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Better Homes and Gardens finds photo contests drive most Instagram engagement

Meredith Corp.'s Better Homes and Gardens is seeing strong engagement from photo contests on Instagram, with its first two efforts resulting in more than 10,000 entries.

Building on this success, the magazine has launched its third Instagram contest, asking readers to share photos of their favorite color palettes using the hashtag #BHGColor for a chance to win a prize. The contest is part of a marketing campaign around the introduction of the Better Homes and Gardens Color Palette of the Year, a collection of seven colors meant to reflect current trends, which can be found in the April issue of the magazine.

?The #BHGColor Instagram contest is our third Instagram contest and these have been a successful way for us to interact with our readers via this emerging platform,? said Kaelin Zawilinski, digital editorial manager for, New York. ?Hashtags make it very easy for us to host a contest and also get a look into what our readers are creating, baking and enjoying with their families.

?For Better Homes and Gardens, Instagram has been more about giving readers a behind-the-scenes look into Better Homes and Gardens verses driving a great deal of engagement back to the site,? she said. ?While we see strong 'Likes' and comments on our day-to-day posts, we see the most engagement through our photo contests.

?We?re also finding that readers love to tag us in posts of recipes that they?ve made from the magazine or decorating projects where they?ve been inspired by BHG.?

Cobalt and chambray
The seven colors that make up the Better Homes and Gardens color palette for 2014 are cobalt, yellow, lavender, apple green, chambray, coral and beige. They are featured in the April issue hitting newsstands on March 18.

The colors were determined by the magazine?s editors, who reviewed trend forecasts and trade shows before fine-tuning the hues to come up colors that translate into real homes and rooms.

To celebrate the launch, the magazine is asking readers to share photos of their favorite color palettes on Instagram using the hashtag #BHGColor to enter the ?Fave Color Palette? photo contest.

Each week one winner will receive a $50 Visa gift card. At the end of the contest, one of these winners will win a grand prize of $500.

Snap happy
The contest takes advantage of how consumers are embracing being able to easily take photos of what inspires them with their smartphones and then posting the images on social media to share with friends.

The magazine?s social strategy extends to Facebook and Pinterest as well as Instagram. It also focuses on building its relationships with bloggers and social influencers, and the magazine is keeping an eye on the next big platform to emerge.

Going forward, Better Homes and Gardens will look for ways to include its brand partners in its social strategy.

?We will continue to use existing and emerging social platforms to introduce new people to the brand and build relationships with people who already know and love Better Homes and Gardens,? said Janell Pittman, general manager for BHG Digital.

?Better Home and Gardens' stand-out engagement levels are proof of the brand?s relevance and importance in women?s lives,? she said. ?We are also exploring new ways to invite advertisers to participate in these interactions with consumers and influencers.?

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York