By Caitlin Brennan

September 12th, 2016

We’re putting the spotlight on Instagram accounts you might not have heard of, but believe us, their Instagram strategy is crushing it. “With 34% of US internet users now using Instagram,” it’s crucial to have an Instagram presence. Here are three brands that each stand out on Instagram in a unique way.

Engagement
If you’re George Washington’s Virginia estate, great Instagramming could take a back seat to, say, great butter churning or tobacco-drying. Somehow, Mount Vernon manages to keep one foot in the 21st century with another in the 18th.

Happy #fridayfunday!

A photo posted by George Washington Mount Vernon (@mount_vernon) on

Playing with memes is hard to do for some brands without looking like try-hards, but Mount Vernon hits the sweet spot by importing the aesthetics of modern memes into the everyday life of the Founding Fathers’ generation. A word of warning: this is advanced work. You can take the fonts and mimic the language, but unless you are well-versed, it is very easy to create something tone-deaf.

I cannot tell a lie: Mount Vernon’s Instagram strategy is hilarious and engaging.

Sorry Washington, there can never be enough flags! #fridayfunday

A photo posted by George Washington Mount Vernon (@mount_vernon) on

Communicating with fans
Imagine the challenge: create an Instagram presence for one of the most universally derided government agencies in the country. The one that makes you late for your flight, gives you whiffs of other folks’ stinky feet and tells you that your hair gel is one tenth of an ounce too big to fly: the Transportation Security Administration. How can you create positive interactions on social media when people reach out to you only they’re angry?

By giving viewers something better to talk about, that’s how. Between the thousands of TSA agents in hundreds of airports around the country, there are some stories. And pictures. The TSA Instagram page is basically a visual catalog of great work anecdotes from one of the most disrespected jobs in the country.

Here’s the premise: everywhere you go, people are trying to fly with objects ranging from scary,

to exotic,

and just plain unusual.

Visual appeal
Barkhaus is a Miami-based dog daycare, training and boarding facility. They have developed a large social media fan base by delivering great photo after great photo of the photogenic pups that call Barkhouse their temporary home. It’s really a thing to behold: dozens of dogs, tongues out in the Florida sunshine, lined up, well-behaved and patient.

"Everything the light touches is our kingdom."

A photo posted by Barkhaus (@barkhaus) on

Sometimes, the dogs are dressed up.

Red, White and Drool!

A photo posted by Barkhaus (@barkhaus) on

Sometimes, they are in front of eye-popping bright backgrounds.

???

A photo posted by Barkhaus (@barkhaus) on

Barkhaus knows two important things about Instagram. First, Instagram loves animals. They express personality without the affectation and over-thinking prone to human models. Second, they take the time to get it right. No rushed candids or poorly lit product-in-action shots here. Just because social media is more casual than, for example, your morning newspaper, does not mean that you can expect results from lazy work.

Conclusion: Distill your awesome
On the surface, a historical estate, a much-mocked government agency and a doggy daycare have very little in common. Yet they are all Instagram strategy successes by adhering to the same principles. Instead of posting whatever photo is available from publicity shoots or fooling around with a camera at the office as an afterthought, they have brand image and stick to it. Consider what other people would find interesting about your brand and build a strategy around it. Unlike those Barkhaus dogs, the public will not sit around on their haunches waiting for you to show them something cool.

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