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Run a Successful Instagram Competition by Following These Examples!

When done right, an Instagram competition can revive a dying campaign and bring forth a new following for businesses and users alike. There are different types of Instagram competition formats out there that are designed to achieve different bottom lines.  Learn how to launch a successful Instagram competition from these formats, and learn from some of the best examples from successful accounts below.  

Define the goal of the Instagram competition

Before launching an Instagram contest, brands must first define their goals. As mentioned earlier, there are different types of Instagram contests out there designed to achieve different end goals – from increasing email subscribers, to boosting engagement and visibility on the platform.

Instagram users can easily achieve multiple bottom lines with a single Instagram competition, but neglecting to plan ahead of time can complicate the process for their followers. Make sure that your goal fits within Instagram's competition policies at this point!

Choose a prize for a successful Instagram competition

Drawing people's attention becomes a lot easier if there's something valuable on the table. Aside from giving physical items away, users can also offer other value-adding prizes based on what their target followers need and want.

Examples include:

  • Discounted subscriptions to services
  • Discounts on products
  • A featured spot on their feed or website
  • Regramming content and @mentions
  • Meeting famous people behind the account, and other experiences

The Hillside Beach Resort launched the campaign #JobAtHeavenOnEarth to find their next Chief Instagram Officer. Entrants uploaded stunning photos accompanied by the brand-specific hashtag for a chance to win a free stay at the Hillside Beach Resort – as well as full control of the brand's Instagram account.

The Hillside Beach Resort knew who they were targeting for the campaign and designed an Instagram competition that would appeal to them in the best way possible. To get the most attention for this competition, they could have used an Instagram likes service to pump their numbers up to levels no one could ignore. 

Choose the right format for the Instagram competition

After defining end goals, it’s important to choose the right format for the Instagram competition. There are several formats to choose from, designed to achieve different goals and encourage different types of followers to join. Here are some examples:

  • Requiring signups to an email list by enter via a link to their website as one of the pre-requisites of the contest.
  • Making the use of a certain hashtag mandatory, this usually incorporates a new product being launched.
  • Whether you'll incorporate a popular hashtag into the strategy.
  • Having users tag their friends in the comments section.
  • Making the following of other social media profiles mandatory.
  • Liking certain content to push it to go viral is common.

Brands need to be careful about choosing their contest format. While Instagram offers high engagement, it's important to keep in mind that users have short attention spans. Choose a contest format that will benefit the end goal without setting up too many gatekeepers.

Macallan Whiskey gave their user-uploaded content strategy a boost when they asked their followers to upload a photo of themselves enjoying their famous whiskey using the hashtag #MeAndMacallan. Entrants with the most likes received Macallan merchandise and were featured on the brand's Instagram page.

Have a timeframe for your Instagram competition

After defining the goals and format of the contest, the next step is to think about the timeline. This means that entrants must have enough time to send in their entries, without letting it drag it for too long and losing momentum. These are the basics of the timeline:

  • Content to share which will begin the competition is prepared.
  • The contest begins.
  • Entrants are given a set time to enter.
  • The entries are closed off.
  • The competition organizers have a set amount of time to judge the winner.
  • Announcement of the winner.

Not giving entrants enough time to submit their entries can be frustrating, while dragging the entire process for too long can kill engagement.

Marc Jacobs turned to Instagram when they needed a new face for their Fall 2014 collection. They asked all their fashion-loving followers to send a photo of themselves accompanied by the hashtag #CastMeMarc for a chance to be part of the new campaign. They were flooded with entries, which helped them gain visibility on the platform and increase their repository of user-uploaded content. As shown above, they still get entries 4 years later!

A final part of the timeline is having a plan for when you’ll announce the winners, and announcing that in advance. It’s will be another moment for followers to want to engage with the competition and account.

Yes, this account had had a crazy numbers of @tags on it. This has been helped by the firm timeline of the contest ending, creating a sense of urgency amongst those who see it. This could be huge for driving new follower numbers.

Plan well for a successful Instagram competition

An Instagram competition is one of the best ways to drive engagement on an extremely busy social networking platform. By offering valuable prizes, Instagrammers can easily catch the attention of their target followers amidst the noise.

With proper planning and execution, launching a successful contest on Instagram is just a matter of defining marketing goals early on and giving the people something that will add value to their lives.


Date: May 3, 2018 / Author: Rich Drees

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