The Top 3 Instagram Trends for Marketers

By Taylor Loren | 1 year ago | No Comments

With 42% of marketers planning to increase their use of Instagram this year, visual content is more important than ever to a brand’s marketing strategy. But for many brands, creating a captivating Instagram profile and generating high quality visual content can be challenging. To help marketers get the most impact out of their Instagram profiles, here are the top three marketing trends that any business can learn from, whether you have 300,000 followers or 300.

Branded Hashtags

Instagram Branded Hashtags
Many brands are leveraging branded hashtags to engage their community on social media, but these aren’t your standard #CompanyName hashtags. The hashtags are aligned with the overall brand instead of the product, and Instagrammers are encouraged to tag their photos whether the product is featured or not — for example, lululemon athletica suggested that users tag their workout photos with #thesweatlife, which has generated over 68,000 posts from their community.

By creating a branded hashtag, marketers create a win-win situation for both themselves and their community. Brands receive the benefit of increased exposure to new potential customers through an Instagrammers photo, and Instagrammers love to be featured on a brand’s profile for both the prestige and the increase in followers. When one of my Instagram photos got “regrammed” by Stumptown Coffee, we gained nearly 500 followers in one day! That’s a lot of motivation for the Instagram community to actively share your brand.

Herschel Supply Co has over 300,000 followers on Instagram and tags their product posts with #HerschelSupply, but they have generated more posts with their #WellTravelled campaign, which encourages their followers to share photos of their journeys using the hashtag.

Poler Stuff has not one, but three branded hashtags (#campvibes, #adventuremobile, and #beneaththebrim) that they place in their Instagram bio. #Adventuremobile isn’t directly related to any of Poler’s products, but it does speak to their brand persona of active, outdoor living, with over 40,000 posts shared by Instagrammers of their car in the wild.

You don’t have to be a large brand in order to have success with your own hashtag: 33 Acres Brewing Co, a small craft brewery, has about 4,000 followers and recently started their own tag #b33r and encourages in-store customers to tag photos with this hashtag over other ones. Without an “official” hashtag, it becomes difficult to monitor your brand mentions – for example, customers could be tagging #33acres, #33, #33acresbrewing, or #33acresbeer. But by creating and promoting their own distinctive branded hashtag, marketers can easily increase their exposure across Instagram while providing their brand with user-generated content for their Instagram profile.

Lifestyle Content

Another way to market your brand on Instagram without posting product shots is to share lifestyle content that represents your brand’s persona. Marketers should monitor their followers to see what kind of content they are sharing, and then replicate that on their own feeds. Intersperse photos of your product with lifestyle photos that your followers can relate to, whether it’s oceans and palm trees or mountains and landscapes.

The Native Shoes brand likes to #keepitlite, so their feed features a ton of bright colours and different art that would be interesting to their community.

It’s not difficult to showcase lifestyle content that inspires your readers, and more and more brands are beginning to use Pinterest’s easy search to curate photos for their Instagram feed. For a small business like the online retailer Anewall Decor, they can supplement their own content with their favourite finds from Instagram and Pinterest (with credit, of course!)

Instagram Influencers

With so many Instagrammers looking to increase their following, it’s easy for even small businesses to gain exposure to a wide audience by building relationships with influencers in their community. While many large brands are paying big bucks to partner with users that have  thousands of followers, both small and medium businesses are still able to increase exposure by exchanging product for a giveaway, a promotion, or a small fee.

But be warned: simply sending free product doesn’t mean the Instagrammer will love it, and just because a user has a lot of followers doesn’t mean they’ll create captivating content for you. Take the time to ensure influencers are the right fit for your brand and that they’re excited to partner with you!

Get your business on Instagram today!

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DevDigital 5pts

Excellent post Loren. I must agree that Instagram is a very powerful tool in social media marketing. Every small and big business are getting benefit from it. Thanks for sharing a detail post.

Edtroxellcreative 5pts

Great post! I love reading the first one, branded hashtags. Every business should be thinking about this especially when holding an event. -Ed Troxell Creative

AnnieintheSun 5pts

Great tips that I can use starting to formulate a brand's positioning and voice on Instagram.fortunately, bite-sized too...we're all so time starved these days, which is why pics speak those proverbial 1000 words and Instagram works! Thank you, Taylor! @taylrn

DevinYoung 5pts

Thanks for the awesome tips, I can't wait to use this information.

