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Top Instagram Accounts of 2016

It’s that time again, folks! Each December I call out my favorite Instagram accounts of the year. These Instagram accounts aren’t crushing it because they have the most followers or likes. But in their own unique ways, each of these Instagram accounts exemplifies Instagram marketing done well. Take a look and see if there are any Instagram accounts you recognize.



Jessi Michelle, @ettavee is a Parisian artist whose bright, vibrant Instagram account has garnered her an international following. Showing off her art in a variety of ways, including both in progress and displayed in her clients’ homes, Jessi does a fantastic job of inviting her followers to understand all parts of her creative process.


Another reason for Jessi’s success is her awesome use of hashtags. Using hashtags unique to her brand, such as #ettavee, as well as hubs for her art, #brightbrushstrokes, Jessi can point her followers to the hashtag hub as well as her Instagram account. Considering that Jessi is the number one result in the hashtag hub #brightbrushstrokes, she clearly knows how to grab the attention of her would-be clients.



If you haven’t heard about the amazing work that Brandon Stanton is doing with @humansofny, you need to check him out right now! What began as a photography project in 2010 has evolved into a social movement that uses the power of storytelling to give followers a glimpse into the lives of everyday New Yorkers.


While his images are often simple, Brandon ensures that the focus is always on the individual he’s photographing. No matter the story he shares, this Instagram account is a beautiful example of the humanizing power of Instagram.




As a visual marketing and planning tool, @Planoly carries their best-of strategies into their #InstaAwesome Instagram account. Whether they’re sharing a quote or a snapshot of a customer using the platform, Planoly follows consistent color themes to maintain unity among their various posts.


Planoly also does an amazing job grabbing their follower’s attention right away in their Instagram bio. Sure, their audience might know what services Planoly provides. But the use of fun emojis and catchy descriptions provide the extra punch to engage customers both old and new.




One look at my Instagram account and you know that I love all things bright and vibrant. So, of course, I can’t help but love all of the beautiful, creative things @LillyPulitzer is doing with their Instagram account. As a brand that is all about art, their feed is inspired while also demonstrating the brand’s clear voice.


Even better, Lilly invites customers to be part of the artistic process. Their hashtag, #lilly5x5, invites customers to vote on their favorite designs created by Lilly’s in-house artistic team. Customers come to expect to see this content each day at 5 p.m., and it further humanizes the popular brand.




A photo posted by Socialbakers (@socialbakers) on

Find out what’s cooking in the world of Social Media marketing with @socialbakers. Designed to provide customers insights into their social media analytics, Socialbakers knows that image captions provide another opportunity to give customers additional value – every time.


Whether it’s a video or a behind-the-scenes image, Socialbakers gives their followers a reason to click over to the website. Teasers like “see more stories” and “learn more” entice followers without feeling overly salesy.




Produced by Instagram, @instagramforbusiness is a great resource for business owners of all experience levels. With real-world examples from other Instagram accounts, this account allows you to explore all of the contributing factors that can help you find success on Instagram.


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But wait, there’s more!


There it is! These are my favorite Instagram accounts for 2016. Be sure to check out the winners from 2015 and 2014 to discover more strategies that will help you build your Instagram audience. As an added bonus, the wait for my newest strategy guide is over! Download the 2017 strategy guide now to discover the latest strategies and tools that will help you find business success in the new year and beyond.