Born on October 6, 2010, Instagram began as a photo-sharing app but has morphed and grown into a formable social media platform. Currently, it boasts up to one billion monthly active users and 25+ million business accounts. And according to HubSpot’s 2021 Instagram Report, it’s poised to earn a “projected USD 18 billion in ad revenue this year.”
Large and small companies are making it an integral part of their social media strategy to create brand engagement and grow their customer base.
But building a community of engaged followers and brand advocates is one of the hardest things you can do as a marketing team or brand manager. So it got me thinking — who am I following that’s crushing it? And who inspires me?
Below (in no particular order or ranking) are some of my favorite influencers and brands on Instagram. Enjoy!
I love all things Disney, but I’m not a huge purse person. But I do love Loungefly. If I had all the money in the world I could easily have a closet full of these cute and snazzy little backpacks. I love how their photography showcases their product in the studio and on location.
Made in Nature
If you’re a mom and you’ve been to Costco, you’ve probably heard about Made In Nature Mangoes. I think my kid even ate a whole bag of these one time in a single sitting. They’re a great product, to say the least. Based in Boulder, CO, they do a excellent job on their feed of showcasing their products, from inspiring their audience with different ways to incorporate their products into recipes to giveaways and contests to the gorgeous product photography on a bright background.
Dave Hollis and Jon Acuff
Dave Hollis and Jon Acuff are both accomplished authors, podcasters, speakers, and influencers in their own right. This dynamic duo has formed the John and Dave Show on IGTV. “The show that no one is watching,” according to Mr. Hollis. I love watching this bromance banter unfold. They make me chuckle whenever I tune in with their stories as they question each other on everything from Dave’s disdain for Star Wars to what was your most awkward year of adolescence?
Based in Boulder, CO, Hammerly Ceramics is the maker of one-of-a-kind porcelain mugs and ceramics. You’ll be mesmerized by their behind-the-scenes videos, like this 3-D printed ceramics clip where I found myself zoning out to and watching at least 5 times. But who’s counting?
Stone & Skillet
Stone and Skillet makes hands down the best and fanciest English muffins you’ll ever sink your teeth into. Made in Boston, Massachusetts, this was my quarantine kryptonite. When I couldn’t find them at my local Whole Foods, I was happy to find out I could subscribe to a box and get them delivered to my house. I may have a slight problem. But as a mega-fan of these muffins, I love the photography they serve up on their Instagram feed, from seeing them sampling and peddling their products at stores to a close-up of their English muffins transformed into an Italian sandwich.
Let’s be real for a second. I have a Starbucks problem, and I’m not even a coffee drinker. I love how Starbucks captures the essence of the coffee culture with its photography and custom graphics — bringing a human connection to such a behemoth brand. Check out this article to see what you can learn from Starbucks ‘ social media strategy.
Hutson Industries, LLC
Hutson Industries is a family-owned contracting business owned by Brad and Heather Hutson in West Virginia. When I worked for Sashco, these folks always tagged us and showed us how they used our product. I would re-share their content in our newsletters and on our social channels because they made it easy for us, and their photography was stellar.
I overshared to the point that some of our other customers started to get a little green with envy. So I had to spread the love around a bit more. Hutson gives us an excellent example of how to grow a small business using Instagram tagging to increase your brand awareness and grow your business.
Mitchel Wu Photography
I first learned about Mitchel Wu from a Marvel 616 episode on Disney+. Mitchel is a pro toy photographer. He brings to life toys from Disney, Marvel, Funimation, WB, SpinMaster, Moose Toys, Hasbro, and Mattel, to name a few. Not only is he a fabulous photographer, but he brings humor and humanity to his craft by giving us peeks behind the scenes to how the images were made and with the poses like the Star Wars BBQ image from the 4th of July.
Ok, I must admit I have a thing for toys and don’t really feel grown-up yet at 29+. Lego is known for inspiration of all ages, but it nails its two main goals: to educate parents and inspire and entertain kids. From hashtags to video content, it creates creative, engaging content for all. Read more here about how they use their Instagram feed to inspire fans of all ages.