FAVE TIPS: 4 ways to use @Instagram photo challenges to engage a community

Credit: @saturday

Want your brand to join the Instagram craze where there are roughly 58 photos uploaded each second? Launching a photo challenge isn’t a bad way to go. Here are four examples of people and brands doing it well:

Anderson Live

With Anderson Live premiering September 10, the publicity team is in full gear. Playing off the successful Instagram photo-a-day challenges, Anderson launched Anderson’s Summer Photo-A-Day Summer Challenge.

In addition to promoting via Instagram, the challenge has its own landing page.

The landing page isn’t just your boring old “here’s how to play” overview, but features actual photos from participants, giving their insta-feeds a boost. To play along, participants must follow Anderson Live (@andersonTV) on Instagram in addition to using the hashtag. Great way to build up buzz before the show launches. It also doesn’t hurt that each day someone won a new phone.


By far my favorite Instagram third party application, Statigram is rewarding their community after reaching one million users with an insta-challenge. The instructions are hosted on the contest section of their site. Reaching their target audience shouldn’t be too difficult considering those who visit the site are already familiar with or use Instagram. To really entice people to play along, they through something in for the community — coveted tech items, like a MacBook Air. See a theme here? In addition to insta-cred (building up your influence via Instagram), a prize can often encourage people to participate.



You know how I just told you prizes entice people to play? Not always. There are unique Instagram superstars like the user known as @owlbolt. She’s part of a strong (and growing) network of parents who share daily photos  (usually creatively edited) of their children. The parents don’t just share photos, they actually interact and connect with one another in the comments. It’s not strange to see people part of this network promoting one another’s photos in order to help them win a challenge. In addition to sharing her own photos, @owlbolt often launches photo challenges where the only prize is the satisfaction of winning (sometimes there are challenges specifically for those who have never won a challenge). Most recently she launched the #evenmoreawesomethanlasttime challenge where people can reedit old, favorite IG photos. The instructions are typically in the comment section of the photo used to launch the challenge. The initial post went live on August 14, and as of August 16, there were already 114 photo submissions, 295 likes of the original post. Those are amazing results within a niche community.

 Naked Juice

@NakedJuice launched a contest via Instagram and, because of the nature of the network, used an image to communicate the instructions. While the contest takes place via Instagram, the image is such that it can be repurposed and promoted in other locations. If an Instagram user wants to re-post the photo to their networks they can either take a screen shot of it or use a tool like Statigr.am (example below). They did a great job of integrating product photos into a relatively small space without it being gaudy.

(Disclaimer: @NakedJuice recently sent me a housewarming gift. It was not sent to receive a blog post. I discovered the contest after searching their feed.)


Know of another brand using Instagram to promote creative challenges? Share them in the comments.


We're are going to attempt to run an Instagram scavenger hunt in San Antonio in 2013 for a national youth gathering. Snap photos, tag and mention, show to main booth, receive prize - best shots will be shown during mass event.



 @sethhinz That's a great idea. Please keep me posted on your results. -Sarah


 @Sevans will do - excited to get started. The Anderson content was a good add to this article. I'm now seeing how we can expand the game even further. Thanks for this

PBX like.author.displayName 1 Like

I'd better try this on my phone. It's very fun and I might ge something from this.

scottkleinberg like.author.displayName 1 Like

I couldn't agree more about the awesome power of Instagram. I run the Chicago Tribune's Instagram account, where we run weekly and monthly themes with a hashtag. And there are no physical prizes; The best ones are featured in the Chicago Tribune feed and posted on our Instagram Pinterest board. Right now, Instagram is my favorite platform for social media engagement.