Making Instagram work for B2C

There was a time when marketers dismissed Instagram as a viable B2B or B2C channel. They believed it was “just for kids” and “would never match Facebook for advertising.” Well, we can safely say that those times have passed, and Instagram is definitely a viable B2C channel. In this article, we are looking at making Instagram work for B2C.

Credit : Lalo Hernandez via Unsplash

Credit : Lalo Hernandez via Unsplash

First the Instagram stats

If you’re still not convinced by Instagram’s ability to bring home the bacon, look at the latest channel stats:

·     Instagram has over 1 billion active users

·     Over one third of adults use Instagram

·     It’s estimated that Instagram will add another 26.9 million users by 2020.

·     59% of Instagram users log in once per day, while 35% log in multiple times per day.

·     The top 100 brands have seen engagement on Instagram grow by 53% year-over-year.

·     The average engagement rate on Instagram is 4.3% compared to Facebook’s measly 0.17%

·     36% of B2C brands consider Instagram to be “critical” to their social media marketing.

Which B2C Brands Do Well on Instagram?

We are often asked by new clients whether we believe their brand should be on Instagram. And it’s true that a one size fits all approach doesn’t work. There are certain brands that will excel on Insta and others than may not. Let’s look at the top scoring brands right now and steal some tips:

Food & Drink

If you’re a food & drink brand that’s not on Instagram you’re missing out. Whether you’re selling sweets, coffee, meals or shoppable goods, there’s a B2C Instagram place for you. 

@shakeshack |562k followers

Shake Shack is a hot dog cart in Manhattan’s Madison Square Park which disproves the theory that only big brands can achieve Instagram success! The brand mixes vibrant photography, mouth watering product placement with some cute pups for guaranteed viral success. 

Instagram shakeshack

Steal Their Insta Style

  • shakeshack clearly highlights different B2C areas to capture audience attention. See how you can easily access their team, collabs and events below:

shakeshack instagram 2

  • Always use food hashtags in photos, food topics are the most popular on Instagram!

  •  Got a product that pets might also like? Take photos of them too like shakeshack did. Pets are incredibly popular on the platform.

  •  It goes without saying that Instagram is all about good photography, so your photos should make your audience hungry for your product.

@starbucks | 17.3m followers

Starbucks instagram

Starbucks probably doesn’t need an introduction, but their Instagram account is worth a mention. With a modern fresh approach, witty captions and bright, creative photos, the brand is one to watch on Instagram. They also nail audience participation making their frappucinos one of the most Instagrammed B2C products with a permanently trending hashtag!

Sans titre.png

Steal Their Insta Style

  • Starbucks uses its Stories sectionto highlight social impact and charitable causes. Whilst this is of course admirable it’s also significant from a marketing perspective. 66% of millennialssay they are willing to pay extra for more sustainable brands, while 81% expect companies to make public declarations of corporate citizenship.

  • Encourage participation, especially when you launch a new product. Starbucks are excellent at inspiring their audience to upload snaps tagging their brand.

  • Starbucks makes good use of trending days of the year such as #InternationalWomensDay to rally their fans and remain relevant.

Did you know?

The top food hashtags on Insta #food #foodporn #yum #instafood #yummy #sweet #dinner #lunch #breakfast #fresh #tasty #food #delish #delicious #eating #foodpic #foodpics #eat #hungry #foodgasm #hot #foods


Fashion & Beauty

Fashion and beauty are big business on Instagram, home of influencer marketing. But even if you don’t have a huge B2C Instagram budget, you can still excel in this space with the right marketing strategy.

@nike | 86m followers

nike instagram

Nike is one of the top fashion brands on Instagram and they’ve earned their spot on the podium. With a great mix of stories, topical hashtags and body positivity, Nike is rocking B2C Instagram. Their feed is a mixture of ad campaign images and inspirational athlete stories, all accompanied by stunning photography which hits the Instagram mark. They also fully utilise influencers but ensure that they fit the brand’s profile carefully:

nike instagram 2

Steal Their Style

  • Nike does not exclude anyone on its Instagram feed. Instead it maintains a “we’re all in it together” vibe. This is worth remembering if you’re marketing your B2C brand. You can have a target audience, but it doesn’t pay to exclude people.

