Instagram is a game of chess that can be won hundreds of different ways.
While some users rely on the sheer beauty of their feed to attract followers, these seven accounts do more than that. They’ve found unique ways to curate on-brand content that delivers real value.
There’s a lot you can learn from these accounts and the techniques they employ.
Who is she? Dominique is a UK blogger and Instagram growth mentor.
Why is she so popular? Her photography is incredibly creative, unique and quirky—so much so that she's been featured by major media outlets.
How can you apply this technique to your own brand? You don't have to be an amazing photographer (although she is) to create really engaging photos. Thinking outside of the box and creating an interesting feed is one way to get eyes on your brand.
Talk about living in an Instagram bubble ?. There are times when an image goes to plan, when it’s quick and easy to do – I like those times. Then there are the times when you spend 30 minutes lying on soaking wet grass, freezing cold, trying to keep perfectly still while Dom attempts to angle a bubble over the right place (turns out bubbles are harder to photograph than kids and animals). I don’t like those times as much ?
Who is he? Paul Nicklen is a photographer for National Geographic and a co-founder of Sea Legacy.
Why is he so popular? Paul posts amazing pictures from his travels all over the world—from rare whales to swimming bears.
How can you apply this technique to your own brand? Paul transports readers from their own world into his. He uses each post to educate his followers. Browsing his feed is like a biology lesson. He points out interesting and little-known facts about the animals he photographs. You can also use your feed to educate your followers and bring real value to their lives.
This photograph is part of a series I'm releasing for a special event at the @PaulNicklenGallery on December 9th and 10th. It'll be available in an open edition in a beautifully framed, gift-ready presentation, at a Christmas-friendly price point. Contact @PaulNicklenGallery for more details. Leopard seals have, at times, been demonized because of their fierce-looking, toothy mouths and stealth hunting ability. The second largest species of seal in the Antarctic, these massive, intelligent pinnipeds are known for their distinctive calls, which vary based on the individual, as well as their unmatched curiosity. I was fortunate to spend one of the most memorable experiences of my life, when I spent three days interacting and playing with a female seal, a story which became iconic through my @TED talk at Long Beach, California.
Who is he? Michael Drach is a speed expert and sports performance specialist.
Why is he so popular? His videos are unlike any fitness/exercise videos you've ever seen on Instagram. He diagrams many of his photos to point out the details essential to his style of training.
How can you apply this technique to your own brand? Michael Drach uses videos in slow motion to teach and inspire. He also diagrams photos to provide in-depth explanations. He brands every photo so when it is saved or screenshot, his media always points back to his account. Plus, his feed is incredibly cohesive.
Who is he? Ben Aaron is a TV host and media personality.
Why is he so popular? Ben Aaron is a total goofball and his content is all about sharing silliness with the world. Instead of doing what most stars do–creating an Instagram that showcases their life to fans–he decided to create comedic content–short, funny videos–specifically for his social media followers.
How can you apply this technique to your own brand? Ben Aaron turned his Instagram into a passion project. He used it as an opportunity to create the content he wanted to create. His videos put his personality on display, which endears his followers to him.
Who is she? Kate Bryan is a beauty and lifestyle blogger.
Why is she so popular? Kate gained a massive following by creating viral how-to videos that taught women how to curl their hair–something so simple, but obviously, there was a demand for it. She’s also incredibly down to earth and personable.
How can you apply this technique to your own brand? While her content is definitely curated, it has more of a natural vibe to it. What you see is what you get. She's incredibly transparent with her followers. She also uses something called Linktree which is a free service that allows you to get the most out of your Instagram bio link.
Who is he? Jon Acuff is a New York Times Bestselling author and speaker.
Why is he so popular? His Instagram feed is hysterical. People who have never even heard of his books follow him for his wit and humor.
How can you apply this technique to your own brand? Jon is a great example of how you don't need highly curated photos to create a killer account. Sometimes he posts screenshots of his Twitter conversations. He uses his comments section as a chat room actively engaging with this followers.
Who is it? Fatherly is a parenting media company geared towards dads.
Why is the account so popular? Fatherly posts mostly videos that feature incredible family-friendly products you've never seen before. Even though these are mostly paid collaborations, they are so engaging, you won't mind one bit being sold to.
How can you apply this technique to your own brand? Fatherly promotes products that provide real value to their followers. As Sue Zimmerman said in our Facebook Live Q&A, Instagram is a perfect place to sell the problem to your followers. Fatherly sells problems to their followers. Example: Going camping as a family is stressful. The solution? A family-friendly, modular camper.