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26 of the Best Brands on Instagram Right Now

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26 of the Best Brands on Instagram Right Now

 

Contrary to what your friends’ photos suggest, Instagram isn’t just a social network for selfies and brunch pics. In fact, Instagram has over 200 million businesses that use its platform and 90% of users follow at least one of them, according to recent data.

In a time when visual content remains a crucial part of any brand’s marketing strategy, Instagram marketing presents a unique opportunity to showcase your brand identity.

Ready to get inspired? Check out this list of brands that are thriving on Instagram right now, and why their posts set them apart.

Best Brands on Instagram

What makes a brand great on Instagram?

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We polled 301 users across the United States, and asked “Which of the following describes the brands you follow and enjoy on Instagram?”

These were their top answers:

What the best Instagram brands have in commonData Source

While this data is from a small sample, it does highlight what we already know about Instagram audiences. They look for:

  • Content that relates to their lives: both personal and professional.
  • Eye-catching, fun content.
  • Product promotions

What you’ll see in the next section is that every brand featured meets these needs, earning them high follower counts and high engagement rates.

Psst – Want to get a stunning Instagram Story auto-magically created for your brand? Check out StoriesAds.com, a free Story generator from HubSpot and Shakr. Click here to get started.

1. The Every Mom

Followers: 294k

Modern-day moms face a unique set of challenges from raising children in a digital-first world to navigating relationships with in-laws and extended family during a pandemic. The Every Mom is a lifestyle brand that caters to this audience in every way.

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On this Instagram page, you’ll find content about handling your kids’ big emotions, teaching them about diversity, and tips on how to make mealtime more appealing.

Best Brands on Instagram: The Every Mom

While much of the content on this page lends itself to things a mom can do, there’s plenty of content advocating rest, relaxation, and mental health as well. You’ll also find the occasional discount code for popular products and cross-promotion of The Every Mom blog in the Instagram stories and highlights.

2. Bolden USA

Followers: 32.1k

Instagram is all about visuals. This means that within minutes of being on Instagram, a user can be bombarded with images.

So, the question is: How do you make sure your brand stands out and is memorable?

One way is by developing a unique aesthetic and remaining consistent. Bolden USA has done just that.

Best Brands on Instagram: Bolden USA

To mirror its green logo, the theme of Bolden USA’s Instagram is green. While the brand features other colors in its images, green is always the primary, standout color – an effective tactic to aid brand recall. That brand recall being spread across more than 33,000 followers makes Bolden USA one of the best brands on Instagram right now.

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3. The Broke Black Girl

Followers: 174k

Personal finance is like exercise. You need motivation, the right tools, discipline, and a goal to achieve to see real success. It doesn’t hurt to have a good coach to guide you along the way, either, and that’s exactly what The Broke Black Girl is doing as one of the best brands on Instagram.

Dasha is a financial activist who specializes in competency-based financial education. Over 170,000 people follow her for non-judgemental financial advice, empathetic budgeting tips, and free financial resources. Her work levels the predominantly white-male-led financial literacy landscape to make it more accessible to women of color.

Best Brands on Instagram: The Broke Black Girl

The history of women of color in finance, the $1000 Emergency Fund Challenge, and motivational messages comprise the majority of this brand’s Instagram feed making it the best place for young people to start their financial fitness journey.

4. Teleport Watches

Followers: 9.1k

Have you ever wondered where former President Barack Obama buys his watches? One of the brands he sports is Teleport Watches.

This premium luxury timepiece brand is known for its stylish and durable watches that are perfect for day-to-day wear and special occasions. However, people come back to the brand for its modern approach to a classic accessory which is why this Instagram brand makes our list.

Best Brands on Instagram: Teleport Watches

Teleport Watches proves that you can have a loyal following on Instagram without millions of followers. Although it’s one of the smallest Instagram brands in our lineup, it makes up for it in engagement and influence.

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5. Netflix’s Strong Black Lead

Followers: 764k

Here is an example of a brand that has mastered the art of having its own identity while remaining connected to its parent brand.

Strong Black Lead is a sub-brand under Netflix dedicated to amplifying Black stories in media.

Best Brands on Instagram: Netflix's Strong Black Lead

The brand’s Instagram page mainly features screen grabs and short clips from TV shows, movies, and documentaries available on Netflix that feature Black actors and/or directors. They stay on-trend, posting relevant content based on current events, holidays, and buzzy topics.

In addition to its appreciation posts for widely loved TV characters, Strong Black Lead also promotes content the brand hosts on other platforms, such as podcasts and YouTube content.

6. Califia Farms

Followers: 318k

Warning: If you’re hungry, don’t head to Califia Farms’ Instagram page.

The brand’s food photography makes it stand out among the rest, showing users how Califia Farms’ products can be used to create dishes ranging from pancakes and nice cream to artichoke dip and fettuccine alfredo.

