Instagram for Business

Welcome to the Instagram for Business blog! Explore how businesses are using Instagram through tips, brand spotlights, API examples and news from Instagram HQ.


bolthouse farms, cpg,

Bolthouse Farms rewards people on Instagram for spreading the word about the brand’s ‘roots’

Though it has been around for nearly a century, bottled juice maker Bolthouse Farms doesn’t have the marketing budgets to match Coca-Cola-owned Odwalla or Pepsi-owned Naked Juice. So it was a big deal for the company when in mid October it launched its first major consumer advertising campaign, focused on beverages, seeking to set its brand apart by driving awareness of the fact that Bolthouse owns the farms that produce its carrot juice.

When considering which media channels would be most effective to spread the word, Bolthouse director of brand engagement Pamela Naumes says the company just kept coming back to Instagram. Bolthouse is using out-of-home media in the Chicago, Miami and San Francisco markets, but Naumes explains, “We really believe in the power of digital and social, and more specifically Instagram, to tell our story.”

One reason: Bolthouse, which grows and distributes carrots in addition to salad dressing and a range of bottled beverages, was impressed that over 16,000 images had already been uploaded to Instagram with the hashtag #bolthousefarms, without any prompting from the brand.

So it decided to tap into that behavior, encouraging users to take photos of Bolthouse related imagery—billboards, bottles in the grocery store—and upload them to instagram with the hashtags #carrotfarmers and #gotcoupon. In exchange, Instagrammers are rewarded with $1.50 off a Bolthouse beverage.

It works like this: Once an image with the two hashtags is verified as related to Bolthouse, the @bolthousefarms account comments on the user’s image with a link that they can type into an Internet browser to print a coupon or send to their email account.  

The campaign has been such a hit that Naumes says the number of #carrotfarmers images is on track to surpass the number of #bolthousefarms images soon. But Bolthouse is also focused on how the campaign is driving awareness and trial of their products.

In addition to the number of photos posted each week, Bolthouse measures the earned impressions it receives from images that reach the followers of the users who post them. And of course Bolthouse monitors how many people actually print and redeem the coupons. “The majority of Instagrammers uploading images are also printing the coupon,” reports Naumes.

Bolthouse plans to keep the program going, including kicking off a second phase of promotion to support it. And while the Instagram campaign is generating immediate business results, Bolthouse is delighted that it also supports their “farm fresh” branding. Says Naumes, “The beauty of the hashtag is that it reinforces that we are carrot farmers.”


charity, james beard foundation, restaurants,

James Beard Foundation Inspires Diners to Snap Food for Charity

Instagram and food. It’s like they were made for each other. If you scroll through your feed and don’t catch a glimpse of someone’s latest meal, artfully arranged #onthetable, you might think something is wrong. So it’s only natural that the James Beard Foundation (@beardfoundation) tapped into people’s passion for snapping pics while dining to amplify awareness of its Taste America Local Dish Challenge in September and October.

"Food photography is so hot right now and on Instagram people share their experiences through images in a way that’s really compelling," says Kris Moon, Director of Charitable Giving and Strategic Partnerships at JBF. "Diners can now say, ‘Look at this amazing dish!’"

As part of the Taste America national traveling food festival, JBF enlisted 162 restaurants in 10 cities to feature a limited-time dish celebrating their city’s local flavors. Participating chefs used Instagram video to announce the promotion: For every local dish ordered, the restaurants would donate $1 to the JBF’s educational programs.

Meanwhile, diners could up the ante by posting a photograph of the local dish to Instagram with #JBFTasteAmerica and the hashtag of their city. The winning hometown, based on number of photo uploads, will be awarded $10,000 to a local food charity. The votes are still being tallied but Chicago and Santa Barbara look to be in the lead and JBF has seen over 5,000 instances of the #JBFTasteAmerica hashtag since Taste America kicked off in June.

While Instagram helped to get diners and chefs across the US get involved with Taste America, JBF also used the platform to share moments from events around the country hosted by all star chefs like Richard Blais, Michael Voltaggio and Wylie Dufresne.

The campaign has JBF even more excited about using Instagram as a marketing tool. “We’ve been very active on Instagram for about a year, but Taste America has expanded our presence there,” says JBF senior editor Anna Mowry. “The bulk of our images come from the Beard House, which is often called the Carnegie Hall for chefs. With Instagram we can share the incredible cooking that’s happening there every day with all users on the platform.”


Michael Kors, Fashion,

Michael Kors Enlists Help in the Fight to End Hunger

It’s not every day that Instagrammers have a chance to see their photos on the big screen in New York’s Times Square. But earlier this month Michael Kors (@michaelkors) made that possible for people who shared Instagram photos (like those above) to help spread the word about World Food Day, using the hashtag #watchhungerstop.

Fashion designer Michael Kors has been a longtime supporter of the fight to end hunger. This year his company decided to adopt the cause officially by partnering with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to launch a long term initiative called Watch Hunger Stop. In April, Kors unveiled a special edition timepiece, the 100 series watch, to support WFP. An engraving on the back of the watch includes his signature, the name of the campaign and the message: 1 WATCH = 100 MEALS.

