This article was published on August 24, 2018 on Social Media Week, written by Eric Goldschein.

If you want to remake your social media image, IG is clearly the place to start.

A recent report from NetBase tracked the most loved global brands and found that Instagram had catapulted to the top of the list, beating out YouTube and parent company Facebook.

More impressive than that ranking is how much of a boon Instagram has been to other beloved brands. If you want to remake your social media image, IG is clearly the place to start.

NetBase’s list of the top 25 brands is dominated by social media brands and digital companies. Amazon, Google, Apple, Disney, Snapchat, Spotify, and Netflix round out the top 10.

While Google made an impressive leap of 24 spots since the last ranking, the biggest jump by far goes to Nikon, the Japanese multinational that specializes in digital cameras and imaging: They rose an incredible 46 spots to reach number 16 overall.

Other big gains by brands in the last year include Canon (24 spots), Chevrolet (36 spots), and Burger King (28 spots).

What’s it mean to love a brand?

As in real life, love can be a difficult concept to identify on social media.

NetBase’s methodology for identifying love was when the word itself—or a list of synonyms including adore, exceptional, fabulous, longing for, luv, revolutionary, and world class—was used as an insight for the brand. That includes 361 million posts of earned mentions, of English language posts in 200 countries.

The not-secret weapon behind the rising brands

Instagram is the key to building a social media following that engenders love, according to the report.

Take Nikon, for example. Granted, Nikon is a brand practically built for Instagram—it’s a camera company, after all—but the love they’re getting here goes beyond synergy. Instagram activity accounts for almost 85 percent of the total conversation volume for Nikon, far outpacing other photo-friendly platforms like Tumblr (6.1 percent), the second-most-loved brand and fellow social media giant YouTube (1 percent), and parent company Facebook (a measly 0.1 percent).

Nikon, like other major players on IG, has posts that go beyond the product. They explore the lifestyle and culture of Nikon users; they dip into related but expansive fields like travel and food; they vary their content and provide how-to videos to go along with monthly challenges; and they’ve cultivated an influencer base, known as Nikon Ambassadors, who expand the company’s reach by telling their own stories.

Other companies that have seen outpourings of social media love this year also owe Instagram a great deal. No other social media platform is growing as quickly and none of them are giving brands the kind of engagement Instagram boasts.

Even Facebook, the biggest of them all, is actually toning down how much reach brands can have with this year’s algorithm refocus. Instagram, meanwhile, is becoming the center of the social media galaxy for users and brands alike.

The question now is, how many brands will piggyback on Instagram’s success and ride the wave to their own social media glory?


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