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Best Brands on Instagram: Califia Farms

The brand doesn’t shy away from featuring its product in the images either. You can usually find it somewhere in its visual content, whether it’s the main subject of the photo or more in the background.

7. Anima Iris

Followers: 78.9k

You probably thought this list would only feature enterprise-level brands, huh?

Well, there are a ton of brands that have found the magic recipe on Instagram and Anima Iris is one of them.

Best Brands on Instagram: Anima Iris

What sets this brand apart is the transparency of its CEO.

If you watch one of Anima Iris’ Instagram Stories, you’ll probably see its CEO, Wilglory Tanjong, showing the behind-the-scenes of running a luxury purse brand, which helps its audience feel more connected.

You’ll probably also see Q&As, surveys, and user-generated content – all strategies that have helped the company build a strong online community and gain brand loyalists.

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8. Cooking With Constance

Followers: 15.2k

There’s more than enough food inspiration on Instagram, but Cooking With Constance takes that inspo a step further by pairing it with a side of judgment-free health and wellness. That’s why more than 10,000 people flocked to follow this brand page in just a few weeks.

This isn’t your typical vegan brand that compares and contrasts plant-based and non-plant-based lifestyles. Instead, Cooking With Constance serves up hearty and healthy recipes that even the biggest meat lovers will enjoy.

Best Brands on Instagram: Cooking With Constance

Holiday recipes, quick and easy lunches, and plant-based living tips are just a few of the types of content you’ll find as you scroll through her appetizing feed.

9. Lorna Jane

Followers: 1M

If your brand were a person, how would you describe its personality? Australian activewear company Lorna Jane has done an awesome job answering this important branding question with its Instagram content.

Spend just a few seconds scrolling through these photos, and you’ll quickly be able to name the target Lorna Jane buyer: a young, sporty, twenty- or thirty-something woman who values looking good while maintaining an active lifestyle.Best Brands on Instagram: Lorna Jane

The images posted by Lorna Jane, which often show the brand’s clothing and accessories, as well as images of women who embody its target buyer persona, are colorful, playful, and inspirational, which is a perfect representation of the brand’s essence.

10. Letterfolk

Followers: 360k

Letterfolk is a small business run by a couple who create and sell beautiful, handcrafted felt letterboards. Each letterboard comes with a full set of characters so people can personalize the walls of their homes, which means endless room for creativity.

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Best Brands on Instagram: Letterfolk

Instagram is the perfect platform for them to inspire customers and aspiring customers with real customers’ boards, as well as ideas they’ve come up with and staged themselves. Their Instagram content is funny and relatable – a great recipe for shareability.

11. Apartment Therapy

Followers: 3.2M

Apartment Therapy’s Instagram account really is a source of therapy, if you love the sight of cozy homes.

Best Brands on Instagram: Apartment Therapy

From home decor inspiration to fun challenges like their #SmallCoolChallenge contest and trendy user-generated content (UGC), this brand gives its followers plenty of inspiration to personalize their own space and “live happy, healthy lives at home,” as written in their profile bio.

12. Sunday II Sunday

Followers: 20.9k

Sunday II Sunday is another small business with a robust social media presence.

The brand describes itself as “haircare for active women.” As such, its content revolves around having and managing an active lifestyle.

Best Brands on Instagram: Sunday II Sunday

Sunday II Sunday also does a great job of engaging its followers, asking them questions about their routines, workouts, and hair care habits.

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13. Tentsile

Followers: 201k

Best Brands on Instagram: Tentsile

“Stunning” is the first word that comes to mind when I scroll through Tentsile’s Instagram photos.

Tentsile sells tree tents, what they call “portable treehouses” to elevate your camping experience. Its Instagram page is full of beautiful lifestyle images of their products in just about anywhere in the world: rainforests, mountains, beaches… you name it.

What the brand does well is leveraging its UGC. This saves time and resources and gives the brand some social proof.

14. Desenio

Followers: 1.9M

The first thing you’ll notice when you land on Swedish online art print company Desenio’s Instagram page is color blocking.

Every image blends beautifully with the one next to it, creating a cohesive, visually appealing page you never want to leave.

Best Brands on Instagram: Desenio

Even when using user-generated content, the brand ensures it fits within its aesthetic. Establishing consistency in your creative assets is key in ensuring brand recognition (i.e., when people see your image anywhere, they know it’s you.)

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15. Vans

Followers: 17M

Vans is known for its stylish shoes and its Instagram business account is no exception.

The maker of the classic checkered slip-on sneakers has a flashy Instagram feed, featuring both standalone product shots and action photos of people expressing themselves in their favorite Vans gear.Best Brands on Instagram: Vans

One thing that’s clear by looking at Vans’ Instagram account is that its identity is no longer tied solely to skateboarding. While you’ll still see lifestyle images with skateboarders, you’ll also see surfers, cyclists, and other fashionable shoe-lovers.

