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20th Dec 2016

The Biggest And Best Brands You Should Be Following On Instagram


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I wrote a post last summer about the
top 10 brands on Instagram but the world of social media moves fast and since then so many more brands have jumped the ranks to compete with them.

Instagram is a funny social media platform – it really does highlight our generation’s need for “information”. And most of the time that information needn’t be useful, just like magazines of the past – people like to flick through hundreds of posts daily without really ever absorbing anything.

We’ve entered this bizarre swipe-searching, double-tapping era where things have to look pretty and be witty to get a look in. This makes for some well thought-out posts from big brands who want to stay relevant. And some are doing it so well- so here are the biggest and best brands you should be following:


2.6 Million Followers

The most dominating sport globally on social media (once a year), these guys never get it wrong. I mean, being the organisation behind The Super Bowl clearly helps things – the NFL are just an advertising and branding goldmine.


1.7 Million Followers

Say what you like, but these guys aren’t going away any time soon. And social media has done wonders for the Playboy brand – especially platforms like Instagram that allow them to interact directly with their fans through photo sharing, which their content has always been about.


3.6 Million Followers

Their coffee may be average but their marketing is world-class. Coffee is probably the third-most Instagrammed thing after selfies and sunsets, and their captions captivate their followers using witty remarks and daily fun facts. Their stop-motion videos are so simple and also incredibly well produced.

Benefit Cosmetics

1.5 Million Followers

These guys are so good at creating rich content – mainly through customer interaction, and encouraging followers to send them photos of themselves using their products. Seems like appealing to people’s vanity never goes out of fashion. The best example of this was when they asked people to use #realsies when using “They’re Real” mascara. They received over 12K entries and were able to create the collage below on their website.



2.3 Million Followers

The American apparel brand are killing it on Instagram. This is mainly because they have really strong ties to extreme sports like surfing, skateboarding, snowboarding and BMX, giving them reels and reels of content to work off and share to their followers. And to be fair, their images are always pretty slick and envy-inducing.

Mercedes Benz

1.7 Million Followers

One of the most recognised brands in the motoring industry, Mercedes Benz clearly put a huge amount of money into their marketing. They were one of the first car brands to start using social media platforms as a selling tool, using incredibly engaging 14-second Insta videos. They clearly understand the importance of social media to sell lifestyles and cars to millennials.

Adidas Originals

4.1 Million Followers

It’s no surprise that one of the world’s largest lifestyle brands features on this list. They give a first glimpse at new releases through this medium. Instagram creates a flawless platform for fashion brands and makes consumers want and need the latest footwear, tees and accessories.

National Geographic

12 Million Followers

Nat Geo have always been renowned for their incredible photography so its a no brainer they’re so popular. Their posts tell stories and are highly engaging and educational in comparison to most Instagram accounts that contain materialistic content. They’ve been around since 1988 globe trotting for our entertainment and are famous for capturing some incredible breathtaking photos.

They’ve gone from magazines to TV channels and now are killing it on social. Consumers are obsessed with their photos of sunsets, cute animals and getting a glimpse at corners of the globe they could only dream of getting to.

View this post on Instagram

@marcusbleasdale The mother of Eliam Fedangaré, 24, celebrates as he arrives home with his father, Jean Fedangaré. Father and son were abducted by Seleka fighters but managed to escape during an attack. Human Rights Watch’s research on Central African Republic helped propel deployment of peacekeepers by the UN Security Council in September 2014. IMPACT is an exhibition focusing on the collaboration between photography and advocacy. @humanrightswatch has been using photography for many years to increase the power of the message and increase the IMPACT of the work of the researchers in the field. This collaboration has led to some extraordinary results and we would like to celebrate those achievements in this exhibition at #Christies in London this week @thephotographersgallery @natgeo #humanrightshumanwrongs

A post shared by National Geographic (@natgeo) on


1.5 Million Followers

Providing stiff competition to Mercedes Benz on Instagram, Audi have nailed car porn. They have an incredible dry wit on social, featuring photos of lots of cars driving through sunsets – the equivalent to melted chocolate in the food porn category.

Victoria’s Secret

10.3 Million Followers

They’ve increased their reputation on Instagram with photos of hot babes, airbrushed babes and underwear. Well let’s be honest… we’re only human.

View this post on Instagram

Hang ten in surfer-chic neoprene. #OwnTheBeach

A post shared by Victoria’s Secret (@victoriassecret) on


4.2 Million Followers

The world’s most versatile camera does nothing but share the most epic content from the internet. Each video and photo makes you feel like your life is less and less complete.

