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Instagram Contests: Benefits for the User Too!

Guess who won first prize in the Energizer Ultimate Instagram Photo Contest – yours truly. Thank you to all who helped vote! It really is possible to win an Instagram hosted contest and here is proof. And it didn’t even require any effort – just snapping a picture with Instagram. Has anybody else won any contests?


Vote Love!

Help our Instablogger Diana win the Energizer Instagram contest! Click the pic & then vote love 🙂 Thanks!!

Love Instagram and want to enter a #contest? Here are some options…

As we know, many brands and companies are utilizing Instagram to run contests that increase customer engagement and user awareness. These companies hope to motivate users to become involved with their brands, eventually leading to active followers and consumers. Many of the contest rules require users to become followers of the brand or company. Essentially, they have created another marketing channel that requires a lot less effort and capital than traditional marketing strategies. If you haven’t taken witness to these efforts, here are a few contests currently running:

1). Tilly’s:

This popular California lifestyle clothing company is currently running the “Instapick of the Month Contest.” To enter, follow @tillys and upload a photo that “represents who you are.” They are looking for creative photos with the hashtag #Tillysinstapick. Do you love free stuff? Every month Tilly’s will pick their favorite photo and send you a “surprise box of goodies.” As far as I can tell, they are not publicizing an end date for this contest, so you’ve got plenty of chances to win!


2). Free People:

If you love fashion, this is a contest for you. Clothing brand Free People is running a contest every Friday that asks users to upload a picture of themselves wearing the Free People brand. Each Friday, a winner will beselected among the photos hashtagged #fpcloset. The prize? No money or free merchandise involved – simply recognition. Free People will share your photo from their Instagram account. A perfect contest for Instagram users looking to gain “likes” and followers. This contest has only been running for two weeks and they also don’t mention an end date – get ready to upload on Friday!

3). Energizer:

The Energizer Instagram photo contest makes me think the company is taking advantage of the recent merge between Instagram and Facebook. For this contest,photos are not entered directly through the Instagram app. Instead, users must log into Facebook and like this page.  Then they must submit their Instagram picture to the same page. Energizer is looking for the “ultimate Instagram photo.” At that point, the public gets to vote for the best submission starting on June 4th. The grand prize is: $2000 cash, a Nikon Coolpix S6300, and Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries. What an incentive! I’ve already entered.

4). National Geographic:

We know that NatGeo works closely with Instagram, consistently sharing their photos through @NatGeoChannel. Their team recently ran the Untamed Americas project, where they snapped pictures of mountains, deserts, coasts, and forests. Now they are asking users to upload photos that show what “Untamed Americas” means to them. All you need to do is follow @natgeochannels and hashtag your uploaded photo with #UntamedAmericas from now until June 18. At that point, three judges will select the best photo that will be featured on their website. In addition, the winner will receive an assortment of awesome prizes, including a Nikon D3100, a subscription to the National Geographic magazine, and a signed print by famous landscape photographer Cole Rise.

5). Spa Week and Insta-Mom:

There are just a few more days for this contest. Until May 31st, upload your Instagram photo that depicts what “mom” means to you. Follow @spaweek and hashtag your photo #spaweekmom. Spa Week is looking for creative and inspiring photos. The grand prize is a $300 Spa and Wellness gift card, and there are prizes for first and second place following the grand prize winner as well. And the good part is, you can enter as many photos as you’d like! If you’d love a day at the spa, get instagramming!


These contests are simple ways to win prizes and/or bragging rights. If you love Instagram and taking photos, entry is simple. Already entered these contests or have others you’ve found? Let us know!



In November of 2012, Instagram implemented their first ever brand partnership, with National Geographic. Regarding the decision, CEO of Instagram Kevin Systrom states:
“National Geographic makes a ton of sense as an initial partner – they’re a fantastic company with such a rich visual history. Given that they’re so visually oriented, it’s a no-brainer that we’re going to be trying some interesting stuff out with them over the next few months.”

NatGeo seeks to build customer engagement, through contests or by crowd-sourcing photos for an upcoming story. Also, the company’s professional photographers and reporters could begin to take images “on-the-ground” creating a “live” and more interactive version of NatGeo.