So, as your brand identity and messaging evolve, your content should also follow suit. Not sure how to get started with a strategy like this? Check out this podcast for tips from marketing experts:

16. Grass-Fields

Followers: 949k

Now, here’s a brand that knows how to show its personality.

This Cameroon-based clothing brand isn’t playing it safe on Instagram with static model shots and sale promotions. Instead, Grass-Fields showcases its products through fun, vibrant dance videos, and behind-the-scenes content.

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The brand also highlights Black business owners, creators, and artists on its page, which caters to Black women.

Best Brands on Instagram: Grass-Fields

The key takeaway here is: Don’t be afraid to do things differently than it has been done if that’s what your audience responds to.

17. Finfolk Productions

Followers: 399k

Ever wanted to be a mermaid? You can come pretty close, thanks to companies like FinFolk Productions. Believe it or not, silicone mermaid tails you can put on and swim around in are quite trendy.

Finfolk Productions’ Instagram feed is full of beautifully shot photos that play into the mermaid fantasy by looking more like mythical art than real people.Best Brands on Instagram: Finfolk Productions

The nostalgia of being a mermaid gives Finfolk Productions’ followers a sense of wonder that they can actually wear. This unique brand makes dreams come true, and that’s worthy of a spot on this list of the best brands on Instagram.

18. Shiseido

Followers: 1.3m

Shiseido started as Japan’s first Western-style pharmacy more than 140 years ago and has since developed into selling high-quality brightening and anti-aging skincare, makeup, and fragrance products.

Its mission is to inspire a life of beauty and culture – a mission it portrays beautifully through Instagram content.

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Best Brands on Instagram: Shiseido

Hot tip: Posts featuring faces, especially for a skincare brand, are ideal for boosting social media engagement.

Don’t be intimidated by highly professional Instagram videos like theirs. You can post highly engaging videos on Instagram without a huge video team or a bottomless budget. Here’s some inspiration for making amazing Instagram Reels without breaking the bank.

19. The Muted Home

Followers: 49k

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the home improvement industry saw an 18% increase in YOY market size — the largest increase in more than ten years. With people spending more money in the local hardware stores, they were spending more time on social media, too — consuming home decor content.

Best Brands on Instagram: The Muted Home

Instagram brands like The Muted Home provide inspiration to help their followers redefine and elevate their homes with luxury home decor. Candles, vases, spice racks, cooking utensils, and more can be found on The Muted Home’s Instagram page making it the go-to brand for nearly 50,000 online home decor enthusiasts.

20. Sephora Collections

Followers: 818k

Sephora Collections’ brand personality is playful, colorful, and feminine. It does a wonderful job of characterizing this personality in its Instagram content, using bright colors, patterns, and fun captions.Best Brands on Instagram: Sephora Collections

In addition to partnering with beauty influencers, the brand also promotes content from everyday makeup users, featuring their tutorials and looks on its feed.

Hot Tip: What makes this big brand one of the best on Instagram is the community it’s built on the platform. But what we see from Sephora on Instagram is a combination of marketing efforts elsewhere. So take it from Sephora — invest in your brand outside of Instagram, too, so that you can see even more success on this social network.

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21. Clare

Followers: 100k

If you’re renovating or simply moving into a new home, you’re likely looking for inspiration on social media sites like Instagram and Pinterest.

Best Brands on Instagram: Clare

Clare’s Instagram features a collection of carefully curated images that meet that exact need. You’ll find everything from new product promotions to home decor tips – everything in between.

There’s also a beautiful balance of colors on Clare’s Instagram page, creating a cohesive profile that’s inviting, warm, and inspiring.

22. HoneyBook

Followers: 93.6k

What we love about HoneyBook is how accessible its content is.

Instagram, like many social media platforms, has been slow to develop and promote its accessibility features.

Best Brands on Instagram: HoneyBook

Thankfully, brands like HoneyBook have taken an active approach to make its content accessible by adding captions to their videos and adding image IDs that describe every image the company posts.

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For deaf, hard of hearing, and visually impaired users, these extra steps go a long way.

23. Design Essentials

Followers: 147k

Design Essentials knows that hair is more than just something that grows on your body. It can speak to a community, a culture.

If you’re looking for inspiration for your Instagram brand, take inspo from Design Essentials and try diversifying your content. Even when your business is niche, there are plenty of ways to stretch your content ideas.

Best Brands on Instagram: Design Essentials

The brand does more than just promote products on its Instagram page. In addition to product shots, you’ll find inspirational quotes about hair, playful memes about everyday life, and fun reposts from Design Essentials’ audience.

24. Flodesk

Followers: 45.5k

Flodesk’s Instagram is everything you want to see on Instagram from an email marketing platform: beautiful designs and inviting content.

