Celebrities, they’re just like us! Except for having millions of Instagram followers who worship the ground they walk upon, of course.
We can’t all be famous, but we can all use the same Instagram strategies that celebrities (and their personal marketing teams, let’s be real) use to promote themselves, sell products, and share messages that are meaningful to them. From crafting the perfect photo dump to killing it on IG Reels, these celebs have proven that they’re as hot on social as they are in real life.
Here are 9 strategies from the rich, famous, and insanely influential.
1. Lizzo: Marketing products on Instagram Reels
Instagram Reels are the platform’s fastest-growing feature, and the pivot from photos to videos can be incredibly lucrative for business (91% of users watch reels at least once a week).
If you’re using Instagram for business, learning how to market your products on Reels gives you a major edge over your competitors.
Lizzo has totally nailed Instagram Reels—she has an entertaining and engaging mix of funny, hot, and career-related videos. Besides posting Reels of her shopping at Target and making fun of anyone who says About Damn Time wasn’t the song of the summer, Lizzo uses Reels to market Yitty, her shapewear brand.
In this Reel, Lizzo uses Instagram to model the latest Yitty collection and advertise a sale.
Even though Lizzo’s Yitty-focused Reels serve a marketing purpose, they’re not strictly business: there’s always a fun, humorous and often sexy angle, which is very true to Lizzo’s brand.
Another important point about Lizzo’s Instagram is how empowering it is—this celeb radiates confidence and not giving an F, despite having a lot of haters (sometimes, the internet sucks). Bodyshaming comments aplenty don’t stop her from sharing her content and empowering others to do the same.
What we can learn from Lizzo:
- Instagram Reels are an awesome opportunity to show off your products.
- Reels that are made to market goods are more effective if they don’t feel like a traditional advertisement.
- Stay true to yourself and your brand with genuine, down-to-earth content.
- Haters are gonna hate—but you won’t be able to hear them over the sound of that money flowing in.
2. Kerry Washington: Instagram Live and activism
Instagram Live is one of the most personal ways that celebs (or brands, or everyday people) can connect with their audience. Followers can comment in real time, and creators can react to or address those comments.
This makes Instagram Live a great tool for self-promotion — but it’s also a strategy for activism.
Kerry Washington uses her Instagram account to share new projects that she’s in and promote brand partnerships, just like your average celebrity. But she also goes live to advocate for social causes that she (and her audience) are passionate about—for example, racism in the U.S. and the importance of voting.
Because Instagram Live is unfiltered and unedited, it has an air of vulnerability about it that makes it a meaningful way to communicate: going live is a statement, and sharing content that isn’t purely promotional over IG Live has an impact beyond moneymaking or gaining followers.
What we can learn from Kerry Washington
- Going live on Instagram creates a stronger and more personal connection between you and your followers.
- Instagram Live can be a powerful tool for activism.
- Inviting experts in advocacy to go Live with you can create meaningful (and engaging) dialogue.
3. Olivia Rodrigo: Authentic photo dumps
Photo dumps are one of Instagram’s latest trends. The beauty of this kind of post is in the imperfection: the photo dump is the enemy of the curated, filtered, impossibly-perfect post. Photo dumps are simply a collection of pictures posted as a carousel—sometimes they’re from a specific event or point in time, but often they’re simply just a bunch of photos that the poster likes.
We can thank Gen Z for the popularity of the photo dump, and Gen Z does it best. Take teenage pop sensation Olivia Rodrigo, for example.
Olivia’s photo dumps range from photos of food to blurry selfies to memes to heavily filtered photobooth snaps with friends. They don’t look like something that she spends a lot of time curating (even if she does).
Her photo dumps appear to be just random selects from her camera roll—it’s more like an album of mementos than an aesthetically pleasing post. Photo dumps might not appear to be good for marketing, at first, but they absolutely can be (we wrote a whole blog post about it), especially when mixed in with your regular content.
What we can learn from Olivia Rodrigo:
- Instagram posts don’t have to be perfect.
- There’s beauty in authenticity.
- Photo dumps are a fun way to switch up your regular content.
- Don’t overthink your social posts.
4. Terry Crews: Jumping on trends on Reels
If you’re stuck for content ideas, check out what’s trending. Trending songs on Instagram Reels — and the challenges or themes associated with them — are a great source of inspiration. Take it from Terry Crews.
The above is an example of a trend that’s pretty simple—filming and editing this kind of video is a breeze. Some trends require a little more work, though (for instance, rooting through a ton of old photos of yourself).
What we can learn from Terry Crews
- Instagram Reels trends are a rich source of content ideas.
- Some trends are a lot of work, and some are quite easy: know how much time you have to budget when you’re deciding which trend to jump on.
