How to Run an Instagram Contest: A 7-Step Guide

There are more than 500 million Instagram accounts worldwide that are active every day, so the platform has many untapped potentials. Particularly when it comes to running contests. Instagram has established itself as a go-to platform for businesses trying to broaden their reach and communicate with their customers.
It’s considerably more difficult to figure out how to run a successful Instagram contest. Sure, it sounds like a good way to get people talking: it takes advantage of user-generated content (UGC) and usually involves very little effort from participants. But where do you even begin? And how can you be certain that you’ve covered everything?


Define Your Goals

It’s critical to plan ahead of time before entering an Instagram marketing contest. The key to operating a successful contest is to have a goal in mind — one that coincides with your target audience’s interests and behaviors.

Common goals for marketers running an Instagram contest include:

  • Reaching new customers
  • Promoting a new product to jumpstart sales
  • Highlighting a partnership or collaborative effort with another brand

Whether you want to expand your brand’s Instagram presence or expand your list of followers, it’s critical to have a particular goal in mind so you don’t end up questioning if you were successful. Remember to set a deadline and budget for your contest, since knowing these facts ahead of time will help you create a more efficient contest.

Create an entry method

Although the most effective and engaging Instagram contests are those that encourage your audience to share their own images, there are a variety of ways for brands to organize contests on the platform. As a result, it’s critical to develop and underline the requirements for your audience to participate in the contest.

Here are some suggestions on how your audience could participate in your contest.

  • Request that your followers upload a photo or video to Instagram using a specified hashtag and topic.
  • Allow your audience to follow you solely or in conjunction with producing a post.
  • Encourage your followers to mention your brand in their posts.
    Make one of your posts popular by having your audience Like or comment on it.

Make sure you spell out the rules for joining the contest and include them in your promotional materials. Perhaps your contest revolves around a hashtag that does not contain your company’s name. If you still want your brand to be tagged in order for it to be recognized, you must specify it in your rules.

Find the perfect hashtag

Any interesting Instagram contest needs a catchy hashtag. There is no link between the contest and the content generated without it. In other words, hashtags serve as a tool for sharing and encouraging participation, which helps to build brand and/or contest recognition.
The problem is that coming up with the appropriate hashtag can be difficult. If your contest has a deadline (which it should), you’ll want to come up with a hashtag that you won’t want to use again and again. Not to mention the fact that thousands of hashtags are produced every day, making it tough to come up with something original and memorable.

  • Short and catchy: Long hashtags are difficult to remember and don’t attract a lot of attention. Keep it basic and create something that people will remember.
  • Relevant to your brand/theme: Make sure to include the proper term in your hashtag, whether you want to associate the contest with your company or a general subject!
  • Rare and original: How many Instagrammers are already repurposing your hashtag? If there are more than three, go back to the drawing board. An Instagram contest named #suncream is not particular enough; make your hashtag special, so that photographs irrelevant to the contest won’t be included.

Clearly define a theme

If you’re feeling inspired and decided to run an Instagram contest based on user-generated content, now is the time to choose a theme! You should pick something that is relevant to your market and specific interests, but don’t be afraid to capitalize on approaching holidays, seasons, or any other popular trend. You should choose a subject that is relevant to your market, product, or services. However, you can use holidays, seasons, and events that are related to your product or brand to marketing benefit.

Choose an appropriate prize

It is critical to provide consumers with a prize that corresponds to their entering action. But keep in mind that the goal of the Instagram contest is to gain more followers, so you’ll need to give something relevant to your brand and the interests of your target audience.

Spread the word like crazy

After you’ve completed the plan, you’ll need to consider a promotion approach. No one will participate in your Instagram contest unless they are aware of it. Try to pick a high-quality and eye-catching image when sharing the promotion photo on your channel. Including the word “giveaway” or the contest hashtag in your photograph may also help to attract additional followers and submissions.

Also, make sure your post has all of the following:

  • The entry rules to the contest
  • The hashtag to use in the post 
  • The timeframe to enter the contest 
  • The date of the winner announcement

It’s critical to keep your Instagram contest alive and remind your followers what they could win if it lasts a long time. Because not everyone will go through your old articles looking for a contest, make sure to post reminders and keep participants updated throughout the event duration! 

Finally, just because something is taking place on Instagram doesn’t mean it has to stay there. Create a Facebook page for your contest, write a blog post about it, and tweet the link.

Create terms & conditions

Remember that you must follow legal standards while creating a competition with a prize. The laws that apply to you will vary depending on where you live and who you invite to participate in your contest.

Here are some common terms people include:

  • The dates of the contest
  • The rules of who can enter (such as age and employee restrictions)
  • The guidelines for how people enter 
  • The guidelines for how a winner is chosen 
  • The date and way winners will be announced 
  • The date and way the winner will be informed
  •  The time period the winner has to respond and claim their prize
  • The details of how the prize will be delivered

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