When you land on Flodesk’s page, you’ll gain tips on how to use its platform as well as general tips to optimize your email marketing strategy. With the use of vibrant colors and playful designs, every post is an attention grabber.Best Brands on Instagram: Flodesk

What’s more, almost every post includes a call-to-action that invites the audience to engage. Whether it’s to drop an emoji in the comments or answer a question – engagement done right.

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25. Omsom

Followers: 51.8k

Omsom is another small business that has leveraged its CEOs, two first-generation Vietnamese sisters, to build a community on Instagram.

As you scroll through Omsom’s Instagram, yes, you’ll find beautifully crafted images showcasing the dishes you can make using the brand’s food products. However, that’s only one piece of the puzzle.

Best Brands on Instagram: Omsom

You’ll also see many posts celebrating Vietnamese culture, and debunking Asian-American stereotypes and biases.

This strategy helps consumers connect with the Omsom beyond the delicious food and understand its broader mission and purpose.

26. Chipotle

Followers: 1.1M

Instead of reeling in consumers with food pictures, Chipotle has chosen another route: hilarious memes.

While you may find the occasional food post, the brand has focused its Instagram strategy on showing its personality.

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Best Brands on Instagram: Chipotle

Here’s why it works: Memes are shareable and tag-friendly, which helps Chipotle reach new consumers as people tag their friends in funny, relatable posts.

The common thread in all the brands featured is that they had a consistent brand identity that was reflected in their visuals and a deep understanding of what resonated with their audience.

Ready to populate your Instagram timeline with pics and videos that are as captivating as the content above? We believe in you!

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in June 2021 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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MARKETING

How to Use AI For a More Effective Social Media Strategy, According to Ross Simmonds

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How to Use AI For a More Effective Social Media Strategy, According to Ross Simmonds

Welcome to Creator Columns, where we bring expert HubSpot Creator voices to the Blogs that inspire and help you grow better.

It’s the age of AI, and our job as marketers is to keep up.

My team at Foundation Marketing recently conducted an AI Marketing study surveying hundreds of marketers, and more than 84% of all leaders, managers, SEO experts, and specialists confirmed that they used AI in the workplace.

AI in the workplace data graphic, Foundation Labs

If you can overlook the fear-inducing headlines, this technology is making social media marketers more efficient and effective than ever. Translation: AI is good news for social media marketers.

Download Now: The 2024 State of Social Media Trends [Free Report]

In fact, I predict that the marketers not using AI in their workplace will be using it before the end of this year, and that number will move closer and closer to 100%.

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Social media and AI are two of the most revolutionizing technologies of the last few decades. Social media has changed the way we live, and AI is changing the way we work.

So, I’m going to condense and share the data, research, tools, and strategies that the Foundation Marketing Team and I have been working on over the last year to help you better wield the collective power of AI and social media.

Let’s jump into it.

What’s the role of AI in social marketing strategy?

In a recent episode of my podcast, Create Like The Greats, we dove into some fascinating findings about the impact of AI on marketers and social media professionals. Take a listen here:

Let’s dive a bit deeper into the benefits of this technology:

Benefits of AI in Social Media Strategy

AI is to social media what a conductor is to an orchestra — it brings everything together with precision and purpose. The applications of AI in a social media strategy are vast, but the virtuosos are few who can wield its potential to its fullest.

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AI to Conduct Customer Research

Imagine you’re a modern-day Indiana Jones, not dodging boulders or battling snakes, but rather navigating the vast, wild terrain of consumer preferences, trends, and feedback.

This is where AI thrives.

Using social media data, from posts on X to comments and shares, AI can take this information and turn it into insights surrounding your business and industry. Let’s say for example you’re a business that has 2,000 customer reviews on Google, Yelp, or a software review site like Capterra.

Leveraging AI you can now have all 2,000 of these customer reviews analyzed and summarized into an insightful report in a matter of minutes. You simply need to download all of them into a doc and then upload them to your favorite Generative Pre-trained Transformer (GPT) to get the insights and data you need.

But that’s not all.

You can become a Prompt Engineer and write ChatGPT asking it to help you better understand your audience. For example, if you’re trying to come up with a persona for people who enjoy marathons but also love kombucha you could write a prompt like this to ChatGPT:

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ChatGPT prompt example

The response that ChatGPT provided back is quite good:

GPT response example

Below this it went even deeper by including a lot of valuable customer research data:

  • Demographics
  • Psychographics
  • Consumer behaviors
  • Needs and preferences

And best of all…

It also included marketing recommendations.

The power of AI is unbelievable.

Social Media Content Using AI

AI’s helping hand can be unburdening for the creative spirit.

Instead of marketers having to come up with new copy every single month for posts, AI Social Caption generators are making it easier than ever to craft catchy status updates in the matter of seconds.

