We have been featured twice on the Instagram Weekend Hashtag Project. The first time was in April 2018 when our photo of a book tree was published on Instagram ‘s main grid for the #whp🌲 challenge. We gained 2K followers at this point. Four months later, we received a boost of 2.5K followers when we were selected again for #WHPdailylife. I am so grateful for each and every one especially after taking such a creative leap in my personal life. But the real reason I’ve written this post is to shed some light on the challenge itself so that others can join in and have a chance of being featured too.
What is the Instagram Weekend Hashtag Project?
The Instagram Weekend Hashtag Project (#WHP) is announced by Instagram on Fridays. This usually happens around 11pm GMT (so 3pm PST) but it can vary so first of all, you need to follow their main account. Each week, they set a new prompt with an inspirational photo or video to show an example of what they’re looking for. Below is a screenshot from the most recent challenge. In this case, the theme was #WHPinspiredby which was accompanied by an image by @goldfinchelson. Participants then have the weekend to post pictures which fit this concept. Instagram then selects 3-6 photographs which it shares on it’s main account the following week (bear in mind this has 275 million followers so those featured will get a LOT of exposure!)
What are the #WHP Rules?
The rules do change for time to time so keep checking, but here are the guidelines from last week:
PROJECT RULES: Please add the #WHPinspiredby hashtag only to photos and videos shared over this weekend and only submit your own visuals to the project. By adding the #WHPinspiredby hashtag, you consent to and grant Instagram all rights to repost your photo or video. If you include music in your video submissions, please only use music to which you own the rights. Any tagged photo or video shared over the weekend with the #WHPinspiredby hashtag is eligible for the project and, if selected, to be featured next week.
You can post more than one image but note that only fresh photographs will be eligible to be featured.
How can you Boost your Chances of Getting Featured on the Instagram Weekend Hashtag Project?
If you’re new to the WHP, I recommend looking back over past features to get a feel for the successful content. Creative shots often get picked, but so do other styles – and captions count too. Account size doesn’t make a difference – I had just over 2500 followers when I was chosen so tiny by Instagram standards. I’ve entered every weekend since this first time – mainly for the creative challenge and was very surprised to be featured for a second time as I’m not a professional photographer. I don’t even own a camera, but this spontaneous shot caught their eye.
What Happens When You Get Featured on the Instagram Weekend Hashtag Project?
Featured accounts will receive a boost in likes and followers. This can range from several hundred extra fans through to thousands depending on the quality of the feed. I can only speak from personal experience but the #WHP effect lasted about a fortnight for us (basically as long as we appeared in the nine grid). After this, our traffic levelled. Companies may also get in contact with you. We received a few enquiries after our first feature, but the second created greater interest and we were approached by a number of brands. I’ve touched on this experience in my post about bookstagram influencing.
Are There Any Downsides to Being Featured on the #WHP?
Not really. My only caution would be to watch out for bots. They’re always attracted to high profile posts and offer no value as followers. Block them if you can. Also, be aware that you’ll probably get stage fright when it comes to posting again after you’ve been featured. Just go for it! Life will go back to normal pretty quickly.
Getting featured on the Instagram Weekend Hashtag Project is definitely a challenge worth entering. It’s free, it’s fun, it’s inspirational. If you fancy giving it a try, I think my biggest piece of advice is to have fun with it. Use it to view the world in a fresh way. Anything goes so be playful. I was first featured on my 9th attempt so it’s worth persisting. And although it’s worth putting your best work out there (always!), try not to have any expectations. When I was selected, I thought I had no chance. Conversely, when I’ve submitted pictures that have received loads of likes, I haven’t been picked. You simply can’t predict. All you can do is give them your best shot and keep on showing up. Good luck!