How the Best Ecommerce Brands Engage Users on Instagram

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Businesses have always sought to connect with customers and build a good name for themselves; and with the advent of social media, that connecting has been made much easier.

Instagram has become a favorite for e-commerce brands to show off their products and engage with their target audience.

A picture is worth a thousand words — as the old saying goes — and if you add a simple caption it adds even more possibility. Or, if pictures don’t suffice, businesses can create videos, opening up a world of opportunity to connect with customers with how-to videos, demonstrations, or other creative posts.

Most of the tactics used by companies on Instagram don’t directly invoke a sales pitch, which is part of the beauty of them. When you start to advertise, people are often immediately turned off. But if companies show they are “human” or have similar values and preferences, it becomes much easier to share the product.

Here are 10 best e-commerce brands on Instagram trending with their own style of posts that have drawn in followers and, more importantly, customers.

1. Nike


Larger companies, such as this sports apparel giant, have the money to throw around to get celebrities to be spokespersons for their brand. Nike has a plethora of world-famous athletes representing the company.

And Nike doesn’t waste them by just throwing them on a billboard in the middle of the city or plastering their picture on a print ad. They use these well-known faces to bolster their Instagram feed in creative ways.

Take this post by Nike back in June 2017.

best ecommerce brands on instagram

To start, it’s a decent work of photography. And at first glance, it seems to be nothing more than a young, soccer-playing boy. But looking at the caption, a story is told of a young boy who would grow up to become Cristiano Ronaldo, the soccer legend.

This simple post with three words on the picture managed nearly 800,000 likes. But that’s the use of star power. If this were a picture of some random boy, sure it might garner some attention. But this is Cristiano Ronaldo we’re talking about, one of the most popular figures in the sports world today.

  1. Storytelling through videos

Simply slapping the face of a celebrity can do the trick in some cases (see above), but one really effective way to sell your brand to consumers is to hand the mic over to someone and let them paint a picture.


  1. User-generated content

If there is a stock dream of advertisers and marketers, it’s consumers spreading the news of product without lots of spending on high-power celebrities and TV/Print ads. Plus, word-of-mouth is far more effective due to the fact that people trust their peers to recommend brands and products far more than their TV set.

This advantage makes companies desperate to find ways to get their customers to spread the word. Company Facebook pages encourage likes on said pages and many companies promote certain hashtags to get people spreading the word for them without breaking the bank.

On Instagram, user-generated content can go a long way. ASOS gets certain people, often regular people, to be “brand ambassadors.” These people often create their own following through their own fashion niche.

One example is @asos_elizabeth. She has her own Instagram account and a separate one that is specifically branded with ASOS. Through these accounts, that combine for tens of thousands of followers, people will see ASOS brand products not through an official account, but through a fellow Instagram user.

  1. Lots and lots of color

Advertisers often site the effective use of bright colors to draw the eyes of potential customers. There is science to suggest people are more drawn to bright colors. You can’t overuse them or you risk making the eyes of potential customers bleed (figuratively).

Used with moderation, though, it’s an effective tool. So don’t be surprised when you see ASOS’s page and find it full of bright colors.

Just look at that. That’s not even a full representative example, of all the bright-colored posts; but in this shots, there are lots of red, pink, green, gold, yellow, and bright orange. That’s going to catch the eyes of plenty of people, which is kind of the point with Instagram posts.

best ecommerce brands on instagram
3. Chubbies

  1. Humor

One of the greatest ways to put a positive message into the minds of consumers is having a sense of humor. Ads in the Super Bowl are often trying their darndest to get people rolling on the floor laughing.

So that brings us to Chubbies. They sell shorts; a simple product with a simple pitch. But they go far beyond selling comfy thigh-exposing clothing by posting hilarious things on Instagram that often have absolutely nothing to do with shorts.

They do have shorts related posts, and they also bring a smile to the face.

The videos posted by Chubbies are also chuckle-worthy at their least. They often deal with office humor, which is targeted at their largely male customer base.

  1. Nods to customers

While the majority of posts by Chubbies are humor-based, there are a fair number of posts that include pictures of people wearing Chubbies-brand shorts.

These kinds of shoutouts can create life-long customers and it incentivizes people to share pictures of themselves with a companies’ product. In turn, the increased number of posts by regular people creates even more exposure with people who aren’t following the company’s Instagram account.

4. King Arthur Flour

  1. Great product shots

When you have a product that is photogenic, getting creative and compelling pictures of it is a top priority. King Arthur Flour does a great job putting out enticing photos of their delicious-looking product.

Hungry yet? This photo, one of the hundreds on King Arthur Flour’s account, is crafted to show even the texture of this dessert. These product shots may be staged, but any human being with sensible taste buds is going to look at this and have his/her mouth water.

  1. Behind-the-scenes shots

Staging photos of the product (in this case, food) is perfectly effective for baseline advertising and as a way to show off the said product. But next-level advertising includes endearing your company to the customer.

One way to do this is to give those customers a little peek into what it looks like when their product is being made. The only way this can be a bad idea is if you work in the 19th-century meat industry.

This simple post gives the workers who put together the product a face and perhaps even a story. In this post, a short bio and a name of the worker is shared. And not only is this a good behind-the-scenes look, it’s also a way to say “here’s what our product looks when we’re not staging and/or photoshopping the pictures.”

5. The Honest Company

  1. Quotes (inspirational or otherwise)

Everybody loves quotes. People share them with their friends, they’re a staple in speeches and are a fantastic way to get people to like your posts.

