Do Instagram photo challenges really work? Let’s find out.
Last month, I participated in City Girl Searching’s August Instagram Photo Challenge. If any of you are wondering what a photo challenge is, it’s a month long challenge offering daily prompts. The participant has to post a photo that corresponds to the given prompt of the day. So for example, if you get the word ‘Yellow,’ you post something that reminds you of said word. Every word is open to interpretation, which makes it all the more personal. The challenge is to continuously post for the month straight. Sounds fun right?
The girl behind City Girl Searching is South African blogger Roxy Hutton. The photographer/entrepreneur has spent four years building a creative brand that prides itself on beautiful aesthetics and gives great blogging insight and hacks. With a relatively new instagram handle, I missed out on her April & June #CGSPhotoChallenge sessions so I was determined to sign up for her next challenge.
From Roxy: I started the CGScreative Photo Challenge as a fun way for us all to engage with one another in a genuine way, while helping each other get seen by more people. Doing this grows your own audience and following as well as everyone else’s…it’s basically a win-win situation!
This was the graphic for this August’s Instagram Photo Challenge. As you can see, the words are pretty random but that’s the beauty of it: to have some fun while building engagement. This was a very genuine way to show off some personality as a travel blogger. I had a blast looking through the photo albums of my past journeys to find photos that would relate. Some of my entries were pretty straightforward but for the majority, I followed a more conceptual route.
In terms of engagement, hashtags specifically created for the project allowed any person participating in the challenge to easily find one another. For someone who follows a thousand travel bloggers on Instagram, it sometimes feel impossible to connect with any single blogger. Here, I had the pleasure of browsing through photos that had a common denominator.
Onto some of my favorites for the month over at @thenextsomewhere!
8.6 \\ For today’s PAINT #cgsphotochallenge… Staring at the painted faces of the #sadhus, Hindu’s holy men. Brightly colored pigments have replaced the traditional ash, which was symbolic of their “mortal” deaths. Many sadhus are required to attend their own funerals. 🔻🔸🔺 #themoreyouknow #blogger #cgscreative #travelblogger #challengeaccepted #wheretonext #thenextsomewhere #kathmandu #nepal #culturalobservations #pashupatinath
8.14 \\ Today on #cgsphotochallenge is DELICATE. There’s nothing more fragile than the sky at dawn; the quiet stillness, the polychromatic clouds. A visual mood ring. I was afraid that by taking the picture, I had broken the silence. 🌊#huahin #thailand #augustchallenge #lifeincolor #sunrise #beachlife #thenextsomewhere #wheretonext
8.19 \\ Today on #cgsphotochallenge is COURAGE. Recently celebrated my two year anniversary as an expat. Two years ago, I decided to take my life overseas. I headed out to Korea with no contacts and on the way, gained lifelong friendships and the man of my dreams who later helped me accomplish another dream of mine of backpacking around Asia. We’re currently enjoying our next step together in Vietnam. In the last two years, my life has become something I never imagined for myself. The risks were challenging but all so worth it. 🇰🇷➡️🇻🇳❤️#liveandlearn #expatlife #americanabroad #vietnam #thebeginning #lifejourney #augustchallenge #wheretonext #thenextsomewhere
8.22 \\ Pulling a little switcheroo for this #cgsphotochallenge with THE OCEAN. Today is the day my sis @dre_pulido sets off for her college study abroad to #chile! Can you believe that this photo was from our trip to visit you when you were living in #Bosnia? Here we are getting our shivasana on in #Dubrovnik next to the #Adriatic. This was prob one of my favorite days on earth cause I got to be with you and @yung_murrz. Wishing you the best four months!!! 🙌🏽🌊🌞 #studyabroad #eurotrip #thebalkans #thedalmatiancoast #travelyoga #sisters #familyfirst #sheexplores #familytravel #wheretonext #thenextsomewhere
8.31 \\ It’s done!! The last of #cgsphotochallenge is BLOSSOM. A few days ago, my girl @jennifer.dunn.santhana introduced me to the D10 Flower Market. It was here I realized that Vietnam has made me the happiest, healthiest version of myself. In the past 7 months, there has been so much growth and goodness. Living and thriving. What more could I ask for? 🌸🌼🌺💐❤️🇻🇳 #augustchallenge #flowermarket #district10 #hochimingcity #vietnamazing #somewhereinsaigon #selfgrowth #wheretonext #thenextsomewhere
What happened after 31 days?
On August 1, I had a total number of 590 followers. This was my final count on August 31. 👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼
Am I happy with the numbers? OF COURSE I AM! I gained 66 followers organically in the course of a month. I know that there are all these approaches nowadays to grow followers but I think as blogger who has only been operating for *almost* a year and only started full-time blogging in February, it’s a huge win! For those who have been following my blog for a while, you know that I don’t follow the normal SEO guidelines. I treat my blog as a personal journal and whoever comes through is reading solely out of curiosity, and not in the pursuit of clickbait.
One of the highlights of the challenge was all the commenting. Rarely if ever do people comment on Instagram posts beyond one-worded compliments but followers actually commented back with well thought-out responses! 😀
You should absolutely join a photo challenge! If not for the numbers, then for the sheer joy in cataloging your life through all these different prompts. By the looks of it, City Girl Searching should roll out with another photo challenge in October. For now, you can also go to this Pinterest board, which has TONS of challenges to follow. Plus, anything that encourage people to record their lives more in a meaningful and interesting way is good in my book.
Have you ever participated in an instagram photo challenge? What were your thoughts about it? Comment below! xoxo Izzy
Give me a shout-out on Pinterest pretty please?