Instagram isn't just for sharing photos of your food or current vacation destination. It's for building your business.
"The relationships and opportunities I have developed on Instagram have been priceless," said Lewis Howes of The School of Greatness. "By providing unique, educational, and inspiring content consistently, it's helped me grow my podcast, book high-paying speaking gigs, hit the New York Times bestseller list, promote my live events, and bring awareness and sales to my online programs."
Howes isn't alone. A rising number of influential entrepreneurs and investors are using Instagram to promote their high-growth businesses, giving their followers behind-the-scenes looks at innovative companies, huge investment opportunities, and cutting-edge technology before it's even been released or made headlines.
"It can be a great place to connect with your customers and build relationships, but only if you actually enjoy using the platform," said blogger and motivational speaker Marie Forleo.
Whether you're an entrepreneur, an investor, or a leader in your company, there are certain people you should be following for new ideas and inspiration, and to get an extra edge in your industry. Here are business innovators whose Instagram accounts you should start following right now.
Mark Cuban (@mcuban)
As the owner of the Dallas Mavericks and a key investor on Shark Tank who has made billions in the tech industry, Cuban is plugged into the world of innovation. (He's also a fellow alum of my alma mater, Indiana University's Kelley School of Business!) He shares awesome glimpses into businesses and life, as well as behind-the-scenes photos from the set of Shark Tank.
Favorite quote: "It's not about whether the glass is half empty or half full, it's whether or not you are pouring the water."
Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee)
You probably know Vaynerchuk from his YouTube videos that took him from savvy businessman to media mogul. On top of investing in massive companies like Twitter, Snapchat, and Uber, he's an expert in social media marketing and regularly uploads episodes of the #AskGaryVee Show and the DailyVee. He posts the best clips from his shows on his Instagram, along with actionable quotes.
Favorite quote: "Wherever the attention of the 'end consumer' is, is important for entrepreneurs...period."
Lewis Howes (@lewishowes)
Howes is a former Arena football player turned entrepreneur and New York Times best-selling author. He has built and scaled several multimillion-dollar online businesses, and uses Instagram to share inspirational content and actionable insights from his podcast, The School of Greatness.
Favorite quote: "Beautiful things happen when you distance yourself from negativity."
Marie Forleo (@marieforleo)
When she couldn't take any more of the 9-to-5 corporate world, Forleo set out to create her own digital empire as a life coach and motivational speaker. She hosts her own weekly web show, MarieTV, frequently bringing on high-profile guests like Tony Robbins and Oprah, and posts clips from the show along with inspirational photos on her Instagram.
Favorite quote: "Everything is figure-out-able."
Tim Ferriss (@timferriss)
As the host of The Tim Ferriss Show (the No. 1 business podcast on iTunes) and adviser to some of the biggest tech companies in the world, Ferriss rubs shoulders with a lot of industry influencers. He populates his Instagram page with photos of his travels and quotes from the amazing guests he interviews on his show, such as Marc Andreessen, Peter Thiel, and Maria Popova.
Favorite quote: "There is no sure path to success, but the surest path to failure is trying to please everyone."
Arianna Huffington (@ariannahuff)
After lending her name to The Huffington Post and serving as its editor in chief for a decade, Huffington left last year to found Thrive Global, which is focused on health and wellness in the business world. She shares insightful quotes from great leaders and thinkers of history on her profile, as well as photos of her meetings with world influencers.
Favorite quote: "Vision without execution is hallucination."
Gerard Adams (@gerardadams)
After launching, growing, and subsequently selling online publication Elite Daily for $50 million, Gerard "Millennial Mentor" Adams took it upon himself to help other young entrepreneurs and launched the Fownders startup accelerator to do just that. He shares business advice and lots of behind-the-scenes photos of his latest ventures on his page.
Favorite quote: "Not everyone can be a great entrepreneur, but a great entrepreneur can come from anywhere."
Tony Robbins (@tonyrobbins)
Fresh off the presses with his new book, Unshakeable, Tony is worth a follow now more than ever. Robbins has become world-famous after nearly four decades of building businesses, delivering speeches, and penning multiple best-selling books. His name is practically synonymous with "self-help," and his Instagram is filled with his best insights in the form of quotations, short videos, and photos from his international travels and engagements.
Favorite quote: "Demand more from yourself than anyone else could ever expect."
Andy Frisella (@andyfrisella)
People who tell it like it is can be very refreshing, and that's what Frisella is all about. After finding success as the CEO of muscle-building supplement company 1st Phorm International, he launched the MFCEO Project to pass some of his wisdom on to other entrepreneurs while removing all the BS. He posts clips of his best advice from the podcast on his profile.
Favorite quote: "Be brave enough to go after what you really want. Be strong enough to pick people up and bring them with you."
Brené Brown (@brenebrown)
Brown has built her career on training people how to be authentic, brave, empathic leaders. On top of her four books on the subject, she is the founder and CEO of websites COURAGEworks and Brave Leaders Inc., online learning platforms for individuals and companies, respectively. She shares tons of quotes from creative, innovative leaders as well as inspirational photos from her latest business endeavors.
Favorite quote: "Every time we choose courage, we make everyone around us a little better and the world a little braver."
Peter Voogd (@peterjvoogd)
Voogd is spearheading a movement to get Millennials interested in entrepreneurship, using his own story as inspiration. He runs an invite-only community of entrepreneurs and young professionals called Game Changers Academy, and he uses his profile to share actionable insights, inspirational quotes, and glimpses into his business.
Favorite quote: "Think like the millionaires, hustle like you're broke."
Kevin Rose (@kevinrose)
You may know Rose as the co-founder of news aggregator Digg, but it's far from the only internet company on his impressive résumé. He's now the CEO of Hodinkee, a luxury-wristwatch enthusiast website. He's also an active tech investor who works with Google Ventures (now GV), publishes his own newsletter, and shares his travels and adventures--many of them in Japan--on Instagram.
Favorite quote: "If you believe in something, work nights and weekends. It won't feel like work."
Gabby Bernstein (@gabbybernstein)
Entrepreneurship can be stressful, so Bernstein has made it her mission to help people relax. She's a life coach and author of five best-selling books who teaches the importance of self-love and spirituality for a healthy mind and body. Her content is all about positivity, mindfulness, and meditation.
Favorite quote: "Kindness is a boomerang."
Alexis Ohanian (@alexisohanian)
You probably know Ohanian as a co-founder of Reddit, where he now serves as the executive chairman. He's also been a partner in Y Combinator and recently launched the San Francisco-based VC fund Initialized Capital. He posts content chronicling his work and his meetings with remarkable business people, innovators, and Redditors around the world.
Favorite quote: "If you wanted to change the world in the Industrial Age, you opened a factory. In the Internet Age, you open a laptop."