How do you determine the ROI of your social media campaigns? 30+ social media marketers weigh in with their expert advice.
| Aug 10
Melissa King on May 27, 2021 (last modified on June 16, 2021) • 17 minute read
Instagram is a must-have for the modern marketer.
When we surveyed 50 marketing professionals about their organizations’ Instagram use, more than half told us they consider the platform “crucial” or “very important.”
In addition, 88% of respondents reported having an Instagram profile for their business. You could be missing out on new marketing opportunities if you don’t have one yet.
Of course, Instagram will only deliver results if you invest enough time in it. If you don’t know where to start, we also asked these marketers about their favorite Instagram business profiles to inspire your strategy.
The people we polled focus on communication and visibility in their Instagram efforts. Their top three goals were promoting their products, boosting their brand image and staying in touch with customers. None of them think of Instagram as a sales platform.
So, what accounts pull off this approach well? We divided the respondents’ profile recommendations into two groups based on Instagram’s importance to their business:
Let’s dig in.
Fifty-eight percent of the marketers we consulted think Instagram is crucial (30%) or very important (28%) to their communications. This group invests the most money into Instagram out of the survey participants. An impressive 25% stated that they spent between $2,501 and $5,000 on their monthly Instagram budget.
The majority of this group (64.3%) comes from marketing agencies or consultancies, showing the importance of Instagram in the marketing field. You’ll see that these respondents also work in professional services, eCommerce, tech and manufacturing.
These marketing pros had 12 Instagram business profiles to share for inspiration:
Daniel Snow from The Snow Agency recommends looking at Perfect Sculpt (@theperfectsculpt) as an example of effective influencer marketing. “The Perfect Sculpt is a great Instagram business profile. Quarantine kept people inside yearning to connect and with more time spent online, which created a more homegrown, down-to-earth type of influencer, along with many who were able to relate. These influencers earned trust with their audience and lots of engagement via Reels and Stories,” Snow explains
Snow also notices an increase in down-to-earth influencers in The Snow Agency’s marketing efforts, saying, “As a digital marketing agency, we also use Instagram heavily. What I see is the continued rise in influencer marketing at all levels.”
If you check out The Perfect Sculpt’s feed, it shares pictures from influencers with all sorts of body types. Its bio emphasizes confidence for every body, and its range of influencers reflects that value.
The Perfect Sculpt teaches you that the influencers you work with should match your company values.
Wood Flooring Ireland’s Naomi O’Callaghan suggests turning to Nike’s Instagram (@nike) for inspiration. “Instagram is a fantastic platform for businesses to utilize, especially if you have a beautiful product and strong brand image – one such example is Nike,” O’Callaghan tells us.
Nike uses storytelling to raise brand awareness by profiling athletes across the world. As O’Callaghan points out, “The American apparel giant uses their Instagram to promote both products and their brand ethos. It’s a tour-de-force in how to keep consumers engaged, up to date and aware of any new items they may be releasing or campaigns they are launching.”
You’ll notice that Nike’s posts hardly focus on its products — instead, they put a spotlight on inspiring athletes. For Nike, brand values take precedence over merchandise.
Looking for a good Instagram profile for a tourism business? EatFirst’s Markus Albert suggests Tourism Vancouver (@tourismvancouver). “Tourism Vancouver has done a really good job of nailing one of the most basic and fundamental tasks of any Instagram business profile: It has made great use of all the available fields,” says Albert.
In other words, when Tourism Vancouver creates a post, it credits the photographer, adds relevant hashtags in multiple languages and tags relevant accounts. Cross your T’s and dot your I’s every time you post to optimize your content to its fullest.
Joe Terrell from Drifted recommends the Alienware Instagram account (@alienware). “One example of a great Instagram marketing and business profile is Alienware due to their posts and content that get their fan base talking back and kicking up conversation,” Terrell explains.
Consider this Alienware post that discusses using a controller in PC games versus the mouse and keyboard. Most people outside of PC gaming don’t think about that topic, but it’s a hot issue for Alienware’s fans. The comments are full of responses naming the best games to play with a controller on PC.
What can you learn from Alienware? If you know your audience inside and out, you’ll be able to make content that sparks a passionate conversation.
