Instagram Marketing Ideas for E-Commerce & Retail Brands

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Instagram. As of last month the photo-driven social network has over 150M users!

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The most popular business Instagram accounts are (as of Oct 18, 2013):

  1. Nike (2.5 million+ followers)
  2. Starbucks (1.6 million+ followers)
  3. NBA (1.4 million+ followers)
  4. Adidas (1 million+ followers)
  5. Topshop (1.4 million+ followers)
  6. Forever 21 (1.9 million+ followers)
  7. Vans (700,000+ followers)
  8. Michael Kors (1.2 million+ followers)
  9. Victoria’s Secret (2.5 million+ followers)
  10. NFL (850,000+ followers)

What does this mean for (smaller) retail and e-commerce brands? If you’re not using Instagram you’re missing out on a big opportunity to connect with an audience that is not afraid to follow its favorite companies.

But, what should you share on Instagram?

I’m going to share that with you today. You can find more tips by looking through the Instagram accounts of the most popular brands above, but today I will share my personal favorite posts from brands I follow.

As both a marketer and consumer, these brands and their posts really impress me.

Diamond Candles | @DiamondCandles on Instagram

Diamond Candles instagram account


The marketers behind the Diamond Candles Instagram account share all kinds of fun behind-the-scenes posts. These give fans an insider’s glimpse into how their favorite candles are made.

Perhaps even more exciting for a brand fan though are the giveaways and contests that Diamond Candles hosts for their Instagram followers:



Everybody loves a good discount! And because Diamond Candles uses a promo code it will be easy for them to calculate the revenue generated and the ROI from this campaign.

The folks at Diamond Candles also use Instagram to announce new products to their 14,000+ fans:



Notice how the banner graphic includes the URL to their website? This is an important touch added to the graphic because Instagram does not allow you to tag a picture with a URL and they do not make URLs clickable in the image descriptions. This means your graphic should include your website URL front and center if you want people to visit it.

Warby Parker | @WarbyParker on Instagram 



For those who don’t know, Warby Parker is an e-commerce company that sells prescription glasses in trendy frames.

Warby Parker’s Instagram account is full of pictures of their products and behind the scenes type photos.

They are a fun brand and even use their Instagram to jump on trends. For example, when the finale of the popular show Breaking Bad was coming up they Instagrammed a graphic of the main character wearing one of their frames:



Incorporating trends and current events is a great way to get your audience to engage with you on Instagram.

Another example of Warby Parker using Instagram in an innovative way is this:



Here a Warby staff member is shown wearing four different frames and fans are asked to vote on which one they like best.

This not only personalizes the brand by adding a face to it, but it also gets fans to closely examine four different products without realizing it. That’s Instagram genius right there!

Birchbox | @Birchbox on Instagram



Birchbox is a monthly beauty subscription service for women who really like makeup and other beauty products.

Their Instagram is used mainly to share the products that are being featured in the latest monthly box, as well as to promote all the products in their online store.

They don’t just share professional shots of the products though. Nor do they only share pictures with models in them. Rather most of their pictures feature Birchbox staff members using the products. This is great because it shows people of all different varieties (skin color, hair color, eye color, etc.) using the products. It’s a great way to get customers to imagine how they might use the products.

Additionally, Birchbox sometimes hosts giveaways on Instagram:



Giveaways and contests are, of course, a great way to get your audience to engage with you. As long as you have the budget for it (and I recommend you make the budget for it), don’t shy away from hosting giveaways!

Which Instagram accounts do you like to follow?

Are you currently using Instagram and having really good success? If so, please share a tip in the comments for your fellow marketers!

Do you have any questions about anything in this post? If so, please leave a comment or tweet to us @AdEspresso and our team will do our best to answer your questions. If you’re ready to start optimizing your Facebook ads please sign up for our FREE beta

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