These 20 Brands Have Mastered The Use Of Instagram

Romeo Beckham burberry shootBurberry recently posted a behind-the-scenes shot from the filming of Romeo Beckham’s commercial.

Photo: Burberry

When it comes to social media, brands tend to have a fairly firm grasp on how to handle Facebook and Twitter, but Instagram still appears to challenge many companies. Some brands, like American Express and Burberry, excel on the all-picture site, while other companies fail because they treat the platform like an online catalogue for showcasing their products.

When it comes to Instagram, followers want to see behind-the-scenes images from their favourite companies that they wouldn’t normally be able to through traditional media. For example, Burberry, unlike its high-end competitors, uses its account to post cool images of London, where the company is based, along with backstage pictures from photshoots. It posts the occasional merchandise image, but does not flood its account with boring pictures of clothing. 

Retailers aren’t the only brands excelling on the social media site, though. A select handful of fast food chains, financial institutions, and professional sports teams have also mastered the platform. 

We’ve ranked them according to the number of their followers — these companies are the masters of Instagram.

Intel: 1,206 followers

Account Tagline: 'Inspired innovation that's changing the world.'

Why it's a great account: While Intel may not have a huge follower-base, its account is filled with creative images of Intel products or ideas, such as this Lego man with an Intel shirt rising 'above the bar.' Another image shows a robot with an Intel logo on it laying at the bottom of a pool.

Check out the account here. (You need to have an Instagram account to access the link.)

Virgin America: 19,401

Account Tagline: 'A Breath of Fresh Airline. Tag your travel pics with #virginamerica so we can follow along on your trips. Tweet us: @VirginAmerica'

Why it's a great account: The images make flights look more like parties than solely methods of transportation. This image shows director Kevin Smith handing out cocktails to a cabin full of passengers. The lighting in the cabin makes it look more like a danceclub than an aeroplane.

Check out the account here.

Bonobos: 19,413

Account Tagline: 'Better fitting men's clothes. Ninja customer service. And we have a pretty good time too. Tag your Bonobos gear & looks with #BonobosNation'

Why it's a great account: Bonobos uses its followers as models. Fans submit images of themselves wearing Bonobos clothing, which the company then promotes on its Instagram account. It use customers as a key element to its social media marketing campaigns.

Check out the account here.

Taco Bell: 22,880

Account Tagline: 'Taco Bell. Live Más'

Why it's a great account: Taco Bell provides its followers with a good variety of food pics and creative depictions of their products. For example, this wreath is made entirely out of Taco Bell sauce packets, while another image shows a paper fortune teller made out of Taco Bell paper.

Check out the account here.

American Express: 25,662

Account Tagline: 'Follow American Express for insta-access to exclusive experiences, news and rewards through our lens.'

Why it's a great account: This financial company provides its over 20,000 followers with backstage access to AmEx-sponsored events, such as concerts, fashion shows, and the U.S. Open.

Vevo: 37,637

Account Tagline: 'See music play'

Why it's a great account: The music video website shows up-close and personal pictures of some of the many musicians that it works with, including Alicia Keys and Carrie Underwood. Here, Keys is shown backstage after she has accepted an award from Vevo.

Check out the account here.

Warby Parker: 40,436

Account Tagline: 'Awesome eyewear.'

Why it's a great account: The two-year-old eyewear company has a small but rabid fanbase and its Instagram account shows off the glasses without looking like a catalogue. This image from a holiday party perfectly demonstrates their Instagram strategy--presenting a cool image that also subtly advertises the glasses.

Check out the account here.

Macy's: 41,878

Account Tagline: 'Macy's'

Why it's a great account: Macy's does a great job of combining merchandise pictures with behind-the-scenes shots of events like the Macy's Day Parade and runway shows. Here is one of the images Macy's posted from the Parade, among others showing the floats from different, creative angles.

Check out the account here.

Brooklyn Nets: 46,262

Account Tagline: 'Hello Brooklyn! Welcome to the Official Brooklyn Nets Instagram presented by B&H Photo.'

Why it's a great account: The newest addition to the NBA, the Brooklyn Nets, has a fantastic Instagram account that features pictures from the construction of the Barclays centre, tidbits of Brooklyn history, and of course, cool images of the team. Almost all of the images are seen through the black and white filter, giving them a vintage look. Note that the account is a co-sponsorship with B&H, a famed local photography brand.

