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10 Inspiring Instagram Contests That Caught Our Attention



Instagram is huge.

It has more than 1 billion users and is the third most popular social media site today.

But Instagram isn’t all about pretty photos and clever art.

In fact, it’s becoming a huge marketing platform where Fortune 500 companies are stepping into the scene.

With all these big companies vying for the attention of users, how can you put your brand forward in the feed so it receives acclaim and attention on Instagram?

The answer is through running an Instagram contest.

Why Run an Instagram Contest?

There are many ways you can advertise on Instagram. You can buy ads. Write copy. Post photos of products.

But nothing comes close to running an Instagram contest.

Why? Because of user engagement.

When you run an Instagram contest, you make a way for users to engage with your brand. They take photos with your product, tag friends, and spread the word about your company.

What’s the best way to run an Instagram contest?

10 Inspiring Brands That Did Instagram Contests Right

Instead of coming up with a generic how-to, let’s look into 10 successful Instagram contest campaigns.

Ready to be inspired?

1. Love One Today’s Avocado Contest

Love One Today promotes a delicious way of life through eating avocados.

To gain buzz online, it launched the AvoFruitFull contest.

10 Inspiring Instagram Contests That Caught Our Attention

Instagram users were encouraged to submit a photo of their own beautiful avocado creations.

Users who got the most likes on their photos won great prizes such as themed water bottles, a food processor, and even a Vitamix blender!

Tip: Offering giveaways that resonate with your followers’ interests (like a Vitamix blender for health-conscious people) is a great way to get your contest going.

2. Stoka Bar’s Boatload of Giveaways

Who wouldn’t grab the chance to win 40 free treat bars?

Stoka Bars are crunchy, delicious, and best of all – low on carbs.

Here’s the contest Stoka Bar did to gain more followers.

10 Inspiring Instagram Contests That Caught Our Attention

Tip: If your Instagram page is new, a contest is a great way to gain new followers.

3. Pink Lime Look’s Good Hair Day Contest

Pink Lime Look gave contestants the chance to be themselves in their entries.

To join the contest, users submitted photos of themselves sporting their favorite hairstyles.

They could choose whatever background they liked for the entry.

10 Inspiring Instagram Contests That Caught Our Attention

All contestants had to do was use Pink Lime Look’s hashtag for the chance to win.

Pretty simple, considering the prize was a $500 makeover!

Tip: If you’re giving out a valuable prize, make sure to mention how much it’s worth for the chance to grab more attention.

4. Lifebox Food and Punks and Chancers Collab Contest

Organic materials and ingredients are essential to anyone who’s health-conscious or vegan.

Take a look at how Lifebox Food and Punks and Chancers ran their collaboration contest on Instagram.

10 Inspiring Instagram Contests That Caught Our Attention

All users had to do was follow the two companies, like the post, and tag a friend.

The prize?

A cool sweater, a tote bag, and a delicious box of vegan food.

Tip: Collaborating with another company for your Instagram contest is an effective way to gain more followers. It’s great if the company you collaborate with already has its own strong base of followers.

5. How to Make Trouble by Simon and Schuster

Unique contests that ask users for stories almost always steal the show on Instagram.

Here’s the perfect example of how it’s done.

10 Inspiring Instagram Contests That Caught Our Attention

The contest encouraged users to comment with their own personal “troublemaking” strategies.

The prize?

Cecile Richard’s new book, a tote bag, cute pins, and a bookmark.

That’s a lot in exchange of a story!

Tip: One of the reasons people are on Instagram is because they love to share their lives with others. If you ask for their stories in exchange of cool prizes? You’ll have a sure hit.

6. Valdo Prosecco’s Trip to Italy

Who wouldn’t want to win a spectacular trip to one of the most beautiful countries in the world?

With its contest, Valdo Prosecco made the trip an enticing prize.

10 Inspiring Instagram Contests That Caught Our Attention

All users had to do was take a photo of a cocktail they’d made with Valdo Prosecco.

They then shared their secret recipe as a caption with a hashtag.

The winner was picked out of the 25 top-voted photos.

Tip: Whenever you can, encourage contestants to be creative. Also, letting users vote for top photos is a great way to promote engagement with your brand.

7. Melissa Corser’s Makeup Giveaway

Makeup and nails are the perfect combination for girls who love to get glamorous.

Melissa Corser gave Instagram users the chance to win both with her contest.

