.
Another of the best food brands on Instagram is Whole Foods Market, a large organic supermarket chain in the U.S that sells foods without artificial preservatives, colors, flavors, sweeteners, or hydrogenated fats.
It uses Instagram to display these foods in stunning compositions that are works of art in themselves, full of bright colors and the vibrancy of life. The images really do say it all and many of its almost 2 million followers must follow the brand just for the art…see what I mean?
Frooti is an Indian fruit juice company that uses Instagram marketing to engage its almost 120,000 followers with fun, colorful, vibrant posts, each one containing something mango-inspired.
Mango is the foremost ingredient in its juices and the mango-coloured branding gives posts consistency, connects it back to the company website, and makes the brand’s posts instantly recognizable; their seasonal videos and image posts – for instance decorating a Christmas tree with mangoes – always raise a smile. This has helped to make it one of the best small brands on Instagram.
Taco Bell is one of the larger food brands to use Instagram well – with one million followers and counting. It specializes in new and original ways to get its tacos or sauces in each post, using a consistent color scheme but not quite as rigidly as Frooti. Blues and gold feature heavily, with the golden taco shells the clear inspiration.
Call to actions on the captions feature heavily… as you can see from the first example below…and the brand also regularly runs competitions, as you can see from the second.
Starbucks is one of the giants of Instagram with almost 13 million followers. It comes up in many people’s favorite Instagram brands when they list their ‘Top 20s’.
So what’s it doing so incredibly right? Lively, arty posts that capture the essence of what coffee-drinking means, presented with witty captions, and good use of filters for dramatic effect in the shots. This provides a new take on the famous Starbucks green and white cup.
They also regularly promote seasonal and ‘returning’ beverages as well as their standard coffee, and promote their baristas, provide behind-the-scenes shots, and encourage user-generated content.
The best lifestyle brands on Instagram
Lorna Jane Active is an Australian activewear company started in 1990. It targets sporty, twenty- or thirty-something women who value looking good and keeping fit and active.
That’s exactly who you’ll find in the lifestyle posts that LJA predominantly uses in its Instagram posts; colorful and adventurous images, with short and pithy captions that help to demonstrate the spirit of the brand. It is also unashamedly by women and for women…as you can see below.
Posts like these have helped the company reach 762,000 followers already…perhaps one of the best Australian brands on Instagram?
The Honest Company, co-founded by Jessica Alba in 2011, promotes the creation of “effective, safe, delightful, accessible, responsible” household products.
It has used Instagram to promote these, but rather than just a stream of product shots, the company mixes it up with motivational and inspirational quotes that carry its logo, and speak to its target audience of environmentally aware and responsible individuals. Repost value is high among its 660,000 (and growing) followers, spreading the Honest Company name far and wide across Instagram.
This relatively new Canadian manufacturer of retro backpacks and accessories is big on showing the spirit of travel – exactly what their gear helps people do. Posts show how their backpacks, luggage, and accessories open up a world of adventure and they then link in their bio to where people can buy the featured collection.
They also include posts with interesting facts and details about what goes into the making of their backpacks (see example below).
Already this strategy has helped them get nearly a million followers and a name amongst the best lifestyle brands on Instagram – not yet quite in the Louis Vuitton league but they’ve only been around since 2009, so give them time.
Airbnb is also about the spirit of travel and getting away. Rather than a product, it’s selling a service, so it uses its Instagram feed to demonstrate what that service can help people achieve with travel.
With a wide target audience (but focused on millennials), this has already netted the brand a following of 1.5 million. This makes it one of the biggest and best travel brands on Instagram.
High-quality images of some of the most inviting homes and apartments for rent around the world are featured, as well as things to do, special events, and some well-off-the-beaten-track locations.
As well as posting images credited to the property owners, it regularly attracts shares using hashtags in captions.
Most people agree: GoPro has NAILED it. It is clearly one of the Top 10 lifestyle brands on Instagram: over 11 million followers makes it one of the largest (as well as one of the coolest) brands.
