10 Non-Visual Brands That Shouldn’t Be Crushing Instagram (But Are)

  • — April 13, 2018

    Unless you’ve been living under a particularly heavy rock for the last few years, you’ll know that Instagram is one of the best places to market a brand.

    It has everything you would need. A large audience, a great interface and that kind of ‘hip’ feel that pushes it up above most other platforms. Oh, and it’s incredibly visual. All you have to do to really rock the platform is to be as visual as possible. That’s getting visual, it’s the way forward. Visual.

    We’ve kind of emphasized the visual point because one of the most interesting things about Instagram is that, even though it is a highly visual platform, some brands are still crushing it even though they’re basically non-visual.

    This doesn’t mean they can’t produce great images, they’re just not automatically the type of brands and products that we’d expect to be filling Instagram with beautiful photos. But it still works for them. Let’s take a look at how this insane magic take place and figure out how you too can rock Instagram with a non-visual brand.


    Foundr is one of odd those hip, slightly strange magazines that really has a strong brand message. It’s for young entrepreneurs and it aims to give advice and support to that particularly hard-working demographic.

    That’s all good, but it is a real online magazine in that it has a large number of words on the site and its various spin-offs. It doesn’t mess about with that, the content is important to the demographic. So images are not their big thing.

    How to fix this? Use images, but make them motivational and strongly-connected to the readership. We’re not talking sunsets or high-end photography stuff. Magazine covers, the odd photo, and a ton of motivational quotes. And it works.

    Recent top performing post:

    As if to reinforce that Foundr really hasn’t got what it takes to be an Instagram bigshot, they post a picture of Jeff Bezos (sorry, ruined the mystery) at his desk. Two things. First, this is a really bad photo. Second, it doesn’t matter, because Bezos is an inspiration to Founder’s readership.

    ● Engagement for this post: 25,622
    ● Posts per day: 7
    ● Follower Count: 1.2M


    Waste Management

    General Electric

    Okay, we’ve got a little test for you. What do 3M make? Thought we’d stump you. You may know that they make tape and other packing materials, but they do a lot of other stuff too. On top of that they’re investing heavily in innovation, especially in training future scientists.

    None of that deserves sexy photography and that could have been a problem for them. But it isn’t. Instead, 3M have decided to make their Instagram full of ‘how our products work’ stuff (which is a great way to market something that is, frankly, boring) and insights into their science stuff. It makes for a quite compelling little account.

    ● Typical recent post: https://www.instagram.com/p/BeYTHTVFdBA/
    ● Engagement for this post: 746
    ● Top hashtag of 2018 so far: #dichroic

    That’s right. We’re talking a company that looks after rubbish, trash basically. We understand why you might think this brand doesn’t even belong within sniffing (sorry) distance of Instagram, but it does it. And it holds its own.

    It’s a combination of slightly weird photos of people doing slightly weird stuff, and lots of branded photos. Take a look yourself.

    Most surprising account of the day? We think so.

    Typical recent post
    ● Engagement for this post: 1527

    Yes, that General Electric. The guys who make well, power. If it’s one of those brands that you think is basically not the first choice for Instagram, you’re bang on the money. But we checked, and they’re doing great.

    They have 325k followers and some beautiful images. We’re cheating a little here because they’ve rocked the visual thing. But we’re including them because they weren’t expected to.

    Typical recent post
    ● Engagement: 7021

    American Express

    Navy federal Credit Union


    Today, we honor and celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

    A post shared by Navy Federal Credit Union (@navyfederal) on

    Another brand that really doesn’t belong on a platform like Instagram. But it’s doing well on there. Budget isn’t a problem, but they’re really focused on mainly just giving their audience high quality, useful content. And Justin Timberlake.

    Typical recent post
    ● Engagement for this post: 2091

    We couldn’t even imagine how a financial services company could get some great exposure on Instagram, but these guys know what they’re doing. Quotes, and a focus on the customers they help, makes it a high quality account for a brand that shouldn’t work on the platform.

    Typical post
    ● Engagement for this post: 620

    A big name, but not one that you’d normally think would be all over imagery. But it does a very good job. The big name aspect allows it to secure some great celebrity links, but it also works very hard to make sure that its Instagram content resonates with the audience.

    The values and the spirit behind Mastercard are something the audience understands, and can really relate to. This comes across in the content.

    Typical post
    ● Engagement for this post: 675

    Maersk Line



    They may be the world’s largest shipping company but they’re still a shipping company. It’s interesting that they have over 70k followers on Instagram, and that’s all through posting stuff that is pleasant enough, but why do it?

    Again, these guys know their audience. They know what their audience plugs into when they think of Maersk. A huge name in shipping, with huge history behind it.

    Typical post
    ● Engagement for this post: 3,403

    An engineering giant, Siemens still doesn’t seem like it belongs on Instagram. Similar to other brands in this post though, it focuses on how its products and services transform lives.

    Typical post (and it doesn’t get any more ‘un-Instagram’ than this)
    ● Engagement for this post: 2,389

    They help you send email. And that is pretty much it. To be honest though, Mailchimp has a slight advantage over the average ‘non-visual’ brand in that it has a useful mascot in the chimp logo. They’ve figured that out as you’ll see in their feed.

    Typical post
    ● Engagement for this post: 10,358
    ● Engagement rate for this post: 17%

    So what have we learned?

    You don’t have to have the most visually attractive product in the world to make it on Instagram. What you do need to have is confidence, and a through, inside-out knowledge of what makes your customer base tick. And the ability to tell great stories.

    Look at Maersk if you’re truly uninspired, and think Instagram is for sexy products only.

    If you’d like to find out more about how we can get numbers like these, and therefore show how clever we are, take out a completely free 7 days on Locowise. Because you can be clever too.

    Digital & Social Articles on Business 2 Community

    Author: Sahail Ashraf

    View full profile ›