With more than 1 billion monthly active users, Instagram has established itself as an apparent platform for manufacturers wanting to develop their attain and have interaction with their viewers.

Figuring out how to launch a profitable Instagram contest, nonetheless, is way much less apparent. Sure, it feels like an efficient technique for stirring up dialog — it capitalizes on consumer generated content (UGC) and sometimes requires little or no dedication for contributors. But the place do you begin? And how will you ensure that you are masking all of the bases?

How to Run an Instagram Contest: A 10-Step Guide

To assist offer you some course, we put collectively an in depth record of steps to run via when planning an partaking Instagram contest. From setting objectives to monitoring submissions, we have coated the entire fundamentals under — and we have included some inspirational examples alongside the way in which. Check it out …

Disclaimer: This weblog submit contains some data on authorized points surrounding web advertising, however authorized data isn’t the identical as authorized recommendation — making use of the legislation to a particular circumstance. We’ve performed analysis to higher make sure that our data is correct and helpful, however we insist that you simply discuss to a lawyer in order for you skilled assurance that our data, and your interpretation of it, is correct. In a nutshell, you might not depend on this data as authorized recommendation, nor as a suggestion or endorsement of any explicit authorized understanding, and it is best to as a substitute see this submit’s data as for leisure functions solely.

1. Plan aims and objectives.

Before you dive into an Instagram marketing contest, it’s vital to plan it out first. The key to operating a profitable contest is to have a function — one which aligns with the pursuits and behaviors of your audience.

Whether you are wanting to develop your model presence on Instagram or construct out your record of followers, it is vital that you simply set a particular purpose so that you simply’re not left questioning whether or not or not you had been profitable in the long run.

To assist slim your focus, take into consideration the viewers you’re attempting to attain: What sorts of posts do they like seeing in your account? What sorts of posts do they get pleasure from posting on their very own feeds? How do they behave on the platform? If you are wanting to drum up loads of engagement, it is best to intention to middle your objectives and function round content that your viewers really needs to submit and have interaction with.

Don’t neglect to set up a timeframe and finances in your contest, as figuring out these logistical particulars upfront will enable you design a simpler contest.

2. Create an entry methodology.

Although the simplest and fascinating Instagram contests are people who really immediate your viewers to submit their very own pictures, there are variety of other ways manufacturers can create contests on Instagram. Because of this, it’s vital to set up and emphasize what it takes in your viewers to really enter the competition.

Here are some concepts for a way your viewers may enter your contest:

  • Have your viewers submit a photograph or a video to Instagram with a particular hashtag and a particular theme.
  • Have your viewers solely observe you or accomplish that as well as to making a submit.
  • Have your viewers tag your model of their submit.
  • Have your viewers Like or touch upon certainly one of your posts.

(For extra concepts, click on right here.)

Make positive you determine what the rules are for getting into the competition, and make that clear in your promotional supplies. Maybe your contest is centered round a hashtag that doesn’t embody your model identify. If you continue to need your model to be tagged to achieve recognition, you’ve to make that clear in your guidelines.

airmax instagram contest photo that explains guidelines: upload shots of your air max and use two hashtags to win a nike voucher for 100 pounds

3. Find the proper hashtag.

A good hashtag is a key to any partaking Instagram contest. Without it, there’s no hyperlink between the competition and the content being generated. In different phrases, hashtags assist create model and/or contest recognition by serving as a mechanism for sharing and driving participation.

Trouble is, creating the proper hashtag could be difficult. If your contest goes to have a timeframe (and it ought to), you need to create a hashtag that you simply’re not going to need to use over and over. Not to point out, there are tons of hashtags being created every day, making it tough to land on one thing distinctive and catchy.

To enable you provide you with the most effective match, contemplate these contest hashtag pointers:

  • Short: Create a hashtag that sticks in individuals’s minds. The extra readable and identifiable your hashtag is, the higher it’s in your contest.
  • Relevant: Make positive you’re making a hashtag that could be very clearly associated again to your model identify, product, or companies. If you decide on a generic, crowded hashtag comparable to #ThrowbackThursday, it is possible that you will have a tough time determining who your contributors really are.
  • Memorable: Users are possible to see promotions in your contest prior to really posting the content. This means your hashtag wants to be memorable sufficient for customers to give it some thought as soon as and bear in mind to act someday later. Try to make your hashtag catchy, simple to search, and simple to write. Avoid bizarre spellings and complicated phrase selections.
  • Universal: Think about your viewers. Does everybody converse the identical language or use comparable phrases? If you’ve an worldwide viewers, be sure to’re cautious about utilizing slang phrases or region-specific phrases which may confuse individuals.
  • Rare: Do a search earlier than you select a hashtag. Are there a number of customers utilizing your excellent hashtag for another functions? If so, you might have considered trying to head again to the drafting board.

