Instagram is such a visual platform so having wit and beautiful posts makes it easier for followers to see what is going on. People leave comments on what they have liked, which also makes the brands want to connect with them and thank them for their loyalty and feedback. How to get more creative to get wider audience and not to pay for Instagram ads? Check our case studies of the best non-paid Instagram campaigns!



Let’s have a closer look at selected case studies of sharing businesses stories with high engaged audience in a creative, high-quality environment which have driven action gained with clever ads.


  1.    #hashatgs are the keys to success



Danish footwear brand Ecco uses its Copenhagen windows shopping to promote campaign called #partofmyworld engaging Ecco’s sneakers. It’s a book example of bonding offline and online channels of distributing and advertising goods. Firstly, quotes, sketches and selection of shoes add a personalized and curated feel to display and secondly, get people to engage with the ad by using photos and videos with hashtags. It means that someone can post photo and tag what is in it and where to buy it, leading to more interactions with brands, fans and followers.


non-paid instagram campaigns



There is over 360 000 photos on Instagram with tags: ‘#mycalvins’. Most of them stands for selfies of proud generation Y and Z  still leaning in their beds or posing in front of their bathroom mirrors united by cotton underwear Calvin Klein. Being effective is not enough to praise this campaign. Not only does it capture audience’s attention but also encourages them to create endless streams of user-generated content on social platform. Not to mention an unpaid, authentic and personalised post by a friend recommending a brand which is really powerful for young people. However, brands such as Calvin Klein rely on sponsored influencer posts, e.g. by @bryanboycom, @leandramedine, print ads (Justin Bieber and Lara Stone) and celebrity engagement @kendalljenner, @mirandakerr, @poppydelevingne, @thenewclassic at the same time which only strengthen the message.


How to use hashtags?

    • Be specific – certain tags will help you connect with your customers – the more specific the tags, the easier to find a photo
    • Be relevant – make sure the tags describe the photo to attract new followers
    • Be observant – pay attention to the other hashtags used on photos that use the same tag as yours – you may discover a popular hashtag you hadn’t thought of on your own
    • Don’t go too long or too clever – keep it short and easy, because you want people to search for hashtags naturally
    • Don’t have more hashtags than words – too many hashtags means spammers or people only interested in being followed back
    • Don’t hashtag everything – you don’t need to hashtag everything – some posts don’t fit any category



  1.    Communication channel for big as well as just emerging brands



Latest Alexander Wang’s SS16 fairly digital – focused campaign was designed to be shared on social media rather than in magazine ads. Inspiring to create buzz and spread out the user experience through the powerful time of fashion campaign’s seasons. It was tend to engage the powerful #wangsquad and introduce the campaign cast with polaroids of each model. On the day of the campaign, the task for curated cast was pretty simple: post individually the content on Instagram, doing what they would naturally do with the official Alexander Wang account reposting. As simply and clearly as it put it: pure Insta-success generating significant traffic.


non-paid instagram campaigns





Emerging Polish designer paves her way by getting to be noticed through social media channels. Instagram is on the top to speeding up this process as a brilliant tool for young and small brands with no money for advertising. The designer has just came up with story to tell and tells it with a playful twist. Instagram can really connect with people, sponsors, magazines and buyers. Montaigne Market, a shop in Paris, stocked Magda Butrym the collection because they saw her photos on Instagram.


non-paid instagram campaigns
Magda Butrym


Get noticed and keep the engagement on Instagram through:

  • Mood-boards with a product-focused advertising material
  • Post of the inspirations which leads to the final brand image
  • Subtle focus on the products


  1.    Simply beautiful images



With so many tools to make your images more beautiful, ridiculously cool pics cause an insta-stir within just few minutes (more about that in our previous post)! It’s worth to scroll Selfridges’ profile on Instagram for the inspiration. Selfridges’ windows have become synonymous also with the brand and become as famous as the company. The brand has the history of bold art initiatives when it comes to window design. Instagram has just extended this experience to almost the feel of attending the theater and encourage customers to make the connection.


  1. Clever concepts



Scotch & Soda has teamed up with a travel company Airbnb to encourage consumers to break into a real-life wardrobe. Following the life of two characters, Lola and Oscar, we visit the city of Amsterdam and fall for the created (by images and videos) mood.


non-paid instagram campaigns
Scotch & Soda


Nicholas Kirkwood launched a special game on their Instagram profile to celebrate the Valentines. British shoe brand launched #NKSoleMate for their followers to find a perfect Nicholas Kirkwood pair. By clicking through the collage of pictures, and answering the questions, the followers were redirected to other interlinked accounts to finally find their perfect NK pair. The concept reflected the playfulness of the brand and as the designer told WWD “Instagram has been a great platform for us to talk directly to our customers and retailers, and we want them to have fun with it”.


What clever ads actually mean for the brands?

  •         Significant growth on social platforms
  •         Reaching the global audience
  •         Powerful reflection on what the brand stands for


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