How to Do an Instagram Scavenger Hunt

instagram-contest-usopen-cropDoing a user scavenger hunt on Instagram is a great way to not only get awesome audience engagement, but to differentiate your business as an organization that knows how to use social media successfully.

Not to mention, it’s a fun way to generate great content.

Instagram is one of the best visual social media platforms, so use that. It can be as complicated or as simple as you want to make it.  Depending on the audience reach and potential involvement, it generally makes things a lot easier to manage if you keep the rules simple. Here’s one way to develop a scavenger hunt with limited hassle that boosts your social media presence across multiple platforms.

  1. Establish your rules and prizes. What is needed to win? You could choose a list of things that need to be photographed to win. Make sure you include a way for you to find the images like tagging your user name and using a event specific hashtag.  Also, you have to give people a reason to participate.  Small or large, people love free stuff. Prizes can range from actual goods to a shout out or mention on your page.
  2. Figure out a way to distribute clues. This is where the cross platform social media usage comes in.  Plan out specific times or days when you will put the clues out and decide which platform to use.  Facebook and Twitter work well and will give your new fans a reason to follow your accounts.  Keep in mind that too many Facebook posts can turn off fans that aren’t participating, so if you are going to have a lot of clues, maybe stick to tweeting.
  3. Promote, Promote, Promote. If you want to have a good contest, make sure the word gets out about what you are doing. Create a cool graphic or several to put out across all your social channels leading up to the actual challenge.  Visuals are a lot more eye-catching and memorable than plain text. If you are centering around a specific live event, put out flyers or post cards with the information so people have a paper guide.  Engagement starts before the hunt is on.
  4. Monitor and Pay Attention. A scavenger hunt is exciting and should be a fun experience for your company.  Enjoy watching the submissions that come in and pay close attention to who’s achieving your goals.  If people are having a hard time meeting specific rules, make it easier by altering them or giving extra help with clues.  Hunt’s where no one wins are not only embarrassing, but discourage potential new fans from liking your company.  Stay timely with choosing your winners. If it’s first come, first serve, make sure you know who’s first by staying on top of submissions.
  5. Award prizes and thanks your participants.  This seems like a no-brainer, but people enjoy being rewarded.  Feature your winners or even non-winning submissions on your website or social media pages.  Your brand will benefit from the exposure as well as the gratitude. Photo scavenger hunts are an excellent source of content centered around your brand and image, so use that to your advantage.


Companies big and small are experimenting more with exciting and unique ways to increase engagement across social media channels. Research what works and what doesn’t.  Success marketing campaigns are often simple but effective.

Don’t be afraid to walk off the beaten path and make your ideas your own.

You may be surprised by how popular your campaigns become.  Good luck!

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