Lindsay Stanford is a Director of Client Engagement, Content and Community at Social Media Group. Follow @lindsaystanford

About a month ago I wrote a post about Instagram becoming an up and coming social network and all the cool offshoot tools and platforms that leverage Instagram content.  Clever marketers have also taken notice and several prominent brands are getting on board and creating some noteworthy user experiences. Now that Instagram has released their API, brands are able to promote contests to connect with users and utilize the content through this exciting app.

Topshop launched their “Wish You Were at Topshop” contest across 4 UK and 1 US retail shops last summer. The idea was that users would go into Topshop, get styled and made-over in the new summer line, post their photo on Instagram, then upload it to the Topshop Facebook page and tag themselves for a chance to win a £1000/$1000 summer spree. The contest, that promoted their new summer fashion line with real shoppers as models and drove traffic to their Facebook page, ran for 8 days in 5 cities and generated over 3,375 photos for the brand. Below is a small sample of entries from the New York shop:

Fashion brands are a natural fit for Instagram. Gucci, Burberry, Levi’s, Club Monaco, Kate Spade and Marc Jacobs have all embraced the app to promote seasonal trends and give followers behind-the-scene glances at fashion shows and photo shoots. There are even photos taking followers all the way through concept to final product and all the steps in between, giving them the opportunity to see design, craftsmanship and production – everything it really takes to get that pair of 501s to the retail stores.

Chef Jamie Oliver was an early adopter of Instagram, and one of my favourites to follow. With an exciting cooking career and traveling the globe to promote his various Jamie Oliver products, Jamie’s photos are visually mouthwatering and he’s always ready and willing to engage with fan comments from his over 174,000 followers. He promotes his magazine, cookbooks, kitchen products, family events and recipes with clever candid comments that encourage follower interaction.

Bands and musicians have also started to engage with fans through Instagram to create richer fan experiences and run contests, some have even leveraged the content to create music videos. The Deftones, who have a band Instagram account, created a contest promoting their summer tour. They asked fans to upload and tag photos from the shows they attended with #deftones and #thecityyouattend. Each day a “Fan Instagram of the Day” photo was featured on the band’s website and Facebook page. At the end of the tour, the winner was chosen from those photos and won an ESP guitar signed by the band.

The Vaccines and A Place To Bury Strangers have both recently put out videos with the content generated solely from fan Instagram photos. A clever and inexpensive concept that integrates the fan experience right in the video.  The Vaccines video generated a lot of buzz and was featured in a Mashable post which received over 1,400 shares across various social platforms.

The Vaccines – Wetsuit

A Place to Bury Strangers – So Far Away

A Place to Bury Strangers “So Far Away” from Secretly Jag on Vimeo.

And lastly, venues have embraced Instagram to leverage the content to promote services and enrich the user experience. The Brooklyn Bowl kicked off their Instagram experience with a contest encouraging users to tag Instagram photos of their bowling experience with #brooklynbowl for the chance to win 2 tickets to any show at the venue.

Instagram allows a brand enthusiast a richer, more personal experience and with a little incentive, also a producer of content.  What are some of the cool Instagram campaigns you have seen or participated in?