7 Tips for a More Effective Instagram Contest

What’s the best way to get someone’s attention? Offer free stuff!

Savvy digital marketers know that when it comes to generating buzz on social media, running a contest has proven to be a worthwhile endeavor. Not only is your audience the most responsive when you have something to offer, but they’re also the most likely to provide you with valuable information such as email addresses, zip codes, and more.

If you’re considering running an Instagram contest, use these tips to help you maximize its effectiveness.


1.      Identify Your Goals

Before you start running your Instagram contest you should identify the business goals you’re looking to accomplish. For example, building an email list, user-generated photo library, or simply spreading awareness can all be viable options as business objectives.

Not only will this help in building the contest (by identifying which fields you’d like to include on a submission form), but it can also make it easier to evaluate the results once it’s complete.


2.      Consider Your Goal When Choosing Your Prize

One of the main factors in determining who enters a contest is, of course, the prize! Think about what your primary marketing objective is going to be for the contest, and then choose your prize accordingly.

A prize such as a Visa or Amazon gift certificate is ideal for brand awareness because just about every person who will see your contest would be interested. If, for example, you were looking to build your email database with dedicated customers, giving away some of your brand’s product might be better.


3.      Use Seasonal Themes

One way to obtain more entries into a social media giveaway is to include relevant themes that correspond to the time of year in which you’re running the contest.

Around the holidays, most users are looking for a way to win some extra cash to help with additional expenses associated with the season. If your company sells products or services that could also be relevant to the time of year, offering freebies could make a great prize as well.

4.      Promotion is Key

It might sound counterintuitive to pay to give something away, but marketers know that the return on investment is worth it if your contest brings in hundreds or thousands of entries.

Instagram’s advertising platform (through Facebook) provides an easy way to put a few dollars behind getting the word out about your contest. Even a small amount of money can go a long way in getting more users interested in your giveaway, and more importantly, your brand.

In addition to simply putting money towards advertising, it’s a good idea to develop a hashtag so that general visibility is increased. This is especially true if you want to capture some user-generated content to use for future marketing purposes.


5.      Mind Your T’s & C’s

Whenever you’re running a contest for a prize, it’s imperative to have a set of terms and conditions in place to ensure legality. It’s not the most fun part of the promotion, but it can save you from some serious headaches (and potential fines) if someone decides to report you for not following platform guidelines regarding contests.

The best way to make sure you’re in compliance with local, federal, and platform laws is to consult a lawyer. While the specifics of what you need to include in your terms and conditions can vary, things like: dates of the contest, any entry restrictions (such as age or current area of residence), transparency in how a winner is chosen, and details of how the prize will be given to the winner, are fairly standard among social media sweepstakes.

The regulations are always changing, so again, utilizing the help of a lawyer is highly recommended for this component of your contest.


6.      Have a Plan for Selecting a Winner

If you’ve run several similar contests in the past, this one might not be as big of a deal, but if this is your first, it’s crucial to know exactly how (and when) you’re going to select and contact the winner.

Some contests drive traffic to a third-party landing page that is derived from one of the many social media contesting platforms available today. Others might utilize a hashtag as a method of entry. These different ways to enter require different protocols for selecting a winner. In the case of a third-party site, advertisers should be able to download a list of names and then “pick out of a hat” so to speak. Other contests might involve a voting element in which the winner is selected by the users themselves.

Once you have a winner selected, you’ll also need to put in a plan to get in contact with them. Some examples are notifying them via a comment on their entry submission from the brand account, or a private email letting them know they were the winner.


7.      Keep It Simple

If you’re running a small to medium-sized business, you probably don’t have the time or resources to spend on putting together and executing a contest. The good news is that simple contests tend to be the highest-performing.

In most cases, either posting a photo with a hashtag or filling out a form with the fewest number of fields possible (think name, email address, age), is enough. The less work that is required on your audience’s end, the more results you’re going to see.


Wrapping Up

At the end of the day, social media marketing is supposed to be fun. Contests are a great way to show your brand in a positive light and get real interaction with users on the platform.

If your brand needs help strategizing for an upcoming promotion, get in touch today.