When it comes to social media marketing, you can often get some fresh ideas from looking at what other brands are doing online and implementing some of those same tactics in a way that makes sense for your brand.

To jumpstart your Instagram inspiration, we put together a list of 18 of the best brands on Instagram, and what they’re doing that makes their content so great.

These brands represent some of the best business accounts across six different industries, and can help you with inspiration for your strategy whether they fall under your industry or not. Take a look at some of the most creative Instagram accounts to follow right now.

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Best food & restaurant brands on Instagram

We all love to look at yummy food pics, right? So it’s no surprise that food and restaurant brands do really well on Instagram. Here are a few different brands that really stand out. A recent study on social media benchmarks found that the food & beverage industry sees a 1.690% average engagement rate per post, compared to only 0.120% on Facebook and 0.058% on Twitter. Here are a few of the best brands on Instagram in the restaurant space that really stand out.

Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers

@freddysusa – 41.8k followers

Freddy's on Instagram - Best Brands to Follow

Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers is a large chain restaurant with locations around America. Their Instagram is filled with delicious photos of their food, and yet they still make it a priority to highlight their owner, Freddy. If you take a look at their Instagram Story highlights, you’ll see “F R E D D Y” listed as one of the options

Freddy's on Instagram - Best Brands to Follow

By highlighting their popular owner, Freddy’s is creating authentic content that is true to the brand’s values. It just goes to show that no matter how big you get, you can still have that down-home feeling and community around your business.

How to use this strategy:

Make it a priority to highlight the people in your organization, such as the owner, CEO or founder. You can also include the rest of the team to help showcase your culture. Try sharing employee spotlights regularly and consider creating an Instagram Story highlight specifically for team outings and celebrations like work anniversaries, events and more.

Sprouts Farmers Market

@sprouts – 170k followers

Sprouts on Instagram - Best Brands to Follow

As a grocery store focusing on produce and healthy eating, Sprouts takes visual cues directly from their produce to create a gorgeous grid of rainbow hues. Their use of color and pattern turns their Instagram into a revolving rainbow, focusing on one color for 6 to 9 posts before they move on to the next color in sequence.

Sprouts on Instagram - Best Brands to Follow

Take a look at the above transition from blue to purple to pink. Scrolling through their feed is a bright, happy burst of color.

How to use this strategy:

There are so many ways to use color in your feed. You, too, can create a beautiful pattern of hues in your own Instagram content. If you want to be sure that your grid will match your vision once your content is published, try out Sprout’s Instagram grid preview feature.

One way to accomplish this is by focusing your Instagram content on a single color or two, like your main brand color(s). Try sharing images that utilize a shade of your brand’s color palette in a way that makes it stand out in the photo and in your feed.


@chipotle – 671k followers

Chipotle on Instagram - Best Brands to Follow

As stated in their Instagram bio, Chipotle delivers memes and burritos. Their Instagram feed is a hilarious collection of content, including screenshots of tweets alongside their very own Chipotle memes to keep their audience engaged and hungry.

Chipotle on Instagram - best brands to follow

Who doesn’t love a good meme? While Chipotle could certainly fill their Instagram feed with only professional photos of their food, they’ve opted for something a bit more unique. Instead of running with a strictly-visual strategy, Chipotle focuses on combining brand personality and the appeal of their food first. Staying true to the brand throughout their Instagram feed is an incredibly engaging approach to building meaningful relationships with their fans.

Your social presence means a lot to people

According to the Sprout Social Index™, 74% of consumers think the publishing sweet spot for brands is 1-2 posts per day.

So how do you keep people coming back to your networks? One way is to maximize engagement by knowing the best times to post.

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How to use this strategy:

If personality and humor are important for your brand, try focusing on humor as well as visual appeal. Does humor, snark, and utilizing memes fit with your brand voice or personality? Then trying a less conventional approach to Instagram might be a great strategy idea! Try using memes, Twitter screenshots, and funny photos and videos in your Instagram strategy to maximize engagement.

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Matt Adlard – Topless Baker

@mattadlard – 596k followers

Matt Adlard on Instagram - best brands to follow

Matt Adlard, previously known as Topless Baker, is a baking influencer on Instagram. He shares absolutely beautiful videos of his creations and does an incredible job of utilizing video thumbnails as well.
I mean, look at those desserts!

But what is most impressive about his Instagram presence is his use of Stories. As he states in his bio, he’s a self-taught baker, and he’s always working on learning new recipes and ideas for putting together these incredible concoctions.

