Five Instagram Marketing Campaigns We Can All Learn From

March 24, 2015

By: Anna Lea Crowe

Yes, Instagram is primarily a place where users share their foodie pics and visually brag about their latest vacation or new artsy purchase. However, it’s these exact uses of Instagram that make it the perfect platform for brands who provide the types of goods and services that Instagrammers naturally love to share. Beyond the fact that Instagram has accumulated 15 million users who have uploaded more than 400 million photos in less than two years, which shows just how critical this platform can be for your brand’s online presence. Knowing how to leverage your brand on Instagram is equally critical for you to cut through the noise.

Here are five Instagram marketing campaigns showing what brands did successfully and what you can takeaway from them.

1.) Friday and River

friday and river

In order to expand their audience as well as increase engagement with their current following, Friday and River, a handmade leather goods and accessories company, ran an Instagram contest.

They announced their contest using a visually appealing graphic featuring one of their products, which was also the prize. To enter, contestants had to follow them and either repost the contest photo, or share their own photo of a Friday and River leather piece, and use the contest-specific hashtags.

In addition to gaining followers from others sharing their images, they also used generic hashtags such as #photocontest, #leather and #mensfashion to expand the contest’s reach beyond their pre-existing followers.


  • Allow contestants to post your branded image or a product image of their own to put even more of your products on display.
  • Use general hashtags to extend your contest to other Instagrammers who aren’t following your account yet.

2.) Hotel Lindrum

hotel lindrum

Although Instagram is used almost exclusively on mobile devices, unlike other social networks that are utilized on both mobile device and desktops, you still need to leverage your Instagram channel like any other network your company has a presence on.

For example, the Hotel Lindrum has an Instagram icon right next to the icons for Facebook and Twitter on their site. This lets visitors know that they are on the platform and if they’re on the mobile site, they can click right over to Instagram where they also included their custom hashtag #HotelLindrum in their bio.

To take it a step further, they also have a Guest Gallery on their website showcasing all of the photos their guests take using their hashtag.


  • Show off your user-generated content using a separate gallery that lets your customers shine. People love to see that what they share with a brand is being recognized; it only further propels future engagement.
  • Make your hashtag known. If someone clicks on to your feed they may not click individual photos and see what hashtags you’re using. By featuring your hashtag right in your bio you’re directly inviting your visitors to use it.

3.) Om Nom Nom Cookies


Another photo contest, but with a twist. Boutique vegan cookie company, Om Nom Nom Cookies, capitalized on the selfie movement by making their contest as much about their customers as it was about their cookies.

To win the prize of an Om Nom Nom t-shirt, all contestants have to do is take a picture of themselves eating one of their cookies and @ mention their Instagram. Best selfie(s) win the prize.


  • Leverage your fans. If you offer a unique service, like vegan cookies, your fans might very well be taking pictures of your food already. By encouraging users to tag you for a contest, your follower’s followers have a better chance of finding you and becoming fans themselves.
  • Make it about them. Instagram is known for being a platform where people love to share their unique everyday stories, so make sure to let them include themselves in addition to your product.

4.) Travel Country

travel country

Online shopping is quickly becoming the predominant way people are making purchases, even if there’s a store within 10 miles of the customer’s home.

However, even if your company has an online store, you know that getting customers in to your brick and mortar store is one of the best opportunities to create loyal life-long customers. People who visit your store have the opportunity to touch and see your products in person before purchase; they can experience your stellar customer service first hand, and get an immediate vibe of your brand through your store’s atmosphere.

You can encourage in-store visits like Travel Country when they ran a photo contest to get the best picture inside their Florida store. The month-long contest offered up the prize of various Travel Country products and a gift card to the best in-store snapshot.


  • Make your contest specific to your brick and mortar store to encourage foot traffic rather than just click traffic.
  • This type of contest adds dimension for customers who don’t live near your store and can only shop online. You can virtually transport them there.

5.) Tender Greens

tender greens

As any restaurateur knows, butts in seats is the bottom line on your restaurant’s success.

In an effort to keep people coming back and create continued engagement with their following, Tender Greens gives a branded t-shirt away weekly to the Instagrammer with the best photo inside their establishment.

They let customers know to share their dining photos with them by prominently displaying their contest-specific hashtag around their restaurant and reminding followers of their Instagram account to play along by utilizing other user-generated content.


  • Keep your Instagram campaign ongoing by doing a giveaway every week or month. This encourages repeat engagement from your customers rather than a one-time contest.
  • Take advantage of all your user-generated content. Use this content to further promote customer sharing or use it for general evergreen posts. You now have a built-in bank of content!

As you can see, there’s a variety of ways you can leverage your brand on Instagram beyond simply posting, liking and commenting. Unlike some of the other social media channels, you can get people to be your visual brand ambassadors and communicate your story to the masses!

Meet Guest: Anna Lea Crowe

Anna creates and manages multichannel digital marketing experiences for big brands on a global level. She is a social media nerd turned color palette-loving designer. When Anna isn’t posting another funny vine video, she enjoys jamming to reggae music and hanging out with her basset hound, Norman. Connect with her on Google+ or Twitter @annaleacrowe.


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