10 Inspiring Instagram Contests That Caught Our Attention

What made this contest different was that users could enter as many times as they wanted.

The result?

More tagged friends, engagement, and exposure.

Tip: Who says contestants can only enter a contest once? When you give them unlimited entries, you get massive engagement in return.

8. Fushi’s New Product Launch

When Fushi launched its Biovedic skincare solution, it took to Instagram with a contest.

The prize?

A full set of Ayurvedic skin products for healthier, more beautiful skin.

10 Inspiring Instagram Contests That Caught Our Attention

Tip: If you’re launching a new product, running an Instagram contest and giving the product away as a prize is a huge way to promote it.

9. Shockingly Healthy’s Contest for Free Tickets

For those into the healthy lifestyle, there are few things as exciting as a Green Living Show.

What Shockingly Healthy did was capitalize on that interest with two sets of free tickets for the show.

10 Inspiring Instagram Contests That Caught Our Attention

Tip: Are there any events in your area that would interest your followers? If so, offering free passes or tickets as prizes is a great way to increase engagement with your brand.

10. Domino’s Super Fan Contest

Domino’s contest offered a huge prize to users who could prove they were “super fans” of its pizza.

10 Inspiring Instagram Contests That Caught Our Attention

The prize? $10,000!

To add to the fun, the contest allowed users to be creative.

They had to prove they weren’t only fans, but super fans of Domino’s.

Tip: The more creative your contest is, the better! If you can give a big cash prize, it won’t hurt your chances of getting thousands of engagements, either.

How to Create an Instagram Contest That Goes Viral

Instagram is huge, and it opens the door to massive marketing opportunities for you.

Also, running an Instagram contest promises you user engagement, attention, and interest.

All you need to do is find out what works and how to set up your Instagram contest.

Remember, allow users to be creative and tell their stories.

Keep in mind why people use Instagram at all: to take stunning photos, be spontaneous, and share their lives with others.

There’s a ton of prize ideas you can select as giveaways. These can be cash, new products, unique knick-knacks, and anything related to your business.

When you’ve set up a contest that follows these cool tips, all you need to do is sit back and wait for the follows and shares to start pouring in!

Image Credits

All screenshots taken by author, November 2019


Email Marketing Trends 2023: Predictions by the Industry Stalwarts



Email Marketing Trends 2023: Predictions by the Industry Stalwarts

Every year, we see new trends entering the world of email marketing.

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5 Simple Things You Can Do To Improve the Content Experience for Readers



5 Simple Things You Can Do To Improve the Content Experience for Readers

Who doesn’t like to have a good experience consuming content?

I know I do. And isn’t that what we – as both a consumer of content and a marketer of content – all want?

What if you create such a good experience that your audience doesn’t even realize it’s an “experience?” Here’s a helpful mish-mash of easy-to-do things to make that possible.

1. Write with an inclusive heart

There’s nothing worse than being in a conversation with someone who constantly talks about themselves. Check your text to see how often you write the words – I, me, we, and us. Now, count how often the word “you” is used. If the first-person uses are disproportionate to the second-person uses, edit to delete many first-person references and add more “you” to the text.

You want to let your audience know they are included in the conversation. I like this tip shared in Take Binary Bias Out of Your Content Conversations by Content Marketing World speaker Ruth Carter: Go through your text and replace exclusionary terms such as he/him and she/her with they/them pronouns.

Go through your text and replace exclusionary terms such as he/him and she/her with they/them pronouns, says @rbcarter via @Brandlovellc @CMIContent. #WritingTips Click To Tweet

2. Make your content shine brighter with an AI assist

Content published online should look different than the research papers and essays you wrote in school. While you should adhere to grammar rules and follow a style guide as best as possible, you also should prioritize readability. That requires scannable and easily digestible text – headings, bulleted text, short sentences, brief paragraphs, etc.

Use a text-polishing aid such as Hemingway Editor (free and paid versions) to cut the dead weight from your writing. Here’s how its color-coded review system works and the improvements to make:

  • Yellow – lengthy, complex sentences, and common errors
    • Fix: Shorten or split sentences.
  • Red – dense and complicated text
    • Fix: Remove hurdles and keep your readers on a simpler path.
  • Pink – lengthy words that could be shortened
    • Fix: Scroll the mouse over the problematic word to identify potential substitutes.
  • Blue – adverbs and weakening phrases
    • Fix: Delete them or find a better way to convey the thought.
  • Green – passive voice
    • Fix: Rewrite for active voice.

