What the top 25 brands on Instagram are posting

Years ago, social media seers prophesized that Instagram will go on to become the world’s most powerful selling tool.

As of this writing it has over 500 million active users (only nine months earlier it had 100 million less). And these are not just idle signups — 300 million of these users wield Instagram every single day.

Sponsored posts exposed to these users generate 2.8 times higher recall compared to normal online advertising standards. These users are also likely to click and purchase since 45% of all shopping now involves some level of mobile use, as we mentioned in an earlier post.

It seems the prediction is well on its way to becoming reality. Still, one can’t deny that Instagram’s magic doesn’t work for everyone. There are those who struggle to get attention and those who do extremely well for one reason or another.

What are those reasons? To find out what sets the successful apart from its competitors, we’ve gathered some of the most effective brands on Instagram.

Read on to learn what ways those are and how you can pull your brand up the ranks.

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01. Magnolia Bakery

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Magnolia Bakery
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Magnolia Bakery

The Instagram page of one of New York City’s most popular bakery is just as scrumptious as you would expect it to be.

They know their target audience, and they understand what they are looking for, which in this case is – colorful cupcakes and puddings. And the brand makes sure to give them what they want.

The brand also takes into consideration that they are a New York staple, and that is one of things customers love about it.

That is why many of the pictures posted have New York City in the background. If you look closely, you will also notice that the tone of all the pictures is more or less the same, this gives uniformity to their Instagram feed.

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02. Vogue

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Vogue
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Vogue

When I think about Vogue, two words that instantly hit me – fashion and celebrities.

The fashion magazine embodies its brand on their Instagram page too. Vogue’s entire feed is filled with celebrities dressed in couture dresses.

What makes Vogue’s Instagram page more unique is the fact that they try to balance both photos and videos to keep their followers engaged.

During the Met Ball a few weeks ago, they shot special edition videos with selected celebrities, especially for their Instagram account. Needless to say, each one of them got over a million likes.

Also, Vogue was one of the first brands on Instagram to start experimenting with different image sizes, other than square.

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03. Nike Lab

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Nike Lab

A division of Nike that is always committed to innovation, Nike Lab posts some really inspiring pictures of new shoe launches.

While Nike might be one of the tops brands on Instagram when it comes to the number of followers, but Nike Lab definitely takes the prize when it comes to stunning Instagram feed.

The reason behind their beautiful feed is that they post three similar pictures of each shoe. Even if they post videos, it is done multiples of three.

Apart from posting amazing pictures of shoes, the brand also posts pictures of the experiments that have been done by the company to find the next big thing in the shoe industry.

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04. Louis Vuitton

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Louis Vuitton
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Louis Vuitton

This fashion label’s Instagram feed is filled with celebrities wearing its signature couture pieces from all over the world.

Apart from the usual pictures from red carpets, they also post exclusive videos from their fashion shows, and of course, their world famous bags.

Unlike the other fashion brands on Instagram that are posting pictures of different dimensions, Louis Vuitton likes to stay classic with their square images.

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05. Frooti

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Frooti
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Frooti

Frooti is a popular Mango juice company based in India and as someone who has grown up drinking this, I can certify that their Instagram feed is everything Frooti’s brand is all about.

The pictures are funny and witty, but what I love more than that is their color scheme. First of all, it’s beautiful, and it complements Frooti’s packaging, and also the color scheme is followed in all the photos to make their feed uniform.

If you are looking to make your brand’s feed uniform like this, without a lot of effort, you should definitely check this article.

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06. Starbucks

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Starbucks
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Starbucks

This world famous coffee chain makes sure people love it on social media, just as much they love it in real life.

Starbuck’s Instagram feed is full of their signature cup, green straw and of course, coffee.

Since the company has a huge set of seasonal drinks, they make sure to share it on Instagram to remind their followers that their favorite drinks are back.

Instead of using the exact same color scheme or filter, Starbucks chooses to use the same filter for a bunch of pictures together.

With the summer hitting in full form, their feed is all about bright colors and Iced Lattes.

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07. Old Spice

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Old Spice
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Old Spice

Old Spice is known for their unapologetic wit on social media, and that reflects on their Instagram photos too.

Something I noticed while researching for this article was that, the company posts a lot of promotional pieces, but they delete all the extra stuff after a certain time period to make sure their feed ‘looks good’.

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08. Skittles

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Skittles
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Skittles

Little colorful balls. How could anyone market them on Instagram?

Skittles takes out-of-the-box thinking to a whole new level by placing Skittle balls at the most funniest locations. And they urge their followers to do that too. The brand then regrams the best of the pictures.

The idea is to place Skittle balls in the most unusual position, but their color should match the color of the background.

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09. Taco Bell

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Taco Bell
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Taco Bell

Taco Bell is all about delicious tacos, but of course, posting pictures of the same tacos over and over again can be boring and it can literally drive followers away.

That is why, the brand comes out with the most unique ways to incorporate tacos and their sauces in every picture.

Like Frooti, Taco Bell also uses a fixed color scheme to showcase their food.

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10. Barkbox

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Barkbox
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Barkbox

Barkbox is a subscription box for dogs and while you might think how a dog brand could get more than a million followers, I have got two words for you – cute puppies.

The brand posts some of the funniest and the cutest pictures of dogs. Most of them are surrounded with Barkbox subscription boxes.

