Instagram has become the go-to place for visual content marketing.
It’s a veritable mecca for media, with over 600 million engaged users sharing nearly 100 million photos and videos with their friends, fans and followers every single day.
Between Instagram Stories, Instagram Live, Carousels and more, the visual media platform is constantly introducing new ways for users to explore content creation.
As a business, it can be tough to keep up with these trends and tools. Sometimes, though, all you need is a handful of good ideas from which to draw inspiration.
Luckily, I’ve put together 15 of the best Instagram marketing campaigns from 2017, featuring examples from brands like Airbnb, Amazon, Nintendo and more.
Let’s get into it!
1. Adidas Originals
Adidas cemented their position as a key fashion figure in the hip-hop industry with their latest Instagram campaign. Using the hashtag #ORIGINALis, Adidas partnered with big names like Snoop Dogg, Desiigner, and Stormzy to highlight and promote their Originals lineup. Though Adidas has different product lines for different sports, like football and basketball, Adidas uses the video below to build their Originals brand as a totem of hip-hop culture.
I love this campaign firstly because it uses influencer marketing to appeal to a wide base of people within Adidas’ target market. Partnering with influential figures in the hip-hop world helps Adidas establish additional credibility and the videos it has created for this campaign are intriguing and engaging.
2. John Mayer
John Mayer used Instagram extensively to promote his recent set of EPs, The Search for Everything. Though his team has been running a multitude of campaigns on the visual marketing giant, one campaign that rocked the marketing boat was John Mayer’s use of Instagram Live to better engage his followers and push the songs on the album.
John used the Live platform for a variety of purposes, including performing songs from his new records for his fans, answering questions, and telling stories about the writing process of his new music. Using Instagram Live to market your business makes it much more accessible to your followers - it’s a feature that allows you to interact directly with them to help build your brand.
Vancouver-based athletic clothing retailer Ryu ran a marketing campaign through their Instagram account called “#WhatsInYourBag”, to promote their various products with a giveaway. I like this campaign for a number of reasons. Firstly, I love that it’s a giveaway - hosting a contest is always an incredibly effective way to engage your target audience and spread the word about your brand (if you’re looking for a contest app, check out Wishpond).
Next, though the brand created promotional posts on their Instagram profile to highlight the giveaway, they also promoted it extensively on their Instagram Story. This is a helpful strategy to help push marketing campaigns, as the Stories feature sits atop Instagram users’ feeds. Promoting on your Story is a great way to keep your campaigns top-of-mind with your followers, and ensure that they reach as many people as possible.
Airbnb took to Instagram to show their full support for acceptance of people from different places and backgrounds. Though they didn’t directly address it, it was clear from the timing of this campaign (which revolved around the hashtag #WeAccept) that Airbnb was voicing their opinions on recent political developments, cementing their position as a world-renowned brand with a focus on acceptance.
Though political statements in marketing can often be hit-or-miss, Airbnb successfully capitalized on this trending topic to take a stance on an important issue while strengthening consumer perceptions about their brand. Running marketing campaigns that are relevant to current events - whether that’s the Super Bowl, the Grammys, or an upcoming holiday - makes for content that’s inherently more engaging to your Instagram followers.
Drone industry leader DJI consistently puts out high quality content on their Instagram profile - and their latest marketing efforts have been no different. Recently, they’ve partnered with various Instagram filmmakers to promote their latest drone offering, the Phantom 4 Pro. This is not only an expert utilization of user-generated content, but also of Instagram video.
Since Instagram increased the maximum length of its videos from 15 seconds to 1 minute, the possibilities for video marketing have increased drastically. DJI shows off the capabilities of its flagship product through the videos it shares on its profile - the one I’ve highlighted here features the drone flying high above a variety of beautiful locations. Using video in a creative way to promote your products is one of the best ways you can sell on Instagram to your target market - and that’s why this campaign is so great.
Amazon ran an Instagram marketing campaign to thank their users and fans for rating them #1 in corporate reputation. The ecommerce giant posted a simple image showing their top-notch reputation ranking with a caption telling customers about a new discount they created in celebration of their big win.
This campaign, first and foremost, is great because it’s a discount. It can be difficult to reliably turn Instagram engagement into sales for your business, but providing followers with a discount code or linking to a promotional pricing page is one of the best ways to do it. I also love that Amazon is thanking their customers - it’s something that many brands don’t do enough. It makes fans and followers feel appreciated, strengthening their connection to your brand.
Popular fitness center Orangetheory uses Instagram as one of their primary online marketing platforms, and for good reason - their strong visual branding makes the media they post eye-catching and engaging. Though Orangetheory explores a variety of visual media marketing strategies on their Instagram profile, Orangetheory’s best content campaigns are their user testimonials.
This not only shows a more “personal” side of your business, but also serves to increase your business’ and product’s credibility to potential customers who follow you on social media. Testimonials create social proof - a psychological “boost” that shows people within your target market that others like them use and enjoy your product. Orangetheory does an awesome job of highlighting their users and telling their story in a genuine way.
8. Daniel Wellington
Famous timepiece maker Daniel Wellington partnered with YouTube music sensation Joseph Vincent to promote its watches to the singer-songwriter’s fans. As you can see in the image below, Joseph Vincent created a genuine-looking Instagram photo highlighting both a men’s and women’s Daniel Wellington watch.
