Instagram Challenges: How To Join In on the Fun

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Heidi Lang

Instagram 101 | Jan 03, 2024

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Social media challenges are perfect for anyone who loves making video content and taking on fun, quirky, unique tasks online. From satisfying ASMR challenges on YouTube to trendy dance challenges on TikTok, there’s always an internet challenge for everyone. But what about Instagram challenges? Are they any different from the popular trends on other social media platforms?

Today, we’re giving you the lowdown on viral challenges you can join on Instagram. We’ll teach you how to find these trends and how to adopt and tweak challenges from other platforms for Instagram. Hopefully, this guide can inspire you to bite the bullet and join the fun challenges you’ve been itching to try!

A female content creator clicking the “record” button to film a challenge video for Instagram.

But First, What Are Social Media Challenges?

If you’ve been living under a rock these past few years, you might be wondering, “What are social media challenges?” Essentially, these challenges are trends that encourage people to do a specific task and post about it on social media. People then nominate others to take on the challenge, too, creating a chain of photos and videos under that challenge.

Internet challenges are generally user-initiated, but they could be launched by brands for PR and engagement campaigns, too. Popular challenges include photo challenges, like Throwback Thursday, as well as hot, trendy dance challenges on Instagram Reels.

Some people will take songs that are currently topping the charts and trendjack them by inventing a challenge surrounding them. This has happened to so many music hits, from Drake’s “In My Feelings” to “Savage Love” by Jason Derulo.

But it’s not always just dancing, humor, and mindless fun. There are also challenges meant to inspire and motivate others to show off their talent or live a better lifestyle. These include fitness and art challenges. Some are also designed to raise awareness for certain causes, like the now iconic ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

People on social media love challenges because it allows them to engage and interact with others online. It gives them an opportunity to showcase their talent and produce creative content while being part of a bigger idea.

Competitiveness and FOMO (or the fear of missing out) also play a huge role in joining internet challenges. If everyone around you is dancing to the hottest new song online, you can do it better, right?

Plus, leveraging on hot trends like challenges can boost your post’s potential to be viral. It’s almost a surefire way to get more likes, comments, and views on Instagram.

How To Do Challenges on Instagram: A Newbie’s Guide

It’s fun scrolling through Instagram Reels to watch influencers join dance trends or food creators launch recipe challenges for fans. But watching challenge videos isn’t always enough. Many people will want to join famous challenges with their videos. Participating in a challenge is heaps of fun and puts you under the Instagram spotlight, after all.

Are you nervous about your first time doing a social media challenge? Don’t worry, we’ve got you. Here’s our step-by-step guide on how to do challenges on Instagram.

1. Find a challenge you want to join. Maybe an influencer you love posted their version of the challenge. Or perhaps you stumbled upon it while scrolling through Reels. As soon as you find a challenge you want to join, make sure to save the post.

2. Create your content. It’s showtime! Whether it’s a video or photo challenge, it’s time to produce your take on the internet trend you chose. Film a video of yourself with your tripod, or ask a friend to help you out.

3. Upload your challenge “entry.” Most people use Reels to post these challenges, but you can also use carousel posts. Make sure to include the challenge hashtag in your caption to make it more discoverable on the platform.

4. Encourage others to do the challenge, too. Back in the mid-2010s, people used to nominate specific users to do the challenge outright. They do this by tagging their friends or calling them out in the video. But today, you can get away with telling your followers to try the challenge in your caption.

5. Engage with people interacting with your posts. To reach your full viral potential, reply to people’s comments on your post. This builds an even stronger sense of community in your fanbase.

A woman about to film an online challenge video using her smartphone and a tripod.

How To Find Instagram Challenges Aligned With Your Interests

One of the hardest things about joining online challenges is finding ones that you’re truly interested in. Instagram is saturated with challenges, not just photo and video content, too. And if the feed is too crowded, how do you hunt down trends and challenges to join?