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Tools like HubSpot make it as easy as clicking a button and telling the AI tool what you’re looking to create a post about:

AI social media caption generator step 1

The best part of these AI tools is that they’re not limited to one channel.

Your AI social media content assistant can help you with LinkedIn content, X content, Facebook content, and even the captions that support your post on Instagram.

It can also help you navigate hashtags:

AI social media hashtags generator example, HubSpot

With AI social media tools that generate content ideas or even write posts, it’s not about robots replacing humans. It’s about making sure that the human creators on your team are focused on what really matters — adding that irreplaceable human touch.

Enhanced Personalization

You know that feeling when a brand gets you, like, really gets you?

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AI makes that possible through targeted content that’s tailored with a level of personalization you’d think was fortune-telling if the data didn’t paint a starker, more rational picture.

What do I mean?

Brands can engage more quickly with AI than ever before. In the early 2000s, a lot of brands spent millions of dollars to create social media listening rooms where they would hire social media managers to find and engage with any conversation happening online.

Thanks to AI, brands now have the ability to do this at scale with much fewer people all while still delivering quality engagement with the recipient.

Analytics and Insights

Tapping into AI to dissect the data gives you a CSI-like precision to figure out what works, what doesn’t, and what makes your audience tick. It’s the difference between guessing and knowing.

The best part about AI is that it can give you almost any expert at your fingertips.

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If you run a report surrounding the results of your social media content strategy directly from a site like LinkedIn, AI can review the top posts you’ve shared and give you clear feedback on what type of content is performing, why you should create more of it, and what days of the week your content is performing best.

This type of insight that would typically take hours to understand.

Now …

Thanks to the power of AI you can upload a spreadsheet filled with rows and columns of data just to be met with a handful of valuable insights a few minutes later.

Improved Customer Service

Want 24/7 support for your customers?

It’s now possible without human touch.

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Chatbots powered by AI are taking the lead on direct messaging experiences for brands on Facebook and other Meta properties to offer round-the-clock assistance.

The fact that AI can be trained on past customer queries and data to inform future queries and problems is a powerful development for social media managers.

Advertising on Social Media with AI

The majority of ad networks have used some variation of AI to manage their bidding system for years. Now, thanks to AI and its ability to be incorporated in more tools, brands are now able to use AI to create better and more interesting ad campaigns than ever before.

Brands can use AI to create images using tools like Midjourney and DALL-E in seconds.

Brands can use AI to create better copy for their social media ads.

Brands can use AI tools to support their bidding strategies.

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The power of AI and social media is continuing to evolve daily and it’s not exclusively found in the organic side of the coin. Paid media on social media is being shaken up due to AI just the same.

How to Implement AI into Your Social Media Strategy

Ready to hit “Go” on your AI-powered social media revolution?

Don’t just start the engine and hope for the best. Remember the importance of building a strategy first. In this video, you can learn some of the most important factors ranging from (but not limited to) SMART goals and leveraging influencers in your day-to-day work:

The following seven steps are crucial to building a social media strategy:

  1. Identify Your AI and Social Media Goals
  2. Validate Your AI-Related Assumptions
  3. Conduct Persona and Audience Research
  4. Select the Right Social Channels
  5. Identify Key Metrics and KPIs
  6. Choose the Right AI Tools
  7. Evaluate and Refine Your Social Media and AI Strategy

Keep reading, roll up your sleeves, and follow this roadmap:

1. Identify Your AI and Social Media Goals

If you’re just dipping your toes into the AI sea, start by defining clear objectives.

Is it to boost engagement? Streamline your content creation? Or simply understand your audience better? It’s important that you spend time understanding what you want to achieve.

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For example, say you’re a content marketing agency like Foundation and you’re trying to increase your presence on LinkedIn. The specificity of this goal will help you understand the initiatives you want to achieve and determine which AI tools could help you make that happen.

Are there AI tools that will help you create content more efficiently? Are there AI tools that will help you optimize LinkedIn Ads? Are there AI tools that can help with content repurposing? All of these things are possible and having a goal clearly identified will help maximize the impact. Learn more in this Foundation Marketing piece on incorporating AI into your content workflow.

Once you have identified your goals, it’s time to get your team on board and assess what tools are available in the market.

Recommended Resources:

2. Validate Your AI-Related Assumptions

Assumptions are dangerous — especially when it comes to implementing new tech.

Don’t assume AI is going to fix all your problems.

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Instead, start with small experiments and track their progress carefully.

3. Conduct Persona and Audience Research

Social media isn’t something that you can just jump into.

You need to understand your audience and ideal customers. AI can help with this, but you’ll need to be familiar with best practices. If you need a primer, this will help:

Once you understand the basics, consider ways in which AI can augment your approach.

4. Select the Right Social Channels

Not every social media channel is the same.

