In 2017, we produced and consumed more visual content than ever before. But which brands cut through the noise on social media?
Check out our list of the 17 best brands to follow on social media in 2018, and get inspired to ramp up your 2018 social media strategy!
The Best Brands to Follow on Social Media
The team at Airbnb knows how to use visual media as an expression of the brand’s identity, creating a pitch-perfect social media presence. Whether they’re sharing professionally produced content, influencer content or user generated content, most of the photos and videos they share feature real travelers and hosts. This helps the Airbnb social media channels reinforce the brand’s values, like building authentic connections through travel and experiencing a destination like a local.
— Airbnb (@Airbnb) December 1, 2017
At this ultra-zen Berkeley Hills hideaway, the California sunshine will lure you and your little one to the outdoor patio where you can get sprawling views of the Bay Area. Enjoy it while catching up over coffee (yours) and warm milk (the kiddo’s). ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ What is your favorite family activity outdoors? Show us by tagging #Airbnb. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Photo: @ashleytkim
The Takeaway: Think about how you can communicate your brand’s values visually.
General Electric’s social media channels are both educational and inspiring. In 2017, GE made waves on social media with an experiential marketing stunt at Grand Central Terminal in New York City. GE posted a 360 video on Facebook to capture the incredible scene as they lit up the arched ceiling with the names of female scientists. The caption: “What if we treated great female scientists and engineers like they were stars?” (As someone who saw it in person, I can tell you it was entrancing!)
The Takeaway: Create experiences that will have a powerful ripple effect online.
Applegate Natural & Organic Meats
The team at Applegate Natural & Organic Meats uses mouth-watering food photography on social media to drive fans to their websites. The images they share on Instagram are paired with recipes on their blog, so you can make them yourself. Take a look at these photos and see if you can resist them.
The Takeaway: Catch your audience’s attention on social media with irresistible photography, and invite them to go deeper.
Casper has a well-defined brand voice on social media. On Twitter, the mattress retailer focuses on short quips that are sure to resonate with followers.
There’s no place like bed.
— Casper (@Casper) November 22, 2017
On Instagram, they match images with calming colors and lots of negative space with punny captions, like the one below.
Their feeds are cohesive and clean, and their posts are filled with smart, short, on-brand copy.
The Takeaway: Visual storytelling is crucial, but it works even better when paired with a strong brand voice and the right copy.
For a company focused on audio, Pandora has an incredible visual identity. The team at Pandora wants you to feel like every image or video came from the same camera.
As Pandora’s photographer and digital asset manager, Michael Baca, puts it, “we want to strip away any filter and we want to present our work in a really relatable and personal way.”
The Takeaway: Create guidelines for your visual content so your social media channels have a cohesive look and feel.
The tagline for GoPro’s social media channels is, “We make the World’s Most Versatile Camera.” As a result, the brand’s feeds are packed with photos and videos from a wide range of perspectives. As you scroll through GoPro’s Instagram, you’ll see everything from underwater footage of spear fishermen deep diving in Hawaii to a unique angle of a terrifying roller coaster ride.
The Takeaway: Share photos and videos from different perspectives, so all of your different types of target customers can see themselves in your content.
Red Bull makes energy drinks, but you won’t see many cans on the brand’s social media channels. Instead, Red Bull tells stories like a media company, and those stories are all about adrenaline. Focusing on the concept of energy, rather than the actual energy drink, allows Red Bull to connect with their customers on a value they share.
The Takeaway: Shift the focus from your product or service to the values you share with your customers.
LEGO’s social media channels share everything from images of new Minifigures to short animated films in the style of The LEGO Movie. One standout series is a set of LEGO Designer videos, a behind the scenes look at how LEGO products are made and the stories of the people who make them. The series hits home for LEGO’s most enthusiastic and loyal fans.
The Takeaway: Create content for your broader fan base, while also producing in-depth stories that will resonate with your die hard fans.
