Discover Instagram success with insights from these three top brands. Learn from the best to elevate your business and captivate your audience effortlessly with our new blog article!
With Instagram rolling out new features all the time, sometimes it can feel hard to know what to do to keep up.
In this article, we’ll take a look at three brands who’ve harnessed the power of Instagram in unique ways.
From Boden's vibrant mix of diverse content to NYC DOT's unexpected humor and relatability, and Merit's genuine approach to beauty inclusivity, these brands showcase how creativity and a deep understanding of their audience translate to engagement and brand loyalty.
English clothing brand Boden is a total pro at balancing a mixture of content on Instagram that’s packed full of personality.
Let’s take a closer look at what they’re getting right on the platform.
One of the best ways to grow on Instagram is to ensure your content is diverse. Both in terms of format and subject matter.
Boden nails this. In just one week, the brand shared:
- An advertorial photo Reel
- Two carousels of catalog-style photos
- One ‘Christmas conundrum’ carousel featuring stars of TV show, Gogglebox, Giles and Mary
- One Reel featuring a snippet from their latest winter campaign
- One ‘behind the scenes’ Reel of what goes into the making of their new Fair Isle jumper
Plus two more Reels and two more carousels!
Ok, so that’s a LOT of content and unless you’re a powerhouse company like Boden, this won’t be possible.
However, the key takeaway is to keep things interesting for your audience. Don’t stick to one type of format again and again. That kind of predictability will soon result in a dip in engagement because people come to Instagram for different reasons: to be inspired, to be entertained, to learn, and to shop.
The more you can cater to these different desires—like Boden does—the better you’ll perform on the platform.
Boden is no stranger to influencer marketing. Every few posts, you’ll find a Reel or carousel featuring—or created in collaboration with—a fashion or lifestyle influencer. But unlike other fashion brand-influencer collabs, these partnerships are much more inclusive.
Here are some of the influencers they’ve worked with:
Artist and creator @samioreneldaLegal director @thandimaqSelf-proclaimed ‘chunky & funky’ @molliecampsieEntrepreneur and TV presenter @imlaurajackson
By working with a range of people of different shapes and sizes, and from different backgrounds, Boden helps to create a real sense of community.
This isn’t an exclusive fashion brand that very few can afford. There is (almost) something for everyone.
When it comes to Boden, expect the unexpected. Not just in terms of content format, but in the subject matter too.
Unlike many other fashion companies, Boden doesn’t post endless outfit photos (or Reels). They embrace what it means to be a lifestyle brand by capturing the experiences (and aspirations) of their target market and reflecting them back at them.
For example, this simple Reel of a woman’s hand stirring a beautiful cup of tea—while wearing a Boden jumper and reading the ‘Boden news’ of course! In this, the viewer can see themselves (or who they want to be), which helps to strengthen trust with the brand. Putting the founder front and center
Regularly showcasing founder, Johnnie Boden, and his family on the feed plays into Boden’s broader strategy of making the brand feel as relatable as possible.
From personal posts about sad losses in the family to beautifully shot content from events hosted at Johnnie’s home, these behind-the-scenes moments are reflective of the highs and lows experienced by the audience.
One of the most successful recent Reels features the founder’s daughters trying on potential dresses to wear at the various weddings she’s attending in 2024. It’s not scripted or heavily edited, and this natural video style makes it feel as though you’re watching friends try on clothes.
The next company on our list is the New York City Department of Transportation—or New York City DOT as it’s known.
Unlike many other institutions online, NYC DOT shares funny, relatable content that resonates strongly with its audience of New Yorkers.
Let’s take a look at the ways @nyc_dot is killing it on Instagram.
Through their ‘Meet DOT’ series, NYC DOT shares stories of the individuals who work at the company and help keep New Yorkers moving.
From project managers and language coordinators to print shop supervisors and accessibility policy analysts, NYC DOT puts a face (technically, a series of faces!) to an otherwise faceless organization.
