How Fortune 500 brands use Instagram and what every brand can learn

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Many brands have already embraced the power of Instagram, but there are many interesting lessons we can all learn from the Fortune 500 Instagram Report.

TrackMaven has decided to analyse the Instagram presence of all the Fortune 500 brands, in order to draw useful insights on what makes a successful Instagram feed.

Thus, it examined 41,071 unique posts from May 1, 2015 to May 1, 2016, measuring both the number of followers, but also the engagement between the brands and the audience.

According to their analysis, 50% of the Fortune 500 brands have an Instagram presence, with the statistic rising to 58% for the brands placed in the positions 1-100.

Easy to like, not to comment

It is a very interesting observation to see that 98.9% of the interactions with Fortune 500 brands were in form of likes and just 1.1% of them being comments, which proves that users are often not engaged enough (or too lazy?) to actually leave a comment. They rather prefer to show their approval with a double tap, or else a like.

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What’s the best day to post on Instagram?

Thursday and Friday are the most competitive days for Fortune 500 brands, as both number 17.1% of the total posts. As it was expected, Saturday and even more, Sunday, account the least number of posts, with just 9.8% and 8.5% accordingly.

The number of posts does not guarantee success though, as the rising competition reduces the chances of engagement and that’s why Sunday seems to be the most engaging day, being followed by Monday.

The quantity of posts on Thursday and Friday makes it harder for a brand to stand out, which means that it might be a good idea to experiment with posting on the least expected days, like in the case of Sunday.

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When is the best time to post on Instagram?

Most Fortune 500 brands seem to prefer posting between 9 am to 9 pm ET, as 88% of their posts are within this timeframe.

As with the most popular days of the week though, the competition does not guarantee the desired engagement during a busy time of the day, which is why the posts that are published between 10 pm and 3 am ET seem to have the highest impact or engagement among Fortune 500 brands.

There may not be an ideal time of the day to post on Instagram, but still, it is interesting to monitor your competitors’ posting habits, in order to find the best schedule for your own posts.

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Should my brand use hashtags?

Instagram hashtags may contribute to a post’s increased reach and the survey by TrackMaven confirms how the engagement is affected by the use of hashtags.

In fact, the posts from Fortune 500 brands that used hashtags or a question mark saw a significant higher engagement, while the exclamation point didn’t seem to help a post’s performance, reducing the engagement by 0.22%.

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What’s the best filter to use?

Fortune 500 brands don’t seem to apply many filters on Instagram, as 89.03% of posts don’t include a filter, which proves the brands’ preference of pre-edited photos for their Instagram feed.

As for the brands that still prefer to apply filters on their posts, Juno and Lark seem to be the most popular choices, with Moon and Willow being the least preferred ones.

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The best Fortune 500 brands on Instagram

TrackMaven analysed the most successful Fortune 500 brands on Instagram and here is their leaderboard:

  • Most popular Instagram account: Nike
  • Most impressive Instagram growth: Publix
  • Most avid Instagrammers: Foot Locker, Live Nation
  • Best Instagram videos: Disney
  • Best all-around Instagram account: Starbucks
  • Highest engagement ratio: Starbucks, Old Spice, Taco Bell

If we had to focus on the best examples that may offer useful lessons to every other brand, we would pick Starbucks, Nike, and Disney.

Starbucks

Starbucks is among the most successful brands on Instagram, having the best engagement ratio among Fortune 500, and also the second highest number of followers. What’s more, it was among the first Fortune 500 brands to join Instagram, proving that they were dedicated enough to grow their presence to this impressive level.

Their creativity, the user-generated content, the feeling of community inclusion, the loyalty and the unique product placement make the brand’s feed special and the audience seems to enjoy the brand’s unique feed.

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Nike

With 53.9 million followers, Nike is certainly the most popular brand on Instagram, going beyond its Fortune 500 competitors, as it counts five times more followers than Starbucks, its closest rival.

Nike’s popularity derives from the brand’s actual broad reach, its well known collaborations and its significant budget on its marketing activities, while it also seems to understand Instagram and publishes very creative and appealing posts.

It’s impressive to note that an average Instagram photo for Nike counts 469,842 interactions, while a post like the one below led to 950k likes.

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Disney

Walt Disney Company seems to love creating Instagram videos and it’s certainly rewarded for its commitment to them. In fact, it see the most engagement per video among Fortune 500 brands, while it accounted more than 7 million video interactions in the period that TrackMaven analysed its performance. 

Disney has certainly the right content to be appealing and engaging and its creative use of it makes the engagement even easier.

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Think like a big brand

It’s not just the budget that makes a Fortune 500 brand popular, but also its creative use of the content, the understanding of its audience and the way it may increase the engagement of the posts.

Even the smallest budget may turn a brand popular on Instagram, provided the content is appealing, unique and fresh.

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