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10 Instagram Branding Lessons From Mexican Drug Lords Some people use the popular social media platform to show off their lunch, others use it to show off their gold-plated AK-47s.

By Nick Leftley Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


In light of the recent arrest of two Canadian women who Instagrammed their cruise from England to Australia (with 200 pounds of cocaine packed in their bags) we present this slideshow of drug lords who know how to properly use the power of social media....

Any successful entrepreneur knows that half the battle is getting your brand out there. Instagram is a great way to let people know the key facts about your company: What do you do? What's your business model? What's your motto?

In the case of Mexican narcos, the answers to those questions are as follows: kill people, sell drugs, kill people and sell drugs. The not-so-social sellers have stormed social media in recent years to show off their money, cars, guns and even product. Here are the 10 most important tips we've learned from those incredible narco Instagram accounts:

When starting your Instagram account, try to open with an image that encapsulates everything your business represents. If you plan on selling organic baked goods, for example, choose an image that says "delicious" and "healthy" in equal measure. Likewise, if you plan on making millions of dollars through selling narcotics and murdering anyone who might oppose you, this might be the way to go.

It's a top priority to assure customers that their money is in safe hands, so do what you can to portray a bold, yet sensible approach to your finances. This leopard, for example, has an MBA from Cornell.

Use Instagram as a platform for exposing more of your staff. This gives your business a more personal feel, and allows customers to get the sense that they're dealing with real people, not robots. Caroline here, for example, likes Sudoku, vodka gimlets and men who don't have too much chest hair.

Company culture is of huge importance to that desirable millennial audience, so be sure to let them know that you play hard as well as working hard. No phones at the monthly get-together, guys! (At least until we find out which rat punk is wearing the wire.)

Don't be afraid to show a little of yourself outside of work, too. Companies are expected to be 24/7 lifestyle brands these days, so if you're chilling outside with your gold-plated, Yves Saint Laurent-branded AK-47 on a Saturday afternoon, share it with your audience -- they're probably doing the exact same thing!

A photo posted by ?DIVINIZADO? (@divinizado) on Apr 27, 2016 at 3:19pm PDT

Don't ignore your core message, though. Recreation is important, but not at the expense of people forgetting that you have 872 assault rifles under your desk and a half ton of pure, uncut Bolivian flake in the conference room.

Families are another useful tool in your arsenal. Reinforce your human side by snapping a few cute shots on Bring Your Daughter to Work Day. Who wouldn't feel more trusting of a company after seeing adorable little Emily here, and her 500-pound Bengal tiger, Scraps?

A photo posted by Narcos life? (@lifeofanarco) on Mar 12, 2016 at 12:53pm PST

Always remind people that you're active and mobile both online and in the real world. When your customers need product on time, you've got just the fleet of vehicles for the job!

A photo posted by ?DIVINIZADO? (@divinizado) on Apr 26, 2016 at 3:14pm PDT

Remember: Core message. This can't be repeated enough.

A photo posted by Por Sobre La Ley (@bblvvckk) on Apr 30, 2016 at 9:12pm PDT

Once your business begins to take off, you want to make sure everybody knows you're a success -- but do so in a sober, humble manner. Nobody likes a show-off!

Nick Leftley has been writing and editing for print and digital publications for over a decade, and many times has been able to spell "entrepreneur" correctly on only the second try.

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