Red Bull

2.2 Million Followers

Red Bull have been kings of marketing since their launch into the global market in 1987. 28 years on and they’re still creating rich, modern content to keep fans engaged. Their sponsorship of extreme sports and music, like VANS, makes for some incredible posts.


2.8 Million Followers

One thing we all know about Instagram is it’s a fashion haven for girls – so many mediocre brands have made it big here simply by sharing well executed outfit posts. Topshop are never ones to hold back on marketing budgets using famous models to grace their season’s campaigns. This British fashion label has remained one of the most coveted high street brands in the world; kings of the hashtag engagement and pros when it comes to competitions.


11.8 Million Followers

These guys absolutely blow rivals Adidas out of the water when it comes to Instagram. Each post is strategically aligned to their famous tagline “Just Do It”, and if you find yourself scrolling through their timeline, you’re guaranteed to find the inspiration to go for a run or get our and get active.

Their organic content, featuring homemade and famous athletes, really brings a sense of passion to their posts – fewer stock images, more organic and bespoke. Brands take note.

View this post on Instagram

Make it rain. Let it snow. #justdoit

A post shared by nike (@nike) on



Substantially fewer followers than the rest of the brands featured on this list, but Oreo have always been extremely good at reaction marketing. Take this post for example – released the same day as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles remake in August.

Clever eh?

Gucci 3.2 Million Followers

The first of the luxury fashion brands to appear on this list, Gucci’s content is always premium. The Gucci team are great at sharing updates with a range of different photos from behind the scenes at shoots and fashion shows, photos of celebrities wearing their garments and a look at how their products are made.

Converse 1.2 Million Followers

Being one of the world’s most iconic, affordable casual footwear brands really helps to be big on this platform. Lots of lifestyle photos are shared here as well as their sponsorships for gigs and festivals worldwide. Makes for some nice double-tapping.

Ralph Lauren 1.3 Million Followers

Ralph Lauren have always been great for mixing luxury with travel leaving Instagram to be a complete no brainer and a simple photo sharing platform to promote their products.

NBA 4.8 Million Followers

The NBA were able to crank up their follower numbers by putting a huge focus on the good they do through their
NBA Cares programme. NBA Cares is a community outreach initiative sparked by the NBA to help address social issues that affect both kids and families. The initiative hosts various activities to address education and health and wellness issues. With that strong backbone, getting likes on all their posts is fairly easy.

MTV 2.8 Million Followers

MTV’s official Instagram feed shares photos and vids of celebrity news and music updates. It also contains some behind-the-scenes images and special promotions or seasonal content. MTV were ahead of the curve a few decades ago and still manage to stay relevant… Music does rule the world don’t cha know?

9GAG 10.5 Million Followers

One of the newest brands in the online world, 9GAG is one of the most popular go-to websites for that easily assessable humour I was talking about in the intro (insert fed up emoji here). No huge amount of brains required to absorb their posts/memes and most of their content is taken directly from Reddit… But hey, there’s no such thing as an original idea- it’s all about the execution and these guys have nailed that. So if you’re looking for cheap thrills and stuff you can screen grab and send to your mates in Whatsapp groups, bingo, here’s your pie.

NASA 2.3 Million Followers

At last, something other than Nat Geo that has real content. Get ready to feel completely irrelevant in life with NASA’s updates. Their epically curated and organic content will leave you wanting more. Nice look inside the world’s most respected extra teresstrial discovery brand.

Tiffany & Co 1.9 Million Followers

Everyone’s (well maybe not everyone) most lusted after luxury jewellery outlet. I’m not a huge fan of their girly graphics but people seem to go bananas on their Instagram. If you’re mad into jewellery and love that heart to heart stuff then this is a really fun account to follow.

Calvin Klein 1.1 Million Followers

Rising fast with somewhat of a brand revival, Calvin Klein haven’t been one bit shy about sharing some x-rated photos. Their campaign #MyCalvins was hard not to miss over the Christmas period with them endorsing hundreds of (mainly) male sports teams, musicians and well-known personalities from across the globe.

Beats By Dre 1.7 Million Followers

These guys know the social media generation better than any other brand featured on this list. They’ve managed to tap into such a wide audience from music lovers, sports fans, and even the Kardashian obsessed, selfie-taking generoids (generation on steroids).