By now, most of us have heard that in the coming months Instagram will start displaying video and image ads. Until this happens (and while it’s still free), have your brand utilize this real time photo sharing application to the best of your ability.

It’s important to determine what exactly you’re trying to communicate with your content marketing strategy. Many brands have an easy time doing this on Facebook and Twitter, while struggling to relate to their Instagram audience. If you don’t know or don’t understand your voice on your brand’s social media platforms, you can be sure your followers won’t either.

Are you showcasing products with price listings on your Instagram page? Customers might not want to see the products you have to offer when they can turn to your website for that information. In our opinion, Instagram is best used by brands when they post images that their customers wouldn’t normally see through traditional media, such as TV. For example, Burberry posts exclusive photos from backstage fashion-shoots and American Express posts pictures of contest winners. These brands understand their voice and also understand that their customers want to relate to the content they post.

Take a look at how these well known brands have perfected the art of image sharing on Instagram:

Adidas: Known for their popular sportswear and athletic shoes, Adidas does a great job of engaging global fans through well-photographed shots of athletes, products and more.

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NPR: This popular news organization was one of the first non-profits to join Instagram. Not only do they post breaking news stories through photos on Instagram, but they do a great job of sharing interesting facts based on topics from their various popular talks.

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Warby Parker: Known for a focus on boutique quality crafted eyewear at an affordable price. Warby Paker cleverly and artistically uses images featuring various eyewear products that they sell.. The image below was done for the Breaking Bad series finale.

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Virgin America: As a leading American airline company, Virgin America tries to incorporate deals as well as post about popular/trending topics like in this Portlandia (our hometown!) post.

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Starbucks: This popular coffee brand has over one million Instagram followers. They tend to post creative photos using their coffee products, which usually help invoke some kind of emotion in their coffee loving fans.

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Ultimately, your goal with Instagram is to have your brand’s voice carry over to your audience in a creative, thoughtful way. We truly believe that looking at Instagram as a community, and less as a medium for advertising opportunities, is when you’ll begin to build genuine connections.