Leveraging visual platforms incites loyalty, cultivates engagement, and drives traffic.

The importance of an impactful social media strategy is old news for brands. But executing that strategy successfully across all available platforms takes serious vision, hard work, and consistency. Social platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat have brought visual brand storytelling to the forefront, and have carved out spaces for casual consumers to interact with brand content and product imagery before ever clicking onto a brand’s site.

When leveraged effectively, these platforms can facilitate positive brand interactions, incite customer loyalty, depict aspirational brand lifestyles, and ultimately bring consumers into the purchase funnel. Let’s take a look at 7 brands that are using Pinterest, Instagram, and Snapchat to creatively engage with their audiences.

1. WOW Airlines

When it comes to enticing millennial travelers, WOW Airlines understands the distinct importance of social media. This past summer, the budget brand launched its WOW SnapTraveler program, through which consumers applied to travel the world on WOW’s dime. Four lucky winners were selected to visit WOW’s international destinations, uploading videos and commentaries to the brand’s Snapchat handle to document their adventures. Talk about #FOMO — the project was the perfect way to showcase envy-inducing, purchase-inspiring UGC from members of the brand’s community.

2. Free People

And now a moment to relax✌🏽️ @fpnewyorkcity #lovefromfp

A photo posted by freepeople (@freepeople) on

This beloved women’s clothing retailer understands the value of social media when it comes to creating an alternate world for consumers to explore. Free People’s airy, bohemian clothing comes to life across their Pinterest page and Instagram handle, inviting consumers to cultivate not just an impeccable wardrobe, but a specific, aspirational lifestyle.

3. Riverhead Books

The book industry has long been subject to a seemingly never-ending procession of doomsday prophesies spelling the end of print. But since books — hardcover, digital, and otherwise — show no immediate signs of disappearing altogether, many publishers have begun to prioritize their social media presence and the dedicated community of consumers it fosters. Riverhead Books, a relatively small imprint of Penguin Random House, has over 42k followers on Instagram, where it showcases the stunning cover designs of its releases from major names like Elizabeth Gilbert, Marlon James, Lauren Groff, and other beloved authors.

4. Seventeen

The well-known magazine brand Seventeen knows its audience of young digital natives inside and out. That’s why the brand makes a point to offer creative and service-oriented content on its social handles. Most recently, the brand used Instagram stories to bring followers the #SeventeenCollegeCampus crawl. College-aged community members from across the country were given the chance to take over Seventeen’s brand handle for a day, offering followers a glimpse of college life at 12 diverse universities.

5. National Geographic

Photo by @amivitale. Children attending school in the villages along the shore of Lake Tanganyika in Western Tanzania help prepare for the school day by cleaning their classrooms each morning. This youngster, assigned to gather water for his school in the village of Buhingu, hopped into the lake on one foot to avoid having to take both his shoes off! As of August 2016, more than 330 families in 24 villages had volunteered to become Model Households for @nature_africa and @pathfinderint’s Tuungane Project. Model Households demonstrate and practice positive healthy and environmental behaviors. This #GivingTuesday, please consider supporting the Tuungane Program’s work to improve fishermen’s livelihoods and protect the sustainability of Lake Tanganyika’s fisheries: bit.ly/tuungane @natgeocreative @thephotosociety #students #brightfuture #water #freshwater #beautiful #nature #conservation #protectpreserve #healthyfamilies #seetheworld #laketanganyika #tanzania #africa #ig_africa #instagood #instamood #amivitale #photojournalism #onassignment

A photo posted by National Geographic (@natgeo) on

National Geographic has been around for 128 years, but its Snapchat Discover channel — which features a content mix combining short-form video, articles, and photo-driven stories about travel and adventure — was born with the digital age. The brand’s wildly successful social media presence extends to its Instagram handle, where they boast over 64 million followers. That’s three times as many as One Direction heartthrob Harry Styles!

6. Airbnb

Airbnb takes #RoomPorn to the next level on its Instagram handle, where the brand shows off both the gorgeous homes available on its site, and the stunning international locations where the getaways are located.

7. Etsy

Artisanal ecommerce company Etsy’s Pinterest page helps consumers to sift through the often overwhelming inventory of its website — a practical function given how much the two brands’ audiences have in common. Enhanced by Pinterest’s visually-driven design, Etsy pairs the beautiful imagery posted by its community of craftspeople with easy to process categories like “gifts for her” — effectively recreating the experience of the retail site on a platform where many of its customers already seek inspiration.

Longneck and Thunderfoot offer social media management services to build a vibrant audience for your brand across all media channels. Learn more about social media and PR here.

Author Grace Stearns

A graduate of Pepperdine University, Grace has worked in PR and brand communications at publishing giants like Condé Nast, Hearst Magazines Digital Media, and Simon & Schuster. She writes about content marketing, social media, and technology for L&T's blog. A reluctant West Coast transplant, Grace lives in Brooklyn and spends a majority of her free time curled up with a good book.

More posts by Grace Stearns