What The 25 Most-Followed Instagram Accounts Show Us About The Platform

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What The 25 Most-Followed Instagram Accounts Show Us About The Platform

Social media is the intersection of tech and culture, and Instagram happens to be the fastest-growing social media site at the moment with more than 400 million users.

Most of those users, like me, don’t have 50 million followers and post pretty sporadically. What follows is a list of the most popular Instagrams on the planet and my impressions of what makes them effective. Now obviously you have to be pretty famous to be one of the 25 most-followed people on Instagram, but it isn’t just about that, because these aren’t the 25 most famous people and brands on earth by any means.

1/25

#25 – @kevinhart4real

Kevin Hart
29,132,179 followers

You don’t always have to be #onbrand. Kevin Hart is a comedian and to most people that’s really all they know about him, but his Instagram isn’t just tons of clips of him doing standup or advertising his next show. Instead, most of them are him standing or flexing or flashing his best Blue Steel (generally while wearing faux-leather).

Follower stats via Social Blade

2/25

#24 – @victoriassecret

Victoria’s Secret
31,469,964 followers

Make it about the experience. Victoria’s Secret is one of only a couple of brands in the top 25 and a large part of that is because there are a ton of photos of beautiful women, it’s just that simple. BUT general advertising and instagramming are two different things. Victoria’s Secret does a great job of putting their models in situations that don’t make it obvious whether you’re following the brand or the model.

3/25

#23 – @badgalriri

Rihanna
32,466,697 followers

I don’t think Rihanna uses Instagram all that well, it’s way too self-promotional without being personal at all. In fact, I wonder whether she even has her account password or if her team manages it entirely. Don’t do that, you’re not Rihanna.

4/25

#22 – @ddlovato

Demi Lovato
32,620,537 followers

Strike a balance. Lovato does a great job of balancing really intimate posts of her with her family or pets with pictures that obviously were taken professionally that more succinctly market her profession.

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5/25

#21 – @kourtneykardash

Kourtney Kardashian
33,059,288 followers

Take a moment to absorb that the least-followed Kardashian still has 33 million followers… One interesting thing Kourtney does on her Instagram is tell stories in groups of three (I admittedly might be overanalyzing here). The K’s like their clothes, Kourtney’s profile is full of episodes where she has a picture of her getting ready, one of her striking a pose and then another one where she’s goofing off.

6/25

#20 – @nike

Nike
34,433,799 followers

Another bit of brand wisdom: become a part of something larger than yourself. Nike is a super attractive brand, that’s undeniable but they are able to hint at their brand and connect it with a larger experience better than anyone else, especially on Instagram.

7/25

#19 – @leomessi

Leo Messi
34,943,947 followers

Some of the most-followed people only upload a couple photos a week – Messi rarely does. Instagram is still a great spot for broadcasting highlights which has really helped keep the quality of content high, while allowing people to follow tons of disparate accounts without getting overwhelmed every time they login.

8/25

#18 – @mileycyrus

Miley Cyrus
35,432,809 followers

Just do you. Miley has by-far the weirdest Instagram of anyone on this list, and anyone in general really, but she’s just doing her thing, whatever that is.

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9/25

#17 – @jlo

Jennifer Lopez
35,622,617 followers

JLo’s Instagram seems more like a Facebook page in terms of what it posts, but one thing that’s cool is that there’s a really clear delineation in her posts between her personal life and her job.

10/25

#16 – @katyperry

Katy Perry
38,746,759 followers

Unlike many of the other accounts here, Katy’s Instagram seems to do a great job of not taking itself too seriously.

11/25

#15- @khloekardashian

Khloe Kardashian
40,752,208 followers

Instagram is occasionally for sellouts. So many of the top followed stars, like Khloe, are using their position to sell their millions of followers artisanal barbecue sauces or dieting shakes that it’s almost an epidemic of #brands.

12/25

#14 – @therock

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
40,806,420 followers

Nice guys win sometimes. Nobody’s Instagram leaves you with a better impression of the person than The Rock’s. He takes a lot of selfie videos just engaging with his followers and he tends to show off a lot of fan art.

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13/25

#13 – @neymarjr

Neymar
40,934,361 followers

Footballers are huge on Instagram. Athletes utilize Instagram heavily, but no sport is as popular as football (not American football). Lebron James is the 37th most-followed person on Instagram, and the most followed non-football athlete, yet there are still 7 football-related accounts more followed than he is.

14/25

#12 – @natgeo

National Geographic
42,344,563 followers

Great content isn’t ever going out of style. After all is said and done, Instagram is a photo sharing site. If you take photos with your early 2000s Razr, you’re not going to produce photos that are all that impressive.

15/25

#11 – @cristiano

Cristiano Ronaldo
46,139,219 followers

Be honest. He’s one of the most famous football players in the world and he uses his Instagram mostly to show what he does, which is a lot of practice and working out.

16/25

#10 – @nickiminaj

Nicki Minaj
46,290,354 followers

If you’re going to sell yourself, don’t sell yourself short. Nicky’s profile definitely shows off a big personality. She also posts a good deal of cheesy inspirational memes which I always think is kind of funny/odd.

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17/25

#9 – @kendalljenner

Kendall Jenner
47,320,317 followers

Instagram is a tool. Use it. I imagine that Instagram is a somewhat significant part of Kendall Jenner’s life. She’s part of the #millennial wave that is really using the service as a tool to brand themselves as lifestyle icons/brands. Modeling is particularly apt for the platform and she uses it well.

 

18/25

#8 – @kyliejenner

Kylie Jenner
49,177,303 followers

I really can’t talk about the Kardashian clan this seriously anymore, just click to the next one please.

19/25

#7 – @justinbieber

Justin Bieber
55,257,716 followers

Justin Bieber gets an unbelievably higher amount of likes than almost anyone on this list. If you can cultivate a following as involved as he has, run for the hills.

20/25

#6 – @arianagrande

Ariana Grande
57,185,771 followers

Ariana engages with her fans really well and reposts fan’s pictures and responds to them. She also posts a lot of downloaded Snapchat videos as Instagrams, which I kind of find odd but whatever.

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21/25

#5 – @beyonce

Beyonce
57,862,639 followers

Beyonce has a very normal Instagram. It’s just that her life looks like it rocks, so it comes off a lot more awesome than ours do.

22/25

#4 – @kimkardashian

Kim Kardashian
58,690,308 followers

The Kardashians really are insane. They have their own apps, they upload tons of photos every day, they post posts of them posting posts. You can’t just chalk up the fact that they all have some of the most massive followings due to them just being who they are. Instagram was made for the type of culture Kim Kardashian embodies: big visual moments on display.

23/25

#3 – @selenagomez

Selena Gomez
62,345,729 followers

Selena’s lesson to the world is to look good all the time and have fun while you’re doing it. Thanks Selena.

24/25

#2 – @taylorswift

Taylor Swift
64,032,886 followers

It’s important to show who you ride with. Taylor uploads posts with a bunch of  fellow celebrities which enhance her street cred and the reputations of those she’s pictured with.

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25/25

#1 – @instagram

Instagram
134,069,908 followers

Own your turf and don’t overthink it. You’re a person not a brand, unless you’re a brand marketer in which case take all of this advice to heart.

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