Are you looking for fresh promotional ideas for your social media channels?
Do you want to make your competitions more fun for your social media community?
Visual social media channels are creating new opportunities for community building, fun, brand leverage and content marketing through unique competitions, and Instagram is quickly becoming the platform of choice for big and small brands alike.
If you feel like your competitions might be getting a little stale or you’ve been doing the same thing as everyone else (because, let’s face it, there are only so many competition apps on the market), have a look at how some brands are using Instagram in their content marketing mix to run compelling competitions and fun experiences for fans of their brands.
Crowdshooting Creative Projects
Crowdshooting is where a brand invites their user community to photograph or film a project in order to create a visual story in real time using social media platforms. A crowdsourced visual story can then be repurposed into a by-product such as a film, an exhibition or even a billboard ad. A terrific example of this is the recent Lexus Instafilm campaign (hat tip to viralblog.com). Lexus did not run a competition but they did create a fun bran experience for their fans that could be used as inspiration for competitions in your small business marketing.
Recently, luxury car brand Lexus, invited 212 prominent Instagramers to help them produce an ad for the 2014 Lexus IS. The beauty of this project is that it brought people together to do something that had never been done before. Watch the video to see just how this was done:
Lexus then levered this further by cross-pollinating their campaign content across their other social platforms, creating more opportunities for engagement.
(A notable exclusion to this was Pinterest. Lexus has a presence on Pinterest but for some odd reason chose not to lever the platform in this campaign… well, not yet anyhow!).
Although Lexus wasn’t running a competition, small business brands could take the guts of this idea and use it to form the basis of a hashtag competition, where people enter a competition to be chosen as a crowdshooting participant. Effectively, the competition becomes a two step process and you use it, not only to run an awesome, community-buidling competition but to boost your subscriber-base.
Levering hashtag competitions to boost your mailing list
On the application form, ask two questions to help you sort particpants into relevant lists on your database.
1. Ask if the person is already a fan of [INSERT YOUR COMPANY NAME HERE]
2. Ask them why they’d like to participate in 100 words or less.
The answers will tell you whether the entrant is participating just because it’s a cool project or whether they’re already a fan of your brand. The reason why this is important is because people who are already brand fans will be more likely to promote your brand enthusiastically and also, because it helps you identify potential promotional partners for the future (ie. PR-friendly bloggers).
That doesn’t mean you should dismiss those who are new to your brand. Treat them nice and they just might become fans. Spam them with irrelevant info and they may not continue to love you after the competition.
Creative Community Competitions
The next example I want to share with you is one that Instagram highlights on their website. It was slightly different to the crowdshooting project in that it was not done to create a carefully crafted product like the Lexus Instafilm, but to seed a creative movement. Some might call this a viral campaign but I call it a brilliant example of fractal marketing: Give people the spark and see what they do with it. So without further adue…
In 2012 Singer Songwriter Jason Mraz asked his fans to encapsulate his song “I won’t give up” in Instagram photos using the hashtag #iwontgiveup. The performer was flooded with thousands of entries and the top 25 were invited to meet the star and get their printed images signed at a gala event.
This competition created a sense of community around Jason’s song and also ignited a creative movement that honoured the human spirit, something a lot of his fans resonated with.
At the same time, the competition was awesome publicity for Jason’s album, raising his profile and leaving people with no doubt about what his brand stood for. (And, if you haven’t listened to the song on his website, do! It’s awesome!).
What you can do
It goes without saying that not every brand has Jason Mraz’s rockstar pull or Lexus’s brand leverage, but that doesn’t mean that small businesses can’t use these ideas to inspire their own hashtag campaigns and competitions.
When you’re running your own hashtag competitions, you’ll want to keep the following pointers in mind:
1. Use a hashtag that reinforces your brand name and ideology. Don’t use a hashtag that can easily be mispelled or that is too long. If you want to use a hashtag that is used elsewhere, make sure you include another hashtag specific to your brand.
2. Make sure you incorporate a registration process if you want to build your mailing list through the competition. This will also help you find entrants, when you do a search for the competition hashtags and gives you a legal way to contact the winner.
3. Make sure your competition complies with Instagram’s community guidelines. For instance, Instagram states that users must be at least 13 years old. Your comp’s terms and conditions will need to reflect this as well.
4. Make sure your competition complies with your State and Federal laws.
Over to you
If you haven’t started exploring how to use Instagram in your business marketing, I hope this article has inspired you. Have you seen any other terrific Instagram Hashtag competitions? Has this sparked other ideas for you? Leave a comment below.