How to Be Awesome on Instagram.

Mystery Makers created the best Instagram contest we’ve ever seen. And we’re not just saying that because they’re a client.

Matthew Klein
January 29, 2015 - 5 min. read

There isn’t, and there likely won’t ever be, a shortage of content on social media. The volume of stuff out there and the fact that everything travels so quickly can also make it seem like it’s really rare to see something new.

We’ve been working with our clients to help them strengthen their Instagram presence with the best tactics, and we were recently praised for this by the guys over at Instagram: is now an official Instagram Partner. We’re super excited to be one of the first European social media management suites to be recognized for our community management technology in the program, and we can’t wait to keep working with our clients to help them win over the Instagram community.

One of our Danish clients, Mystery Makers, just created a very cool Instagram photo contest that uses the app in a way that’s totally new, as far as I can tell.

Mystery Makers is a local client here in Copenhagen, and the creators of a live escape game called Mystery Room. If you’ve never played a live escape game, I highly recommend it—well at least this one. The concept is a sort of scavenger/clue hunt contained in a room: usually you and your teammates are locked in a room, and the idea is to find clues planted around the place to help you solve a mystery and escape.

Mystery Room Copenhagen sees thousands of would-be-Sherlocks pass through their doors every year to test their sleuthing skills and try to escape the room and solve the mystery in less than an hour. (They have a treasure hunt that sounds really fun as well, called Mystery Hunt.)

They’ve also been a Falcon client for about a year. They use Falcon to help manage all their social channels.

Not your average photo contest

The Instagram contest they just released is the coolest use of the app I’ve seen. Here’s how it works: They published photos for iOS and Android. Each photo is tagged mystery_room_start. When you click through you see a photo mosaic published on that account, which they set up for the contest.

awesome instagram

You can explore the world they’ve created by scrolling through the photos and clicking on individual ones. Photos are tagged with accounts they’ve created for the contest.


Photos are tagged multiple times, giving you the ability to choose what you do and where you go based on which tags you follow. This lets you explore the different environments that have been set up, find clues, and figure out how to get into the mystery room. (You can also go for a bike ride if you like.) If you manage to solve the Instagram mystery, you get a 20% discount on the IRL experience.

How they hacked the app

I had the chance to talk to the people responsible for the contest about how they came up with such an innovative idea.

Mystery Makers is a small company, with a staff of 14, some part time. Its CEO, Mads Lind, wanted to launch a campaign to promote the Mystery Room. He worked with a single freelancer, Peter Dubienko, (whom he calls “a one man army”) to create the contest.

As is often the case in really creative work, elements that could have been constraints ended up inspiring something truly innovative.

They considered creating scripted video content to promote the escape. They could also have built a flashy, immersive site or app experience where users solved a mystery.

“When planning and creating social content, people can miss a very big question: ‘is it cool?'”

Peter Dubienko Contest creator

But considering the company’s small staff, they wanted something that wouldn’t take a huge amount of resources to create or keep track of. When Dubienko came up with the concept, he was “thinking about what would be easy for us to handle.” They also wanted something that people could play “waiting for the bus or the train.”

Mostly, they were after something that was entertaining and different. Peter says that when planning and creating social content, people can miss a very big question “is it cool?”


Contest creators Mads Lind and Peter Dubienko in detective mode

Managing engagement across all the Instagram accounts they created for the app was handled through Falcon. “Falcon helped a lot,” Peter said, in terms of keeping track of comments coming in from the fifteen accounts set up for the contest.

The final result, like the people behind it, is cool and very clever. The way multiple accounts were used to create multiple photosets, the ability to perform different actions and explore different areas is something I’ve never seen before. Besides just being innovative, the app pays attention to details, and creates a rich experience that brings a little bit of mystery into people’s lives, like the Mystery Room itself.

Another cool contest

Heineken did create an interesting Instagram scavenger hunt for the US Open with a photo mosaic, where you used a series of hints to find items in the photos, and the first person to tag the photo with the answer got tickets to a match.


Heineken, however, has a marketing budget literally in the billions, and had Wieden+Kennedy to help generate and execute the idea. And the contest, while nice, is static—you can’t make choices or explore like you can in the Mystery Room contest. The Mystery Room contest is an even more inventive use of Instagram, and it was put together basically by one guy.

A question perspective

If Benedict Cumberbatch has taught us anything, it’s that solving mysteries, really solving any problem, is often a question of doing something very difficult: Seeing something familiar in a new light. This contest is so great because it takes something like Instagram that seems so familiar, that’s designed to be simple and straightforward, and finds a totally new way of using it, opening up a ton of possibilities.

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