Here are our top tips on how to find Instagram challenges within your niche:

  • Find challenges on the Explore page. This page is curated specifically to your tastes and interests. So, if challenges align with your preferences, Instagram will likely recommend them here.
  • Follow challenge hashtags within your hobbies’ niches. If you want to see more challenges that are aligned with your interests, follow only those hashtags. You can follow tags like #fitnesschallenge or #readingchallenge to see more trends in your niche. That way, you see less of the typical dance crazes and more of the challenges you might actually join.
  • Check out what your favorite influencers are posting. Watch their Stories and keep up with their Reels. They might post challenge entries that you’re interested in joining!

Fun TikTok Challenges You Can Use on Instagram Reels

While many challenges circulate on Instagram, there’s no denying that TikTok has a goldmine of them, too. But because Reels and TikToks are similar, it’s easy to adopt TikTok challenges and use them on Instagram.

First of all, both content formats are vertical, short-form videos. You can technically upload the same video on either platform, and it will fit in seamlessly with the feed. Both platforms also integrate music and trending audio clips into their content. And that’s a huge element when it comes to challenges!

So, from dance routines to funny prank challenges, you can simply borrow TikTok trends and post them to Instagram. You can even cross-post your challenge videos and have them on both apps. Think of it like cross-promoting a social media post on another channel, like a blog post. It’s a smart way to reach different audiences and maximize your reach and virality potential.

Do you want to leverage the hottest TikTok trends but are not sure where to start? Here are some ideas for fun TikTok challenges that are flexible enough to be filmed and published on Instagram Reels. 

Perfectly Choreographed Dance Challenges

If there’s any type of challenge that people are obsessed with across all social media platforms, it’s dance routines. From silly choreography to dance crazes that show off expert-level moves, these challenges have taken the world by storm. And although they were born out of everyone’s TikTok obsession, you can post your dance challenge videos on Instagram, too.

There are plenty of upbeat pop and hip-hop songs you can choose from that are attached to specific dance crazes. One that people are going crazy over today is the catchy and sensual “Water” by Tyla Challenge.

You can also go the more fun, uptempo route by taking on K-pop dance challenges. Popular ones today include “Seven” by Jungkook and Latto and “Super Shy” by NewJeans.

For a chance of pace and tempo, go for something slower and sexier. A crowd-favorite for the past year or so is the sultry dance trend for Sam Smith’s “Unholy.”

Four friends having fun while filming a dance challenge as a group.

Cute and Funny Challenges for Couples

Do you want to do a challenge that involves your partner? There are plenty of funny ones trending on TikTok that you can post to Instagram, too.

One lighthearted challenge women love to do today is asking their boyfriend to say any girl’s name. The goal of the trend is to see if their boyfriend would say their name or that of another woman. The reactions are priceless, from women firing questions at their partners after the challenge to boyfriends with hilarious answers. One viral video doing this challenge is that of @sophiacuerquis, whose boyfriend had a totally unexpected answer to the question.

Another fun, low-maintenance challenge for couples is the Roman Empire challenge. In the challenge, women secretly record a video and ask their boyfriends how often they think of the Roman Empire. The answers are surprising and almost always the same—men often think about this piece of history! At the peak of this trend, the tag #RomanEmpire has almost 900 million views, according to TIME.

Beauty and Makeup Challenges

There are also many challenges aligned with specific niches. For example, if you love all things beauty, you might want to try a makeup challenge.

One popular makeup challenge on TikTok is the “one-dip challenge.” The rules are simple. You need to do a full glam look with just one dip of each makeup product. This poses a real challenge even for professional makeup artists, making it entertaining to watch. It also banks on makeup lovers’ competitive spirit.

Another cute beauty-related trend is the “boyfriend does my makeup” challenge. A tweaked version of this is the “boyfriend does my voiceover” trend for get-ready-with-me videos. In these challenges, participants assign boyfriends beauty-related tasks with minimal guidance. Both challenges are laugh-out-loud hilarious because you see men fighting for their lives helping their girlfriends with their beauty needs!

Two friends filming a makeup challenge together.

Are Instagram Story Challenges a Thing Too?

While most challenges reside on Reels, some Instagram Story challenges also exist.