Many global brands have causes they’re passionate about, using their voice to raise awareness and inspire action. But it can be a challenge to figure out how to get customers involved beyond making a purchase or donation. This is where the company turned to the Instagram community, streaming photos with the hashtag #watchhungerstop to 12 billboards in Times Square on October 16, World Food Day.

Given that 350,000 pedestrians visit the tourist hot spot on an average day, and another 115,000 pass through on wheels, there’s no doubt the images made an impact. In fact Michael Kors reported that the Times Square billboards delivered 1.5 million impressions on the day of the campaign.

It’s important to note that the Instagrammers who took part also helped educate their own followers about global hunger, even if the screens that broadcast their messages were a bit smaller than those in New York City.

A Look at Ads on Instagram

Instagram news,

A few weeks ago, we shared our plans to introduce advertising on Instagram. Today, we want to provide a few more details about exactly what ads on Instagram will look like.

If you’re in the United States, you’ll see the sample ad above sometime in the coming week. This is a one-time ad from the Instagram team that’s meant to give you a sense for the look and feel of the ads you will see.

You’ll know a photo or video is an advertisement when you see the “Sponsored” label where the time stamp normally would be. Tap the label to learn more about how advertising works on Instagram. If you have other questions about how advertising on Instagram works, you can learn more here.

We want ads to be creative and engaging, so we’re starting with just a handful of brands that are already great members of the Instagram community. We’ll proceed slowly and let you know when we’re ready to expand, continuing to partner with brands whose content shines.

In the meantime, all businesses can use Instagram by creating an account on the platform. All you need is a mobile device, username and profile image.

Instagram is the place for brands to share beautiful and captivating photos and videos that people can’t see anywhere else.

Stay tuned to this blog to see how a few brands are already crafting eye-catching original content and inspiring their customers and followers to do the same.

We recommend exploring the stories and best practices featured here, such as these profiles of some of our ad launch partners:

We look forward to more businesses joining the Instagram community and sharing moments that capture the essence of their brands.

Instagram as a Growing Business

instagram news,

Over the past three years we’ve watched with amazement as Instagram has grown to a global community of more than 150 million people capturing and sharing the world’s moments. Instagram is a place where people come to connect and be inspired, and our focus with every product we build is keeping it this way.

We have big ideas for the future, and part of making them happen is building Instagram into a sustainable business. In the next couple months, you may begin seeing an occasional ad in your Instagram feed if you’re in the United States. Seeing photos and videos from brands you don’t follow will be new, so we’ll start slow. We’ll focus on delivering a small number of beautiful, high-quality photos and videos from a handful of brands that are already great members of the Instagram community.

Our aim is to make any advertisements you see feel as natural to Instagram as the photos and videos many of you already enjoy from your favorite brands. After all, our team doesn’t just build Instagram, we use it each and every day. We want these ads to be enjoyable and creative in much the same way you see engaging, high-quality ads when you flip through your favorite magazine.

We’ll also make sure you have control. If you see an ad you don’t like, you’ll be able to hide it and provide feedback about what didn’t feel right. We’re relying on your input to help us continually improve the Instagram experience.

As always, you own your own photos and videos. The introduction of advertising won’t change this.

Thanks for listening, and stay tuned for more details. We’re excited to continue building Instagram alongside this inspiring community.


auto, mercedes-benz, instagram+facebook,

Mercedes-Benz Creates an Immersive Experience at the Frankfurt Auto Show

Seeking a way to stand out at this year’s International Motor Show IAA in Frankfurt, Mercedes-Benz turned to Instagram for inspiration. The automaker constructed a space composed entirely of Instagram images: 7 million pixels across nearly 13,000 square feet.

Photos came from the Instagram community using the hashtag #mbcariaa, which Mercedes-Benz announced on Facebook and other media channels as well as on the image wall itself. The automaker describes the installation as an “emotional” campaign designed to engage the community. “They can actively play a part in the exhibition on the show stand with Instagram pictures and thus help shape it.”

Over the course of the show, September 12-22, a team at the Mercedes-Benz offices selected the most striking images from the over 1,500 submitted and turned them into a mosaic, using software to animate the images. Every 30 minutes the team swapped in a new set of photos to ensure the installation was constantly evolving. The best images were also published to the Mercedes-Benz Pages on Facebook and Google+.

To raise the stakes for the installation, the automaker also hosted four photo bloggers overnight on Sunday, September 15 for an Instagram shoot-out: @teymur, @koelnformat, @marioroman_pictures, and @fuenfkommasechs.

The bloggers’ photos appeared on the official Mercedes-Benz Instagram account, @mercedesbenz, and as part of the installation. Each blogger uploaded one photo per hour over the course of the night with #mbshootout. The Instagram community then had until Wednesday, September 18 to vote by liking their favorites.

Photographer Mario Roman Lambrecht, @marioroman_pictures, led the pack with over 242,000 likes across his 12 photos. His prize? Lambrecht will manage the international Mercedes-Benz Instagram account, @mercedesbenz, in November.

