How to Run an Instagram Contest

Is your business active on Instagram? If the answer is no, you should check out our post on why your business needs to be active on Instagram here. Instagram has moved past just being a photo-sharing app to a key channel for building your brand. If you are looking to gain more engagement, running Instagram […]

Is your business active on Instagram? If the answer is no, you should check out our post on why your business needs to be active on Instagram here. Instagram has moved past just being a photo-sharing app to a key channel for building your brand.

If you are looking to gain more engagement, running Instagram contests are a great way to engage your audience and gain more followers. Additionally, it increases your visibility as a brand. Think of it as a super fun and easy way to recognise and reward your followers.

You can build your contest right away on Instagram or use third party apps such as Iconosquare, Wishpond or Woobox.

Here is a guide to get you started:

Plan Objectives and Goals
To carry out an effective contest, you need to establish its purpose and your desired results. Without this, you cannot measure how successful it is. Keep at the back of your mind that the more viral your contest goes, the bigger your visibility and engagement. In preparing these goals, consider your target audience. Look at what they like to engage with and centre your goals around them. Also set your budget and timeframe for the contest. This timeframe will encourage a sense of urgency for participation.

Clearly Define Your Theme
If you want people to take a photo or make a video, what should it be about? It has to be inviting enough for individuals to want to participate in it. Therefore, pick a theme that aligns with your target audience, so they are enthusiastic about the contest. You can take advantage of events, holidays and trends that go with your brand for your theme.

Create the Perfect Hashtag
Hashtags are very important. A good hashtag is key to any engaging contest. It provides the link between the contest and content generated. You can use it to aggregate posts from different users into a single stream. This way, you are able to sift through and choose your winner. Apart from searching on Instagram, apps such as Tagboard can help with this.

How do your create the perfect hashtag? Make it:

  • Short
  • Memorable
  • Relevant
  • Universal
  • Rare

Be careful not to choose something common so you can easily identify the participants for your contest.

Decide the Entry Method
Decide what the entry method will be and state clearly the qualifying guidelines for participation. You can choose to have entrants qualify by doing one or any of the following:

  • Post a photo or a video with a specific hashtag and theme
  • Tag your brand in their post and tag their friends
  • Like or comment on one of your posts
  • Follow you

Choose an appropriate prize
Remember you have asked people to take an action to do something, therefore the prize should be enticing enough to push them to register for it. The value must outweigh the cost and energy required to participate in the contest.

Decide how winners will be chosen
Let participants know how the winner will be chosen. Do you plan to choose randomly? Through a panel of judges? Or use a voting system? The voting system is more strategic because participants will likely share their posts with friends and family to get them to vote for them, thereby boosting the virality of the contest.

Create an appealing image
Include an example of what you want, instructions on how to enter, the competition hashtag and the prize to be awarded.

Promote, Promote, Promote

Now that you have developed the contest, you need to create adequate exposure for it to be able to get lots of entries.

Monitor Submissions
You can monitor manually with the hashtags. Make use of Google Alerts to help you keep track of your hashtag anytime it is mentioned. If you have used a 3rd party app like those mentioned above, they also have features that help to measure these activities.

From the results, you can identify your winner. Once you know the winner, notify them and also announce this publicly.

It is essential you end the competition on a positive note. After the announcement has been made, acknowledge all those that took part in the contest and appreciate them.

Also, do not forget to measure your success and double check to know if you achieved your goal.

To learn about the promotion guidelines on Instagram, visit the Instagram Help Centre.