Some of the easiest “challenges” to join on Instagram Stories are those that use the “Add Yours” sticker prompts. These interactive stickers provide a simple prompt with a specific theme. Some prompts might go along the lines of “photo of yourself 10 years ago and today” or “best memories 2023”.

To join in on the fun, add the sticker of your choice to your Story. Then, choose your photos and videos that match the prompt.

What’s cool about “Add Yours” stickers is that you can also sift through everyone’s entry using each sticker. It’s a great way to feel like you’re part of an active online community.

But don’t limit your challenges on Stories to just those stickers! Feel free to post any other type of online challenge on Stories if you don’t want it immortalized on your feed. Remember, Stories expire after 24 hours. It’s the best place to post challenge entries that you don’t want on the internet forever.

This works well for particularly embarrassing challenges, but you still want to join in. One example of this might be the “pronouncing words incorrectly” challenge, started by @umgabi on TikTok.

It’s also terrific for challenges that involve your kids, such as the adorable “what things are called” challenge. Don’t want your children’s faces permanently on your feed for everyone to see at any time? Post those challenges on Stories instead! It’s the perfect workaround if you prefer to keep social media content about your children on the down low. You can even post it only for your Close Friends list if that makes you more comfortable. 

Wait for It—Instagram Candid Challenges Could Be Coming Soon!

BeReal fans, this one’s for you! According to Business Standard, Instagram is currently testing out a new feature called Instagram Candid Challenges. This new feature is similar to the concept of BeReal. It sends a prompt at a random time of the day, challenging people to take a photo within two minutes. You can then see everyone else’s challenge posts, provided you upload an entry of your own.

If Instagram rolls out this concept worldwide, it will be the first in-app challenge on the platform. There’s no news yet as to when everyone can expect it on their apps. But it’s definitely something to look forward to and keep an eye out for if you love doing internet challenges!

Speaking of Challenges… What Does “Challenge Required” Mean on Instagram?

Hold up! One last thing. Since we’re talking so much about challenges, some of you may be wondering, “What does ‘challenge required’ mean on Instagram?”

No, this message that pops up on the app doesn’t have anything to do with trendy challenges and viral videos. Instead, Instagram triggers this error message when it suspects you of engaging in bots and other automated activities. It’s another layer to Instagram’s impressive security measures to keep the platform safe, enjoyable, and authentic.

That said, if you receive the “challenge required” error, you might have done something to alert Instagram of something suspicious. Basically, it thinks you could be a bot. Perhaps you bought likes from a third-party website or have been liking too many posts in a short span. And now, the app has temporarily blocked you from using its platform.

If you haven’t done anything sketchy on the app, there’s probably something else triggering the error. Some people get this error when they log in from a new device. It might also just be an unstable internet connection. But regardless of the reason, getting the “challenge required” error will temporarily keep you from accessing the app.

The good news is that it’s easy to get around this error. Instagram simply wants you to prove that you are human, not a bot. If you’re logging in with a different device, just follow the on-screen instructions to verify that you own the account.

Here are other troubleshooting steps you can try if the error message doesn’t go away:

  • Close and restart your Instagram app.
  • Turn off your WiFi setting and turn it back on to “reset” your connection.
  • Clear your cache and data on your device settings.
  • Uninstall and reinstall your app.
  • Update your Instagram app to the latest version.

 A smartphone on a table with the word “ERROR” on the screen.

Boost Your Challenge Posts’ Reach and Engagement with Path Social

Social media challenges are an excellent way to connect with other people on the platform who have the same interests as you. With these trends, you can express yourself creatively online while simultaneously being a part of something bigger. The high reach and engagement that comes with leveraging trendy challenges are just the cherry on top.

Don’t be shy—look for cool challenges you want to hop on, have fun shooting your content, and post away! And if you want more people to see and interact with your Instagram challenges, work with Path Social.

At Path Social, we use a proprietary targeting algorithm to find your unique niche audience. Then, we’ll organically promote your content on their feed for them to see and engage with. This results in tons of likes, comments, and views on your content. As a bonus, you’ll also get tons of new followers for your growing page. So, what are you waiting for? Start gaining more followers and engagements on your Instagram content today!