He documents his processes of trying out new things on his Instagram Stories and shares the entire journey, whether it’s a success or a failure, with his audience.

How to use this strategy:

People love to get a behind-the-scenes look. If you take a look at Matt’s Instagram feed, you might think he knows absolutely everything there is to know about baking and that everything he creates turns out perfectly on the first try.

If you watch his Stories, you’ll soon find out that this is absolutely not the case. And this is why he’s been able to grow such a dedicated and engaged audience.

To achieve this approach, try sharing your own behind-the-scenes look in Instagram Stories. It will humanize your brand and help you connect with your audience.

Sprout IG Stories Report

And if you’re curious how about your Stories are performing, you can use Sprout Social’s Instagram reports to keep track of your audience and how they interact with your Instagram story.


@wendys – 874k followers

Wendy's on Instagram - best brands to follow

While many people end up in a fast food drive thru ordering a quick dinner without a second thought, Wendy’s certainly isn’t selling that narrative on their Instagram feed. Wendy’s stays true to their brand on Instagram by using bright colors and creative food layouts within their Instagram feed. This emphasis on color and creativity elevates Wendy’s delicious food as Instagram art.

How to use this strategy:

Don’t sell yourself short when it comes to visualizing your product.

Even if you think you have an overcrowded industry and have trouble standing out among the crowd, there are always ways to step outside of the box with creative Instagram ideas. To achieve this strategy, try positioning your product in unique ways to create abstract art, or use user-generated content to liven up your feed.


@unbirthday.co – 243k followers

Unbirthday on Instagram - best brands to follow

Unbirthday is the creator of insanely unique cakes and chocolates for many different events, and their gorgeous Instagram feed will make you crave one of their cakes. Their photos are bright and beautiful, helping to create a cohesive and visually appealing feed.

Unbirthday on Instagram - best brands to follow

They even include a loose grid pattern in their feed, alternating between styled photos against a pink backdrop with cake setup and venue photos.

How to use this strategy:

Using a pattern in your Instagram grid is a great way to make content creation easier on yourself while helping to ensure an aesthetically pleasing feed. Our brains love patterns, and knowing what type of photo needs to be published next can definitely help make your overall strategy easier to manage.

Best fashion & beauty brands on Instagram

Fashion and beauty brands on Instagram are a natural fit when it comes to beautiful content.

Here’s a list of some of the best fashion and beauty brands on Instagram, along with the tactics they’re utilizing that make them so popular.

Lush Cosmetics

@lushcosmetics – 4.4m followers

Lush on Instagram - best brands to follow

Lush is a well-known beauty brand famous for creating eco-friendly products and production standards. To take that a step further, they regularly work with charities and organizations that promote eco-friendly habits.
As you can see in their profile right now, they’re focusing on the conservation of sharks. Lush puts an emphasis on sharing information about this movement within their feed, Stories and in their bio.

How to use this strategy:

Share information about a charity or organization that is near and dear to your brand’s heart. When people see that your brand helps out with local or global movements, they’re that much more likely to support you so they feel good about helping too.

Ring Concierge

@ringconcierge – 219k followers

Ring Concierge on Instagram - best brands to follow

Ring Concierge is a popular woman-owned fine diamond jewelry brand. And their feed is full of diamonds! That’s enough for anybody to obsess over, right?

Their feed is creative and beautiful, but what really stands out is the brand’s emphasis on Instagram’s shopping features.

Ring Concierge on Instagram - best brands to follow

Ring Concierge tags every available product on nearly every photo they share on Instagram. This makes it incredibly easy for her followers to see something they like and quickly buy it.

Not only that, but if you tag a product multiple times, users can click on the product in a photo and are able to access every photo that product is in so they can see it in use in many different ways.

How to use this strategy:

Use Instagram Shopping! If you have an e-commerce business, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be taking advantage of this incredible feature. It’s a great way to show off your products and make it that much easier for your followers to make a purchase from you.


@teva – 463k followers

Teva on Instagram - best brands to follow

Teva finds a fit for their brand’s all-terrain sandals with user-generated content (UGC). User-generated content means that they’re sharing photos that their customers create and share on their own feeds.

It’s a genius strategy because you’re able to get even more content for your brand’s Instagram feed without actually having to invest in content creation. For Teva, it’s a perfect fit since it shows off all the different places and situations people are bringing their shoes.