Grammarly’s paid version works well, too. The premium version includes an AI-powered writing assistant, readability reports, a plagiarism checker, citation suggestions, and more than 400 additional grammar checks.

In the image below, Grammarly suggests a way to rephrase the sentence from:

“It is not good enough any longer to simply produce content “like a media company would”.


“It is no longer good enough to produce content “as a media company would”.

Much cleaner, right?

3. Ask questions

See what I did with the intro (and here)? I posed questions to try to engage with you. When someone asks a question – even in writing – the person hearing (or reading) it is likely to pause for a split second to consider their answer. The reader’s role changes from a passive participant to an active one. Using this technique also can encourage your readers to interact with the author, maybe in the form of an answer in the comments.

4. Include links

Many content marketers include internal and external links in their text for their SEO value. But you also should add links to help your readers. Consider including links to help a reader who wants to learn more about the topic. You can do this in a couple of ways:

  • You can link the descriptive text in the article to content relevant to those words (as I did in this bullet point)
  • You can list the headlines of related articles as a standalone feature (see the gray box labeled Handpicked Related Content at the end of this article).

Add links to guide readers to more information on a topic – not just for SEO purposes says @Brandlovellc via @CMIContent. #WritingTips Click To Tweet

You also can include on-page links or bookmarks in the beginning (a table of contents, of sorts) in longer pieces to help the reader more quickly access the content they seek to help you learn more about a topic. This helps the reader and keeps visitors on your website longer.

5. Don’t forget the ‘invisible’ text

Alt text is often an afterthought – if you think about it all. Yet, it’s essential to have a great content experience for people who use text-to-speech readers. Though it doesn’t take too much time, I find that customizing the image description content instead of relying on the default technology works better for audience understanding.

First, ask if a listener would miss something if they didn’t have the image explained. If they wouldn’t, the image is decorative and probably doesn’t need alt text. You publish it for aesthetic reasons, such as to break up a text-heavy page. Or it may repeat information already appearing in the text (like I did in the Hemingway and Grammarly examples above).

If the listener would miss out if the image weren’t explained well, it is informative and requires alt text. General guidelines indicate up to 125 characters (including spaces) work best for alt text. That’s a short sentence or two to convey the image’s message. Don’t forget to include punctuation.

General guidelines indicate up to 125 characters (including spaces) work best for alt text, says @Brandlovellc via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

For both decorative and informative images, include the photo credits, permissions, and copyright information, in the caption section.

For example, if I were writing an article about Best Dogs for Families, I would include an image of a mini Bernedoodle as an example because they make great family pets. Let’s use this image of my adorable puppy, Henri, and I’ll show you both a good and bad example of alt text.

An almost useless alt-text version: “An image showing a dog.”

Author’s tri-colored (brown, white, black, grey wavy hair), merle mini Bernedoodle, Henri, lying on green grass.

It wastes valuable characters with the phrase “an image showing.”

Use the available characters for a more descriptive alt text: “Author’s tri-colored (brown, white, black, grey wavy hair), merle mini Bernedoodle, Henri, lying on green grass.”

It’s more descriptive, and I only used 112 characters, including spaces.

Want to learn more? Alexa Heinrich, an award-winning social media strategist, has a helpful article on writing effective image descriptions called The Art of Alt Text. @A11yAwareness on Twitter is also a great resource for accessibility tips.

Improve your content and better the experience

Do any of these suggestions feel too hard to execute? I hope not. They don’t need a bigger budget to execute. They don’t need a lengthy approval process to implement. And they don’t demand much more time in production.

They just need you to remember to execute them the next time you write (and the time after that, and the time after that, and the … well, you get the idea.)

If you have an easy-to-implement tip to improve the content experience, please leave it in the comments. I may include it in a future update.

All tools mentioned in the article are identified by the author. If you have a tool to suggest, please feel free to add it in the comments.

If you have an idea for an original article you’d like to share with the CMI audience, you could get it published on the site. First, read our blogging guidelines and write or adjust your draft accordingly. Then submit the post for consideration following the process outlined in the guidelines.

In appreciation for guest contributors’ work, we’re offering free registration to one paid event or free enrollment in Content Marketing University to anyone who gets two new posts accepted and published on the CMI site in 2023.


Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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The Ultimate Guide to Product Marketing in 2023



The Ultimate Guide to Product Marketing in 2023

Product marketing is essential, even if you only sell one or two products at your organization.


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