Asier 5pts

Thank you for your useful tipss!!!

vxotic 5pts

I have a lot of problem configuring my hootsuite to push out facebook and instagram posts .. tried with other apps as well. not sure why.. still figuring out. 

Hootsuite_Help_Desk moderator 5pts

@vxotic Hi there!

I am sorry to hear of the issues that you are experiencing with your posts to Instagram.

At your convenience, please try to log out of your mobile Hootsuite App and log back in again. After sharing a post to Instagram, you should receive a push notification on your mobile device. Selecting the push notification should then take you to the Instagram App, to publish it.

Please review the video at the link below:

If you are experiencing ongoing issues, please reach out to our Twitter support team @hootsuite_help for further assistance.

Kind Regards,

Daniel @Hootsuite_Help -

TanahJaneDowdle 5pts

Thank You - great easy & interesting advise - #foodasart :)

Ritual Art
Ritual Art 5pts

Spot on - the trick has been finding a unique brand # that isn't already in use. hmmmm #ritualart

Katie 5pts

Taylor, thank you so much for these tips. Marketing isn't easy. While digital marketing creates opportunities for individuals and businesses, it's not easy to master and instagramming aimlessly could distract small businesses from providing great value to customers. Thanks for your suggestions!

Katie 5pts

Taylor, thank you so much for sharing these tips! 

GalaLange 5pts

Thank you for this article, I will refer my clients to it when they wonder "why Instagram"? 

BrassandGlass 5pts

I have never done instagram.  this is good info.

Jacqui_plexuss 5pts

The hastag tips are great. 

I've been putting on the meme train for our account. But only memes related to our company, so they are all education related. It also makes posting a lot of fun, and I find that people mention their friends in the post if they related to the idea of the meme.

CookeCapeMay 5pts

Great information on an ever changing topic.

davsmoke 5pts

Great tips!  Instagram is indeed fun to market with.

K Powers
K Powers 5pts

Great post! It helped clarify how I might be able to use Instagram in my marketing strategy. Thank you!

KeefaRae 5pts

Awesome ideas #KeefaRae # FitLabBody #crossfiticonz

Mika Harmony
Mika Harmony 5pts

Thanks for these tips! How do you create a branded hashtag? (Other than just starting to use it). I'm an artist and love sharing pics that are infused with aloha. Thanks! @mikaharmony

CraigBoyle 5pts

Great post - completely on point with the latest trends in the industry. @EWineBC #myEWinePic

Helene Graver
Helene Graver 5pts

Some great ideas: branded #`s, lifestyle content and Instagram Influencers

JVJasper 5pts

Great ideas! Will help me move forward in this.

GeekyExplorer 5pts

Very good tips, really come in handy. Thanks!

disjoerd 5pts

No Instagram integration in hootsuite to manage multiple accounts?

Hootsuite_Help_Desk moderator 5pts

Hi @disjoerd - thanks for your question!

You are able to manage multiple Instagram accounts by setting up an Instagram App Stream for each one.

After adding the Instagram App to your dashboard, to connect with other Instagram accounts, click on "Connect with Instagram". Then, when the Authorization Request window pops up, it will attempt to default to the first account you added.

To add a different account, click on the "Not [username]?" link. It will then take you to a new login screen where you can enter a different account.

I hope that this helps! Please let us know if you have any other questions.


Kathleen | @Hootsuite_Help | Hootsuite Help Desk -

ErinSamantha 5pts

My struggle with Instagram is having to post from my phone. I manage a couple different brand social media accounts, and Instagram suffers becuase it's the only medium I can't populate from my computer, and I have to log out of one account & into the other repeatedly. I use Canva, and it's a pain to have make those images available on my phone as well as my laptop. Any good advice or encouragement to offer would be SO appreciated!

kellystrona 5pts

@ErinSamantha Dropbox is my go to! I also use Canva to create images, upload them to dropbox, and share via instagram on my tablet or phone. Don't forget, the idea behind instagram is to be instant/in the moment, so don't worry so much about pre-populating! :) 

GalinaWalls 5pts

@ErinSamantha If you are Windows 8 you can use a Windows app called InstaPic (available for free from Windows Marketplace) - it gives you almost all Instagram functions, including an ability to post.

If you use Dropbox you can download your Canva designs into your Dropbox folder which is accessible both on smart phone and laptop.

ErinSamantha 5pts

Thanks so much for reminding me to use Dropbox!

HootAda 5pts

great read Taylor!