Editor’s note: Get to know your Instagram audience better with the Instagram Business (Audience Overview) dashboard for Databox. It displays your followers’ age ranges, locations and activity.
Sandal brand Teva (@teva) earns its spot on our list through Olivia Tan from CocoFax’s recommendation. Tan tells the story of the Teva brand’s rebirth: “Teva pioneered the sport sandal segment in 1984, with many millennials recalling the company as their youth’s ‘dad-sandal.’ However, over the last few years, millennials (and other generations) have adopted the sporty, relaxed sandal as a fashion symbol as well as a practical shoe.”
According to Tan, Teva combines in-house and user content in its feed. “The business uses a combination of skilled imagery and user-generated content (UGC) submitted by Teva-wearing fans using the hashtag #strapinfreedom on Instagram,” Tan explains.
Inclusivity also contributes to Teva’s Instagram popularity. “For businesses in the apparel and cosmetics industries, it’s important for consumers to see themselves in the offering, which Teva accomplishes. Teva uses its diverse user base to effectively share the idea that Teva sandals are for everybody, earning them a spot on the list of the best company Instagram pages,” Tan concludes.
What should you take away from Teva’s work? If you want to target an audience that feels left out of your branding, look for ways to involve them in your content.
PlaybookUX’s Lindsey Allard considers Danielle Hu (@thewanderlover) a must-follow. “As a female co-founder, I love to see other female leaders put themselves out there and show their expertise to help others. Danielle helps online business owners and is constantly sharing positive, uplifting, and insightful content that I love!” Allard exclaims.
“All social media channels should be about sharing expertise and showing off your knowledge to help potential clients. A very good business profile is able to show some personality, share expertise and have a really quality CTA that will convert viewers into customers. Danielle’s profile does exactly that, and that’s why I’m a big fan of it!” concludes Allard.
As a professional in social media and eCommerce, Danielle Hu must stay on top of the platform’s best practices. When you glance at her feed, it almost seems like she’s a travel influencer, but in reality, she’s combining her passions with her business advice.
Danielle Hu’s profile shows that infusing your tastes and personality into your content can pay off.
As an avid reader, Alex Williams from Find This Best suggests Bloomberg Business (@bloombergbusiness). “Kudos to their copywriters and social media content creator, because each headline and the associated image makes you want to click on the link and travel to their website. For me, this business profile has been optimized so well for Instagram that it makes me severely envious,” Williams says.
Bloomberg Business Instagram content turns a piece’s headline into compelling copy placed over its headline image. It’s a simple approach, but it keeps branding consistent to catch the viewer’s eye as they scroll through their feed.
This Instagram profile shows that maintaining visual consistency and understanding your posts’ purpose will generate results.
Banish’s Daisy Jing names WeWoreWhat (@shopweworewhat) as their favorite Instagram business profile. “There is consistency and engagement with posts. Their stories are very engaging, and they have a high variety of colors, races, and places where they pose and post their products,” Jing elaborates.
WhoWoreWhat combines in-house and user-generated content to create consistent and stylish visual branding. It goes beyond its clothes to promote itself as a lifestyle brand.
Arnold Chapman of ELDFocus calls Volvo Trucks (@volvotrucks) one of their favorite Instagram profiles. “They consistently post new content which is very insightful, not just about what their brand is doing, but communicating the future of trucking. They go beyond being just visually appealing like a lot of their competitors,” Chapman says.
“One of my favorite Instagram profiles is. They consistently post new content which is very insightful, not just about what their brand is doing, but communicating the future of trucking. They go beyond being just visually appealing like a lot of their competitors.”
Volvo Trucks is a unique example of establishing thought leadership on Instagram. Depending on your industry, you can look for ways to show off your products and explain their place in the market.
Overhorizon Media’s Michal Hajtas highlights LEGO (@lego) as an example of a good Instagram business profile. “Why? For its simplicity, high engagement and funny, yet creative content,” Hajtas tells us.
As a family brand, LEGO has to appeal to children and parents alike, and it achieves this goal on its Instagram with colorful and imaginative posts. It highlights new products and provides inspiration for using its versatile building block.