And even though the show ended on Sunday, Mercedes-Benz has continued to share images from the event on Facebook, allowing the high-impact campaign to live on.

Announcing Instagram for iOS 7

ios7, instagram news,

Today we’re excited to announce Instagram for iOS7.

We put the community—and the photos and videos you share—first. To bring you the best experience possible, we have always valued beauty and simplicity in our app. With the introduction of iOS7 and its emphasis on clarity, we were excited to rebuild the look and feel of Instagram in a way that would bring these principles together and let the moments this community captures and shares shine.

In this update you will find that we’ve increased the size of photos and videos in your feed so that they expand to the edges of your screen. We’re also happy to say that increased size means increased resolution, so photos and videos will be clearer and more vibrant than ever.

In grid view, we streamlined things so that your content will also appear larger. We led our redesign with a focus on clarity to keep the feel of Instagram clean, simple and grounded in the photos and videos you discover and share.

Lastly, in keeping with iOS7’s conventions, we’ve made profile pictures circular so Instagram feels at home on your phone.

To learn more about Instagram for iOS7, visit the Instagram help center. Instagram for iOS version 4.2 is available for download today in Apple’s App Store.



Heineken, US Open,

Heineken helps tennis fans hunt for tickets to the US Open

When the US Open tennis tournament comes to Flushing Meadows every August and September, tickets to the event can be hard to find. But this year an interactive photo hunt on Instagram hosted by Heineken gave a few clever fans the chance to find their way into the men’s final.

How did it work? Heineken’s Crack the US Open contest stitched together more than 200 photos to create a mosaic panorama depicting tennis fans seated in the stands, which appeared  within the @crack_the_us_open Instagram profile (photographed by industry vet Art Streiber). On September 3, a clue and codeword posted to the @heineken_US Instagram account signaled the start of the ticket giveaway, and prompted the community to search for a particular fan in the massive scene to start the photo hunt.

Players then followed a series of clues in the captions of the photos that composed the mosaic of tennis fans. If they were the first person to find their way to the final photo in the game and comment the codeword in the caption, they would win a pair of tickets to the real game. The contest continued for three days, with 1,500 people taking part in a total of 7 photo hunts.

The game was hailed a success for helping to drive awareness for Heineken’s sponsorship of the US Open, now 22 years running. And according to Heineken, which saw a 20% increase in followers for the @Heineken_US account during the contest, “Instagram was the perfect platform for this because fans at events like the US Open are using it to capture and share their experience with their friends in real time.”


Inside the World of Alice + Olivia’s Stacey Bendet

Designer Stacey Bendet has been using Instagram to tell the story behind her fashion brand Alice + Olivia. The account (@alice_olivia), which is managed by Bendet herself, offers a curated look inside the designer’s world and the Alice + Olivia brand. Bendet shares photos and videos capturing what she is seeing, feeling or thinking in the moment, providing followers a genuine glimpse into her life of fashion & design and into the inspiration behind the brand.

"I think of [Instagram] as picture telling — I am able to show the beautiful, the sophisticated, the fun. I can share inspiration, be it words of wisdom or beautiful clothing, with the world," says Bendet. "That is really what building a brand is about, not just showing the product but showing the story all around it."

Beyond using Instagram as a form of creative and artistic expression, Bendet has also used the account as a way of connecting directly with followers, including getting customer feedback on items from a particular line. Content from the account is also frequently shared on the Alice + Olivia blog, email blasts and more, allowing it to reach even more fans of the brand.

To follow the story and inspiration behind Alice + Olivia, check out more photos and videos from @alice_olivia on Instagram.


Immaculate Infatuation Brings Food Lovers to the Table

Launched by co-founders Chris Stang (@houseofstang) and Andrew Steinthal (@schmooey) in 2009, Immaculate Infatuation (@immaculateinfat) is a restaurant review website and iPhone app that has been bringing food lovers together on Instagram through various themed challenges and weekly #eeeeeats (yup, 5 e’s) hashtag contests.

Throughout the year, @immaculateinfat holds themed Instagram challenges using specific hashtags. For example, #mdeats celebrated Memorial Day food and #bkwegrubhard highlighted the best of Brooklyn cuisine. On Thanksgiving, @immaculateinfat holds a recurring #turkeylegballin contest (their logo is a turkey leg). One winner is selected for each challenge by Stang, Steinthal and head of product Mike Mignano (@mignano) and invited to an “Instagram Dinner of Champions.” The dinners, which are hosted every few months, provide winners a chance to connect and dine with fellow champs and food lovers, as well as the Immaculate Infatuation team.

Additionally, @immaculateinfat encourages everyone posting food and drink related photos on Instagram to use the #eeeeeats hashtag. Each week, they post eight finalists and pick one champion, whose winning Instagram shot is re-posted on the @immaculateinfat account. To learn more and participate in the Instagram challenges, check out the Immaculate Infatuation website. To see more images of delicious eats, follow @immaculateinfat.