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Creative Instagram Marketing: 5 Examples to Learn From

It takes a gentle touch to run a corporate social media account. You want to connect with your subscriber base, but you still need to have a cohesive marketing campaign.

Creative Instagram Marketing Ideas

The best campaigns use vibrant images and strong themes to communicate their company message. These creative Instagram accounts show that if you do it right, the results can be truly inspiring.

1. Funny Instagram: Arby's

Arby's has been so clever lately, they're almost not worth imitating - no one else could do it right. The restaurant chain's social media department has been on fire with cultural references and pointed humor that drips with self-awareness. The average Arby's Instagram post might include a well-known cartoon character, a drawing made from steak sauce, or a sculpture made from sandwich packaging. The posts are unpredictable and rely on recognizable images for a strong visual effect.

Arby's Instagram Make My Sandwich Campaign

This company made a brilliant move with their #MakeMySandwich campaign. The social media team has been making portraits out of sandwich ingredients and posting them on both Instagram and Twitter. The suspense and humor are two great ingredients for instant viral attention. What you can learn from Arby's: Creativity and strangeness go hand in hand. Be wild; you'll get more attention.

2. Video Instagram: Tesla

Most Tesla's Instagram posts are videos that showcase their fantastic new-age technology. From cruising cars to dashboard displays, you can learn everything you ever wanted to know about a Tesla car while enjoying great music and smooth filmography. Tesla in particular benefits from a focus on videography. Their brand is entirely centered on movement and technology, and these two elements are difficult to communicate in still photos.

Tesla Instagram

It helps that the company can afford to shoot these videos, but that's not the only reason the campaign works. There are plenty of user-submitted videos that showcase the speed and style of a Tesla vehicle. What you can learn from Tesla: Take advantage of every aspect of your medium to truly communicate your brand identity.

3. Agency Instagram: Crowd

When it comes to Instagrammable content, marketing agencies are in a bind. Without products to photograph or a customer base to appeal to, these companies need to market themselves to the people they want to be marketing for. The solution? Market your company culture. Crowd is a digital agency that loves its employees. Even the name of the company references the people who work there.

Crowd Instagram Group Shot

The Instagram account is full of staff photos, dog photos, company insights, and highlights from their recent campaigns. When you hang out on the Crowd Instagram, you feel you already know the company. There are only a few steps between cultivating that feeling and landing a client. What you can learn from Crowd: Be yourself online. Show off the people who make your company unique.

4. Influencer Instagram: Tarte

It makes sense that a cosmetics company would be all over Instagram's huge influencer base. Although the company features a wide variety of posts, many of the best ones link right back to an influencer account. Influencers send their followers to Tarte, and Tarte sends followers back to the influencers. It's a beautiful and effective cycle.

Tarte Cosmetics Instagram Influencer

This influencer-focused mentality also inspired the #TrippinwithTarte campaign. Tarte flew influencers out for a fantastic and thoroughly Instagrammable vacation. The result is a feed full of lovely sights, delicious meals, and beautiful faces. What you can learn from Tarte: Networking is the quickest way to build up a subscriber base. Share followers with brands that complement your identity.

5. User-Generated Instagram: Airbnb

Airbnb has the perfect business model for a user-generated content feed. Airbnb encourages travelers who stay at an Airbnb residence to take photos of their vacation and share them with a matching hashtag. Everyone loves to share vacation photos, and Airbnb subscribers love to look at them. This Instagram campaign doubles as a clever form of advertising. If a destination photo intrigues you, you're likely to book a trip there; you might even stay at the same Airbnb. Both the company and the hosts benefit from every image that gets shared.

AirBnB Instagram User-Generated Content Feed

Airbnb's Instagram feed is truly breathtaking. Beautiful sights from around the world are mixed with photos of interesting people and unique discoveries. The best part? Airbnb social media staff get to spend all day cultivating a gallery of the coolest images on Instagram. What you can learn from Airbnb: If you have a good excuse to ask your subscribers for photos, do so. You'll connect with your clients and get a better feed than you can generate on your own.


Creative Instagram marketing requires unique ideas and a strong sense of identity. Understand your brand, decide how wild you want to be, and develop a campaign that communicates your message. Don't forget to make it look great; in this visual medium, the image is everything.

Jen McKenzie is an independent business consultant from New York. She writes extensively on business, education and human resource topics. When Jennifer is not at her desk working, you can usually find her hiking or taking a road trip with her two dogs. You can reach Jennifer @jenmcknzie