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Promoting Your Business With An Instagram Contest

Instagram has established itself as one of the premier platforms for brands who want to have a wider reach and a more active engagement with their target audience.

With 500 monthly active users and more than 95 million posts per day, this is a place where you can capitalize on interesting, attractive ad campaigns.

One of the best ways to engage with your target audience is through an Instagram contest. With minimal effort, you can let your customers win cool prizes, consisting of your products and services. In exchange, you get to connect with your market and get people excited about your brand.

The goal of your contest isn’t just to increase your follower count – you can speed up that process by purchasing followers and other signals of engagement. Just make sure to buy from a trusted provider.

Instead, Instagram contests will increase awareness of your brand and create real raving fans. Before you start giving stuff away, here are some tips on what you should know and how to run an Instagram contest that delivers results.

Instagram Contest Types

Like/Follow To Win

A like-to-win or follow-to-win contest is as simple as asking people to like your Instagram photo or follow your Instagram account in order for them to enter the contest.

Comment to Win

To qualify for the contest, you ask people to comment on a photo you uploaded to win a prize. This is also a chance for your audience to get creative with their contributions.

You can pose a question, for example, and choose the best answer as the winner.

Tag a Friend

It’s as simple as tagging a friend in the comment thread of a particular photo for a chance to win a prize. This is also a great opportunity to further expand your market, expanding through friends of friends.


You can ask your followers to regram/repost a photo you have uploaded onto their own Instagram feed to qualify for the contest.

Photo Challenge

Ask your users to get creative and post a photo on their personal accounts. They can use your product, use the contest hashtag, or tag your brand for a chance to win the prize.

Tag your photo to @omnomnominc to win a tshirt! #contest ends sept. 2

A post shared by Om Nom Nom Cookies (@omnomnominc) on

Instagram Contest Examples

Showing Brand Love

Sea to Sky Gondola, a British Columbia tourism company, asked users to post photos showing why they want to win an annual pass to the Sea to Sky Gondola using the hashtag #AnnualPassesAreBack. To increase the engagement and the hype, the company also did a daily giveaway.

Sharing a Memory

Playtex Baby asked people to share their favorite moments with their baby and use the hashtag #PlaytexBabyWIN, while tagging their brand @Playtexbaby in the photo. The chosen winners each got a $1,000 gift card.

Celebrating the Season

During the holidays, Starbucks runs their annual “Red Cup Contest.”

They ask their customers to submit photos of their creative versions of their red cups with the hashtag #RedCupArt. People can draw designs on their cups, make creative photos, recreate them with other materials, etc.

In just 5 days, Starbucks received over 24,000 entries. The chosen winners were given $500 eGift cards to Starbucks.

Tips for Running Your Instagram Contest

1. Plan Your Objectives and Goals

The key to running a successful contest is to know your purpose first, one that aligns with your brand’s vision and the behavior of your target audience. You want to set specific goals so you’ll know whether or not your objectives were met.

For example, if the objective of your contest was to raise brand awareness, you’ll measure things like engagement, website traffic, and follower count.

It’s important to think hard about the audience that you are trying to reach. What kind of posts do they like most on your account? How do they engage on Instagram? Do they typically use mobile devices? Focus your goals and purpose around the content that your target audience will likely engage with.

2. Plan Your Promotion Strategy

Contests need promotion to get off the ground. You will be doing promotions before, during, and after the contest.

Before you get started keep in mind the following:

  • Channels: What other social media platforms will you use to promote your contest?
  • People: Which influencers can you tap into? What events can you tie into?
  • Timing: What is your timeline? What are your promotion dates?
  • Barriers: Any foreseen risks? What is your mitigation plan?
  • Contest Momentum: How will you keep the momentum going?

3. Create Amazing Graphics

Remember that Instagram is about visuals. The photos and videos you will use for your Instagram contests should be engaging and eye-catching.

It will also be nice to come up with a design theme or template. This way, when you promote on different social media platforms, your branding is consistent and content creation is more convenient.

4. Make it Short and Sweet

Don’t make your contest too long. Generally, it should be around a week.

This is enough time for people to discover and enter the contest. If you run your contest too long, people might procrastinate and forget to enter.

5. Measure and Report

To measure the success of your contest, decide on key metrics and track them. You can start with:

  • Number of entrants
  • Number of comments
  • Engagement levels
  • Follower count
  • Website or landing page traffic
  • Product trials or purchases
  • Positive/negative feedback.

You can also evaluate qualitative data like the content of comments and questions in the entries. Use this information to improve your contest.

Contest Checklist:

1. Prize

You should choose a prize that is related to your business – preferably one of your products or services, or a gift card they can use with you. Make sure it’s something that would get your customers excited to enter your contest.

What kind of prize would excite and entertain them? Not only will you be giving away free stuff, which people love, you’ll also be spreading brand awareness and giving more people a chance to see and try your products.

2. Hashtag

Your hashtag needs to be clear, effective, and exciting. It should be contest-specific, easy to share and memorable for those who read it. Make sure you research your hastag thoroughly to make sure it has never been used.

3. Guidelines

Set internal and external guidelines for your contest. Internal guidelines include:

  • Assigned roles
  • Key responsibilities
  • Key dates
  • Prize packs
  • What happens after the winner is chosen

External guidelines are the rules you share with your followers and everyone else who might be joining your contest. They can include:

  • What the contest is about
  • The rules and parameters
  • Contest dates
  • Campaign hashtag
  • Winner announcement

Contest, Away!

The beauty of Instagram is that it’s a creative platform.To have the most success, you have to be creative with the type of contests you run, choose a significant prize, and use the right hashtags to attract your target audience.

If you want to have an impact on your audience, follow the company’s lead. Its broad promotion guidelines allow you to create and host giveaways and contests without a lot of hassle, letting you easily connect with your customers.

Now that you’ve got a handle on some tips and tricks to run a successful and engaging Instagram contest, apply the tactics that you think will work best for your brand. You can also consider purchasing followers to add some credibility to your account, attracting more people to your account and encouraging them to follow you.

When done well, with some skill and planning, Instagram contests can help you expand your audience and build a stronger community, and you’ll even end up with great new content that you can use for future contests.


congratulations Image credit: Giphy

Date: February 13, 2017 / Categories: Buy Instagram Followers, Case Studies, Marketing, / Author: Pamela


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