How to use this strategy:

Create a hashtag that customers use to be featured or ask your audience to tag your brand in any photos they take of your product. This way, you have access to your own library of user-generated content that you can pull from whenever.

And if you have a lot of customers sharing your photos, you could dedicate your entire content strategy to UGC. As long as the photos are well lit and beautiful, sharing them to your own feed is a great way to increase your content as well as provide social proof that others love your product.

To make your UGC strategy even easier, you can store all future photos in Sprout Social’s Asset Library, along with a snippet of text to remind yourself who you got the photo from.

Best health & fitness brands on Instagram

Instagram is a great place to follow inspirational accounts to help you reach your #goals, so health and fitness brands get a lot of traction on the platform. Here are a few of our top recommendations for health & fitness brands to follow on Instagram.


@mindbodygreen – 780k followers

mindbodygreen on Instagram - best brands to follow

Mindbodygreen is a digital health and wellness publication focusing on helping readers to live their best lives. And they use their Instagram account to help nurture that focus directly with their audience.

Their feed consists of lifestyle photos, motivational quotes, and mini infographics that share helpful information with their audience.

How to use this strategy:

Using graphics like these to quickly introduce various topics is a great way to both engage and educate your audience. You can easily create similar mini infographics using an online graphic design tool like Canva or Visme with little to no design skills.


@lululemon – 2.9m followers

Lululemon on Instagram - best brands to follow

Lululemon is a workout apparel company that focuses on motivation in their Instagram feed. Obviously the more that people work out, the more they’re going to be interested in Lululemon’s products, so they want to inspire people to get moving.

By showcasing people using their products, especially in fun-loving groups that appear to be having a great time, they’re getting the gears moving in their followers’ minds about how they, too, can use Lululemon clothing in their own lives.

Lululemon on Instagram - best brands to follow

How to use this strategy:

Show off how people can use your product in your Instagram feed. People would understand the basics about Lululemon’s product if their feed was solely flatlays of their products, but sharing images of people actually on the go, wearing Lululemon, and having a great time doing it is way more powerful. It’s one thing to see a product – by seeing someone using it in a lifestyle context, it becomes much more vivid and inspirational.


@9roundofficial – 29.4k followers

9Round on Instagram - best brands to follow

9Round is a kickboxing gym that has various franchise locations all around the country. They share teasers to their recent blogs, exercises for their followers, and lifestyle photos of people using their fitness centers.

But one of the most effective aspects of their Instagram profile is their clear call-to-action in their bio. Their bio clearly details that the first workout with 9Rounds is free, giving people the chance to try out kickboxing before they sign up. They let their audience know this right in their bio and include a link to a page with a contact form that allows them to immediately sign up to get their free workout.

How to use this strategy:

Put together a startup deal or offer for new customers and tease it in all of your social media bios. Link to a landing page specifically for that offer. Letting people know how to immediately take action with your business helps to generate even more clicks and sign-ups.

46% of consumers say they follow brands on social media to have access to exclusive deals or promotions, and this is a great way to make that happen.

Best home decor & interior design brands on Instagram

Home decor is yet another popular industry on Instagram, simply because of how beautiful these photos can be. Check out some popular home decor & interior design brands on Instagram and what they’re doing right.

Design Within Reach

@designwithinreach – 420k followers

Design Within Reach on Instagram - best brands to follow

Design Within Reach is a furniture retailer with some seriously beautiful photography on their Instagram. As Instagram is a visual platform, it’s a good idea to put a heavy focus on imagery. And DWR is doing it right. Their grid shows off their products both in lifestyle contexts that help you imagine the pieces in your home, as well as more aspirational and inspirational design ideas.

How to use this strategy:

For some product niches, it simply makes sense to invest in professional photography. Sharing photos that are professionally styled, lit, and photographed is a great way to draw people in and keep them engaged with your content. Plus it shows off your products in the absolute best light they could be viewed in.


@ikeausa – 1.9m followers

IKEA on Instagram - best brands to follow

Everyone knows and loves the Swedish furniture company IKEA. Raise your hand if you’ve ever taken a road trip just to follow those arrows around the store and pretend you live in one of their many showcase rooms.

They show off their products within their Instagram, and IKEA is using another creative technique to let people know exactly where to buy the products in the photos.

Check out their caption. The last sentence says “Shop our Instagram pictures” and leads to a link. They’ve used Curalate to create a landing page that links every one of their photos directly to the product page on their website.

