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Top 10 Brands Doing Cool Stuff on Instagram

At least forty percent of leading brands are now active on Instagram, but just because they're are wising up and getting in on the action doesn't always mean they're doing it well. There are a lot of factors marketers need to consider when populating their Instagram feed: target audience, engagement methods, tone, and more.

We took a look at some of the brands we think have Instagram figured out and why they're so successful.

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Patagonia @patagonia

Followers: 69,252

Patagonia has earned a great reputation for its mission statement to "Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis." The company's Instagram feed is the perfect mix of gorgeous scenic photographs and product shots. It somehow manages to feel both aspirational and attainable, a difficult combination to achieve.

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Sharpie @sharpie

Followers: 44274

Everyone loves Sharpie. There's something about the way the famous marker feels in your hand. The way the tip of the pen glides across surfaces that makes you want to keep writing or drawing. Sharpie capitalizes on that perfectly through its colorful and fun Instagram pics. The drawings are geared towards teens, but appeal to the artist or doodler in all of us. Ultimately, Sharpie's Instagram account proves that sometimes simple and straight forward is the best way to go.

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Redbull @redbull

Followers: 474,520

"Redbull gives you wings" and that's never been more apparent than on Redbull's Instagram account. Skis, snowboards, wakeboards, surfboards, motorcycles, bicycles, even horses… If you catch get air on it, then you'll find an awesome picture of it here. The takeaway? If your brand is known for something, don't waver. Stick to what you know.

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Starbucks @starbucks

Followers: 984,051

Starbucks' Instagram photos are a great example of how to promote your brand in a way that will resonate with customers. Almost every single picture includes a Starbucks' product, but it's the way in which they're presented—as part of people's everyday lives—that is so effective. Starbucks does a great job of capturing the small moments to which we can all relate and making us feel like those moments would taste better with a Starbucks drink at hand.

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Tiffany & Co. @tiffanyandco

Followers: 261,424

Women like to look at pretty things. Especially when those pretty thinks sparkle and dazzle. And whether we like it or not, that robin egg blue box is synonymous with a present almost any girl would be happy to receive. Tiffany & Co. know this and so they capitalize on it by filling their feed with tons of beautiful product shots. Aspirational eye candy at its best.

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MTV @mtv

Followers: 1,075,530

MTV knows what its viewers want: celebrities, behind-the-scene looks, and contests. The fact that many of the pictures aren't even of good quality hasn't been a deterrent. With over a million followers, clearly they've got it figured out. Give your audience what it wants and they'll reward you by interacting with your brand.

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Playboy @playboy

Followers: 215,441

Kind of like Tiffany & Co., Playboy doesn't have to do too much to make its Instagram feed appealing to their target demographic. While some of the photos are a little racy and, even worse, a little cheesy (too many mirror pics), Playboy has actually done a good job finding a healthy balance of sexy and tasteful. The behind-the-scenes photos of the Playmates out and about give the audience an insider feel and the vintage pics lend credibility. The truth? Sex sells and Playboy knows that better than anyone.

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Johnnie Walker @johnniewalker

Followers: 24,799

In order to launch a presence on Instagram, Johnnie Walker handed over its feed for a week at a time to some of the best amateur photographers using the app and asked them to tell a brand-related story. This is a great example of leveraging the influence of people who are loyal to your brand to create buzz and build advocacy.

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Warby Parker @warbyparker

Followers: 37,899

Warby Parker also uses its fan base to grow its following on Instagram by staging meetups, loaning its glasses out, and asking people to meander around NYC while snapping pics featuring the Warber Parker's eyewear. Not only did WP build a sense of community and brand loyalty, it also got some really amazing photos of its glasses in the wild. The lesson? People want to be a part of something. All they need is the opportunity to do so.

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Burberry @burberry

Followers: 591,295

Burberry knows that in order to engage their followers, they need to show more than just clothing and ads. Real-time photos during fashion shows and exclusive backstage "access" are what make it one of the most popular luxury brands on Instagram.

Anyone we left out? Let us know in the comments.

See also: 10 Stunning Pro Photopraphers on Instagram and 9 Beautifully Raw Street Style Photographers, 9 Moms We Love to Follow on Instagram, Top 10 Foodies on Instagram, Top 10 Sports Teams on Instagram, 10 Amazing Street Artists on Instagram and 9 Great Sources of Interior Design Inspiration on Instagram.

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