- Put your own spin on the trend — don’t just copy another creator.
- Trends aren’t just for fun; you can use trends for promotion, too.
5. Simone Biles: Diversifying Content
One of the best qualities a social media manager can have is being a jack of all trades — you don’t want to shine in just one area, you want to use Instagram to its fullest potential. Sort of like Simone Biles absolutely killing it on the vault, balance beam and floor routine.
Actually, Simone is killing it on Instagram, too. When it comes to having a diverse collection of exciting content, she’s the GOAT.
The gymnast uses her platform to share personal posts…
…and to advertise her new series on Snapchat…
…and to spread mental health awareness and support for foster children…
… and of course, to share Olympic achievements.
Simone’s account is a masterclass on using social media the smart way. She shows bits and pieces from all parts of her life, balancing out promotional content with personal posts and philanthropic endeavors. It gives her followers a well-rounded picture of who she is and what her values are.
What we can learn from Simone Biles:
- Your Instagram posts should be different from one another — it’s boring when every photo and video looks the same.
- You can use Instagram to give your followers (and the world!) a better idea of who you are and what is important to you.
- Use your following for good: consider uplifting a charity or cause you to care about, rather than centering all of your posts around yourself and your brand.
6. Dojacat: Humor and brand voice
Social media isn’t easy (trust us, we’re experts — if you want, we’ll call your judgemental aunt and tell her).
But at the same time, you don’t want to take yourself too seriously on Instagram. Dojacat has mastered such a specific sense of humour that her fans have come to expect it.
Dojacat balances out cover-worthy photographs with the kind of photos that most of us would beg our friends to delete. It’s part of her branding that she’s not an airbrushed superstar 24/7.
And her humor isn’t just in the photos: her caption game is also strong (if not very workplace-appropriate).
That said, not all of Doja’s posts are focused on funny. She has classic polished celebrity pics, too, and always credits the team who put them together.
What we can learn from Dojacat:
- If you want to be funny, do it! Humour only adds to your unique brand voice.
- But, make sure you balance out humor with some genuine content—you don’t want to come across as unprofessional.
7. Cami Mendes: Behind the scenes content
Being able to see a part of a process — any process — that’s usually hidden from the public is exciting, and gives the viewer a feeling of being included. That’s extra true when it comes to actors. And while some actors rarely let us regular folks into their daily lives, others are happy to share how the sausage (er, film) gets made.
Actress Cami Mendes is one celeb that often posts photos and videos showing behind-the-scenes peeks into her daily life. She makes silly videos with her co-stars, takes backstage photos and mirror selfies of some of her favourite on-screen outfits.
While non-celebs might not think that their “behind-the-scenes” content is entertaining, these kinds of posts can translate to all kinds of industries. Think of how mesmerizing cake decorating videos are, or how cool it is to see a small business owner pack up a box to ship. This is the same kind of process content—creators are showing a different side to their business.
What we can learn from Cami Mendes:
- Social media users don’t just care about the final product; they want to see behind-the-scenes content, too.
- Take photos and videos whenever you can, even if the content doesn’t seem exciting to you at the time.
- Behind-the-scenes content also helps spotlight the folks who don’t get a lot of recognition, so make sure to thank your team.
We’ve gotta hand it to JLo, she does a good job of using all of Instagram’s features to their fullest, including Stories, Reels and hashtags.
Although she does a lot of promotional posts, even the most commercial ones have short-and-snappy captions, proper tagging of sponsors and photographers, and eye-catching content.
Most impressively, JLo uses proper camel case for most of her hashtags. This is important for accessibility, as camel case allows screen readers to read each capitalized word in a hashtag as separate words.
What we can learn from JLo:
- Make your Instagram content accessible to more users by always writing hashtags in camel case
- Tag your team! (Not only does this give credit where credit is due, but it also makes those tagged more likely to share your content on their own profiles).
9. Vanessa Hudgens: Using Instagram Shops to sell products
With Instagram Shops, companies can include product links in posts (making buying things ridiculously — and dangerously – easy). It’s not common for celebs to have an Insta Shop as part of their personal account, but they do use shop links on their brand account.
For example, there’s Vanessa Hudgens. She’s a co-founder of the brand Caliwater, and posts about it often on her personal Instagram page. She’ll tag @caliwater or post in collaboration with Caliwater, meaning that the post shows up on the feeds of anyone who follows either account.
And on the Caliwater page, there’s plenty of shop links (shown by the little handbag icon in the top right corner of posts) that takes users directly to an e-commerce portal.
What we can learn from Vanessa Hudgens
- Incorporating Instagram shops posts into your feed makes it easier for users to buy your products
- Diversify your feed by mixing shop links with other kinds of posts (think brand-focused memes, videos and glamour shots).
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