Today’s guest post is by Yvette Pistorio.

I love Instagram.

I can take the world’s worst picture and boom!

Instagram to the rescue!

It doesn’t have business-specific profiles, built-in visibility, engagement metrics, or paid advertising options (not yet at least), but brands are taking advantage of Instagram and seizing the opportunity to share more personal perspectives with consumers.

And I have to say, not to steal a catch phrase or anything, but I’m loving it!

While many brands are still experimenting with ways to use Instagram, the following four brands are already killing it!

How Do I Look?

Free People

The clothing company, owned by Urban Outfitters, integrates customers’ Instagram photos on their product pages. They attach individualized hashtag information cards to specific jeans, and then encourage customers to take picture of themselves in the product and tag them with #myfpdenim or more specific tags for different jeans. Consumers become models and potential buyers can see how a pair of jeans looks in real life.

Behind The Scenes

Burberry

Getting ready to launch a product, do a photo shoot, film a commercial, or get made up for a media interview are moments that few people get to experience. Burberry not only shares product shots, they also share interesting content such as a fashion shows. Photographer Mike Kus maintained a real-time photo feed on Burberry’s Instagram account for the duration of the show.

Coffee Culture

Starbucks

The coffee powerhouse shows off its products in interesting ways. Their updates are fun to look at and create an emotional connection with customers by capturing in-store experiences. They don’t focus on their product, rather on what’s happening around it. Fans have the ability to tag their coffee photos using the #starbucks hashtag, then Starbucks shares with fans on Facebook.

A Love Story

Tiffany & Co.

Tiffany asked its audience to share love stories through a series of photos and captions. They asked their followers to post a picture about love, and use the hashtag #truelovepictures. They called the campaign “True Love in Pictures” and aggregated the Instagram photos on WhatMakesLoveTrue.com. The campaign was so successful they launched a follow-up campaign called #TimelessTrueLove.

The Takeaway

  • Get your customers involved and they will do the sharing for you
  • Connect with your customers using content that aligns with your brand
  • Keep the marketing subtle and keep the focus on the experience or emotion your photos project
  • Share photos that capture the spirit of your brand

According to Simply Measured, 40 percent of leading brands are now active on Instagram and more than 25 percent post at least one photo per week. It seems Instagram is going to keep growing, and businesses large and small have a chance to make a name for themselves on the photo-sharing social network.

Are you using Instagram? What creative uses of Instagram have you seen from your favorite brands?

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