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June 11, 2015

Gamification Key to Instagram Promotion

The majority of businesses should be promoted via social networks. One of the most popular at the moment is Instagram. This network is increasingly favored by businesses thanks to the powerful visuals that look especially sleek on mobile screens. Instagram giveaways are one of the most common methods brands choose, but people are bored with them already and can’t tell one contest from another…

So how can you stand out from the crowd and make your brand memorable for spoiled Instagram users? We have got you covered. Add a bit of game into the mix.

The key element for a successful contest is not being happy with the result, but being satisfied with the process of winning. What can be more exciting than a game itself? There is a special term for this — gamification.

Gamification is the use of game design and game mechanics in non-game contexts to create a more engaging user experience.

In this post we’ve collected some of the most creative and out-of-the-box examples of gamification in Instagram contests.

Fashion retailer Ted Baker and its missing elves

The #TedsElfie contest asked the brand’s Instagram followers to detect Santa’s hidden elves by partaking in a ‘choose your own adventure’ style game. The starting point was Tedselfie, where you could find a series of illustrated winter wonderland images that looked like puzzles. But there were other social media pages with the hints about where to look as well. For example, Twitter was also used. The game nabbed new followers and kept the interest of people who were already subscribed. Ted’s insta posts were a good part of global digital strategy, which is key element of promotion.

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Heineken and U.S. Open tickets hunting

Heineken’s sponsorship of the U.S. Open has been running for 22 years. The tournament is hugely popular and tickets for this event can be extremely hard to find. Thus, the beer company decided to give a chance to visit the men’s final to a few smart and creative tennis fans.

More than 200 photos were stitched together to look like a mosaic panorama with tennis fans seated in the stands. Players had to search for a certain fan in the scene to start the photo game hunt.

Next steps were a series of clues in the captions of the photos that composed the mosaic of tennis supporters. The first person to find the way to the final photo in the game and comment with the codeword in the caption won a pair of tickets to the real tennis tournament. The contest continued for three days and seven photo hunts were held in total.

The game helped to spread awareness that Heineken is a sponsor of the U.S. Open and Heineken saw a 20 percent increase in followers for the Heineken account during the contest.

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Tony Hawk and hidden skateboards

A really creative example is a professional skater Tony Hawk who occasionally hides skateboards in random spots then posts a photo of the landmark with a clue to the location.

If his followers recognize the landmark and can get there before anyone else, then they can take a free, signed board. Of course this won’t increase account popularity as much as the other examples that run for several weeks using a hashtag. But this is a really unusual and creative example of using Instagram to give away something that followers will truly value.

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So how can you use gamification principles on your Instagram business promotion?

Let’s summarize what we loved about the contests above and can implement in our case:

  1. When you compose game rules try to incorporate other social accounts like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest. You may transfer some game steps there, spreading your brand’s popularity;
  2. Forget about the like-share-hashtag mechanism. Be innovative and show up.
  3. Try to follow the image of your brand. If you are in the fashion niche, make your followers feel like designers; if you have a sport brand, run a contest that keeps them active and in motion; if you sell books, let them write something;
  4. Don’t make it too difficult. Rules have to be easy to understand.
  5. Holidays are not the only time when you can launch a game. Be unpredictable and surprise your followers.

Let us know in the comments what contest you have invented for your business promotion.


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Anna Belaya is a marketing specialist in the international department at Promodo. She is a young specialist who already possesses experience with big projects connected with fashion, software, digital products and online retail. Anna loves reading professional literature and novels by American authors and is a passionate football fan of Liverpool. You can connect with her on Facebook.

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