Instagram photo contests are awesome tools for gaining followers, driving website traffic, moving audiences over from other networks like Facebook or Twitter, and promoting products. They are also the single most powerful resource brands can harness to harvest creative, high-quality User-Generated Content. Featuring your fans’ images on your Instagram profile comes with the following benefits :
- AUDIENCE RETENTION: It keeps those users you featured (and others hoping to get recognized) coming back to you for more.
- BRAND LOYALTY: Your fans love your brand. By featuring their photos on your Instagram feed, it lets your fans know how much you love them back, fostering customer love and creating powerful brand advocates.
- INCREASED REACH: The more users you have creating content about your brand, the more new people you will reach organically.
- COST-EFFECTIVE, UNIQUE, AND AUTHENTIC MARKETING CONTENT: Instagram is the perfect place to crowd source beautiful, original marketing content.
Regardless of your business model, showcasing UGC on your Instagram profile is a great move. It has paid huge dividends for brands like Audi; by maintaining a “human” feel and highlighting UGC, they have been able to drive extraordinary levels of engagement. In fact according to one study, Audi has the highest engagement level of any car brand, even outperforming brands like MTV and Starbucks, which have much larger audiences on Instagram.
Other brands have taken UGC a step further in their marketing strategy. Z Gallerie uses Instagram to capture the imagination and passion of their followers, and their posts regularly generate thousands of likes each. But rather than relying on expensive professional photographers, most of Z Gallerie’s stunning Instagram content comes from their fans.
“The majority of the content we post is carefully curated from our customer base,” said Loren Mattia, a social media specialist at Z Gallerie. “We find that our community relates more to these because they find the styles accessible. The approachable nature of our photos and the fact that they are in-stream with photos of our customer’s friends, family, and coworkers makes our customer feel more at ease and less ‘marketed to.’”
And while many of these posts are organic submissions from their fans, Z Gallerie regularly capitalizes on photo contests to generate thousands of images that they can repurpose. Their advice to brands that want to do the same? Keep It Simple.
“If there is one thing we’ve learned from Instagram contests, it’s to make the concept simple and digestible so that both brand advocates AND those who have never heard of us can enter,” said Mattia. “We try our best to avoid adding unnecessary steps or flourishes that the average potential customer doesn’t care about. The easier it is to participate, the more people will.”
There are more than 60 million photos posted to Instagram every day. At a time when many brands grapple with consistently producing quality visual content, this flood of UGC can offer a powerful, low-cost, high-quality solution. Because they inherently rely on UGC for submissions, Instagram photo contests are the best way to harness this resource, and a well-designed and executed Instagram contest can build your audience and encourage your fans to create beautiful content for your brand.