It’s important that you understand what channel is right for you and embrace it.

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The way you use AI for X is going to be different from the way you use AI for LinkedIn. On X, you might use AI to help you develop a long-form thread that is filled with facts and figures. On LinkedIn however, you might use AI to repurpose a blog post and turn it into a carousel PDF. The content that works on X and that AI can facilitate creating is different from the content that you can create and use on LinkedIn.

The audiences are different.

The content formats are different.

So operate and create a plan accordingly.

Recommended Tools and Resources:

5. Identify Key Metrics and KPIs

What metrics are you trying to influence the most?

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Spend time understanding the social media metrics that matter to your business and make sure that they’re prioritized as you think about the ways in which you use AI.

These are a few that matter most:

  • Reach: Post reach signifies the count of unique users who viewed your post. How much of your content truly makes its way to users’ feeds?
  • Clicks: This refers to the number of clicks on your content or account. Monitoring clicks per campaign is crucial for grasping what sparks curiosity or motivates people to make a purchase.
  • Engagement: The total social interactions divided by the number of impressions. This metric reveals how effectively your audience perceives you and their readiness to engage.

Of course, it’s going to depend greatly on your business.

But with this information, you can ensure that your AI social media strategy is rooted in goals.

6. Choose the Right AI Tools

The AI landscape is filled with trash and treasure.

Pick AI tools that are most likely to align with your needs and your level of tech-savviness.

For example, if you’re a blogger creating content about pizza recipes, you can use HubSpot’s AI social caption generator to write the message on your behalf:

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AI social media generator example

The benefit of an AI tool like HubSpot and the caption generator is that what at one point took 30-40 minutes to come up with — you can now have it at your fingertips in seconds. The HubSpot AI caption generator is trained on tons of data around social media content and makes it easy for you to get inspiration or final drafts on what can be used to create great content.

Consider your budget, the learning curve, and what kind of support the tool offers.

7. Evaluate and Refine Your Social Media and AI Strategy

AI isn’t a magic wand; it’s a set of complex tools and technology.

You need to be willing to pivot as things come to fruition.

If you notice that a certain activity is falling flat, consider how AI can support that process.

Did you notice that your engagement isn’t where you want it to be? Consider using an AI tool to assist with crafting more engaging social media posts.

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Make AI Work for You — Now and in the Future

AI has the power to revolutionize your social media strategy in ways you may have never thought possible. With its ability to conduct customer research, create personalized content, and so much more, thinking about the future of social media is fascinating.

We’re going through one of the most interesting times in history.

Stay equipped to ride the way of AI and ensure that you’re embracing the best practices outlined in this piece to get the most out of the technology.

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MARKETING

Advertising in local markets: A playbook for success

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Advertising in local markets: A playbook for success

Many brands, such as those in the home services industry or a local grocery chain, market to specific locations, cities or regions. There are also national brands that want to expand in specific local markets. 

Regardless of the company or purpose, advertising on a local scale has different tactics than on a national scale. Brands need to connect their messaging directly with the specific communities they serve and media to their target demo. Here’s a playbook to help your company succeed when marketing on a local scale.  

1. Understand local vs. national campaigns

Local advertising differs from national campaigns in several ways: 

  • Audience specificity: By zooming in on precise geographic areas, brands can tailor messaging to align with local communities’ customs, preferences and nuances. This precision targeting ensures that your message resonates with the right target audience.
  • Budget friendliness: Local advertising is often more accessible for small businesses. Local campaign costs are lower, enabling brands to invest strategically within targeted locales. This budget-friendly nature does not diminish the need for strategic planning; instead, it emphasizes allocating resources wisely to maximize returns. As a result, testing budgets can be allocated across multiple markets to maximize learnings for further market expansion.
  • Channel selection: Selecting the correct channels is vital for effective local advertising. Local newspapers, radio stations, digital platforms and community events each offer advantages. The key lies in understanding where your target audience spends time and focusing efforts to ensure optimal engagement.
  • Flexibility and agility: Local campaigns can be adjusted more swiftly in response to market feedback or changes, allowing brands to stay relevant and responsive. 

Maintaining brand consistency across local touchpoints reinforces brand identity and builds a strong, recognizable brand across markets. 

2. Leverage customized audience segmentation 

Customized audience segmentation is the process of dividing a market into distinct groups based on specific demographic criteria. This marketing segmentation supports the development of targeted messaging and media plans for local markets. 

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For example, a coffee chain might cater to two distinct segments: young professionals and retirees. After identifying these segments, the chain can craft messages, offers and media strategies relating to each group’s preferences and lifestyle.

To reach young professionals in downtown areas, the chain might focus on convenience, quality coffee and a vibrant atmosphere that is conducive to work and socializing. Targeted advertising on Facebook, Instagram or Connected TV, along with digital signage near office complexes, could capture the attention of this demographic, emphasizing quick service and premium blends.

