Images are a language in and of themselves and with the surge of platforms like Pinterest and Instagram, more and more people are becoming accustomed to crafting and sharing photography. With over 100 million users, Instagram is one of the largest photo-sharing platforms and represents a great opportunity to reach a highly engaged set of  customers. Marketers that effectively tap into this community and capitalize on the best of the technology can grow brand, product and campaign awareness while engaging with social audiences.

We’ve found time and again that unique content works best in social media. When brainstorming the best photos types to share on Instagram, think about what type of imagery you can present that social customers can’t find by simply typing something into a Google image search.

Here are a few ideas:



Personally, one of my favorite tactics is posting photos that give your audience a behind-the-scenes look. These authentic photos humanize the brand and work to build brand affinity.

Target Style on Instagram

Behind the scenes at a Christmas photo shoot for Target Style.

MTV on Instagram

Alicia Keys behind the scenes at the MTV Music Awards













Sneak Peak

Your social audience is largely made up of brand enthusiasts so by giving them a sneak peak at new products and an early head’s up of where to get them, you reward them for their attention. Beats by Dre did this by sharing a photo of a new product along with where to get it a week before the official release. These tactics are a way of saying “thank you” to your brand advocates.

For more information on sneak peaks, check out my post on 4 Best Practices for Using Instagram in Your Next Product Launch.

Beats by Dre on Instagram

Sneak peak and early access to Lil Wayne Tunechi Beats

Puma on Instagram

Sneak peak of Puma’s Spring 2013 watches














Another great way to promote your brand on Instagram is to share photos that are relevant to your brand culture. When a brand and a consumer share common values, it becomes a factor that can influence consumer-buying behavior and Instagram is a good channel for displaying your brand values.

The Patagonia customer is an adventurer so by posting photos of people adventuring, they are sharing content that is on-brand and interesting to their target customers. Nike also used this tactic by posting a photo of people running, emphasizing health and fitness – values that they share with their customer base.

Patagonia on Instagram

Culture photo posted by Patagonia

Nike on Instagram

Culture photo posted by Nike













Contextual Photos of Your Products

It’s one thing to view a product detail page or see a product on a shelf versus seeing it “in action.” Contextual photos showcase your products in a real setting, providing customers a vision for how they may use the products themselves.

Home Depot on Instagram

Home Depot’s DIY project set in a living room

Gucci on Instagram

Jessica Biel rocking Gucci at a movie premier













Photos of your place of business

These photos can be of a process such as how a product is made, images of the building itself or of day-to-day operations such as stellar employees at work. These all work to humanize your brand and paint a picture of what it may be like to work there.

American Apparel on Instagram

American Apparel – Fabric Factory

Whole Foods Market on Instagram

Whole Foods Market – Littleton, CO store













So there you have it! These five approaches are great for promoting your brand and products on Instagram. What have you been doing that works? Please share them with us in the comments below!