It’s not really surprising that a video camera company nails a platform that is image and video-centric. It’s a match truly made in heaven, but GoPro has stepped in and became THE camera brand on Instagram.
Forget professional studio images of its latest camera models; instead you see the cameras in use, with pictures and videos from its action-hungry brand ambassadors doing amazing things: it’s more interesting, more real, and sells the cameras better.
GoPro photographers are featured from all around the world in a variety of adventure settings, with 21 million photos and inspirational stories shared on the #GoPro hashtag and a Photo of the Day featured every single day (two examples below). How about that for user-generated content?
The other best brands to follow on Instagram
Paper Source screams craft and creativity – and that’s the secret of its success on Instagram: displaying what’s possible with a creative mind and some paper; and engaging its target audience in the process.
138,000 followers is not too surprising as it’s a nationwide U.S. store, but it’s worked hard to get them, showcasing excellent quality images and always responding to customer inquiries in the comments section of each post. It also runs sales and promotions and uses behind-the-scenes content well on its feed, providing snapshots of life at head office and insights into its team.
On the subject of stationery, Staples is another brand that comes up in many Instagram favorites.
With just over 35,000 followers it doesn’t quite have the following of Paper Source yet, but it has only posted around a third of the volume of content.
Staples has a unique way of annotating images using post-it notes (one of its products, of course), giving posts a playful and colorful feel; it includes call to actions in the captions that encourage followers to shop for items they see (via the link in the bio), uses seasonal posts well to showcase its products, and likes to ask questions of its followers and use emojis in the captions – always a good way of engaging them.
Etsy brands itself as the place to find anything you’re into. A pretty bold statement – so you’d expect its Instagram account to be quite bold too. It is.
It mainly includes content to promote the products of Etsy artisans and sellers (obviously good for its own business). This is presented to its 1.2 million followers using high quality shots. Many of these are quite quirky and eye-catching.
Occasionally, it also shares behind-the-scenes shots that provide a glimpse into the culture behind the Etsy marketplace of sellers.
A little like stationery, parcel delivery could be a really boring topic…but FedEx has made sure that it’s not on its Instagram account.
While it has under 60,000 followers right now, it is pulling in more with its beautiful photography of airliners and delivery vehicles “in the wild” and the clever element of competition it has introduced: it invites followers to submit images of its vehicles in action, when they are seen out delivering…sometimes in the most far-flung places. Only the best get posted on the FedEx account of course.
Photojojo is one of our comparatively small brands on Instagram. This photography website and store features posts showing what’s possible with their photography products, as well as featuring plenty of amazing user content.
The company also runs many giveaways making it easy to claim something for nothing – usually just for the cost of shipping
Xbox has garnered almost 5 million followers on its Instagram account. Of course, there are plenty of high-quality images of its consoles and controllers, detailing the style and elegance of the latest incarnations. And there are also many arty shots.
What has really engaged followers though, is a campaign encouraging its gamers to design an Xbox controller with custom colors, under the hashtags #XboxDesignLab and #MakeItYours. These images combine the Xbox and controllers with other color-matched items representing things that their target audience relates to.
You might not be expecting Best Buy – an electronics retailer – to feature here. But the company has created consistent, branded, high quality, quirky content throughout its feed and established a good following of 100,000. Many regard it as one of the best retail brands on Instagram.
Blue and yellow-themed posts dominate, with captions likely to raise a smile and a similar simplicity to the Frooti approach.
Best brands on Instagram
The above 40 Instagram brand overviews should tell you one thing: the best brands on Instagram use the platform not only to showcase their new lines of products; they get creative in their own unique way, create consistent high quality posts, and get interactive with their followers.
It’s not enough to use Instagram as another ‘product page’ in your ecommerce store; while it is an excellent addition to your store and can generate huge amounts of traffic, you should not use your Instagram feed purely to churn out more studio-generated product photos.
That gets boring.
Your followers want something more or they won’t tell their friends about you!
And that is essentially what you should be aiming for, to grow your following, increase your traffic, and to generate more commerce sales.
Now jump into the free video training below to learn more about Instagram marketing for ecommerce.