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Who Has the Most Followers on Instagram? The Top 5!

Instagram has become the social media of choice for many celebrities as it’s the perfect blend of text, trends, and showing off their physical appeal. Let’s take a look at the five personalities with the most followers on Instagram, and learn how they have built their popularity on the site.

Selena Gomez – 136 million Instagram followers

With over 136 million followers, singer Selena Gomez currently has the most followers on Instagram. Most of the singer’s posts come in the form of personal photos and videos that she has taken with families and close friends.

A post shared by Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) on

Besides personal content, Gomez often posts promotional photos and videos for her concerts, albums and songs:

Wolves video x @marshmellomusic is out now! Watch it first on @applemusic 🐺

A post shared by Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) on

The singer often tags the people she worked with on these productions and guides fans as to where they can get her new tunes.

Selena endorsements on Instagram

Since she is very popular with younger audiences, Gomez has been part of several brands’ Instagram campaigns. One such campaign was Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke and a Song” campaign in 2016. As part of the campaign, the singer posted the following image on her IG account.

when your lyrics are on the bottle 😛 #ad

A post shared by Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) on

Promoting personal causes

Beyond her personal and commercial photos, Selena Gomez also uses Instagram to actively promote causes that she supports. One of these was the March for Our Lives protests. The singer posted a picture of herself in attendance, along with a message:

The pop star also frequently voices her opinion about a variety of topics on Instagram. These topics range from personal image issues that affect many of her younger fans, to larger social concerns.

Selena’s secret to Instagram success

One thing that you will notice when visiting Selena Gomez’s Instagram page is that she favors candid shots of herself, images rarely look posed. You would also find a lot of photos of her doing mundane activities – celebs are just like us!

Gomez’s choice of photos ties back to her focus on keeping a more authentic image for herself on the platform. In an interview with Hollywood Reported, she summed up her Instagram strategy,

“It comes in a moment when I capture something happening, and I go, ‘Oh, that would be great for Instagram. I should post it.'”

Cristiano Ronaldo – 124 million Instagram followers

Football star Cristiano Ronaldo’s Instagram page contains mostly personal photos of him and his family. Interspersed with these are professional shots taken by photographers during games with Real Madrid and the Portuguese National Team.

Preparation ⚽️👌

A post shared by Cristiano Ronaldo (@cristiano) on

Ronaldo also uses his Instagram account as one of the channels for promoting his line of merchandise. He goes all out to promote his brand of boxers:

😉 @cr7underwear

A post shared by Cristiano Ronaldo (@cristiano) on

Ronaldo adds the hashtag #CR7 to his merchandise posts to connect them, and modifies it to fit the particular product. He even created the #CR7Challenge that had fans imitating his ball handling skills.

Cristiano endorsements on Instagram

Even before coming to Instagram, Ronaldo was already a popular endorser. With him becoming the second most followed person on Instagram, big brands like Nike have signed him up to promote their products.

Each of these promotional posts reportedly costs around $400,000 each. Brands are more than willing to pay out the price with the promotional pull this star athlete has. Ronaldo’s IG promotions have reportedly earned more than a billion dollars in value for the brands that he endorses.

Cristiano’s secret to Instagram success

While most of Cristiano Ronaldo’s paid Instagram posts are carefully choreographed, the football star still manages to include his own personality. You often see him sneaking in a candid smile or look. He continues that candid nature in his interaction with fans on Instagram. During a live video on Instagram, a fan commented and called him the best. Ronaldo candidly responded:

“Of course I’m the best. Check the last Monday, who win The Best?”

This was referring to his win the previous Monday of the Ballon d’Or award for best footballer. That candidness has helped endear him more to his Instagram followers.

Ariana Grande – 118 million Instagram followers

One thing that you will notice when looking at Ariana Grande’s Instagram page is that she seems to follow fellow pop singer Selena Gomez’s strategy. Like Gomez, Grande’s account contains mostly personal photos and backstage footage from her concerts.

we on another mentalllllity

A post shared by Ariana Grande (@arianagrande) on

The pop star also posts a lot of selfies featuring her various attires. This passion for fashion has helped her attract even more followers on Instagram.

Ariana endorsements on Instagram

Grande has taken her love for fashion further and inked endorsement deals with various clothing brands like Reebok. She can often be seen wearing some of the brands’ latest items.

Another fashion brand that Grande collaborated with is luxury apparel maker Coach. Amusingly, it wasn’t the pop star in the brand’s campaign, but her dog:

Grande doesn’t use that promotional pull just for commercial purposes. The singer supports different causes through Instagram. One of these is the #SelfiesforAriana hashtag campaign, where her fans share photos and stories about how the singer has inspired them.