An instance of an efficient, partaking hashtag:

Mint.com, an on-line private budgeting and monetary administration firm, hosted their #MyMintSecond contest.

instagram contest for #mymintmoment

The contest was well-designed for a variety of causes, certainly one of which is its hashtag. The hashtag — #MyMintSecond — is easy, quick, memorable, and simple to perceive. It stayed on-brand and had a transparent theme.

The purpose of the competition was to get customers to submit concerning the issues they had been saving for. Participants posted footage of tattoos, holidays, weddings, youngsters, vehicles — you identify it.

submissions for #mymintmoment instagram contest

This is a superb instance of an efficient hashtag, but it surely’s additionally a terrific instance of how UGC can be utilized to drive advertising selections. Think about it: Mint requested contributors to share posts about issues they had been saving for. Sounds like an simple method to achieve perception surrounding the distinctive motives and pursuits that gas the utilization of their service, does not it?

4. Clearly outline a theme.

Because most Instagram contests are UGC-based, it’s vital to decide a theme so your customers know what varieties of images and movies to submit.

Ideally, you need to a decide a theme that aligns together with your market, product, or companies. But you can too reap the benefits of holidays, seasons, and occasions that align together with your product or model.

An instance of an efficient theme:

Last summer time, D Magazine, a metropolis and life-style journal primarily based in Dallas, used the Texas summer time warmth to create an efficient #StayCoolDallas contest. The contest inspired contributors to submit pictures of the way to keep cool within the Dallas warmth. Submissions included every little thing from chilly drinks at favourite bars and eating places to enjoyable summer time actions.

#staycooldallas instagram contest

This contest and hashtag labored notably effectively due to the double which means of the phrase “cool” — which in the end left room for contributors to get artistic with their interpretations. This is a superb instance of how to make engagement tremendous simple.

While the hashtag wasn’t completely brand-specific, the theme was very a lot in step with their model and fervour for all issues Dallas. And because of the competition, they had been left with a ton of latest materials to get concepts for his or her subsequent challenge.

submissions for #staycooldallas instagram contest

5. Decide how winners will likely be chosen.

Part of a well-designed contest is informing your contributors of how the winner will likely be chosen. Most contests are decided primarily based on certainly one of two methods: a vote or a jury. Let’s discover how every choice works …


A smart way to increase the virality of your contest is to have contributors compete for probably the most Likes. If the prize is effective sufficient, your contributors will possible share their posts with their buddies throughout channels so as to get as many Likes as doable.

This technique helps maximize your viewers’s attain. At the identical time, it may be detrimental to your contest, as you run into points with of us utilizing “Like bots” to achieve synthetic Likes. To keep away from any problems right here, you will need to put forth very particular guidelines that tackle using a majority of these workarounds.


For the sake of high quality and total equity, the jury methodology is the clear winner. With the jury methodology, you choose a gaggle of consultants to determine upon a winner, quite than counting on a voting system.

There are execs and cons to votes or juries, however regardless of the way in which you select, ensure that to clearly state your methodology so your customers know what they’re vying for. Many manufacturers select to have a mixed-method method and use a mix of voting and jury to decide the winner.

6. Choose an acceptable award.

When figuring out what the award for you contest must be, you want to contemplate your audience, your budgetary constraints, and the way aggressive your objectives are.

Remember that by asking your viewers to take part within the contest, you’re asking them to take motion on one thing. As with any effort like this, you will want the worth of the prize to outweigh the associated fee and vitality required to enter the competition. While individuals may gloss over an alternative to win a free t-shirt, it is possible that they’d be prepared to bounce via a number of hoops for one thing like a free journey.

While your prize ought to match the entry motion, it must also align with the pursuits of your audience. Ask your self: What may my audience like to have? Your record of solutions for this — finances not thought of — is perhaps enormous. Sure, everybody needs that free journey we talked about earlier, however that is not the purpose. The purpose is to discover a prize that is each helpful and related to your model.