It’s a fantastic way to build trust with their followers, increasing loyalty and positive brand association.
NYC DOT doesn’t just share the ‘what’ on Instagram i.e. travel news. To stand out on a saturated platform and give their audience something to get excited about, they also share the how.
For example, how the organization carries out necessary repairs and maintenance on Brooklyn Bridge in the middle of the night. Or how their electricians and engineers make it possible for the Macy’s Parade balloons to soar through the streets by rotating or removing each lamppost and streetlight.
Combined with the ‘Meet DOT’ series, this exclusive look into how the organization actually works gives the audience a newfound respect for a company they’d otherwise take for granted.
There’s no shortage of humor on @nyc_dot’s Instagram page. Through Reels and graphics, the company pokes fun at itself and the realities of travel.
In this text graphic, NYC DOT combines safety guidance (25 mph speed limit) with a fact about pigeons. In another post, they share the outcome of a poll they ran asking the audience to help name their electric pedal assist cargo bike.
Last, but definitely not least, NYC DOT shares informative updates to help New Yorkers stay up to speed with what’s happening in their city.
This demonstrates the organization’s understanding of both their audience and the platform. They know that Instagram is a great place to share light-hearted, humorous content in the form of Reels and memes. But they’re also aware that as one of their audience’s most-used apps, it’s an ideal place to share travel updates.
Launching in 2021, it’s fair to say that this direct-to-consumer minimalist beauty brand Merit has taken the industry by storm.
Let’s take a look at how Merit is winning at Instagram right now. Relatable product demosMerit lives up to its promise of being “the antidote to the oversaturated world of beauty” by featuring real women (and real-looking models) of all shapes, sizes, and ages.
Featuring a diverse range of women helps a wider audience see themselves represented in the brand and sends a powerful message of self-acceptance. This is great for Merit, as it means their content is more likely to reach (and resonate with) more people on Instagram. Behind the scenes of office life
Merit regularly shares candid photos of their New York office on Instagram.
We get to see mood boards, the adorable office dog, glimpses of the PR team’s camera roll, and flat lays of desks. This is a very different approach to other luxury beauty brands like Dior or Hourglass, which are very focused on the products and their celebrity/influencer collaborations.
These exclusive glimpses inside Merit’s world helps to build trust and transparency with the brand.
The inspiration behind the products
Want to build a legion of brand ambassadors? Make them part of the brand story.
Merit not only shares beautiful visuals of their products, they also share the inspiration behind new collections and pieces. For example, this photo carousel featuring models and celebrities from the 1970-2000s wearing one statement eyeshadow color (the inspiration behind Merit’s Solo Shadow).
Or this simple text graphic explaining the concept behind Merit’s Gelées tinted lip oil. By sharing the inspiration behind the products, Merit creates an emotional connection with their audience. This makes the products more memorable to consumers, and helps them stand out in a crowded market. Curated variety
Scroll through Merit’s Instagram account and what you’ll notice instantly is the variety.
While every photo or video is beautiful—whether it’s a line-up of lip oils or a vintage shot of Eva Herzigova or a video mash-up of make-up tutorials—they’re not formulaic. You never quite know what will be shared next.
This helps to maintain engagement and intrigue. It also helps to communicate the different sides of Merit’s brand: a clean, cruelty-free, well-edited, luxurious, accessible “makeup you can live in.”
From the brand’s perspective, sharing a variety of content allows them to experiment to see what type of content generates better reach and engagement than others.
These three brands offer valuable lessons for businesses and content creators looking to enhance their Instagram presence.
Embrace diversity in your content, engage authentically with your audience, and be bold in your storytelling. Whether it's through humor, inclusivity, or behind-the-scenes transparency, these strategies can help you build a loyal community and elevate your brand on Instagram in 2024.
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Every week, Emily interviews top brands, renowned influencers, and hidden agencies with one goal in mind: to understand what happens backstage of their social media strategies.Listen to esm2