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Want some Instagram advice from billion dollar companies? Then listen up

want some instagram advice from billion dollar companies pay attention class is in session hed
In case it wasn’t already entirely clear that Instagram is brands’ new best friend, a report from enterprise data intelligence firm TrackMaven released a report this morning detailing exactly how much the photo-sharing app means to Fortune 500 companies.

Don’t believe me? Well have I got the chart for you:

brands ig

Pay attention – there are some important lessons to learn from the brands here. There’s a reason they’re called “Fortune 500” companies.

1. “I wonder if Starbucks has good Instagram game,” said no one ever

It should come as no surprise that Starbucks was the first Fortune 500 company to get on board with Instagram in December 2010 – Starbucks also happens to the most Instagrammed restaurant out there. Take a look: Starbucks is definitely pushing its product here, but also puts the focus elsewhere and tries to make photos emotional. It also uses a ton of filter variety, which you can check out via its Webstagram profile.

Secret lunch spot. #ontheway

A post shared by Starbucks Coffee ☕ (@starbucks) on

In addition to Starbucks, Nike is also doing Instagram right — both have seen a considerably higher amount of interactions on the platform with their followers.

sb nike ig

The lesson: Don’t get stuck in a rut. If you’ve taken nothing but pictures of your coffee or the view from your desk window, it’s time to change it up. And if you’re anything like me, you need to stop it with the Nashville filter. I admit I have a problem.

2. Brands aren’t sure about this whole video thing either

Instagram videos are still fairly new and the experimentation phase isn’t over yet. However they were supposed to be a mechanism for driving ads and something that brands were liking to take advantage of. Turns out, they’re not sold yet either. One stat to prove it? “Over the last 30 days there have been 1,792 photos and only 74 videos posted from the Fortune 500 Instagram accounts.”

picture vs video ig

Maybe it’s because pictures have proven more effective… at least so far.

The lesson: Yeah, the minute people saw that video camera icon in the upper right hand corner of your Nth dog video they totally skimmed it. Video sparingly, guys.

3. It’s all in the timing

Surprise! Thursdays are the most popular day of the week for hitting up Instagram (#tbt has got to be hugely responsible for this). Thus, brands are following our lead and doing the same. What time are they posting? Peak popularity for the enterprise hits at 3-4 p.m. EST.

ig hours

The lesson: Keep on throwin’ it back come Thursday – and know it’s the best day of the week to show off whatever else you got.

4. What filters do brands love?

#NoFilter, apparently. Second place goes to Lo-Fi and third to X-Pro II, although apparently users want to see Mayfair. Give the people what they want, guys. To be Mayfair, Mayfair (I will not apologize for that pun) is the most recently introduced filter, so there hasn’t been a lot of time to get busy with it.

filters ig

While brands are going easy on filters, apparently they should be experimenting outside of Lo-Fi and X-Pro II.


The lesson: Don’t feel bad for loving X-Pro II so much, because it turns out we all do (even though it doesn’t bring in the most engagement). And just because your photos aren’t good enough for #nofilter isn’t necessarily a bad thing since Mayfair brings in the most interaction (then followed by #nofilter, then Inkwell).

Also, science shows including Corgi pics can do wonders for your account.

5. The rules of hashtags

Now this is interesting, though seemingly obvious: There’s such a thing as a hashtag sweet spot. Less than three isn’t optimal. but more than five and levels of interaction start dropping off – until you hit 10+ – then things pick back up again. But it looks like five is the sweet spot. Let this be a lesson for all you hashtag happy fools, brand or no: Stop it. Just stop it. Five is enough.

However this doesn’t entirely hold for accounts with “few” followers (for Fortune 500 brands, that means less than 1,000… it probably means more like less then 400 for you or me). In this case, going hashtag crazy (11+) will help you.


The lesson: Fine, hashtag it up to get more followers. Both once you’ve achieved your objective (i.e., getting more followers), then you need to cool it and keep it to five.

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