Gift playing cards, free companies, coupons, giveaways, and product goodie baggage are all widespread prizes that manufacturers use for contests, however we’re at all times in favor of getting artistic, too.

Example of a artistic contest prize:

One of our favourite examples of contest prizes was Sperry’s Photo Real Design Contest. Sperry inspired customers to submit “epic photos” that represented an “odyssey.”

Participants then submitted pictures of every kind of issues — nature photographs, colourful artwork, actual individuals, and many others. — to be judged primarily based on creativity and the variety of Likes it obtained.

sperry instagram contest for winning a pair of shoes that features your photo

The winner that was chosen obtained a novel pair of Sperry footwear that includes their picture. Talk a few artistic prize, proper? Not to point out, it served as a terrific instance of how manufacturers can use contests to encourage actual product concepts.

7. Create phrases & circumstances.

Don’t neglect that once you create a contest with a prize, you should observe authorized pointers. The legal guidelines that can apply to you rely upon the place you’re primarily based and who you enable to enter your contest, so it is best to seek the advice of your lawyer for assist drafting your phrases and circumstances. Creating a phrases & circumstances web page is a should.

Here are some widespread phrases individuals embody:

  • The identify and get in touch with particulars of the marketing model
  • The dates of the competition
  • The guidelines of who can enter (comparable to age and worker restrictions)
  • The pointers for a way individuals enter
  • The pointers for a way a winner is chosen
  • The date and method winners will likely be introduced
  • The date and method the winner will likely be knowledgeable
  • The time interval the winner has to reply and declare their prize
  • The particular of the prize (together with variety of prizes, description of prizes, and any caveats)
  • The particulars of how the prize will likely be delivered
  • Acknowledge that the promotion isn’t sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or related to Instagram or another social media used all through the competition.

Note: Check out Instagram’s Promotion guidelines and ensure to adjust to their guidelines.

8. Promote like loopy.

Now that you have a stable plan in place, it’s time to promote the heck out of your contest.

Where’s the most effective place to begin spreading the phrase? The potentialities are seemingly infinite, however listed below are a number of concepts to encourage your promotion efforts:

  • Your weblog. Write a submit in your web site detailing the competition, and use it as a launch level in your contest’s touchdown web page.

#mymintmoment instagram contest promoted on the mint blog

  • Social media. What higher place to launch a social media contest than on social media? Direct your current followers to the competition by together with a shortened hyperlink in your bio and referencing that hyperlink in your promotional posts.

sally hansen instagram contest promoted on their instagram

  • Email. Extend the invitation to take part to your e-mail subscribers by sending over a fast and pleasant e-mail to announce the supply.

A Beautiful Mess contest promoted via email

9. Monitor submissions.

Monitoring each your promotional efforts and the extent of participation throughout your contest is important for assembly your objectives and making a plan to observe up in your contest.

Make positive to decide what metrics you’d like to use and the way you’ll preserve observe of them. Here are some metrics to think about using:

  • Number of submissions – Total variety of posts submitted in compliance together with your phrases and circumstances.
  • Likes per submission – Helps you retain observe of potential winners in case your contest is set by vote.
  • Number of contributors – If customers can submit multiple submission, what number of distinctive contributors contributed to your contest?
  • Top contributors – Who shared probably the most content throughout your marketing campaign? Keeping observe of this helps you higher interact together with your greatest followers.
  • Total Likes – Measures the full variety of Likes on all submissions in your contest.
  • Total attain – Captures the variety of followers of your contributors on the time of submission. Meant to present you the potential attain of your marketing campaign.
  • Follower progress throughout contest – Measure how a lot your following elevated through the contest’s time interval.

If your present viewers is comparatively small, and also you don’t anticipate greater than 30 submissions to your contest, you might determine to monitor your contest manually. To do that, assign somebody the duty of preserving observe of submissions every day. At the tip of the competition, somebody can have to undergo every submission and measure and write down the outcomes from every submission.

If you’re monitoring your contest manually, strive utilizing a software like Tagboard or Google Alerts to preserve observe of when your hashtag is being talked about on-line, making it simpler to observe submissions. (HubSpot clients: You can arrange a customized Stream in your Social Monitoring software to preserve tabs on a particular hashtag. Learn more here.)

If you’re anticipating effectively over 30 submissions, nonetheless, you’ll be able to think about how tough monitoring your submissions is perhaps. If that is the case, you might have considered trying to discover an Instagram-specific software comparable to Iconosquare.

