How to Run a Successful Instagram Contest

Are you using Instagram as part of your social media marketing? Do you want to run competitions and contests on Instagram?

Adding Instagram contests to you social media mix can quickly expand your reach online. In this blog post, you will see different types as well as how to create and run a successful Instagram contest for your brand or business.

Types of contests:

Like to win

In a ‘like to win’ contest, simply ask for an Instagram user to like an update. All those who do so will be entered into the contest.

– With a very low barrier to entry (users just have to follow you and then like a post to enter), these contests are a simple way to increase reach.
– They are very easy to set up. Simple post an image and update on Instagram which announces your double tap contest.

– These contests have both low engagement and low consumer connection levels.
– Users do not have to spend much effort to enter but they are also not that invested in the brand.

User-Generated content

For a hashtag user-generated content contest, create a contest specific hashtag and ask participants to share a photo or video using that hashtag to enter.

– A photo or video contest that engages your market by asking for content deepens the emotional connection between consumers and the brand.
– A contest specific hashtag spreads the campaign’s reach when Instagram users post their entries, their friends and followers see it too.
– The hashtag additionally provides a common place for viewing entries. Anyone who searches for the hashtag will see the UGC contest stream.
– By creating a branded hashtag for your contest, you can effectively generate real, authentic marketing images created by and for your consumer.

– Asking for users’ content increases the barrier to entry.
– If the request is too detailed (take and upload a pic, use the hashtag and tag friends) or the hashtag is too long, it may be even harder to get willing participants.

Email-gated contests

To run an email-gated Instagram contest, ask participants for their email address to enter. An email-gated contest can ask for a follow or UFC in addition to the email lead. The main benefit of an email-gated contest is that you generate email leads. This enables you and your brand to keep in touch with your readers for future campaigns and promotions. Be sure to get their permission to send emails.

– This is an excellent way to build your email list.
– If you ask for a photo or video, you will get UGC too.

– Asking for an email is a barrier to entry and many Instagram users want a quick and seamless entry method.
– A successful email-gated contest usually needs an enticing prize.

How to create an Instagram contest

It is not difficult to create an Instagram contest. However, if you want one that meets or exceeds expectations, you must include proper planning, smart execution and follow up.

Plan your contest

Put in time and effort to strategically plan your contest before it starts.

Set objectives. Before launching any social marketing campaign, write out your goals. The clearer they are, the better your chance of success. Your objective could either be to increase Instagram follower by 10%, generate 100 mentions or create a hashtag stream with more than 200 photos, will influence your contest choice.

Do some researches before you fully commit to a plan of action, check out your competition and find related contests. Browse other current Instagram contests.

Define your target market. There are more than 100 million active users and you should know what appeals to your market to best engage with them.

Create a theme, your contest needs a theme, especially if you are hosting a photo or video promotion. This creates a collection of complementary user generated content. The theme will tie into the hashtag.

Choose your contest hashtag. Hashtags are a major part of Instagram marketing. Choose and use a unique hashtag for your contest to create community and brand awareness.

Decide your prize. Your prize is a key factor in what motivates a person to participate in your contest. The prize you offer, allows your demographic to take action you want, contest participation. Your prize should be about marketing your brand, whether it is as overt as a product your sell, a gift card or even a more subtle experience you cannot get anywhere else.

Sort out your logistics. Plan out the contest details, like your contest duration and frequency, some of the most successful Instagram contests are run on a weekly basis or have a weekly vote. Determine how many winners you will have, the rules and regulations and also the logistics of shipping or sending your prizes.

Build your contest

Once you have a solid plan, turn your ideas into a contest.

Come up with an attention grabbing title. Keep your contest title short, witty and related to your promotion, market and business objectives.

Create appealing visuals. Instagram is all about visual marketing. The better you can present your contest elements, including the prize and promotional materials, the better it will succeed.

If you are not using an app, here are the basic steps to make your own Instagram ‘like to win’ contest:

– Post an update on Instagram. Show that you are running a ‘like to win’ contest.
– Give instructions and rules to enter in your contest update text.
– Track your likes for the duration of the campaign.
– Randomly choose a winner.
– Notify the winner by mentioning him or her on Instagram.

Launch and promote your contest

Once the contest is planned and built, just go for it. Post it on Instagram as well as your website or blog and then follow through with marketing in other ways. Here’s how to promote your contest:

– Update your website or blog, spread the word to your audience. Post about the contest on the company website and write an article on the blog. Include direct links to the contest to make it easy and enticing to enter.
– Cross-promote to other social sites. Engage your brand’s audience from other social platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Post contest updates and information to get followers to interact with your brand on multiple platforms.
– Send emails with personalised messages to target segments of your email list. Write concise subject lines that clearly indicate that you are inviting recipients to your Instagram contest. Include visuals of your contest banner and prizes.
– If you have a store, make promotional material to post in your store that includes your contest details, hashtag, Instagram handle and a visual of your contest or prize.

Follow up after contest ends

A social marketing campaign should not stop when the Instagram contest closes.

Choose and notify the winner. After the contest has closed, choose the winner, whether selected through public voting, random draws or a panel of judges. Notify the winner via email if you can and directly on Instagram with an @mention. Explain how to collect the prize.

Share the winning entry on Instagram. Give Instagram fame to the winner by sharing the winning photo or video on your company Instagram feed. Be sure to tag and give credit to the winner.

Promote the grand prize winner on your blog and social sites. Write a blog article about the entrant and share the award-winning photo or video.

Email all participants. If you email-gated your contest, send out an email to everyone who took part. Thank them for their efforts and talents in engaging, telling them who won and invite them to stay tuned for your next Instagram contest.

The best time to work on your next Instagram promotion is just before or right after your current contest ends. Put together a report of what did and did not work for your contest and using that information, decide what to do next. Use the momentum from your contest to get your audience excited about the next one.


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