Instagram competitions are a great way for a small business to gain a whole host of new followers. With over 800 million active users every month, there’s a vast audience for you to tap into. And everyone loves a free giveaway, right? So here are our top tips on how to run a successful Instagram competition.
Set Your Goals
As with all good marketing, first decide what your goals are. Do you want to grow your Instagram followers? Get people to sign up to an email list? Drive more traffic to your website? Get brand awareness? Or most likely, a combination of several of these.
Now you know what you want to achieve, there are a number of types of competition you can run. Some are easy to enter while some need more effort from users.
The Different Types of Instagram Competitions
Like to Win
The easiest type of Instagram competitions to set up and enter are Like to Win. As its name suggests, users simply have to like a post to be in with a shot at the prize. The benefit is that it’s so easy to enter you’ll probably getting a high number of likes. But what do you get out of that? Well, when someone likes your post it shows up in their feed – but it’s not exactly obvious. Chances are very few of their followers will ever know.
Like & Follow to Win
To grow your followers it’s far more effective to run a Like & Follow contest. Users have to like your post and follow you to enter. If they just like but don’t follow they’re not entered – simple as that!
Like, Follow & Tag to Win
We love this one! It takes a bit more effort from users, but if the prize is good enough people will do it. To get an entry to your Instagram competition, users have to like your post, follow you and tag at least one friend in the comments. So you gain a new follower and get your comp seen by at least one other person. And as people tend to tag people like themselves, you’ll probably get another follower who also tags a friend… see where we’re going?
Like, Follow & Tag competition from @coxandcox
Post a Photo to Win
One to appeal to the creatives and those who are really engaged with your brand. People enter by posting an original photo of their own, usually featuring your product or brand, and using a custom hashtag unique to the contest. They’re easy and fun for people to enter and get high engagement rates, as Instagram users generally love to showcase their own creative talents. As before, users have to be following you to enter the contest so you gain followers, generate buzz about your brand and drive engagement. A triple-whammy!
Post a Photo to Win competition from @TavistockItalia
Repost With Hashtag
This type of competition needs a bit of work from users, but it means you can control the presentation of your brand. You create a strong, striking image which your followers have to repost along with a custom hashtag. Their followers then see the post and have to follow you if they want to enter as well. Although users will have to take a screenshot of your post before they can repost, it does mean you have a consistent brand image being spread throughout Instagram, rather than putting yourself at the mercy of what your users may conjure up.
Repost With Hashtag competition from @loutaylor
Make The Rules Very Clear
Instagram competitions are pretty relaxed on rules compared to some other social media sites (looking at you Facebook!). Just make sure users know exactly what they have to do to be in with a chance of winning. The easiest way of doing that is to take advantage of Instagram’s generous character count and put full details in the caption of the contest image. Spell it our clearly and you’ll get a higher number of entries. Even if you opt for a more complicated set of rules, that’s fine – just make it all clear in the post.
Use A Really Strong Image
This goes without saying, but you should create an extremely strong, striking image that will grab attention. Instagram is all about the photos so make sure yours stands out from the crowd and makes people want to take part. If you’ve got a super-cool prize, include that in your image if possible. But even if the prize is something valuable but un-photogenic – a year’s free accountancy for example – create an aspirational, eye-catching, sexy image to promote the giveaway.
Wonderfully striking competition image from @camillawithlove
Choose A Unique Hashtag
Do you want to spend days trawling through every post that mentions your business, just to track down competition entries? Thought not. Using a custom hashtag for your Instagram competitions lets you search for just that one once the contest ends, to find all the relevant entries. Make it easy on yourself. That’s not a bad hashtag actually #makeiteasyonyourself
Pick The Right Prize
Which leads us to last but decidedly not least… choose a prize users will want to win! There’s no point in having great creative, compelling copy and concise rules if no-one cares about what you’re offering. If you have a really cool product, so much the better. If not, you might want to invest a few pounds at this stage to buy one. It’s not really a prize you’re paying for so much as a whole new audience of potential customers, so it’s marketing money very well spent.
Done well, an Instagram competition is an excellent way of driving up your follower numbers, generating engagement and creating some hype around your brand. Set your objectives, choose your competition type, create an image and away you go.
What are your experiences with Instagram competitions? Have you tried one yet and if so, what worked for you?