Advertising on Instagram & Four Awesome Brands on Instagram — And What They’re Doing Right

Instagram cake Ads

As one of the most well-loved social media sites, a great Instagram presence is critical to any brand. While the platform is associated with smartphone-wielding teens and twentysomethings, the Pew Research Center found that 26% of all adults who use the Internet have an Instagram account. With this in mind, it’s important for brands to not only use the site, but to make their posts stand out. Many of the world’s most popular companies use it to engage their fans in a fun and interesting way, ensuring fans return for more updates. Here are four brands whose Instagram strategies are worth noting.


Staples has long been seen as a reliable source for business and education needs. Their Instagram presence is consistent with this. Their offerings reflect school and office culture. One popular image described a workday entirely using emojis and asked users to respond with similar comments. This playful approach was a big hit: lots of users chimed in with their own clever emoji replies. Staples also includes photos depicting their products in season-appropriate situations, such as teachers’ back-to-school displays and holiday parties, including motivational messages for workplace productivity. This brand has done a great job of staying true to its well-established, trustworthy image while hitting the right note in the digital age.


This well-known restaurant chain took a bold move with their Instagram page: their posts consist entirely of user-generated content. Fans of Applebee’s can tag photos of their meals with the hashtag #fantographer for a chance to be featured on the account. While this strategy could have backfired, it’s worked out remarkably well: the account has 238,000 followers. The allure of having one’s photo featured on such a popular account has clearly helped them generate more buzz over time. In lieu of promoting new menu items and deals through posts, Applebee’s takes their Instagram headline as a chance to highlight recent events.

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National Geographic

National Geographic is known for world-class photography, so it’s no surprise their Instagram posts are top of the line. What makes this account so special, though, is that the magazine tailors its content to the new medium. They’re clearly committed to remaining relevant to a new generation of readers. Their social media campaign has recast them as NatGeo, an abbreviation perfect for the smartphone age, and they also manage to make their stunning photos relatable. One popular image features another photographer snapping a picture of tourists at Angkor Wat, Cambodia, giving a glimpse into the life of a National Geographic employee. With 44.8 million followers, they’ve done a remarkable job of making their content work online as well as it does in a print magazine.

Pabst Blue Ribbon

Pabst Blue Ribbon’s Instagram page is all about creativity. A large portion of their posts consist of artistic uses of their instantly-recognizable logo: Pabst tattoos, murals, iron-on patches, guitar decals and even cookie decorations can be found amidst photos of people enjoying the beverage. This includes famous fans that are popular with millennials, such as Seth Rogen. This quirky approach demonstrates that the brand is interested in self-expression, a move sure to make them even more popular among their most loyal consumer base: millennials. PBR knows its customers well and continues to serve them interesting content that may even be fun to scroll through while kicking back with their favorite beer.

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