While Ariana herself wasn’t directly responsible for the hashtag campaign, it was an Instagram Story she posted which inspired the campaign. In the story, the pop singer encouraged her fans to shower themselves with self-love. Learn how to use Instagram Stories to drive engagement on your account.

Ariana Grande’s secret to Instagram success

When you look further into Ariana Grande’s Instagram page, you’ll often notice that she posts multiple versions of the same photograph. This is the opposite of other celebrities’ strategy of curating their images before posting. Instead, she seems to prefer to let her followers see more of her daily routine.

This strategy ties back to Ariana’s overall effort to maintain her “realness” on the platform. To further strengthen that image, the photos that she uploads are mostly unedited. The captions that she writes for the photos also feature the same unstructured approach.

Beyonce – 114 million Instagram followers

Unlike the first three celebrities with the most followers on Instagram, Beyonce’s IG account is geared more towards promoting her albums and concerts. You will find a lot of official photos from these productions.

A post shared by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on

The pop singer does post personal photos on her account, which turns out to draw more followers than her promotional posts. When she announced her pregnancy on the site in 2017 the post drew more than 11 million likes.

The photo went on to become the most liked image on the platform for that year.

Beyonce endorsements on Instagram

Beyonce was already a major endorsement force even before she joined Instagram, which continued upon her joining the site. Pepsi and Gucci endorse her regularly on Instagram. These brands don’t get anywhere near the same exposure as her own brand, Ivy Park:

A post shared by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on

Beyonce has also taken advantage of her popularity to launch several advocacy campaigns on Instagram. One example was the #WhatIsPretty campaign in 2014, which encouraged fans to talk about what the word “pretty” meant to them. The campaign went on to generate plenty of fan engagement.

Beyonce’s secret to Instagram success

If you have been following Beyonce’s Instagram account for a long time now, you will notice that she either uses no captions for her photos or adds only a short one. This plays into her general “Let the work speak for itself” attitude. Beyonce is so famous that we can instantly recognize what her posted picture is all about.

A post shared by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on

The approach also helps maintain the air of mystery around her.  Even when she does write long captions, Beyonce still manages to evoke that mystery. In her pregnancy announcement, for instance, fans went into a guessing frenzy about her baby’s gender.

Kim Kardashian – 119 million Instagram followers

Kim Kardashian was one of the first major celebrities to jump onto Instagram specifically to boost their popularity. The photos and videos she posts typically evokes the affluent lifestyle that you associate with Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

Drip Drip💧

A post shared by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on

The reality TV star has taken advantage of the added boost to her popularity to promote her own line of merchandise, including her personal makeup line. She even created a dedicated Instagram account for her makeup line called KKW Beauty. Aside from product photos, the account posts photos and videos of customers using the products.

Kim Kardashian endorsements on Instagram

Owing to her popularity as a reality star, Kim Kardashian has been signed up by brands to promote their products on her Instagram page. These range from the mundane to the weird, such as hair vitamins.

She has also been tapped to become a part of major promotional campaigns. The latest of these is the #MyCalvins campaign for Calvin Klein, which has been a major driver of likes.

bathroom selfie on set @calvinklein #MyCalvins

A post shared by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on

The campaign is part of the brand’s family-oriented jeans and underwear campaign, and also incorporates the entire Kardashian and Jenner families.

Kim Kardashian’s secret to Instagram success

If you have been following Kim Kardashian for some time now, you are likely familiar with all the controversies that surround her. These controversies continue on Instagram, such as when she cropped her daughter North out of a picture.


A post shared by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on

Followers went on heated debates as to why she would do it, with her only response being:

What makes Kim more remarkable is her ability to turn these controversies into new promotional opportunities. In some cases, she even seems to actively create controversies for the sake of promotion. An example is her recent nude photoshoot promoting her new perfume line. Followers ended up arguing whether the images were going too far, but the discussions helped boost interest in the perfume. 

Followers those with the most followers on Instagram

These five celebrities with the most followers on Instagram demonstrate how effective the platform is. Here are some of the lessons they can teach you about using Instagram:

  • Create the right image: Have a clear image, or brand, you want to project for yourself and make sure that it is prominently reflected in your Instagram posts. Selena and Ariana excel at this with their casual posts.
  • Raise your followers’ curiosity: Whether it is for a new album or merchandise, you need to pique the interest of your followers with a well-crafted Instagram post. Beyonce? Beyon-slays at this.
  • Engage followers enthusiastically: Be ready to banter around with your IG followers and show them that they are more than just faceless fans. If Cristiano has time, you have time.
  • Take advantage of controversies: Instagram is often a place for controversies but you can turn these around into additional promotional boosts. When in doubt, follow a Kardashian for this.

Follow these tips and you too will soon find yourself as Instagram-famous as these celebrities.

Date: May 4, 2018 / Categories: Case Studies, Marketing, / Author: Rich Drees


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