October 5, 2016

Some accounts just “get” Instagram. Today’s case study is one of those accounts. I love what she does with her images, captions, calls-to-action, and engagement. And so, this is the perfect account for another Instagram case study. Today, I am introducing you to Vanilla and Bean.

If you go check out her account, you’ll notice a bunch of things right away that validate why I’m covering this account in a case study. But, of course, I’m also going to break it all down for you right here.

I should also point out that I am NOT her ideal audience – I pretty much avoid all types of food that she creates (I’m not a health nut or green smoothie person at all) but I love her account so much and I actually get inspired by her posts. Here’s why!

First though, time for the disclaimer… I am in no way affiliated with Vanilla and Bean. I haven’t discussed with her how she uses her Instagram account or what results she gets from Instagram – this post is based entirely on my interpretations of what I see on the current profile. I am not being rewarded, compensated, or paid in any way to write this post. This post is based entirely upon my opinions of her Instagram content from what I’ve seen shared publicly.

The Immediate “Feels”

I love when you can go to someone’s profile and instantly get a feel for who they are, what they do, their personality, and more. This account totally does that!

All of her images create an emotional reaction that instantly connect you to her style. Right now, as we move into fall, you get that sense from her photos. But if you look back into the summer posts, you see the brighter, lighter colors and feel very summery. Versus the warm, heartier vibe you get now with the fall styling.

And even when the seasonal content is varied, the styling and tone remain the same. This is Instagram styling done right!

Branded Styling

Speaking of styling, each photo stays true to Traci’s unique style and layout. This is branded content that, when you’re scrolling through the feed, you immediately recognize as hers.

There’s no logo or watermark to tell you it’s hers, but you know because she stays true to her styling and photography – from lighting to composition to staging – in every photo. Even when the angles are different and the colors or subject of the photo is different, she manages to keep a cohesive and recognizable element to each photo.

Good Captions

To be honest, there are a lot of good food accounts out there with great photography. But their captions usually don’t align with the level of expectation from the photos. Vanilla and Bean is an example of, not only good photography, but good captions too!

What makes her captions so great? First of all, they’re a good length – not too short and not too long. But look at that use of emojis throughout, adding personality and style. And if you read that caption, do you not instantly get a feel for her real personality?

She shares a new recipe, tells you the link to the recipe is on the blog (link in the bio), shares a story about her day/life, and adds some personality with relateable content. Whether or not you mesh with her personality, you sure can’t ignore it! And that’s how you stand out online – by being true to you and your brand.


You know I love me a good call-to-action and Traci manages to get one into almost every single post she shares! But it’s not annoying, spammy, or too much. She incorporates the CTA into the message and makes you want to click through to get what she’s telling you all about.

Finding unique ways to get past the bold, in-your-face “click on the link in my bio” CTA is a great way to still incorporate a directive but not seem pushy to your audience.

Awesome Engagement

With over 32,000 followers, Traci has opportunity for a lot of engagement. And averaging 2000-3000 likes per post, she’s doing pretty darn good with 8% engagement from likes.

BUT, it’s the comments that I’m really impressed with. She gets at least 100 comments per post, often close to 200 comments.

And she’s heavily engaged in responding to all of her comments and interacting in a real and authentic way. If you want to build a genuine community on Instagram (or any platform, really), you have to take the time to engage like this.

Good Hashtags

We all know the power of a good hashtag strategy, right? Well, Traci does! She’s using a good selection of popular hashtags that stay true to her niche while incorporating the right targeted hashtags to draw in her ideal audience.

She also includes hashtags for large publishers campaigns in her niche to increase her chances of getting picked up and shared by them. This is a great way to boost exposure and build your audience. But only when you do it well with the right targeted publishers and don’t over do it in a spammy way.

The Right Bio Components 

While I wouldn’t say I “love” Traci’s bio, it has all the right components, and that’s important.

Her profile photo is actually a photo of her so that you get the personal connection when you see her smiling face on Instagram. Her username is her brand name so she’s recognizable on Instagram and when engaging. And her name actually includes her name so that it, again, brings in a personal connection.

Her bio description is simple and clear. You know immediately who she is and what she’s about. For someone who makes such good use of emojis in her captions, I’d love to see more emojis and formatting in her bio though.

And, she of course, has the link in her bio that she can personalize and track to see how much traffic she’s getting from Instagram.

She has also upgraded to a business profile, allowing her brand to stand out on Instagram and provide direct connection via the Contact button. This makes it easy for her audience to email her directly if they wish to contact her.


So, there you have an example of a beautifully crafted and well-focused Instagram account that gets great engagement, and hopefully great results for her brand. I hope you can take this account and the tips outlined here for inspiration on your own Instagram account.

Did you find this helpful? Please share:
  1. You wrote, she has the link in her bio that she can personalize and track to see how much traffic she’s getting from Instagram. Could you elaborate on that? I would love to track my traffic from IG.

Comments are closed.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

3 Ways To Get More Views On Instagram Reels

While Instagram Reels are still a significant focus for the platform and they still generally perform well for most… it’s no

Read More

How to Add A Lead Form To Your Instagram Profile

Instagram has added the option to create a lead form directly on your Instagram profile. This form will allow you to

Read More

Instagram now has over 2 BILLION monthly active users!

Oh. Em. Geeeee!I mean, we knew it was inevitable we'd hit this milestone but Instagram/Meta has been super tight lipped about

Read More

How to Train the Instagram Algorithm to Show you the Content You Want

If you’re tired of seeing weird videos or photos in your Explore page, content from people you don’t really want in

Read More

Why 60-Second Stories on Instagram are a Big Deal

Instagram has announced that Stories will now be available as up to 60-second clips – not just 15 second clips. And,

Read More

How & Why to Pin Posts on Instagram

Instagram is now (finally?) giving us the option to pin posts to our profile grids. To be honest, I’m really freaking

Read More

Join The Newsletter

Sign up for once-monthly updates on all things Instagram and social media. It's your one-stop-shop for staying on top of social media in today's changing landscape.

Join the thousands of other marketers, business owners, and agency personnel who rely on this newsletter to keep them on top of their game with one easy resource!