Recently, the American metal band Deftones hosted an Instagram photo contest which challenged fans to help document their tour. To participate, Deftones fans were asked to tag their photos from the concert they attended with #deftones and #thecitytheyattended (e.g. #Orlando). The contest was a huge success: there are now almost 1,300 photos on Instagram tagged #deftones and the band’s account, @deftonesband, has gained close to 20,000 followers in 3 months.

Photo contests are a great way to increase visibility of your brand on Instagram. We asked Deftones and the brains behind the contest, Velvet Hammer Music and Management Group, for some tips on running a successful photo contest on Instagram. Here’s their advice:

Get Involved

Deftones (@deftonesband) are consistently active on Instagram, throughout the tour posting several photos from each city and sharing them across other social networks, such as Twitter and Facebook. The frequency of these uploads helped to build a familiarity with the app amongst the band’s fanbase.

Give It Time

The contest was spread out over the length of an extensive US tour (~2 months), which gave users plenty of time to learn about the contest, so they were primed and ready to snap their photos when the band visited their city.

Spread the Word

Each day one photo was selected as “Fan Instagram of the Day” and featured on the band’s Facebook wall for over 1.5 million people to see – this helped spread the word about the contest on a daily basis. This also provided a great way to drive traffic from the band’s Facebook to their official website. At the end of the contest, the band wrote a story about the winners and featured the grand-prize photo on their website.

Use the Instagram API

Photo streams from both Deftones and their fans are pulled into an official Instagram feed on Using Instagram’s API helped Deftones establish a consistent, simple and meaningful source of rich media content to be shared on their site and social properties.

Give Away Prizes

Rewarding the best photos helped drive participation. The grand prize winner received a signed 8-string ESP guitar signed by the band and 5 runners-up received limited edition signed vinyl records.

Ready to host your own photo contest? Visit the Brands forum for tips on getting started on Instagram and spreading the word about your account. And be sure to give us a heads up on what you’re planning – we’re always excited to learn about fun campaigns going on around the Instagram community:

rob_bee’s winning photo from the Deftones concert in Providence, Rhode Island