Janice Wald of Mostly Blogging has an influencer account to share — Lil Miquela (@lilmiquela). Wald names Lil Miquela’s branding as a “robot” as part of her appeal, as well as her bio design: “She has emojis like others with an eye-catching profile. She supports causes like Black Lives Matter and promotes marketing material like her NFT. I admire her profile. So do others apparently. She has 3 million followers.”
So, for Lil Miquela, words are just as important as images. She ties her visuals together with staunch values and cheeky branding to connect to her fans.
Craig Hooghiem from Vicimus Inc. suggests checking out the Xbox Game Pass Instagram profile (@xboxgamepass). “Xbox GamePass has a strong presence on Instagram, where they share everything from game announcements to memes and riddles, hinting at future corporate announcements.”
As you can see just from our screenshot, the Xbox Game Pass account is heavy on memes — a lesser-known Instagram niche. Since video game players are a more lighthearted audience, it leans into a silly persona to make its posts entertaining.
Thirty-four percent of survey participants told us that they think of Instagram as “somewhat important” for their marketing or “there are more important channels.” As you might expect, more than three-quarters of this segment spend under $1,000 on their Instagram budget every month.
When it comes to industry, this group of less frequent Instagram users had a similar makeup to the more invested users. More than half work in marketing, and a quarter specialize in professional services.
While they aren’t as passionate about Instagram as the previous group, they still had plenty of profiles to share for ideas:
Entrepreneur Magazine’s Instagram (@entrepreneur) stands out as a top-quality profile for mortgage broker Alan Harder. “Entrepreneur Magazine’s Instagram page is used to motivate, educate, and celebrate business owners. And it has piqued the attention of 3.6 million people,” Harder tells us.
What does Entrepreneur do to make its Instagram shine? “They do an excellent job of sharing photos of business owners in their natural environments, as well as images that lead to valuable information and videos,” Harder says. Harder also credits Entrepreneur’s succinct and catchy titles.
Like Bloomberg Business, Entrepreneur Magazine takes its original articles and optimizes parts of them. If you decide to share your website’s content on Instagram, remember that you can get creative and modify it for the platform.
Coffee Affection’s Kate MacDonnell vouches for the Chewy Instagram (@chewy). “Chewy has a fantastic Instagram business profile. They make their page incredibly aesthetically appealing while also conveying important information for new and existing clients,” MacDonnell elaborates.
Take this video post as an example. It shows one of Chewy’s cat scratchers in use in a vibrant environment.
What can you learn from Chewy’s Instagram? Stick to your core social media goals, but don’t be afraid to think outside the box when you achieve them.
Editor’s note: How do you know if your Instagram posts are hitting the mark? Check out your post activity at a glance with Databox’s Instagram Business (post performance) dashboard and adjust your social strategy accordingly.
Samantha Odo from Precondo cites entrepreneur Gary Vee’s profile (@garyvee) as an Instagram to look up to. “It’s great because he makes his page interactive, even though he has a huge following, which is something most people fail at as they grow to a large number of followers.”
Odo continues, “Due to the personal touch he adds to his posts, and his constant interactions with followers, followers feel like they know him and are following a real human as opposed to just a brand. This makes him stand out and gives him an edge in today’s world.”
Gary Vee infuses his personality into his posts with personal stories, doodles and inspirational thought leadership. If you run a single-person Instagram brand, think of what you’re passionate about and explain to your followers why it’s compelling.
Zen Media’s Mehvish has a grassroots pick for you — Hey, Can I Recycle This? (@heycanirecyclethis). “I think this business profile is great because it’s slowly growing day by day and it is extremely informative to anyone and everyone. In a time where climate change is a huge deal, small informative [posts like these] can help everyone out,” Mehvish affirms.
This Instagram takes a simple idea (what to recycle) and goes granular to deliver actionable information. It’s one thing to say that you can recycle plastic and another to explain that you can recycle plastic #5 and name an example. As you write your Instagram captions, try to share details and examples that will get your point across.
Speaking as a consumer, freelance writer Ashley Cummings names The Points Guy (@thepointsguy) as an Instagram profile to imitate. “The account is filled with gorgeous images, tips on where to travel, and best of all — ways I can get better travel deals. I think the best way to build an Instagram profile is to make it about what the consumer cares about. In this case, it’s free travel and The Points Guy hits the nail on the head,” Cummings says.
