Destinations are creating more opportunities to drum up user-generated content (UGC) and beef up engagement on Instagram.

This past weekend Tourism and Events Queensland organized an Instameet — where Instagram users are invited to share images from a specific destination on a specific day — on the same day of Instagram’s 10th edition of its Worldwide InstaMeet. Out of the top ten most popular destinations measured on SkiftIQ, this tourism board was the only one that held an official Instameet.

Since July, it had encouraged its thirteen regions — Tropical North Queensland, Whitsundays, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Fraser Coast, Sunshine Coast, Mackay, Bundaberg, Southern Queensland County, Outback, Capricorn, Townsville, and Gladstone — to host InstaMeets independently. In addition, it held three contests before the kickoff that partnered with Australian businesses, like PicturePostie and Crumpler.

The purpose of the mini-InstaMeets was to raise awareness, prep the hosts, and generate buzz for this past Saturday’s state-wide event. Over the course of two months, they found that sharing tips on taking the best photo and best practices went beyond the interest of local travelers. Hoteliers and travel providers were looking for resources to create a stronger presence on Instagram. At the onset, their team had expected 50 events, but in the end that nearly doubled to 90.

According to Chris Chambers, Director of Digital Marketing of Tourism and Events Queensland, “Our expectations of participation were significantly exceeded. The amount of content — from those in attendance — created to show off our wonderful destinations also exceeded expectations. The content created generated interest across print, radio, online and television media ensuring greater understanding of the depth of the Queensland destination offering.”

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This is just a selection of the 6,678 photos that were posted from the Queensland Instameet yesterday. We are still waiting for final numbers of attendees but we are on track! Thanks for an epic day! #flipagram featuring @mr_bump_a_lot @jewelszee @deegregoree @goldcoastskydiving @matthewtaylorthomas @kate_duffy @nick_northcoat_photography @townsvillenorthqueensland @laurenepbath @__my___ @seawalkergreenisland @malenybotanicgardens @lovethywalrus @daydreamislandresortandspa @xo_leishielou @outbackqld @tropicalnorthqueensland @jkershaw24 @whitsundaysqld @visitsunshinecoast @bostocksphotography @gregorsnell @trishaw77 @elisaparkranger @myoceanbliss @lifeofbrine @rikerama @nathanwhiteimages @floch @theneal_ @keiranlusk @billiesthings @paulyvella @kmnimages @kpinko @mekel77 @jasoncharleshill @paulamckie

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Over the weekend, Skift took a reading 30 minutes before and 48 hours after the event and found that gains in followers were not as strong as hashtag usage across Instagram. The rise in followers was primarily driven by whether or not the user sharing the images already had a big following.

For example, the Outback region was assigned to Lauren Bath (372,149 followers) and Sunshine Coast to Pauly Vella (315,788 followers) — the most and second most influential from the group of invited Instagrammers. The region that had the third largest increase in Followers was Gladstone, which was hosted by the fifth least popular Instagrammer, Graham Michael Freeman (15,605 followers).

RegionsInstagram AccountFollowers 10/3Followers 10/5% Change
Australia@australia879,121883,5710.50%
Queensland@queensland81,41682,7891.66%
Tropical North Queensland@tropicalnorthqueensland13,47213,6781.51%
Whitsundays@whitsundaysqld11,26411,3090.40%
Gold Coast@goldcoast9,5419,5580.18%
Brisbane@visitbrisbane8,1068,1830.94%
Fraser Coast@visitfrasercoast6,2666,3321.04%
Sunshine Coast@visitsunshinecoast3,2143,3213.22%
Mackay@visitmackay2,3572,3610.17%
Bundaberg@visitbundaberg1,5811,5880.44%
Southern Queensland Country@sqcountry1,2251,2320.57%
Outback@outbackqld1,1741,2304.55%
Capricorn Region@visitcapricorn7087232.07%
Townsville@Townsvilleshines6967142.52%
Gladstone@gladstoneregion6036263.67%

Source: Skift

According to Tourism and Events Queensland, its InstaMeet goal was to increase its brand library, repurpose content from users, and lift community engagement. It also wanted their team to raise awareness about all the regions, no matter how remote or lesser-known.

The top five accounts that generated the most content were Sunshine Coast, Bundaberg, Tropical North Queensland, Mackay, and Queensland. It is important to note that three of these regions had the least amount of Instagram followers (in asterisk) out of the thirteen regions.

Hashtags10/3/201410/5/2014DIFFERENCE% Change
#visitsunshinecoast*2,4313,06663521%
#visitbundaberg*1,3861,63825215%
#exploretnq5,7776,41463710%
#meetmackayregion*1,1701,254847%
#thisisqueensland109,685117,4527,7677%

Source: Iconosquare

A total of nearly 16,500 images and videos were generated from the InstaMeet from the hashtags used by the thirteen regions and influencers. And while follower gains were modest, the hashtag #thisisqueensland outperformed Instagram’s 10th Worlwide Instameet hashtag #wwim10 and #instameet by 800 and 1,500, respectively.

This event marks the beginning of an international campaign in which Tourism and Events Queensland will use the images created in this InstaMeet in an attempt to reach a wider international audience.

Hashtags10/3/201410/5/2014Difference
#thisisqueensland109,685117,4527,767
#wwim1031,19938,1666,967
#instameet461,638467,9006,262

Source: Iconosquare

Photo Credit: October 4, 2014 Ultimate InstaMeet Save The Date Tourism and Events Queensland / Instagram