If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I am in the middle of my annual October Photo A Day Challenge on Instagram. I love doing Instagram Challenges! I do them several times a year and each month that I do them, I increase engagement on my account, gain new followers and build my brand. I got a few questions this month about how to run an Instagram challenge so I wanted to share what I've learned from running a few.
Why Should You Run an Instagram Challenge?
1. Increase Engagement on your Account
Challenges can galvanize participants and bring them out of lurking like nothing else can. It keeps them coming back to see what you post next, engaging with your content regularly throughout the challenge.
2. Establish authority in your Niche
Challenges are a perfect way to establish authority in your niche and help to establish your brand's identity. Challenges help you to gain the trust of your audience.
3. Gain Followers
If done right, an Instagram challenge should encourage your challenge participants to follow your Instagram account. You are providing some type of value: entertainment, education, motivation etc. The challenge is like advertising.
How to Run An Instagram Challenge
1.Pick a Hashtag
Picking a great hashtag is one of the most important parts of the challenge. First, you need to make sure that the Hashtag is not in use. Second, make sure it is a hashtag that can be easily identified as part of your brand and easy to remember. I've used #everydayphotoaday #augusteyecandy and #eyecandyholidaychallenge. Each one uses some form of my blog name in it ( Everyday or Eyecandy) to make it easy to associate with my brand.
2. Pick simple relatable prompts
Keep it simple. You want them not to be too hard that participants don't know what to post. One word prompts or simple popular phrases always work well. Like Sunday Funday, 8'clock, and Selfie to name a few. And keep it open ended enough so that not everyone will post the exact same thing. You want your participants to get creative.
3.Decide how long the challenge should be.
This depends on your audience and is likely something you will have to test out. You need at least a week to get and keep interest and no longer than 30 days to make it not seem like a chore.
4. Announce the Challenge
Let people know you are having a challenge! Talk about it on Instagram ( listing the prompts there in pretty graphic always works), share in your newsletter, share to Facebook, Twitter and on your blog! Go where your people are and make sure they know about it.
This is the most challenging part: Once you start your challenge, don't forget to check in with your hashtag. Comment and like on the participants photos and encourage them to do the same. Doing so shows you are involved in your challenge and not just a bot throwing this up and leaving. Engagement motivates your participants to keep participating. And it's just FUN.
What about you? Have you ever run an Instagram Challenge? Or participated in one? Questions?
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