How Barnes & Noble Engages Their Customers on Instagram

Posted by Alex Ditty on Apr 26, 2015 2:00:00 PM

In Campaign Best Practices, Case Studies

By creating multiple opportunities for their fans to share, Barnes & Noble builds relationships on Instagram

Instagram has always been a great channel for people to share their interests and the important moments of their lives. And for book lovers, Instagram is the perfect outlet to share your latest book love affair. Barnes & Noble takes advantage of this opportunity by using Instagram as an avenue to drive engagement with their most passionate consumers. They build relationships with these fans by sharing engaging posts that invite their fans to interact with the brand and by running Instagram contests for their fans to share user-generated content.


Barnes & Noble regularly gets their fans involved with their posts and sharing by asking questions to their followers and inviting them to share memories from their favorites books. These questions and activities directed to their fans help to build engagement with these enthusiastic members of their community. Barnes & Noble also shares engaging photos and videos to further cement their position within their fans’ reading lifestyle.

But the content promoting Barnes & Noble and this reading lifestyle isn’t just coming from the @barnesandnoble account. They get their community involved in the content creation process by running multiple Instagram contests that invite their fans to share user-generated content that highlights what they’re reading. The campaigns they create give their fans an opportunity to showcase their creativity, which leads to posts that drive a lot of engagement. They did this best with their #GetPopCultured Costume Contest. Barnes & Noble encouraged their fans to go to their local Barnes & Noble to share a photo of themselves in costume for a chance to win gift cards. And their fans got very creative with the costumes! This gave Barnes & Noble the ability to both identify their most passionate fans as well as generate some inspiring content from within their store. Your next campaign can give your fans an opportunity to get creative and produce their own ‘moments’ with your brand to share with their followers.



Barnes & Noble expands on this success by running multiple Instagram contests that their fans multiple opportunities to participate with the brand. They see a lot of their fans coming back to participate with each contest they run on Instagram. This kind of participation has fueled Barnes & Noble’s success on Instagram. The UGC that’s created from their community helps their brand promotion on the channel and the relationships they build with these participants is invaluable. When your brand is looking for ways to build Instagram into a successful marketing channel, consider running Instagram contests to drive engagement with your fans but don’t stop at just one. Give your community a lot of different reasons and opportunities to get involved with you by running multiple Instagram contests.

Instagram Campaign Planning Guide

To learn how to plan your next Instagram contest, download the Instagram campaign planning guide!