Conversely, for retirees in residential areas, the chain could highlight a cozy ambiance, friendly service and promotions such as senior discounts. Advertisements in local print publications, community newsletters, radio stations and events like senior coffee mornings would foster a sense of community and belonging.

Dig deeper: Niche advertising: 7 actionable tactics for targeted marketing

3. Adapt to local market dynamics

Various factors influence local market dynamics. Brands that navigate changes effectively maintain a strong audience connection and stay ahead in the market. Here’s how consumer sentiment and behavior may evolve within a local market and the corresponding adjustments brands can make. 

  • Cultural shifts, such as changes in demographics or societal norms, can alter consumer preferences within a local community. For example, a neighborhood experiencing gentrification may see demand rise for specific products or services.
    • Respond by updating your messaging to reflect the evolving cultural landscape, ensuring it resonates with the new demographic profile.
  • Economic conditions are crucial. For example, during downturns, consumers often prioritize value and practicality.
    • Highlight affordable options or emphasize the practical benefits of your offerings to ensure messaging aligns with consumers’ financial priorities. The impact is unique to each market and the marketing message must also be dynamic.
  • Seasonal trends impact consumer behavior.
    • Align your promotions and creative content with changing seasons or local events to make your offerings timely and relevant.
  • New competitors. The competitive landscape demands vigilance because new entrants or innovative competitor campaigns can shift consumer preferences.
    • Differentiate by focusing on your unique selling propositions, such as quality, customer service or community involvement, to retain consumer interest and loyalty.

4. Apply data and predictive analytics 

Data and predictive analytics are indispensable tools for successfully reaching local target markets. These technologies provide consumer behavior insights, enabling you to anticipate market trends and adjust strategies proactively. 

  • Price optimization: By analyzing consumer demand, competitor pricing and market conditions, data analytics enables you to set prices that attract customers while ensuring profitability.
  • Competitor analysis: Through analysis, brands can understand their positioning within the local market landscape and identify opportunities and threats. Predictive analytics offer foresight into competitors’ potential moves, allowing you to strategize effectively to maintain a competitive edge.
  • Consumer behavior: Forecasting consumer behavior allows your brand to tailor offerings and marketing messages to meet evolving consumer needs and enhance engagement.
  • Marketing effectiveness: Analytics track the success of advertising campaigns, providing insights into which strategies drive conversions and sales. This feedback loop enables continuous optimization of marketing efforts for maximum impact.
  • Inventory management: In supply chain management, data analytics predict demand fluctuations, ensuring inventory levels align with market needs. This efficiency prevents stockouts or excess inventory, optimizing operational costs and meeting consumer expectations.

Dig deeper: Why you should add predictive modeling to your marketing mix

5. Counter external market influences

Consider a clothing retailer preparing for a spring collection launch. By analyzing historical weather data and using predictive analytics, the brand forecasts an unseasonably cool start to spring. Anticipating this, the retailer adjusts its campaign to highlight transitional pieces suitable for cooler weather, ensuring relevance despite an unexpected chill.

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Simultaneously, predictive models signal an upcoming spike in local media advertising rates due to increased market demand. Retailers respond by reallocating a portion of advertising budgets to digital channels, which offer more flexibility and lower costs than traditional media. This shift enables brands to maintain visibility and engagement without exceeding budget, mitigating the impact of external forces on advertising.

6. Build consumer confidence with messaging

Localized messaging and tailored customer service enhance consumer confidence by demonstrating your brand’s understanding of the community. For instance, a grocery store that curates cooking classes featuring local cuisine or sponsors community events shows commitment to local culture and consumer interests. 

Similarly, a bookstore highlighting local authors or topics relevant to the community resonates with local customers. Additionally, providing service that addresses local needs — such as bilingual service and local event support — reinforces the brand’s values and response to the community. 

Through these localized approaches, brands can build trust and loyalty, bridging the gap between corporate presence and local relevance.

7. Dominate with local advertising 

To dominate local markets, brands must:

  • Harness hyper-targeted segmentation and geo-targeted advertising to reach and engage precise audiences.
  • Create localized content that reflects community values, engage in community events, optimize campaigns for mobile and track results.
  • Fine-tune strategies, outperform competitors and foster lasting relationships with customers.

These strategies will enable your message to resonate with local consumers, differentiate you in competitive markets and ensure you become a major player in your specific area. 



Dig deeper: The 5 critical elements for local marketing success

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

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Battling for Attention in the 2024 Election Year Media Frenzy

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Battling for Attention in the 2024 Election Year Media Frenzy

Battling for Attention in the 2024 Election Year Media Frenzy

As we march closer to the 2024 U.S. presidential election, CMOs and marketing leaders need to prepare for a significant shift in the digital advertising landscape. Election years have always posed unique challenges for advertisers, but the growing dominance of digital media has made the impact more profound than ever before.

