3 ways to become an inspirational brand on Instagram

One of our great motivators at The Social Element is helping to create human connections.

We’ve found that person-to-person communication, even when one of the parties involved is a brand, offers a much deeper and more substantial connection. A connection that builds trust and helps people connect with the content the brand posts.

But let’s not kid ourselves, social media is jam-packed with brands tripping over themselves to post the best photos, share engaging videos and start interesting conversations. The landscape is competitive, to put it mildly. So, how can brands stand out from the crowd – especially on Instagram, a platform dominated by creative content ideas?

Brands can use Instagram to create Instaration

The brands excelling on Instagram are the ones that:

1 – know their audience

2 – has researched what inspires them to act

3 – is prepared to provide them with what they want

Above all, brands have to be eager to create emotional content. Content that tells a story and creates an emotional connection that makes the post memorable. 

We see impressive images all the time, but not many of them truly connect. Not many make us act or even deliberately seek out that brand’s content again. As MarTech’s research has shown, brands that inspire a higher emotional intensity get three-times more word-of-mouth marketing than brands with a weaker emotional connection. When something inspires us, we want to share it.


Let’s look at some of the ways that brands can create this inspirational content.

1. Create a connection with authenticity.

Many brands use Instagram to post highly stylised photos of their products. It’s often content that appears on our feeds and causes a reaction, but we forget about it the moment we’ve scrolled away.

Content that inspires, and creates an emotional connection that we’ll remember has to be content that represents the brand and showcases why it does what it does. It has to make us care about what it does, and to ask “well, what can it do for me?”.

Airbnb is one of the brands that does this well. It puts its hosts – and their houses – at the heart of its storytelling. It shows people what they can expect and where they can go.

Air BnB

By creating authentic content on its channel, A‌i‌r‌b‌n‌b‌ creates a feeling of trust with its users. Much of its content is user-generated, allowing for a sense of community and more interaction on posts. 

2. Tell your customer’s story, not your product’s.

Dove is famous for its pioneering marketing, for celebrating diversity and putting the consumer at the forefront of its campaigns. By making consumers the focus, rather than the product, it grows a sense of community and builds brand trust, affinity and value.


People see themselves in the brand’s work and believe that the product is meant for them. Dove’s marketing reflects their own stories, struggles and insecurities, making people feel like part of a shared community with the brand.

3. Show people what’s at the heart of your brand.

WeWork provides flexible workspaces for startups. It uses Instagram not just to show the exciting, creative spaces that it has on offer, but to demonstrate how its clients use it.


Anyone thinking of taking the leap from working around their kitchen table to renting a few desks in a hub office, will look at these posts and see how companies have used WeWork to grow and change. Seeing other people using the service and thriving, gives people a great incentive to take the plunge themselves.

Brands know the importance of posting creative content on social media. They know that all platforms are very competitive and they will have to scrabble for views and clicks. However, there is a secret to creating content that people want to engage with – it’s emotion.

When we see visually appealing content, we often smile and move on. But when the content tells us a story or tells us our story (and how the brand fits into it) we not only want to find out more – we want to talk to other people about what we’ve seen. Using emotions is essential if a brand seeks to inspire on Instagram

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