How to use this strategy:

Curalate is a great option, but there are many other ways to create an Instagram-specific link in bio as well. Linktree helps to create several links in your bio, and Leadpages can help you to put together a landing page to send Instagram followers to.

But it’s a great idea to include a link in your bio to something other than just your website homepage. Whether it’s an Instagram-only landing page, a Curalate page with all of your Instagram photos linked to corresponding website pages, or a Linktree page with a few different links, you want to give your audience options to get immediately in touch with what they see on your feed.

West Elm

@westelm – 2m followers

West Elm on Instagram - best brands to follow

West Elm is a furniture store that has various locations around the country. While they’re doing a lot of things right on their feed (professional photography, asking for user-generated content, etc.), we want to focus on their Story highlights.

West Elm on Instagram - best brands to follow

Most of their Story highlights are beautifully branded, adding to their profile’s overall brand strength. They’ve also shared a few really great Stories, including beautiful home tours (complete with swipe up links to the full tour on their website) and vertical how-to videos.

West Elm on Instagram - best brands to follow

Vertical video is huge right now with Instagram Stories and videos, and West Elm shows you how you can use it even for a more complex topic like home decor tutorials.

How to use this strategy:

It’s not enough to just focus on Stories. You should also focus on creating and sharing Stories that you can save to your highlights. These Stories stay at the top of your Instagram profile for longer than 24 hours, so they’re a highly visible spot to showcase your most essential, evergreen content.

Create branded highlight covers and make it a focus to create valuable, highlight-able Story content in addition to your regularly scheduled feed content.

Best travel brands on Instagram

When looking for places to travel, people love to browse social media for inspiration. Travel brands have to create awesome content to reach people that could potentially be visiting their location for anything from vacation planning to a quick stop on a road trip. Here are a few of our recommended travel brands to follow on Instagram.

Four Seasons

@fourseasons – 933k followers

Four Seasons on Instagram - best brands to follow

The Four Seasons brand has a ton of reach with different hotels and resorts all over the world. They’ve put a huge focus on user-generated content and share some of the best photos they get tagged in.

One thing they do that sets them apart, though, is that they tag which Four Seasons location each photo was taken at. This is extremely helpful for each of those hotels to find location-specific content, but also helps their audience to know which Four Seasons they might want to stay at based on the photo.

How to use this strategy:

If your business has multiple locations or franchises, you likely have different Instagram and other social media profiles per location. But if you also keep a main or official presence, tagging specific locations is a great idea. This helps audience members to find a location close to them, or even a location they might want to travel to.

Even if you don’t have a multi-location business, tagging other brands in captions, even if they’re not affiliated with you directly, is a great way to curate business-to-business relationships. If there’s a business next door to you or if your team goes on an outing at a local business, tagging the location is a great way to create engagement between your two brands.


@expedia – 245k followers

Expedia on Instagram - best brands to follow

Expedia is a travel service website, so naturally they share tons of beautiful photos from around the world. Their feed includes user-generated content as well as stock photos of beautiful sights.

They also use their Instagram to promote major giveaways and contests.

Expedia on Instagram - best brands to follow

I mean, who wouldn’t want a $50k vacation for free? This is a great way to give back to their customers and engage their Instagram audience.

How to use this strategy:

Every business should run contests and giveaways on social media every now and then. You certainly don’t have to do anything close to a $50,000 giveaway, but $50 to $500 is definitely a great incentive.

You can include various entry requirements, like an Instagram follow, liking your photo, and tagging friends in comments to spread the word. This helps to grow your following, increase brand awareness, and say thank you to your dedicated customers.


@jetblue – 365k followers

JetBlue on Instagram - best brands to follow

JetBlue is a popular airline and shares a lot of flying photos. One unique branded idea they’ve implemented is create the hashtag #WingCrushWednesday, and every Wednesday they share a user-generated photo that includes part of a JetBlue airplane wing in the photo.

This helps to improve brand recognition as well as smartly incorporating customer photos into their strategy.

How to use this strategy:

Creating a hashtag that’s relevant to your business and allows you to share recurring content each week or so. Not only does this help with your content creation process (it’s always easier to create content if one day a week follows the same theme), it’s fun for your audience to see what you’re going to share next.

How Sprout Social can help

Don’t go it alone on Instagram. Sprout Social’s Instagram management tools can help you out every step of the way – start your free trial or schedule a demo to find out more about how Sprout can help you implement these strategies for your own brand.