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3 Reasons Why Instagram Is Reef’s Social Network of the Year

Instagram is absolutely Reef’s social network of the year. From audience growth to engagement to the success of the Reef_Girls Instagram account, surf-inspired retail brand Reef has worked hard to gain some serious rewards on the network in 2015 so far.

2015 Instagram Influencer Report

Let’s take a look at the KPI’s of their growth and pull out some lessons for your own brand.

Sheer Audience Growth

Instagram has given Reef a substantial mount of new followers in 2015, with 159,000 new followers added and a 62.4% audience growth rate (click image to zoom).

This audience growth referred for several reasons, but here are some:

Building a community around current events. This is Reef’s most engaging post of the year so far.

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That’s because it builds community and generates comments around a terrible event relevant to anyone in the surfing community. By expressing its love and support for the surfer and spreading awareness around Mick Fanning’s shark attack, Reef got a true conversation and tagging-fest going in the comments section.

Kids + Instagram Video = <3. This was another one of Reef’s most engaging posts of 2015 across all its social channels.

Why does this post succeed? Because it includes an Instagram video, which is especially appealing for brands in sports-related categories, and it includes a kid doing something cool, which always generates a ton of engagement for brands on Instagram. This was a 1-2 punch for Reef.

Tag ’em for discovery. Another one of Reef’s top-performing Instagram posts which led to audience growth was this one.

Smooth like butter @shanedorian @stackingclips #justpassingthrough

A post shared by Reef (@reef) on

This post tags two major surfers, which in turn makes Reef more likely to be discovered by relevant followers using the Discover feature.

What your brand can try: Do some testing. Take each of the follower- and engagement-generating posts discussed above and model Instagram posts for your own brand upon these. See what happens to your follower numbers, specifically, as you post this content.

Average Engagement Per Post

Instagram, like for many brands, is Reef’s most successful social platform for engagement as a percent of audience. Because people only follow the brands they care most about on Instagram due to the intimate environment and relative newness of the platform, the brands people do follow get a lot of love from those followers (click image to zoom).

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What your brand can try: Make sure your followers on other social networks are aware of your Instagram presence: chances are, the most die-hard among them will follow you on Instagram and, ultimately, boost your engagement as a percent of audience.

Make a goal to post once daily about your Instagram account on Facebook or Twitter, and start benchmarking so you can find out how many new followers and engagement can be accredited and expected from these post types.

This will also tell you when to stop raising awareness around your Instagram account, as the boosted follower count and engagement as a percent of audience taper off, so you can focus on posting other things.

Reef_Girls Success

60% of Reef’s top-performing posts (across all social channels) came from the Reef_Girls Instagram account.

Reef_Girls has 223,000 followers and Reef has 191,000 followers on Instagram (15% less than Reef_Girls).

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Reef_Girls’ success on Instagram is a major part of its overall success on the network — clearly, Reef has found a younger target demographic eager to engage with its brand there.

What your brand can try: When your brand finds the social network that really hits home for either one product line or your entire brand, invest as many resources as you can in that network. Don’t feel like you have to be on all social networks at once doing a million different awesome things. That’s called being the jack of all trades and master of none.

Does Your Instagram Account Need Help?

Check out our 2015 Influencer Report by clicking below. In addition to telling you how major influencers partner successfully with major brands, this report is also full of ideas for new posts and campaigns.

Get everything you need to analyze the metrics that matter

2015 Instagram Influencer Report


Lucy Hitz

I’m the Head of Marketing Communications here at Simply Measured, where I'm responsible for our content program, social media marketing, PR, and comarketing ventures. I love yoga, The X-Files, peaty scotch, hiking, and poetry. If I were a social media channel, I’d want to be Instagram, but I think I’m Twitter.

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