In this article, we’ll explore the key factors that will shape the advertising environment in the coming months and provide actionable insights to help you navigate these turbulent waters.

The Digital Battleground

The rise of cord-cutting and the shift towards digital media consumption have fundamentally altered the advertising landscape in recent years. As traditional TV viewership declines, political campaigns have had to adapt their strategies to reach voters where they are spending their time: on digital platforms.

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According to a recent report by eMarketer, the number of cord-cutters in the U.S. is expected to reach 65.1 million by the end of 2023, representing a 6.9% increase from 2022. This trend is projected to continue, with the number of cord-cutters reaching 72.2 million by 2025.

Moreover, a survey conducted by Pew Research Center in 2023 found that 62% of U.S. adults do not have a cable or satellite TV subscription, up from 61% in 2022 and 50% in 2019. This data further underscores the accelerating shift away from traditional TV and towards streaming and digital media platforms.

As these trends continue, political advertisers will have no choice but to follow their audiences to digital channels. In the 2022 midterm elections, digital ad spending by political campaigns reached $1.2 billion, a 50% increase from the 2018 midterms. With the 2024 presidential election on the horizon, this figure is expected to grow exponentially, as campaigns compete for the attention of an increasingly digital-first electorate.

For brands and advertisers, this means that the competition for digital ad space will be fiercer than ever before. As political ad spending continues to migrate to platforms like Meta, YouTube, and connected TV, the cost of advertising will likely surge, making it more challenging for non-political advertisers to reach their target audiences.

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To navigate this complex and constantly evolving landscape, CMOs and their teams will need to be proactive, data-driven, and willing to experiment with new strategies and channels. By staying ahead of the curve and adapting to the changing media consumption habits of their audiences, brands can position themselves for success in the face of the electoral advertising onslaught.

Rising Costs and Limited Inventory

As political advertisers flood the digital market, the cost of advertising is expected to skyrocket. CPMs (cost per thousand impressions) will likely experience a steady climb throughout the year, with significant spikes anticipated in May, as college students come home from school and become more engaged in political conversations, and around major campaign events like presidential debates.

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For media buyers and their teams, this means that the tried-and-true strategies of years past may no longer be sufficient. Brands will need to be nimble, adaptable, and willing to explore new tactics to stay ahead of the game.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday: A Perfect Storm

The challenges of election year advertising will be particularly acute during the critical holiday shopping season. Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which have historically been goldmines for advertisers, will be more expensive and competitive than ever in 2024, as they coincide with the final weeks of the presidential campaign.

To avoid being drowned out by the political noise, brands will need to start planning their holiday campaigns earlier than usual. Building up audiences and crafting compelling creative assets well in advance will be essential to success, as will a willingness to explore alternative channels and tactics. Relying on cold audiences come Q4 will lead to exceptionally high costs that may be detrimental to many businesses.

Navigating the Chaos

While the challenges of election year advertising can seem daunting, there are steps that media buyers and their teams can take to mitigate the impact and even thrive in this environment. Here are a few key strategies to keep in mind:

Start early and plan for contingencies: Begin planning your Q3 and Q4 campaigns as early as possible, with a focus on building up your target audiences and developing a robust library of creative assets.

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Be sure to build in contingency budgets to account for potential cost increases, and be prepared to pivot your strategy as the landscape evolves.

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Embrace alternative channels: Consider diversifying your media mix to include channels that may be less impacted by political ad spending, such as influencer marketing, podcast advertising, or sponsored content. Investing in owned media channels, like email marketing and mobile apps, can also provide a direct line to your customers without the need to compete for ad space.

Owned channels will be more important than ever. Use cheaper months leading up to the election to build your email lists and existing customer base so that your BF/CM can leverage your owned channels and warm audiences.

Craft compelling, shareable content: In a crowded and noisy advertising environment, creating content that resonates with your target audience will be more important than ever. Focus on developing authentic, engaging content that aligns with your brand values and speaks directly to your customers’ needs and desires.

By tapping into the power of emotional triggers and social proof, you can create content that not only cuts through the clutter but also inspires organic sharing and amplification.

Reflections

The 2024 election year will undoubtedly bring new challenges and complexities to the world of digital advertising. But by staying informed, adaptable, and strategic in your approach, you can navigate this landscape successfully and even find new opportunities for growth and engagement.

As a media buyer or agnecy, your role in steering your brand through these uncharted waters will be critical. By starting your planning early, embracing alternative channels and tactics, and focusing on creating authentic, resonant content, you can not only survive but thrive in the face of election year disruptions.

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So while the road ahead may be uncertain, one thing is clear: the brands that approach this challenge with creativity, agility, and a steadfast commitment to their customers will be the ones that emerge stronger on the other side.


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