10. Follow up accordingly.

Once the competition is over, you’ll be able to’t neglect to observe up on the principles you set within the first place. Keep your phrases and circumstances in thoughts when reviewing the submissions to make sure that you are being 100% truthful in your analysis.

Again, this is the reason establishing your phrases and circumstances early on is so vital, as it should offer you an documented plan for choosing, contacting, and awarding the winner.

Once you’ve got chosen and notified the winner, remember to make the announcement publicly. Here’s an instance of how to accomplish that from D Magazine‘s #StayCoolDallas contest:

#staycooldallas instagram contest winner announcement on blog

Instagram Contest Ideas

Now that you know the way to run a contest, you will want to dream up methods to make your contest fascinating, compelling, and acceptable in your manufacturers. Here are a number of the high contest concepts for Instagram:

1. Caption Contest

The excellent caption could make or break an Instagram submit, so why not supply the creativity of your viewers and get some laughs alongside the way in which?

The caption contest is a superb selection for Instagram as a result of it permits your viewers to cease and take into consideration the competition (and, in impact, your model) whereas offering a low-friction method for them to take part.

instagram caption contest from the new yorker: "submit your caption in the comments below with the hashtag #mynewyorkercaption"

2. User-Generated Content

User-generated content — or any content produced by unpaid contributors — is a win/win for a model. They get to take part and probably win prizes; you get to get pleasure from prolonged attain by tapping into your viewers’s audiences (say that 10 instances quick). Not to point out that your model advantages from the social proof of de facto testimonials from their participation.

Plus, to get much more mileage from the competition, you’ll be able to ask contributors’ permission to function their content in your channels, providing you with extra content to promote.

user-generated content contest by posh pooch accessories: "Halloween season is approaching and posh pooch accessories will be hosting our annual costume contest. We are looking for the best worn costume by your loveable pooch"

3. Trivia Contest

With a trivia contest, you are difficult your viewers to display what they know. This encourages engagement in your posts and generates consciousness in your model and/or the subject that you simply’re shining the highlight on. All you’ve to do is ask a query and reward those that get the reply appropriate. That reward might come within the type of a prize or as entry to win a prize.

instagram trivia contest by slinger community library: "what fictional town is to kill a mockingbird set in? comment with your answer below"

4. Engage to Win

These varieties of contests are maybe one of many extra standard on Instagram as a result of they solicit direct engagement as a method to enter. This might come within the type of likes, follows, shares, or tagging individuals. By doing this, you obtain a ton of engagement because of the motivation, and this could enhance your model attain.

engagement contest by sweet candles uk: "win one of our limited addition candles by following our instagram account, tagging 2 friends that love candles, liking this post, and commenting which scent you would like to win"

5. 1 Like 1 Vote

This contest often depends on user-generated content however takes it a step additional. The content will get promoted, and the viewers is requested to vote (with a like) on the most effective entry, whether or not it is a tune, drawing, selfie, or different showcase of expertise/persona. For this purpose, your “contestants” are additional incentivized to promote your contest to their audiences.

1 like 1 vote instagram contest by pulse millenia: "All our talent show entries are posted. Make sure to vote for your favorite by liking the post! feel free to share with friends and family!"

6. Raffle or Game

A raffle is simply as doable on-line as it’s in individual. You can direct your viewers to take part in no matter method you see match to select a random quantity or obtain a raffle ticket. At the tip, use a random quantity generator to choose the winner. You may also do video games comparable to “guess how many marbles are in the jar” or “how many differences can you find in these two pictures” as a method for contributors to win/enter.

instagram raffle by wondrous color cosmetics: "80 slots only! choose your number to get a chance to win our newly launched lip balm"

7. Offline Challenge

Just since you’re spreading the phrase of your contest via Instagram does not imply it has to be primarily based or held on Instagram. You can incentivize your viewers to do one thing open air, take part in a health problem, or carry out another exercise.

instagram challenge by scavenge corp: "sign up for the next outdoor scavenger hunt"

Ready to Run a Contest on Instagram?

Now that every little thing it takes to run a profitable, partaking Instagram contest, go put your data to work in your model.

Not solely will you find yourself partaking and increasing your viewers, however you’ll additionally find yourself with nice new content you should utilize to encourage future content and contests.

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Editor’s notice: This submit was initially revealed in July 2018 and has been up to date for comprehensiveness.

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