Sepia-Toned Marketing: The Top Brands on Instagram

Since it was purchased by Facebook earlier this year, more and more brands have been testing the waters of Instagram in an effort to determine whether or not the photo-based social media app is a good addition to their social strategy. Some brands lend themselves more to the Instagram space than others, but the top 10 brands (follower-wise) actually come from a surprising variety of industries. Here are the top three brands and what they’re doing to make the space their own.


Coming in at a surprising number one is MTV. Boasting over 800,000 followers, MTV uses the medium to highlight veejays interviewing artists, live performances and even cult favorite past shows. MTV-ers even showed up to Lollapalooza over the weekend and snapped some fun behind-the-scenes photos with Florence Welch and Haley Reinhart.


At number two sits Seattle-based coffee king Starbucks. The official Starbucks Instagram account has 700,000+ followers and highlights clever shots of their famous drinks in interesting places. The account also promotes new and seasonal beverages (including their Refreshers) and encourages followers to take their own photos and tag them with #Starbucks.


The 156-year-old fashion brand has 400,000+ followers and likes to showcase its iconic style in Instagram form. But, the Burberry account also embraces its British roots and attitude by highlighting some of the most iconic and beautiful buildings and views in and around London. The beautiful, atmospheric shots are just as popular with followers as shots of accessories and models.

Some brands making up the rest of the top 10 are not surprising (H&M and Nike, for instance, are well performing brands on multiple social media fronts), but others are more unexpected. CNN, the Celtics and Red Bull all boast over 200,000 followers. With over 50 million global users for the taking, these surprising contenders might inspire unique and unconventional brands to investigate the Instagram space. And because it’s so easy to integrate Instagram into your brand’s Facebook page, it could be a marketing experiment that actually pays off.

Warby Parker used Instagram as the basis for a well-received social media stunt that got marketers talking. Check out our full report here.