Instagram is no longer just a place for celebrity selfies and FOMO-inducing travel snaps.

Now with 500m monthly active users, it offers an unbeatable marketing opportunity for brands of all kinds.

With the recent announcement that Instagram is testing a new ecommerce feature, the potential opportunities for retailers could skyrocket even futher.

So, who is dominating at the moment?

Recent data from Iconosquare has uncovered the most influential UK lifestyle brands on Instagram.

Based on the number of followers – here’s the countdown from 10 to 1. 

10. Land Rover – 1.8m followers

Combining luxury and adventure, Land Rover’s Instagram feed is a dream for 4x4 enthusiasts (and fans of stunning horizons). 

Its posts usually promote Land Rover’s off-road credentials, with its models photographed driving through various tough terrains and beautiful landscapes.

Its most notable Instagram campaign to date has been #Hibernot – a series promoting Land Rover’s expertise at designing cars for adverse weather conditions. 

While you might assume it to be for a niche audience, the eye-catching photography will appeal to most. 

9. Rolls Royce - 2.2m followers

Another car brand with an even bigger focus on luxury – Rolls Royce’s Instagram feels like a brochure in its own right.

Focusing on the visual fluidity of its feed, it usually posts series of images relating to a particular theme or colour scheme.

It also uses unashamedly extravagant and indulgent language to mirror the brand’s high-end appeal.

While phrases like ‘mystic allure’ might sound jarring on Twitter or Facebook, the brand cleverly recognises that Instagram users might be more receptive to this approach.

8. Bentley - 2.4m followers

Yep – another automotive brand. It appears car consumers are very active with their Instagram likes.

Having said that, while I don’t even drive, even I can still appreciate the beauty on display here.

One aspect I like is how Bentley pays more attention to the car interiors – a trend that definitely sets it apart from the aforementioned two brands. 

It has also cleverly used the platform's video feature to promote its #beextraordinary campaign.

Aiming to create to world’s most extraordinary car photograph, the image was made up of 53bn pixels to demonstrate Bentley’s famous attention to detail.

7. Aston Martin - 2.5m followers

Alongside a focus on the sleek curves of its sports cars, Aston Martin is another channel chock-full of beautiful backdrops and stunning roads. 

One aspect that sets it apart from other brands is its encouragement of user generated content, using the hashtag #astonmartinlive to allow fans to snap their own photos for the chance to be featured.

While part of Instagram’s appeal is most definitely escapism, this offers a nice way for fans and consumers to get involved.

Instead of passively scrolling, it means users can feel as if they are somehow connected to the brand.

6. BBC News - 2.8m followers

A news channel might sound like an unexpected brand to find on Instagram, however, the BBC makes brilliant use of the platform’s video functionality.

First trialled back in 2014, its Instagram feed consists of short, usually subtitled videos, summarising a trending news story or an interesting feature on its main website. 

From hard-hitting abuse investigations to light-hearted animal antics – its videos are wide ranging in tone and subject but largely very compelling.

With each being limited to 60 seconds, it makes news consumption very easy and accessible.

5. Jaguar - 3.2m followers

I wasn’t joking about car consumers…

But don’t worry, with 3.2m followers, Jaguar is the last automotive brand on the list.

Drawing on the brand’s involvement in Formula E, a hefty portion of its 3.2m followers are likely to be racing fans. 

However, as well as regular posts relating to drivers and Jaguar Racing vehicles, there’s the standard beauty shots of its diverse range of cars.

This means the brand is able to keep the sports fans happy, but not alienate general consumers.

4. Stella McCartney - 3.3m followers

Stella McCartney's Instagram feed is rather unique as it serves as a channel for the brand as well as a personal account for the designer herself.

On first look I was a little dubious about how much Stella actually posts, however, using candid snapshots (and her 'Stella x' sign off) - it's clear she is heavily involved.

Nicely combining fashion, travel and celebrity-related content, it's a good example of how to use Instagram for multiple purposes.

3. Alexander McQueen - 3.5m followers

In contrast to Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen is decidedly 'fashion-forward'.

Its posts are usually designed to promote the luxe and almost otherworldly nature of the brand's aesthetic.

It's certainly not an account to go to for relatable style advice, but for high-end and creative fashion photography, it's one of the best.

2. Primark - 3.6m followers

On the other end of the spectrum, Primark uses its influence to target shoppers with a much lower price point.

Showing its products in a very flattering light - because even a Primark jumper can look amazing through a filter - it is geared around providing outfit inspiration.

One aspect I particularly like is its occasional motivational quotes.

A nice break amid the product-heavy imagery - it also appeals to the store's (and platform's) younger market.

1. Burberry - 7.9m followers

After looking through the previous channels, I have to say I was a little disappointed when I finally came to the number one spot.

Despite having the highest number of followers, Burberry feels very understated on first glance, and dare I say it, slightly boring.

On the plus side, it is very on-brand, with its moody colour scheme (and even moodier models) definitely reflecting Burberry's wider image and style credentials.

Similarly, there are many inclusions of Burberry's famously innovative content marketing campaigns, such as its Burberry Acoustic series.

Undoubtedly one of the most influential lifestyle brands on other channels - perhaps its large following is down to this.

Nikki Gilliland

Published 2 November, 2016 by Nikki Gilliland @ Econsultancy

Nikki is a Writer at Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

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