The company also uses native advertising to connect with the several dog accounts on Instagram and advertise their brands.

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11. Netflix

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Netflix
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Netflix

The video streaming service now has a number of original series that get released from time to time and Netflix always gives its users the inside access through its Instagram account.

Apart from that, the brand also posts some extra pun-ny pictures, taking a jibe at all their original series and the ones that have been uploaded to Netflix for streaming.

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12. Converse

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Converse
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Converse

Converse is not just about shoes, it’s a lifestyle, and that is exactly what the brand tries to depict through its Instagram account.

Their feed is mostly filled with millennials breaking barriers and living their life in their own way.

Converse also uses the same set of filters to give a uniformity to their feed and make their followers connect with their brand.

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13. Sharpie

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Sharpie
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Sharpie

If there was an award for being the most creative on Instagram, Sharpie would really deserve to win.

Just like Skittles, Sharpie also does not have much to market when it comes to their actual product, but it’s the creativity they lend to their campaigns which make it all the more unique.

Sharpie’s Instagram feed is full of colorful and black and white sketches made through their very own pens.

But what caught my eye was the fact that they never try to make the sketches look ‘professional’, instead they are so easy that anyone of us could have drawn them with a Sharpie.

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14. Audi

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Audi
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Audi

Audi’s cars need no introduction to anybody. The brand makes sure its followers get every view of their cars.

While black might be a common favorite, the brand tries to post pictures of cars with brighter colors like Yellow, Red, and Blue to brighten up their Instagram feed.

On Valentine’s Day this year, they also launched a hashtag campaign #HowToAskForAnAudi where they compared getting an Audi to a marriage proposal. And it obviously got a lot of attention from both couples and singles.

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15. Forever 21

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Forever 21

The American apparel brand is all about affordable fashion and they try to give their followers all the latest trend update from their Instagram feed.

Instead of posting the same catalogue photos over and over again, they share pictures from other users wearing Forever 21 clothes and accessories. And when they do, they add the shop link in their bio for all the followers who might want to buy.

This is a great way to increase sales through customer-generated content.

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Forever 21
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16. Go Pro

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Go Pro
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Go Pro

Since so many users already share images captured by their Go Pro cameras on Instagram, the company often posts user-shared pictures to show their followers how the others are taking advantage of their devices.

They give a shout out to one Go Pro user every day in their Photo of the Day feature.

They also do native advertising and giveaways to get attention to their country specific Instagram handles.

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17. Whole Foods

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Whole Foods
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Whole Foods

Whole Foods is all about fresh and organic food, and I guarantee you that every picture on Whole Food’s Instagram feed will make you feel fresh and organic.

The brand follows a theme for their Instagram pictures – all of them have bright and summer colors, and I must say, they look extremely appetizing.

Mission accomplished, Whole Foods!

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18. National Geographic

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Nat Geo
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Nat Geo

The award winning adventure and travel magazine’s Instagram account has more than 50 million followers, and that is all because of the stunning pictures they post.

While few of the pictures are taken from Nat Geo’s archive, most of them are taken from the photographers that work with the brand to go to unimaginable places and capture the right pictures.

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19. Oreo

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Oreo
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Oreo

How do you make pictures appealing when you have got just one biscuit that looks the same, no matter where you see it from?

Well, you keep it in some unusual and some usual situations.

Oreo’s Instagram feed is so tempting, it will make you want one of those with your coffee.

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20. Vans

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Vans

Back at it with the white Vans!

Yes, we already know Vans is all about shoes, and Vans knows that.

That is why, instead of just focusing on their shoes in all their pictures, Vans like to focus on the lifestyle that the brand signifies, and their skating and surfing boards.

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Vans
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21. Chobani

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Chobani
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Chobani

A Greek Yoghurt brand based in America, Chobani is one of those few food brands that do it right on Instagram.

While they do sometimes directly place their products in the pictures, most of the times they put pictures of delicious dishes on their page with the hashtag #madewithchobani. And if a user wants to know the recipe, they have to subscribe to the newsletter.

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22. Headspace

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Headspace
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Headspace

Headspace is a meditation app that brings out Zen in its Instagram feed too.

Their entire feed is very simplistic filled with fun graphics and quotes. Again, I have to mention how they coordinate their color scheme to make sure all the images they post go together.

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23. General Electric

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General Electric
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General Electric

While most of the people think General Electric is no more than a big corporation, the company is trying to change that perception by sharing on their Instagram feed what actually goes behind the curtains.

Their feed includes some really impressive machinery and interviews of employees who have given years to the company.

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24. Red Bull

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Redbull
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Redbull

Red Bull maximizes the complete potential of video uploads on Instagram. They upload more videos than photos and most of their videos include adrenaline crazy activities like snowboarding, cliff jumping and kayaking.

And the brand connects it all to their always running campaign – Red Bull gives you wings.

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25. Canva

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Canva
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Canva

Canva’s Instagram feed is full of inspiring graphics to help you start your day. While we use a wide variety of images to spark creativity, we make sure to use the same custom filters to make sure all the pictures go together.

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Your Turn

Now that you know the secrets of some of the best brands on Instagram and the right templates to help you get started, it’s time for you to design your own Instagram campaign. Don’t forget to sign up to Canva!

Ritika is a 23 year old Software Engineer by degree but she decided to quit her IT job to become a full time freelance writer and travel the world. She loves eating, walking her dog and watching Game of Thrones.