A 27-year old Trendsetter who Builds Entrepreneurship Through “Not Your Ordinary” Instagram Contest

02/15/2017 11:24 am ET Updated Feb 15, 2017

Individuals and businesses are racing to build audiences to establish legitimacy and develop and secure an online brand. But too often, they are trapped in the cycle of growing their audiences and forget that the nature of social media is social. That is, authenticity and engagement are key.

According to eMarketer, the number of Instagram users are poised to nearly double this year. It makes sense that brands would want to tap into the 600 million Instagram users that share an average of 95 million photos and videos every day.

Instagram contests have been used by brands and social media personalities, successfully enticing new followers with the promise of rewards. And it’s an effective strategy for audience building, but most marketers don't see it as much more. In fact, when done poorly, the flagrant promotion of the Instagram contest can devalue audience relationships

Which is why Faraz "Fam" Mirza's contest struck a chord.

What if we take what we know about the Instagram contest, and use it as an opportunity to strengthen our relationship with our current audience and reinforce our personal brands?

That’s what Fam aims to do. The founder of Mirza Minds is best defined as an innovator. That’s his entire brand. Mirza Minds is a full-service digital marketing and brand development firm that specializes in taking an idea and making it a brand. He works with people to make them noteworthy for the right reasons.

That’s how Fam Mirza’s contest is different. It’s a smarter kind of Instagram contest because it engages his audience in a way that is on-brand.

The point of the contest isn’t just to gain visibility by awarding free stuff. The point is to help budding entrepreneurs, people with ideas but no capital, get off the ground. First prize gets $10,000 invested in their idea, access to Fam’s board members, WeWork space in which to work, and a MacBook on which to create.

These prizes all mean something and the contest reinforces the public image that Fam touts.

<em>Fam Mirza pictured in front of NBC Studio</em>
Fam Mirza pictured in front of NBC Studio

“Being a successful entrepreneur is about sparking the minds of the next generation to take tangible action on their ideas,” says Fam. “Ideas which can and will change the world! That's really what this contest is about, finding the next aspirational entrepreneur and teaching them the methods behind a proper execution."

He asks his audience to share their entrepreneurial spirit, a stellar idea, and the desire to help their peers and colleagues. To enter the contest, aspiring entrepreneurs are required to submit an execution plan for how they’re going to bring an idea to fruition.

Mirza has always been dedicated to changing lives and the unique Instagram contest has delivered a clear-cut benefit to winners - his prizes are designed to spark and incubate an idea, from a cash investment to access to seasoned entrepreneurs to help a budding project grow. From the moment his innovations with 1Face hit the public’s awareness, building philanthropy an inherent part of the business model, it was clear he wasn’t just out to make any company look good, or to make a ton of money. Priceless.

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