  • A brand that knows product placement, Nike ensures its famous tick is visible in shots. If you’re marketing your B2C brand remember to maintain consistent branding through your colours, style, messaging or product placement. 

  • Nike doesn’t shy away from controversial issues, something which made them incredibly lovable in 2018. Supporting Colin Kaepernick who took a leading role in player protests, kneeling during the national anthem to call attention to racial injustice and social inequality, the company projected itself into the limelight. While Nike shares initially dropped 3%, product orders rose 27% by the weekend. Watch the ad campaign here:

Nike campaign

@frank_bod | 689k followers

frank bod instagram

As a beauty brand, Frank Body’s line of body scrubs are perfectly suited to Instagram. Pretty, fresh and fun, they are ideal for the beauty obsessed platform. The brand actively encourages customers to share pics showing off their scrubs in action and repost them on their profile.  They even have a separate Insta account for before and after photos which can be seen at @frankfeedback.

frank fod instagram 2

Steal Their Style

  •  B2C brands on Instagram often see success by cross marketing one another. By tagging another brand in a joint offer you can increase your own fans and this makes for a nice team effort.

frank fod instagram 3

This is a B2C brand on Instagram clearly targeting girls and young adult females and its posts are reflective of that. With cute slogans, phrases of empowerment and “finish the sentence” posts, they know how to engage their audience. If your B2C product is clearly aimed at one gender, then you can be specific.

frank bod instagram 4

If you’re a B2C brand on Instagram, then a competition could work really well for you. Remember to define the rules clearly and promote it well. Notice how frank bod uses their contests to get tons of product exposure and audience participation as shown below.


frank bod instagram 5


This is a broad category, but if you’re a B2C brand with a tangible product such as tech equipment, cars, household items, DIY products or homeware, there is certainly a space for you on Instagram. The key is looking beyond your product and tapping into the aspirational nature of Instagram. Let’s look at two brands who do just that:

@gopro | 15.3m followers

gopro instagram

It would be easy for GoPro to flash a range of professional videos and photos on its channel, but it doesn’t. Instead of professional photographs, GoPro’s Instagram features pictures from its brand ambassadors and fans. This means it’s easier for the brand to curate its content and showcase the usability of its product. This is an Instagram feed that inspires you to grab a GoPro and go shoot your own adventure.

Steal Their Style 

Jumping on relevant hashtags is important and especially when a B2C brand manages to utilise user content instead of their own. Check out this incredible polar bear videoposted by a user. 

gopro instagram 2

GoPro rewards great photos with #GoProAwards as seen below. This is a very smart way of showcasing the versatility of their product whilst also tapping into their adventurous brand style.

gopro instagram 4

IGTV is ideal for GoPro and the brand fully utilises it to show off action videos on their channel.  IGTV is a standalone vertical video application owned by Instagram made primarily for smartphones. It allows you to upload vertical videos up to 10 minutes in length or up to 60 minutes if you are verified or popular. This is an ideal way to show off your product, run interviews, go behind the scenes or film a launch.

gopro IG TV

Did You Know

The most popular hashtags on Instagram are #Love, #Instagood, #Me, #Cute, and #Follow


@bmw | 19.8m followers

BMW is all about relatability and aspiration. Of course, we know that BMW wants to sell cars, but they do so by cleverly photographing their vehicles in a variety of locations like wooded scenery, city skylines, and mountain roads. By doing this, Insta fans can imagine themselves behind the wheel and view the brand as aspirational. 

BMW Instagram

Steal Their Style

Witty, slick and sassy, BMW knows how to write a good caption like this Valentine’s Day one below. Captions on Instagram are very important, so B2C brands should utilise a good copywriter or marketing agency to maximise their impact.

BMW Instagram 2
  • BMW goes against the grain by omitting people from its photography. Actually, images with faces and particularly eyes tend to get more engagement on Insta, however, for their chic and slightly aloof image, this works well.

  • BMW divides up its cars so fans can easily access photos of the ones they want to see. This is important because Insta users are often impatient and want to access the information they want swiftly. 

BMW instagram 3

There are many other B2C brands on Instagram that have seen success, even in sectors you may not imagine such as finance & banking. With the right strategic marketing approach, your B2C brand can see Instagram success too. For more information on making Instagram work for your B2C brand, speak to the experienced team at Moondust.

Marie-Helene Dibenedetto