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#SimplySocialAwards: Best Instagram Strategy

Today, we’re kicking off the #SimplySocialAwards!

Simply Social AwardsOver the next four weeks, we’ll be asking you lovely people to help us recognize brands that are crushing their social strategies.

Here’s a breakdown of the categories by week:

  • Week 1: Best Instagram Strategy
  • Week 2: Best Social Content Strategy
  • Week 3: Best Video Strategy
  • Week 4: Best Brand Personality

This week is all about the ‘gram. Our marketing team narrowed it down to four brands with exceptional Instagram strategies. Now it’s up to you to help us decide who will be crowned winner. We’ll be tallying your votes until Friday, so get ’em in!

Can’t decide? Here’s why these brands were nominated.  

The New York Times

The New York Times is the most discussed news publisher on social media, the most cited, and one of the most linked news sources across the Internet.

Content TypeThe New York Times uses Instagram to tell “stories in photos,” as its Instagram bio reads, and reach a younger audience.

The photographer @steffikeith bundled up to explore #TimesSquare (very) early this morning, when she took this picture. If you’re in New York City, you can put your toboggan away for now: The blizzard warning has been canceled. #Snow and sleet are expected to continue through much of the day, but only 4 to 6 inches is expected across most of the city, and a bit more in northern Manhattan and the Bronx. The warning remains in effect to the north and west, though, with up to 2 feet expected in NYC’s northern suburbs and in New England. If you’re snowed in and looking for something to do, visit the link in our profile for inspiration. And if you’re lucky enough to live somewhere warm, enjoy the sunshine. #❄️️☔️

A post shared by The New York Times (@nytimes) on

The New York Times posts high-quality images and lengthy captions to keep its audience up-to-date on current events like the recent east coast blizzard.

But that’s not all: The New York Times uses Instagram as a conversion tool, directing followers back to its site and the larger stories behind the pictures. The New York Times does this by mentioning its link-in-bio, which is often a link: a magazine-like middle ground to move people from Instagram to articles of interest on The New York Times site.

Link in Bio


Airbnb uses Instagram and Instagram Stories to take its audience around the world, and leverages influencers for authentic flavor. 

And it’s working! In 2017 so far, Airbnb has racked up over 3 million in total engagement from just 141 Instagram posts.

AirbnbBut Airbnb thinks beyond engagement to creating immersive experiences for its Instagram audience, like its Instagram Story which featured influencer @SongofStyle visiting Paris for Fashion Week and giving users a tour of her room and the neighborhood where she stayed.

Instagram Stories

Tone It Up

Tone It UpTone It Up inspires its fitness community with polished videos and humorous and motivational quotes.


A post shared by Tone It Up (@toneitup) on

Tone It Up also features customer/community results on its Instagram profile.

Our girl Kelsy is proof that you can tone up by eating MORE! 🙌🏼👙😍 “The #TIUnutritionplan totally changed the way I look at food. The Plan taught me to fuel my body with nutritious superfoods that keep me energized ALL day long. I eat more now on the Plan than I ever did before & continue to lose weight & tone up for good. All the recipes are easy to make, delicious, & #TIUhubbyapproved!” 💚✔️ ~ @kelsyb_tiu! UPDATE‼️ Since taking this gorgeous photo, she's now expecting!!! Congrats Kelsy!!! 😽🎉🤗 We love you and you're going to be such an incredible mom with your loving heart and beautiful soul.🙌🏼 xxxo @KarenaKatrina See our interview we did with Kelsy on!!! She shares so much about her journey and you don't want to miss it.🤗

A post shared by Tone It Up (@toneitup) on

The focus here is cultivating a strong and engaged community on Instagram. Tone It Up’s followers are so devoted that they often create Instagram profiles solely devoted to their efforts with the Tone It Up program.

30 weeks and the babe is the size of a butternut squash 💕10 weeks to go! Just got done with Tush It Good and Rock Your Body which is a great preggo routine with slight modifications. I have started to do belly breathing during the core sections of the workouts. I'm having some major pain in my left hip flexor so I have been doing some work on the exercise ball, yoga, and stretching every night. Meals have been on track this week as well 😊M1: Quinoa cereal with almond milk and 🍌 M2: Plain Greek Yogurt with walnuts and mixed berries M3: tomato basil soup and a spinach salad 🥗 M4: @perfectbar 🙌🏻 @toneitup #tiuteam #tiupregnancy #tiuplan #fitpregnancy #fitspo #healthyliving #workout #activepregnancy #30weeks

A post shared by Kelsy Benacquisto (@kelsy_b_fitness) on

These community members become micro-influencers in their own right, helping spread the gospel of Tone It Up. Tone It Up also consistently uses Instagram Stories to connect and engage with its audience, spilling the details on recipes, workout routines, and behind-the-scenes gaffes. 

Instagram Stories


Disney is killing it on Instagram! The brand generated ten times more engagement in February 2017 as compared to all the other Forbes’ Most Valuable Brands combined, capturing over 91% of total engagement.

EngagementEven on a per-post basis, Disney received 3.5 times higher engagement than the next brand, Google, in February 2017.

Disney posts a mix of photos and videos (40% of their posts last month were videos). The brand makes sure to keep its Instagram feed exciting by mixing media types and using the newest platform features–like the carousel photos format and Instagram stories–to provide their audience with the best possible experience.

Disney’s target market is not limited to children. Their focus is on the whole family: from children to teenagers, and even adults. As Walt Disney himself once said:

“You’re dead if you aim only for kids. Adults are only kids grown up, anyway.”

This multi-generational focus is evident in their ads, movies, and Instagram feed, which has something that appeals to everyone–from celebrity pictures to Winnie the Pooh with his honey pot.

For your sweetie. 🐻💛

A post shared by Disney (@disney) on


Don’t forget to cast your votes above! We’ll announce a winner every Friday. Tune in next week to vote on the best social content strategy!

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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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