Check out the account here.

Sharpie: 49,752

Account Tagline: 'Grab a Sharpie & Start Something.'

Why it's a great account: Sharpie fills its Instagram with fan-submitted, Sharpie-drawn pictures. Most of the drawings are pretty impressive, including this one of Psy and another one of a very realistic-looking Scrabble board.

Check out the account here.

Target Style: 58,917

Account Tagline: 'The freshest mix of fashion and beauty that won't break the bank.'

Why it's a great account: Target has multiple Instagram accounts for its various categories of merchandise, but its Style account is the best of the pack. The account mixes product advertisements with backstage fashion show images, as well as styling images, like this one of a hairdresser fixing a model's hair.

Check out the account here.

L.A. Clippers: 72,169

Account Tagline: 'The official Instagram account of the Los Angeles Clippers. #RepLAC'

Why it's a great account: The Clippers uses its account to showcase the best action shots of its players during game time. The occasional courtside image also makes it into the album, like one of a fan's sign describing the Clippers as 'the best team in the NBA.'

Check out the account here.

General Electric: 134,774

Account Tagline: 'This feed features the groundbreaking research and technology that GE has been developing since the days of Edison.'

Why it's a great account: GE expertly uses Instagram to show off behind-the-scenes images of intricate machinery and processes that the firm creates. Its account includes up-close pictures of huge engines, as well as this cool shot of the muscles in a swimmer's back.

Check out the account here.

NFL: 201,083

Account Tagline: 'The official Instagram of the NFL'

Why it's a great account: NFL treats its followers with the best images gathered from across all NFL photographers. It also mixes in cool behind-the-scenes shots, as well as vintage football pictures and clever football-themed memes to mix things up.

Check out the account here.

Playboy: 268,403

Account Tagline: 'See the world of Playboy through our eyes. Follow the official Rabbit for behind-the-scenes coverage you won't see anywhere else.'

Why it's a great account: Playboy sticks to its sexy style on its Instagram account, but the images shown are much more PG than we're used to seeing from the company. The images are primarily of the Playmates in real life --in sexy poses, of course -- versus in a photshoot. Here's a picture of Miss November on New Year's Eve.

Check out the account here.

Adidas Originals: 367,884

Account Tagline: 'Authentic, creative, individual. We celebrate our diversity and are united by our commonality as originals. We are Originals.'

Why it's a great account: The Adidas Originals account has about four times more followers than Adidas' company account, and it's not hard to see why. The company account features boring pictures of shoes, while the Originals account shows cool pictures of what people do in those shoes. From DJing to exploring a new city, the Adidas Originals account gives the brand some real personality on the social media site.

Check out the account here.

Free People: 474,657

Account Tagline: 'The official Free People Instagram. The Free People woman lives free through fashion, art, music, travel, and everything in between.'

Why it's a great account: Free People, like Bonobos, turns its customers into models. Free People asks its customers to post images of themselves in the company's clothing with specific hashtags, depending on the item they are wearing. Some of the images are even posted on Free People's official website. This way, potential buyers can see how a pair of jeans looks in real life.

Check out the account here.

Red Bull: 516,793

Account Tagline: '@RedBull #GivesYouWings: F1, racing, skating, surfing, snowboarding, skiing, moto, soccer, football, music, art, culture, gaming. What #GivesYouWings?'

Why it's a great account: Red Bull, not surprisingly, has a cool Instagram account filled with high-quality action shots of people doing sports ranging from snow boarding, to surfing, to rock climbing.

Check out the account here.

Burberry: 630,468

Account Tagline: 'A 156-year-old global brand with distinctly British attitude.'

Why it's a great account: Burberry uses its account to post iconic London shots under the effects of the popular Instagram filters. The high-end retailer also mixes in merchandise pictures, as well as behind-the-scenes pictures from photshoots and commercial filmings.

Check out the account here.

Starbucks: 1,040,923

Account Tagline: 'Freshly brewed instagrams from Starbucks in Seattle, WA. Tag your coffee photos with #Starbucks!'

Why it's a great account: Not only has Starbucks amassed an incredible amount of followers, but it lets its followers primarily control the content. The vast majority of the images on Starbucks' account are creative fan-submitted images of the world-renowned coffee, like this one of Starbucks cups on a football field.

Check out the account here.

You've seen great brands on Instagram...

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