If you're getting started with a social media presence on Instagram for your small brand or ecommerce shop, you might look around for some inspiration.
Which brands are doing great work on Instagram? What can you learn from their strategy and aesthetic?
This fall, we put up a social media manager position at my startup, Kapwing. When job candidates applied, we asked "What brand has an Instagram strategy you admire and why?"
In this article, I'll share some of my favorite responses to this question, showcasing brands that social media experts recommended in 2022 as exemplary on Instagram. Hopefully this will inspire ideas for other brand marketers as to how they can distinguish their brand and craft a narrative on Instagram.
Product: Sakara sells food, snacks, juices, and supplements. It's a wellness brand focused on science and natural nutrients.
In the last 10 posts: 3 Reels, 1 Infographic, 1 screenshot, 1 carousel.
Visual motifs: Fresh fruits and vegetables.
Product: Squarespace is a website builder that serves small businesses and creators.
In the last 10 posts: 9 Reels, 1 carousel.
Squarespace's instagram has it all: quotes from customers, helpful value-add tips, stunning visual imagery, optimized videos, and more. Every post focuses on the artistic and creative talent of their users. Although Squarespace is a tech company, their Instagram page is human and full of faces, colors, and voices. They've leaned heavily into Reels; even their text-based posts are animated vertical videos.
Product: None. The page is run by a media company @9GAG.
Followers: 3 Million
Last 10 posts: 9 images, 1 carousel.
At a glance, HipDict's images look like academic definitions, but if you read closer you'll find funny gen-Z meanings instead.
Visual Motif: Every post has the same layout (yellow parchment with serif black text and a thin frame outline), creating a satisfying visual consistency.
Product: Headspace is a meditation app that helps users live mindfully.
Followers: 1.1 Million
Last 10 posts: 2 Reels, 4 carousels, 4 images.
Headspace's Instagram posts help viewers get a bite of the calm, meditative experience they might have if they download the app, increasing mindfulness and mental wellbeing. Their brand is cute and cartoon-y. Full of bright primary colors, their grid looks like a snapshot from Blues Clues. Even the live-action videos and customer testimonials often have hand-drawn thumbnails in the grid.
Visual Motif: The three-line smile pictured in the pink post above appears consistently in each row.
From a social media manager: "Headspace maintains its visuals and voice from Twitter and Facebook and invites users to submit photos and profiles of themselves to share their personality and use case for the app."
Product: Ban.do is an online shop for joyful accessories.
Last 10 posts: 5 Reels, 1 carousel, 4 images.
Ban.do's brand is busy and eclectic. The accessories shop, with popular planners and household decor, re-posts submissions from their fans and publish content nearly every day. They feature their products in many posts and participate in trending formats like the Little Miss Meme. Overall, the page speaks to a high-energy audience that has a lot going on and an audacious, vintage style.
Visual Motif: Fruit - especially strawberries and watermelons - and flowers are featured in most of their posts.
From a social media manager: "They post engaging reels, videos, or photos at least once a day. They highlight their products, but they also make posts to engage with their customer base."
Product: Haus Labs sells bold makeup with innovative natural ingredients. The cosmetics company was founded by Lady Gaga.
Last 10 posts: 8 Reels, 1 carousel, 1 image.
Although they have a famous founder, Haus Lab's Instagram page focuses on their community. Compared to other cosmetics company, the brand colors are more neutral, skin tones. They imagery zooms in on faces and human bodies: eyes, lips, and skin. You won't find two images in a row that don't feature a face.
Visual motifs: Lips, faces, and the product itself.
From a social media manager: "I like that you see the product in action across various demographics. They're also very responsive on IG and I love that! Their IG feels very human."
Last 10 posts: 8 carousels, 2 images.
Bailey, the small creator behind Noelle earrings, has an amazing aesthetic on Instagram and has grown her small business through product photography and branding. The autumn colors - orange, brown, and soft reds – create appealing consistency in the grid.
From a social media manager: "I like how their main feed is mostly pictures but still consistently post reels everyday. I find Instagram feeds with pictures to be more appealing because you can view the photo that is being presented instead of clicking on the image and a video popping up instead."
Visual motif: Orange pumpkins and leaves.
Product: A budget airline based in Europe.
Last 10 posts: 5 Reels, 5 images
Ryan Air's instagram is full of self-deprecating memes. They're not afraid to post low-quality content, play on current events, like the UK's prime minister stepping down, or make fun of their own reputation. Followers can relate to the familiar meme formats. At the same time, they use similar colors, fonts, logos, and layouts for consistency so that the brand is not lost in the joke.
Visual motifs: White-background memes with navy text above and the company logo.
From a social media manager: "They take hate comments or common frustrations with their brand and turn it into content that makes people laugh and in return have more respect for the brand. Instead of fitting a mold on social media, they stay true to their brand identity which at the end of the day is "budget friendly". The Ryanair content invites followers and customers to engage and to join in on some light-hearted and relatable humor."
Product: Rise Up Surf leads surf retreats in Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
Last 10 posts: 1 Reels, 4 carousels, 5 images.
This travel adventure brand has super rich images of nature and activity. The photos and videos often capture motion: tide, surf, lava, fire, and more. The colors alternate between muted earth tones and blues.
Visual motif: Surfers, of course. Also, in much of the grid, every other post is black and white.
From a social media manager: "All of their content is super cinematic and interactive. They showcase their retreats and the beauty of the environment in which they happen. Instead of using words to describe what happens or where these retreats are they use videography and themed photos to showcase their retreats."
Thanks for reading! I hope that this article gives you inspiration on your brand's Instagram strategy. We've tried to make it simple to repurpose your existing video content for Instagram, YouTube Shorts, and Tikok. Please let us know what other features we should add and follow along on Kapwing's Instagram journey.Create content faster with Kapwing's online video editor →