With the waning prevalence of print media and the takeover of online versions, paid subscription circulation declined for the second year in 2010.

Paid Subscriptions Declined for the Second Consecutive Year

Being one of the top 25 magazines, National Geographic was among its cohorts with a decline in overall circulation between 2009 and 2010. Impressively, NatGeo is sixth among the most circulated magazines. As can be seen from this chart, the company faces a lesser decline than most.

NatGeo’s ability to stay relevant to the current generation is exemplified in their move to work with Instagram. By marketing to younger customers, the magazine has been able to bolster against the downfall of the print industry. The NatGeo Instagram photos can be viewed online, or add them on Instagram at natgeo.

Recently, NatGeo ran a contest through Instagram to draw attention to the 150th episode of the Dog Whisperer. Fans were asked to bake a cake to celebrate the anniversary. January 31st through February 10th, fans could submit Instagram pictures of their homemade cakes with the hashtag #natgeowild and #happy150. February 11th, during the airing of the 150th episode, the winner of the contest was posted on Instagram. The winning photo was also featured on the homepage of (Cesar is the name of the dog whisperer, for those of you out the pet loop), and Cesar telephoned the winner personally.

As of mid-2011, NatGeo was no longer the only media producer partnering with Instagram. News outlets including NPR, ABC News, MTV and NBC are using Instagram to build a more intimate relationship with their audience. However, the aforementioned outlets do not traditionally operate in print. Instead, “it provides a very different perspective to our followers than what they encounter on the Web or TV,” according to Joe Ruffalo (senior vice president at ABC News Digital).

With the rising popularity of Instagram, others might want to consider contests and crowd-sourced photos as a marketing tool to build awareness, exposure, and involvement.

As a consumer, have you ever participated in an Instagram contest?

Instagram Contests: A Winning Idea?

Now that Instagram supports #hashtags, companies can capitalize on the social media app for their marketing campaigns. A perfect example is the campaign Brisk, the iced tea brand owned by PepsiCo-Lipton did last year for SXSW. Brisk asked for participants to tag their pics with #Briskpic for the opportunity to have their pic featured on one of 4,000 cans of Brisk available at the event. The company received 2,425 pics in response to the campaign. They also had a dedicated website for people to learn more about the contest.

Was the campaign a success? Yes. I think so, here’s why:

The Right Audience
SXSW is an annual music, film, and interactive conference and festival held in Austin. The event hosts many tech savvy, trend conscious, entertainment focused individuals. Brisk’s target market is young adults, particularly males between the ages of 19 and 29. According to the website traffic stats of the SXSW event, visitors were evenly split between males and females and the majority of visitors came from the 25 to 44 age range. While not completely within Brisk’s target market, their effort definitely served to raise awareness beyond it’s target demographic.

Exposure is Key
Tying the promotion to a popular event was the perfect finale to the initiative. The 2011 SXSW event was visited by over 20,000 people. Not only was exposure significant at the event, but searches on the SXSW website for ticket information and schedules also increased the opportunity of exposure for the Briskpic campaign.

The level of cross promotion with this campaign was huge. SXSW linked to the dedicated site, the site also linked to the festival, Instagram and Instragram on the iTunes App Store. Cross promotions for this type of event was a win for all involved. People who already were planning to attend and submitted a photo would most likely seek out the Brisk booth to find out if their pic made the cut.

My Pic on A Can
The incentive to participate was unique. How many times does the opportunity to have a pic featured on a can of tea present itself? Not often.The contest also had few rules making it easy to participate in. All one had to do was take a pic, hashtag with #briskpic and upload. Done. No forms. No long disclaimers. Easy.

The contest was only available to iPhone users, since at the time, the app did not feature an Android version. It would be great to see another attempt at this type of contest now that the app is available on both iPhones and Android devices.

While I am not privy to the metrics PepsiCo-Lipton uses to measure campaign success, it appears hosting a contest is a great way to generate awareness and interaction about your brand. With the installation of hashtags and the addition of Android users, this type of campaign will easily become mainstream. It’s important to consider your brand audience, tying the campaign to an event and whether the opportunity for cross promotion exists to maximize exposure.

What other companies would benefit from an Instagram contest?