For example, this post shows off a shot of the Las Vegas Strip and shares places in the area where you can use your hotel points. It draws in the viewer with an appealing photo and directs them to the website with an informative caption.
Liz Jostes from Eli Rose Social Media shares a profile that can help you brand your Instagram profile — Nicte Creative Design (@nictecreativedesign). Jostes says, “Nicte Creative Design is a vibrant, educational, graphic design-focused Instagram account that teaches other business owners about developing their own brand identity through colors, fonts and design. Because of Nicte’s Instagram presence, she was hired by LinkedIn to develop a series of LinkedIn Learning courses.”
Nicte shares design tips that you can apply to your own Instagram posts. Her success with LinkedIn also shows that you shouldn’t underestimate Instagram’s ability to establish you as an industry leader.
RubyHome’s Tony Mariotti has a local profile to share with you — Jacksonville, Florida’s Cady Realty (@cadyrealty). “The overall style is consistently sharp and clean when it comes to design. There aren’t any excessive or fussy elements. When you land on their profile and start to browse their content, it’s immediately clear what they do and that they are experts in their field,” Mariotti says of the profile’s overall design.
Mariotti also has good things to say about the account’s posts, explaining, “The quality of their posts is not only beautiful and engaging, it’s helpful and EVEN entertaining! They make sure to have a balance of long and insightful commentary as well as simply fun content to keep you excited to see what they will post next. This keeps them at the forefront of their followers’ minds and attracts a loyal audience — that’s exactly what the goal is when it comes to social!”
Cady Realty puts as much care and attention to details in its posts as you’d expect from a much larger brand. If you have a local business, don’t skip on your social media efforts — your customers will appreciate it.
Miguel Gonzalez of Dealers League suggests checking out an Instagram from an iconic brand — Pepsi (@pepsi). “Their goal goes obviously beyond selling more Pepsi,” Gonzalez tells us. “They just want a profile that is engaging and visually wonderful at the same time. They want to entertain. Their images are stunning and they have highlights with music, games, quizzes [and other interactive content]. Also, they publish every day.”
These practices go back to the lessons you learned early on in this blog post. Instead of focusing on sales, try to raise brand awareness and promote your products with your Instagram.
Which Login’s Peter Thaleikis highlights that Tesla (@teslamotors), a company without a marketing budget, has over 8 million followers on Instagram. “Tesla combined a boring industry with a strong organic marketing and brand presence,” Thaleikis says.
Thaleikis shares an example of Tesla’s marketing approach on Instagram: “Even mistakes are turned into successes: The Cybertruck ‘Armour Glass’ video got people talking worldwide. Which turned out to be a fantastic marketing move. Tesla accurately showcases how most publicity can still be beneficial in the long run.”
So, you can learn two things from the Tesla Instagram — build a base of loyal followers organically, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
Andre Oentoro from Milkwhale shouts out the Instagram profile for IBM (@ibm). “Their profile is often overlooked, but the reality is that it’s filled with a lot of great content they’re passionate about. It doesn’t seem much at first, but their profile gives us detailed insight into what they’re working on and what changes they’ve brought into the world,” Oentoro explains.
IBM keeps its Instagram posts simple yet impactful. Every post showcases an IBM event, feature or technology that sets the brand apart from others. It demonstrates how a quality product can carry an Instagram post.
Datis Mohsenipour of HeyOrca shares SocialMedia55 (@socialmedia55) as their go-to Instagram profile for inspiration. “If you’re looking for inspiration on how to run a proper Instagram account, you need to make sure to follow them,” Mohsenipour says, listing the following reasons:
In other words, SocialMedia55 uses all of the Instagram features and best practices available to it to promote consistent branding and engaging content. Consider how every part of your profile, including your highlights and grid layout, ties into your brand.
“From first look, you know who they are, what they do, and what they sell,” Frigo tells us. You know a bit about the company (i.e., Made in USA), and you know about their flagship drink (i.e. 0 calories, 0 sugar, 0 artificial flavors). They mention a new product that recently dropped and link to their site. So many business Instagram pages are just random nonsense — I like that theirs is straightforward.”
If you browse the account’s posts, you’ll notice that while the pictures stay creative, every caption goes back to the energy drink product. As you build a brand awareness strategy for your Instagram, don’t let the important details get muddled.
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