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Last week, The Wall Street Journal published a piece titled, “What Celebrities Can Teach Companies About Social Media,” offering a detailed list of pointers that brands should take from superstars in order to build and engage their social following. It’s no secret that modern day celebrities have an incredible amount of influence on (and off) line. Nearly 50 million people tune in for updates from the reigning Queen of Instagram, a one Miss Taylor Swift, trailed closely by Kim Kardashian’s 48 million. It surely doesn’t hurt that they’re nice to look at, but they also use a carefully calculated approach to not only reach but engage their throngs of thirsty fans.

In fact, each celebrity ranked among Instagram’s top 5 most-followed accounts does an excellent job of following the Wall Street Journal’s suggestions, which can be boiled down to the following: commit, converse, personalize and diversify. 

There are a few brands who have done this so well, they’ve become stars in their own right. Let’s take a look at a few stand-outs.

The Travelocity Gnome


With 81,000 followers on Twitter, this cheeky little guy is a force to be reckoned with in the travel industry. Not only does he chime in to fan conversations with travel tips and witty repartee, he opts to sell by inspiring the urge to travel, rather than blast out booking codes.

National Geographic


The magazine and media company has racked up more than 34 million followers on Instagram thanks in large part to its simple understanding that a picture speaks a thousand words. Followers are awed by stunning landscapes, haunting portraits and breathtaking beasts, in the accounts seemingly endless posts (sometimes more than 5 per day), but the brand also brings in the human factor. Many images offer commentary from the photographer, inviting fans to follow their personal feeds for more.

Michael Kors

The king of blingy watches and brightly colored bags has succeeded in gathering more than 16 million “likes” on Facebook. While seemingly formulaic, the fashion company uses a combination of perfectly-styled photos, celebrity cameos and behind-the-scenes material to keep fans clicking.