In the caption, you can see he’s tagged the brand and also provided a discount code for his followers to use when buying a Daniel Wellington watch of their own. This is especially effective because it can push these followers into making a purchase they may not normally have made. Partnered marketing is awesome for helping you bridge the gap to certain segments of your target market - they result in more relatable marketing efforts from influential social media figures.
The Lokai bracelet has become a world-famous accessory thanks to the brand’s inspiring message of positivity, dedication to exploration, and commitment to helping a variety of causes.
Lokai’s widespread fanbase has allowed it to craft an social media marketing plan revolving primarily around user-generated content to promote its products. Take a look at Lokai’s Instagram feed - it’s full of gorgeous images from around the world, most of which are taken by its fans. This results in an exciting feed that’s still entirely product-focused - not an easy task by any means.
User-generated content is great for a number of reasons. First, it’s a more genuine way to promote your products to your followers; they’re real images from real people all around the world. Next, it allows you to pad out your content schedule without much effort on your own part. Finally, it’s an awesome avenue through which you can connect with your users, showing them you’ve got your finger on the pulse of the content your fans post about you.
Popular fitness supplement seller Cellucor ran a giveaway campaign to promote the “on-the-go” version of their beloved C4 pre-workout drink mix. This giveaway post has everything it needs to be successful. First, it features an engaging and humorous video that features the product prize and mentions the giveaway itself.
Next, the caption mentions the giveaway again (for people who might be unable to watch the video) and clearly outlines how people can enter this social promotion. I love that they asked users to follow them, like the photo, and tag three friends to enter. This increases their follower count, and more importantly, increases the post’s engagement, meaning it’s more likely to show up on potential customers’ Explore feeds.
Video game giant Nintendo took to Instagram to build hype for the upcoming launch of their latest console, the Nintendo Switch. Instagram is one of the best places to build interest for a product launch - the content posted on the platform is easily shareable, which means you can rapidly spread the word about your exciting new product.
This specific post is an awesome product preview. The image itself shows just enough to excite viewers - it doesn’t give too much away. Having two different people using two different controller colors shows off the Switch’s collaborative nature, as well its different product options. Finally, the caption clearly states how long it will be until the product launches. It’s mysterious, intriguing, and engaging.
ASOS’ Instagram strategy is one of a kind. Instead of simply partnering with influencers to create sponsored posts, ASOS goes a step further and creates “sponsored accounts” for its influencers, like @asos_ashley and @asos_megan. These accounts are run by the influencers (who also have their own well-known accounts, of course), but differ slightly in that they primarily feature ASOS clothing.
This is an interesting strategy because it pulls influencers’ existing followings to new accounts with content more relevant to specific brand. Influencer marketing in this way helps ASOS widen its reach significantly through its influencer marketing efforts.
Disney’s a brand that needs no introduction - its a huge, household-name brand, but it still continues to use Instagram marketing best practices to push its latest offerings. In this campaign, Disney got actor Luke Evans to promote the upcoming Beauty and the Beast film with an Instagram takeover. Evans posted images throughout the day of his time at the film's world premiere, sharing them with Disney’s massive Instagram following.
Hosting an influencer takeover is an Instagram strategy that’s proven to be effective time and time again. It draws the influencer’s following to your account and helps you reach additional segments of your target market. The posts give your followers a (much-welcome) break from your regular Instagram content, and are often more engaging based solely on their subject matter. Look for influencers within your target market and reach out to them for your next takeover!
Forever21 is a brand that’s mastered Instagram marketing. Beyond its impressive mix of original and user-generated content, Forever21 is an expert at the Instagram sale. How? Well, Forever21 utilizes a monetization platform called Like2buy, which helps it turn the engagement and interactions it garners on the visual content platform into sales. As you can see in the image below, Like2buy takes Forever21’s photos and links each item to the relevant store page.
Forever 21 makes sure to include a CTA in each of their photo captions (“Shop link in bio”) to make sure each follower knows where they can find each item. Using a monetization platform is the simplest and most efficient way to drive sales from Instagram - it’s a great option for any ecommerce business.
15. Shake Shack
East Coast burger joint Shake Shack took advantage of Instagram’s new Carousel post format to tell the story of its Downtown Detroit location opening. Though this campaign didn’t have the hugest reach, I love that the chain immediately used a new Instagram feature to adopt it as part of its Instagram strategy. Next, I like that Shake Shack mixed media types - there’s a collection of hi-res photos as well as simple phone-shot videos that help document the new location’s launch.
Carousel posts are great because they allow you to introduce multiple pieces of media, making it the ideal format to use when you’re trying to tell a story. Though you could theoretically do this in your actual Instagram Story, a Carousel post allows you to eternalize it - letting it make a lasting impression on your timeline.
Wrapping it up
There you have it - 15 of the best Instagram marketing campaigns of 2017 so far! Hopefully this have given you some great ideas on Instagram marketing campaigns you can run for your own business.
Best of luck with your Instagram marketing!
About the Author
Carlo Pacis is a marketer at Wishpond who lives and breathes all things social media. He also has an obsession with music, sneakers, and coffee. Find him on Twitter or Instagram @carlonathan.