These Brands Are Doing Amazing Things With Instagram

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In a world that is weary of ad gimmicks, Instagram has provided brands with a creative new medium through which they can reach as many as 50 million users (turned amateur photographers) in an artistic and engaging way.

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After Facebook’s $1 billion acquisition of the startup in April, at this point if you haven’t heard of Instagram you probably still use dial-up, have a flip-phone the size of a chinchilla, and aren’t reading this site; but for the uninitiated: Instagram is a photo sharing site that allows users to share snapshots of their lives through artistic sepia filters.

Many brands have taken advantage of the opportunity to give consumers an intimate look at what their products have to offer. 

Brands have flown highly influential Instagram users (with 100k-plus followers) to Abu Dhabi to shoot sailing races, given consumers behind-the-scenes looks at fashion shows or sporting events, organised “Insta-walks” … Playboy has even shown a surprising, nostalgic side of the magazine by sharing vintage pics of their models wearing clothes.

Business Insider Advertising has compiled a list of the brands who are doing this in really cool and surprising ways that make people want to share. 

Warby Parker (see below for explanation)

Trendy glasses company Warby Parker has hosted 'Insta-Walks' in NYC. Fans were invited to chronicle a walk from the company's headquarters in Soho to the rooftop of the Gansevoort in the Meatpacking District on Instagram. This resulted in awesome photo promotions and happy fans, drunk off of Warby Parker-themed drinks.

8,602 followers

Red Bull

The energy drink maker Instagrams with gusto. Red Bull posts a 'daily awesome' photo, celebrates 'Flying Fridays,' and has other traditions to keep its high octane-loving fans engaged. A spokesperson told Mashable that Red Bull does more than just force its own content onto its followers. Red Bull often 'Likes' other users' photos 'that illustrate people's ideas of getting wings.'

245,019 followers

Playboy

Well, people can't say that they go to Playboy's Instagram feed for the articles.

Having to steer clear of NSFW photos, Playboy features images of clothed models and evokes a sense of nostalgia.

96,195 followers

Puma

Puma's Instagram doesn't only celebrate shoes, but the awesome places that shoes take you.

Puma has taken to sending influential Instagrammers (with 100,000-plus followers) to awesome events and take pictures. The company gave a lucky few powerful Instagrammers all-inclusive trips to Abu Dhabi to photograph Volvo Ocean Race. Puma doesn't have a huge following, itself, so this tactic ensured that a lot of people would see the pics.

5,865 followers

Burberry

The 155-year-old fashion company has stayed very social media savvy. Burberry adopted Instagram very early on and has developed a following of over 350,000 people. The fashion company does more than just display clothing and advertisements with unique filters. Photographer Mike Kus presented Instagram followers with a real-time photo feed during its September London runway shows, getting fans pictures before it was available anywhere else.

356,352 followers

The Boston Celtics

On Twitter, the Celtics incorporate everything from Boston's history to individual players' accounts to behind-the-scene moments. The team's social media presence includes Instagram as well. The Instagram feed shows fan insider moments before the game (see the picture above), interviews, locker room scenes, and pictures of awesome plays.

183,995 followers

The Boston Bruins

I don't know what it is about Boston, but their sports teams really have Instagram down. The Bruins really know how to give fans a bizarre look at what goes on when the team is off the ice.

23,952 followers

Tiffany's

Tiffany's incorporated the photo-sharing app into its January campaign about (what else but) true love.

The jewelry company hired fashion blogging couple Scott Schuman (the Sartorialist) and Garance Dore to document snapshots of love stories in New York and Paris on Instagram. Couples could submit their own photos using Tiffany's downloadable Instagram filter.

Tiffany's has also given fans an inside look into how the jewelry is actually made.

55,743 followers

NH Hotels

NH Hotels might not have the most followers, but the global hotel chain is engaging in Instagram in a really creative way. At the beginning of 2012, NH has gave its followers a challenge: to 'capture a moment when something is beginning, a zero instant' on Instagram and use the hashtag #WakeUpPics. (The hotel's slogan is 'Wake up to a better world.' The winners received luxurious vacation packages.

979 followers

Starbucks

No one should be too surprised to see Starbucks on this list. The coffee giant's photo feed primarily focuses on featuring product shots and giving viewers intimate, behind-the-scenes looks into the company's headquarters and shops in which the coffee is actually made.

But Starbucks' page is only the beginning. Fans use the #Starbucks hashtag to create a rich array of user-generated content.

561,293 followers

Sharpie

Sharpie is an example of a relatively ho-hum brand that has used Instagram to its full potential. Sharpie's quirky Instagram feed is anything but boring. It's all about how consumers' passions and inspirations are unleashed with a simple permanent marker. Drawings range from funny to breathtaking. This is a really cool feed to follow.

18.302 followers

And now onto things that don't work.

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