Spotify has access to a treasure trove of data, and they use it to make incredible social media content. Plus, they are masters of data visualization. They break the data into bite sized chunks, and share it in eye-catching, and often interactive, formats.
— Spotify (@Spotify) December 5, 2017
The Takeaway: Get creative with data. Pairing the numbers with strong visualizations and an interesting story or angle will help you catch your audience’s attention.
Wendy’s has an incredible social media presence. I could tell you about their colorful Instagram or go on and on about their hilarious Twitter roasts. But Wendy’s made social media history in 2017 with #NuggsForCarter – a viral Twitter sensation that took off when a fan asked a simple question, “Yo, @Wendy’s, how many retweets for a year of free chicken nuggets?”
HELP ME PLEASE. A MAN NEEDS HIS NUGGS pic.twitter.com/4SrfHmEMo3
— Carter Wilkerson (@carterjwm) April 6, 2017
Carter now holds the record for the most retweets of all time, beating out Ellen DeGeneres’s Oscar-Selfie by hundreds of thousands of tweets. If Wendy’s hadn’t engaged in two-way conversations with fans on Twitter, none of this would have happened.
The Takeaway: Don’t use social media just for broadcasting. Interacting with fans individually can have a powerful ripple effect (sometimes to the tune of 3.6 million retweets).
WeWork’s office spaces are perfect for the ‘gram. While it might seem easy enough to make these beautiful spaces look good, the social media team does a great job of focusing on the details. They highlight smaller nuances that set WeWork apart from other co-working spots.
The Takeaway: Focus on the little details that make your brand special.
The team at PUBLIC Bikes knows what works well on each social media platform, and they tailor their content accordingly. On Twitter and Facebook, they share news updates about cycling to work, bike friendly cities, trends in transit, etc. Meanwhile, on Instagram, they share bright and airy photos that immediately put you in the mood for a carefree Sunday bike ride.
The Takeaway: Use your social media channels in different ways, based on what performs well on each platform.
Eggo and Stranger Things are quickly becoming an iconic partnership rivaling Reeses Pieces and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Eggo is fully embracing Stranger Things mania on social media, posting spoof videos, retweeting fans who are eating Eggos while watching the show, and sharing recipes inspired by the cult hit.
Preach 🙌 https://t.co/U7Uo3NiXD8
— Eggo® (@eggo) October 28, 2017
— Eggo® (@eggo) October 27, 2017
Fans have even spotted the Eggo waffle truck in cities across the country – a great way to bring in an experiential marketing stunt.
The Takeaway: Use integrated across platforms, ranging from television to social media to real life experiences.
Whether Pusheen is sharing an animation or a still photo of a plush toy, all of the brand’s posts have the same look and feel. The pastel colors and airy feel of the images make the posts stand out in your feed, and help create a consistent visual identity.
The Takeaway: Use a consistent color scheme to give your social channels a cohesive look and feel.
Patagonia’s social media is rarely about outdoor wear. Instead, it highlights the adventures of Patagonia customers and the beautiful landscapes they explore. The brand’s images all convey a true reverence for nature, which works perfectly for a company that includes protecting the environment in its mission statement.
The Takeaway: Think carefully about the feelings you want to evoke from your audience through your visual storytelling. Make sure the photos and videos you share strike a chord with your fans.
The luggage brand Away does a fantastic job of showing their products in their natural habitat – in destinations around the world. Scrolling through the Away Instagram feed is like playing a particularly fun game of Where’s Waldo, where you spot stylish suitcases in beautiful and exotic locations.
Bonus: the brand also shares quite a few photos of cute dogs and cats snuggling into the suitcases to keep their owners from hitting the road (how could I not share this?!).
The Takeaway: Rather than showcasing your product in a studio, opt for a more organic setting.
Starbucks uses clean imagery to catch your attention and slow your scroll. When they share video clips, they often use boomerangs or stop motion graphics to keep it simple.
The Takeaway: Don’t overcomplicate your imagery. Keep it simple.