These quotes are far from hard to come by. But people often can’t get enough of these. Nobody is going to dislike a quote by Martin Luther King Jr. about love. And another tactic that can be used is finding quotes from modern-day figures that will connect with people.

The Honest Company does this, one example being two separate posts that feature quotes from members of the New England Patriots football team.

Keep in mind the quotes don’t have to be inspirational. This one by Devin McCourty isn’t, but it makes him human and it reflects well on the company as well.

  1. Lifestyle shots

Similar to behind-the-scenes shots, lifestyle shots give a snapshot into real life that isn’t obviously staged in a long photo shoot. They are simple things where viewers can envision themselves either in the shoes of the person in the shot, or being in the shoes of the photographer, seeing everything captured in the moment.

There’s nothing complicated about this shot. A (cute) baby and a (just as cute) dog during bath time. It’s a simple scene but paints a nostalgic picture of the little things that make parenthood great.

6. Herschel Supply Co

  1. Travel Shots

Take a look at this post and take a guess as to what Herschel Supply Co sells.

If you guessed backpacks and/or luggage then you’ve probably already heard of Herschel Supply (or guessed based on the name). Posting these excellent shots that rightfully deserve to be on postcards can get people interested in traveling. And those would-be travelers will need luggage of course.

  1. They don’t rely on studio product shots

There are plenty of examples of studio shots glamorizing the luggage and backpacks Herschel Supply sells.

But just as many, if not more, features those postcard-worthy shots seen in the first point.

Now, if you look closely, there are plenty of product placements in those shots (almost no one is facing forward and they always have backpacks on), but these aren’t blatant product shots that can turn people away (because they’ll see it as an advertisement).

7. Forever 21

  1. Targeting a niche audience

Forever 21 is meant to target younger audiences. There is a place for casting a bit of a wider net (see the next point), but expanding too wide will make it hard for your brand to stand out.The posts from Forever 21 feature young adult women and are meant to inspire new fashion trends.

Being able to dictate, to a degree, the fashion trends of an audience that is your customer base is a huge advantage for any company.

  1. Include audiences that are overlooked

While it is still important not to cast too wide of a net, Forever 21 gives us a good example of how a company can cast its net a little wider to garner the favor of a specific, overlooked audience.

Notice anything different about this post? It’s a lifestyle photo that could be replicated by any number of fashion outlets. But what separates this from other companies is the fact the woman in the photo isn’t like the picture-perfect models seen in most pictures.

It’s a simple gesture, but a large portion of Forever 21’s customer base likely looks more like this young woman than the girls that are as thin as a lamppost, and it makes those women with less-than-perfect bodies gravitate more to the brand.

8. Paper Source

  1. Creative product posts

Paper Source has branded themselves as a company that sells supplies to the artist, people who create beautiful things. So, they use their Instagram to inspire ideas and get potential creators thinking (and looking to buy).

This kind of posting can make your Instagram similar to Pinterest, where people often go to find ideas for things to make.

  1. Promotions

Having sales to get customers in the store (or on the website) is nothing new. And Paper Source uses their Instagram to get the word out about each deal they offer.

The promotions don’t have to be obvious poster-like advertisements though. It’s very simple to combine a regular post and turn it into a promotion with a caption, like this post.

Showing off the potential of the product while announcing to the world said the product is on sale is sound marketing.

9. Frank Body

  1. Glamor shots with product

Frank Body sells skin care products. Normally, advertising for this type of product consists of models in brightly lit studios posing with the most immaculate-looking skin the creative mind can imagine. And while Frank Body does have a few of these shots, a fair few of them are more of a product demonstration than before-after shot.

These half product demonstrations/half glamour shots make the using the product a little more fun and make Frank Body’s models a little more relatable since they don’t look like they are about to walk out onto a runway.

  1. Painting the picture of diversity

It seems like a small thing to do, but making sure every part of your target market is represented can go a long way. Minorities will feel much more at home using a company’s product if they feel it is for them, just like people who aren’t considered a minority. It’s a human feeling all of us have.

This is a lot like the tactic used by Forever 21. Companies need to know who is in their target audience, who they need to cater to and make sure they don’t forget them.

10. Photojojo

  1. Creative product demonstrations

Photojojo takes product demonstrations to a whole new level. And they can with the kinds of products they sell. Here are a couple of simple examples of their posts showing off the versatility of their photo equipment.

And there are also plenty of posts showing off the many great types of shots customers can shoot with the actual photo-taking equipment they sell. This is another example of how companies can plant ideas into the heads of consumers which can lead them down the road to purchasing the tools to capitalize on those ideas.

  1. Giveaways

This is a simple promotion concept used by thousands of companies worldwide. But using Instagram, a company can show off the product while notifying people that a giveaway is happening. In this post, Photojojo combines the creative demonstration of a product while announcing a Halloween-based giveaway.

Not all giveaways are created equal, and Photojojo makes theirs better by using the power of social media.

Hope this list of 10 best ecommerce brands on Instagram gave you a clear idea about the trending businesses.Let us know in the comments.

Feature image by Michael Flarup

Adi Suja

Adi is the Founder and Chief Growth Officer at Growthetics, a growth-focused content marketing agency. He helps with the growth of the Ecommerce Platforms blog.

Comments 1 Response

  1. This blog is the correct example that how the best e-commerce brands engage the users on Instagram. I like the way you explained here with pictures.

    Really great work. Please keep sharing.

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