4 Steps to Run an Instagram Contest That Works

Most people think of Instagram as a convenient way to share photos and videos with their friends and family. However, as many savvy business owners have discovered, it is also an excellent way to gain exposure for your brand.

How to Run an Instagram Contest that works! http://scalablesocialmedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/0001-24797506.png via @ scalablesocial

Maybe your company is on Instagram and you’ve already begun posting regular updates. This is a great way to start, but if you’re stopping there, you’re really only scratching the surface of what Instagram has to offer you. If you want to take full advantage of Instagram’s potential to increase your visibility, you may want to consider running a contest.

Why Run an Instagram Contest?

Running a contest is a great way to reach a new audience of Instagrammers, as well as to engage and interact with your existing followers and customers.  The motivation of a prize may drive people to spread the word for you, exposing many new people to your brand.

Planning and running an Instagram contest might seem daunting. Here the process is broken down into four simple steps to get you started.

4 Steps to Running a Successful Instagram Contest

1. Choose your prize carefully.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but the truth is that not all prizes are created equal. While extravagant prizes, such as trips or electronic equipment, may generate a lot of participation in your contest, they will also bring in many people who are only in it for the prize.

They may not be specifically interested in your business and are not likely to become customers in the future. A more effective prize choice would be one that is directly related to your business, such as a gift card for your service or to use in your store, since it will be guaranteed to draw people who are interested in your unique product or service.

2. Decide on a contest type.

“Like to win” and “Follow to win” contests are a great way to increase your instagram following and will likely result in a high number of entries because participation involves very little time or effort. All that’s required to enter is to follow you or to like an update. If you choose to run one of these, you can gain some added publicity by asking participants to tag a friend.

“Comment to win” contests (as the name suggests) require entrants to comment on your post in order to participate. This results in slightly higher engagement, and may also provide you with some useful customer feedback.

“Enter to win” contests include some user generated content (UGC) and have a slightly higher barrier to entry, but they will also result in higher engagement and connection to your brand. In order to run this type of contest, you need to choose a hashtag and ask participants to share a photo or video using that hashtag. This method has the added benefit that anyone following contest participants will be able to see their entries, increasing awareness of and interest in your campaign.

3. Announce and promote your contest.

Probably the easiest way to announce your contest is to post an image on Instagram. If the rules are simple, you will be able include them in the image or caption of your post, otherwise you may want to provide a full set of rules on your website. Don’t forget to announce your contest on your company website, and if you have a blog, make sure to mention it there as well.

Send out an email alerting your customers, and give them some tantalizing details. You should also promote it on Facebook, Pinterest (make sure you note right on your pins when the contest ends!), and any other social website where your business has a presence. Wherever possible, include a link to the contest because, let’s face it, people will be much more likely to check it out if all they have to do is point and click.

4. Follow up.

Once the contest is over, you may be tempted to sit back and relax, but this would be wasting a valuable opportunity to further promote your business. Notify the winner by email if possible and also by direct mention on Instagram. If the winning entry was a photo, repost it on your Instagram account.

You may want to acknowledge the winner on other social networks as well. The more you promote the results of one contest, the more interest you will generate in any future contests you choose to sponsor. And speaking of future contests, this would also be a great time to start planning your next one, taking in to account what did or did not work well for you this time.

What do you think? Are you ready to give it a try? If you take the time to plan ahead by promoting your contest,  selecting an appropriate prize, and choosing the right contest type for you, then you’ll be amazed at the results!

Have you ever run an Instagram contest? What worked for you? We’d love to hear from you!


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4 Steps to Run an Instagram Contest That Works
Running an Instagram contest is an effective way to increase your following and your brand’s visibility. Here’s how to make it work for you.

About the Author Alisa Meredith (311 Posts)

As co-owner and chief inbound marketing consultant at Scalable Social Media, Alisa Meredith spends a lot of time keeping up with online marketing trends for the benefit of our customers. Computers have been a passion of hers since her first T1-99, so inbound and social media marketing is a natural fit.

One Comment

  1. Instagram is getting bigger and better day by day. Instagram stories are killing it.
    Facebook ads are getting integrated in instagram ads. So much is happening around it.0

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