Kristen Fritz
Just a few days into March Madness, your bracket might already be busted. Some of our #socialmarchmadness contenders are also feeling the pain of loss as we move into the championship round of our tournament.
It may not be in the Final Four, but read this post to find out why Instagram has great marketing potential and may be the best platform for building brand awareness.

Like many people, my social media routine begins in bed with Instagram before the alarm clock goes off. A day doesn’t start without a few solid minutes of scrolling through photos, even taking time to see which photos were liked by my friends.

It’s an addiction – so feverish that most of those mornings, I’m convinced I really did miss something ‘gram-worthy during those 8 hours of sleep.

I think once Instagram entered our lives, it was clear that we suffer from nomophobia, the fear of not having access to a mobile device. Yes it’s real. And I don’t think it will ever go away. Instagram was the icing on that delicious, digital cake we all love so much.

Instagram was the icing on that delicious, digital cake we all love so much.

Instagram approached its business model wisely: it rolled out fairly slowly by limiting availability to just one group (iPhone users) to give the sense of exclusivity. As Instagram’s popularity increased, it established a social norm in which people saw friends posting cool photos online and wanted to follow suit. Eight months after its initial release, Instagram had 5 million users, 95 million photos, 2,500 apps using its API and around 860,000 photos being published every day.

It’s pretty astounding, especially since Instagram only had four employees at the time. That means each employee was responsible for managing 1.25 million users! In 2013, Instagram added over 60,000 users, and it now has 150 million active monthly users.

Some brands are well versed in Instagram, while others fail at using the platform because they just treat it like a digital catalog for showing off a bunch of products. Followers flock to their favorite brands’ Instagrams because the images offer behind-the-scenes looks at the company’s culture, where its employees take work trips, and of course – exciting product reveals every now and then.

Warby Parker Instagram

Here are a couple of brands I think are dominating the Instagram for business space:

Warby Parker:
The subscription-based eyewear company launched just a little over four years ago, but the ecommerce business has really carved out a new niche for fashion. Every time a pair of Warby Parker frames is sold, another pair is distributed to someone in need. The company now has showrooms in select cities, but it really trumped the eyewear landscape in the beginning when it launched the free home try-on program.

The Instagram account is just as impressive, sharing a mix of brand events, snapshots of fans trying on frames (in an effort to get followers to lend their opinions on what pairs look best) and carefully curated displays featuring new styles. To celebrate Warby Parker’s fourth birthday, it published montages of its team members at four years old. The account is clever, effortless and it lets the products shine without trying too hard.

Mansur Gavriel InstagramMansur Gavriel:
This is another brand that’s doing something really special with its Instagram presence. The hashtag #happygirlhappybag is used by many women that own the brand’s accessories and flaunt them on Instagram. Mansur Gavriel “regrams” those images on its own account, which I think is a pretty nice way to pay homage to its loyal customer base.

The company isn’t as popular as Michael Kors, Coach, or any of those other “household names” in the handbag world, but because its items are not available everywhere, the brand has a real feeling of exclusivity. When you own a product, you earn a spot on the Instagram feed. The company publishes a perfect balance of customer’s images, sneak peeks at new bags that are in the production stage, showroom exclusives and outdoor landscapes.

Brands that sell visual products really ought to map out an Instagram plan if they haven’t yet. An Instagram strategy done right offers immense brand awareness, a personal way to connect with customers and even a chance to increase sales.