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7-Step Guide to Successfully Running Contests on Instagram

Running contests for Instagram is one of the best and most popular social media marketing tools being used by brands right now. Contests are a terrific way to boost follower engagement with your account and naturally spread awareness of your business.

But, running Instagram contests isn’t the simplest of tasks – there are lots of important steps that you should pay attention to when designing and running contests for Instagram. This might sound overwhelming, but not to worry, we’re here to help.

We’ve broken down the process of running an Instagram contest into seven easy steps. Keep reading to find out what they are and to gather our tips and tricks for making your contests successful!

Step #1: Develop A Plan Of Action

When setting up your contest, it’s very important to have a clear idea of how you want the campaign to go. So, be sure to set your objectives and goals for the contest at the very beginning, so that you can keep these in mind throughout the process and not lose sight of your ultimate end-game.

contest on Instagram

Some goals you have might be to get more Instagram followers, sell a set number of a new product you’ve developed, or appeal to a demographic with which your company does not typically interact.

Who Else Is Involved?

A very important aspect of an Instagram contest is the audience to which you’re appealing, so you will definitely want to identify your audience in the very beginning stages of the contest-running process.

Perhaps your target participants are working moms, girls between the ages of fourteen and seventeen, business owners, or young men entering the workforce. The possibilities are nearly endless, and only you know what audience is the primary target for your brand’s campaign.

You may want to appeal to the customers that you typically serve, or, as we mentioned earlier, maybe you’d like to expand the reach of your brand and target a new demographic with your contest. The sky’s the limit – just make sure you know who you want to be involved in the contest from the get-go.

Speaking of identifying who you want to be involved in your Instagram contest, now is also the time to decide if you will be partnering with anyone. Instagram contests are great opportunities for collaborations, so you may want to consider reaching out to brands that are in your niche and inquiring about their interest in a potential partnership.

Eyes On The Prize

Let’s not lose track of everyone’s favorite part of any contest: the prize! When it comes to designing contests for Instagram, you’ll want to carefully select what prizes you will give out.

Maybe you’d like to give away the product that your brand has just released in order to boost awareness and generate interest surrounding it. Alternately, you may want to assemble a few “prize packs” containing multiple, smaller items. The possibilities are endless, and you’ll need to assess what the contest means for your brand and then establish the best course of action.

Step #2: Understand Instagram Contest Rules

Instagram contests rules

When designing your contest, it’s important to understand the rules that have been put in place by Instagram, as well as following any laws that may affect the contest you’re running. The Instagram guidelines for running promotions are as follows:

Lawfully follow all official rules; provide terms and eligibility requirements, such as age or geographical location; comply with all rules and regulations that may affect the promotion and the prizes offered, such as registration and obtaining required approval.
You may not incorrectly tag any accounts, nor may you entice other users to incorrectly tag any accounts (i.e., you may not require users to tag themselves in photos that do not actually feature them).

Every user who participates in the contest must completely release Instagram from any responsibility, etc,; it must be made known that Instagram does not sponsor, endorse or administer the promotion, nor is Instagram associated with the promotion.

Instagram will not provide assistance or guidance in running the contest, including with any legal requirements.

When running a contest on Instagram, you must acknowledge that you do so at your own risk.

Step #3: Create Your Own Rules

When running contests for Instagram, it’s necessary to create your own set of rules for your audience to follow. As with many things we’ve addressed so far, the proper set of rules could vary for any brand or account, so you’ll need to figure out what works best for your contest.

Some rules you might want to set for your contest include requiring users to follow your account (and any other accounts with which you’re collaborating), like a post, create a post for their page or their story that promotes your contest, or comment on a post.

Whatever rules you decide are fitting for your contest, you will want to include them in the original post you make about the contest that kicks off the promotion. Then, in any subsequent posts that remind users about the contest, you can refer them back to the original post to find the rules.

Step #4: Select The Type Of Contest You Want To Run

There is a wide variety of types of contests that you can run on Instagram. Most of the various formats are based on how participants enter the contest. Check out these examples, and decide which style fits best in your promotion.

Comment/Tag Giveaways

comment/tag giveaway on instagram

In these contests, users are required to comment on a specific photo or tag other accounts in the comments section.

Photo Caption Contest

photo caption contest giveaway

Here, entrants are asked to develop a caption for the given photo in order to participate.

Skill Contest

skill contest giveaway

In this style of contest, participants are required to show off a certain skill in order to enter the contest.

UGC Contest

UGC contest

UGC (user-generated content) contests typically require entrants to make a post or submission that’s the original work of each individual.

Step #5: Create A Hashtag For Your Contest

Creating a hashtag for your contest is a great move for promoting your brand as well as your giveaway. When running contests for Instagram, you will want to encourage users to spread the word about your contests to their own followers. Having a unique hashtag that’s specific to your giveaway will keep promotional posts organized and easy to find.

In order to create your own hashtag, simply think of a unique phrase that fits well with your brand and the contest you’re running. This may look something like #[your brand name]AprilGiveaway or anything that’s easily identifiable as signifying a giveaway for your brand.

Once you’ve created this hashtag, users can include it in any posts they publish to promote your giveaway, and you can as well, of course. Then, anyone who clicks on this hashtag or searches it on Instagram will be presented with a series of posts about your Insta contest!

Step #6: Decide How You’ll Choose A Winner

There are different ways that you can choose winners for your Instagram contest, mostly based on the style of contest that you choose to hold.

For example, if you choose to run a skills-based contest, you would choose a winner based on the submission of the highest quality. Similarly, in a caption contest, you would choose your favorite caption submission for the contest.

Alternately, you may select winners in a more random way. If users are simply required to comment on a photo or tag friends in the comments section, you will likely want to simply drop names into a random generator and choose a winner that way.

Step #7: Evaluate Your Results

In Step #1, we talked about the importance of setting goals for your contest. As you can probably guess, it will therefore be important to track what kind of progress you make toward these goals.

At the beginning of this process, you will have chosen what metrics you want to track, such as follower count, engagement levels, or traffic on your page. You can track any of these through your Instagram profile or by using an outside source.

There are many apps and websites available through which you can link your Instagram profile and track a wide range of analytics that will tell you how your page is doing. By utilizing these tools, you can assess your metrics at the beginning of your contest versus at the end of it and measure the success of your campaign.

Instagram insights to measure success of campaign

It’s Contest Time

There you have it: my best guide to running contests on Instagram. No matter what type of account you run, there is a style of Instagram contest that can be effective for your brand and your audience.

So, what are you waiting for? Start designing your contest, and see how it helps your account. And, once your contest is finished, come back and let us know how it went – we would love to hear how our tips helped!

Read more: business2community.com