How to Run a Successful Instagram Contest

How to Run a Successful Instagram Contest

The Instagram community is made up of 150 million monthly active users and sees 55 million photos added per day. So what are you doing to be part of this community? One way to engage your Instagram followers is to host a contest. Here are the important things to know when planning your contest.

Choose Your Image

There are basically two ways to conduct an Instagram contest. The first is to post a photo that you want users to share, or “regram,” in order to enter. This is extremely valuable because it multiplies your audience to the followers of your followers. Regram contests can be used to coincide with product launches, special events or campaigns. Make sure whatever image you use is appealing and related to the thing you’re promoting.

The other option is to have users submit their own photo around a theme of your choosing. For example, John Mayer is holding a contest where users can submit their original photos based on his new single “What You Love” and enter to win concert tickets. However, with a photo submission contest, there is a risk of fewer entries because this requires more effort and involvement than simply reposting. The benefit is that you get quality engagement and great photos to share with your entire audience when you announce the winners.

Have a Compelling Offer

Whatever prize you offer, make sure it’s compelling. A strong incentive will help ensure more entries.

Some examples:

  • Sam Ash ( Sam Ash’s contest is a great use of Instagram video and appeals to their target audience of musicians.
    Grand Prize: Open for Steve Vai at a show, backstage meet and greet

Track Entries

The easiest way to track your entries is by hashtag. This goes for both types of contests. Make sure it’s specific to your campaign, like #UncoverToronto, #SamAshVai or #Fiestagram. You can also require users to mention your username in the caption so others can easily go to your Instagram page.

Promote Your Contest

Maximize your message and number of entries by promoting your contest. Instagram is beginning to integrate sponsored posts, which can help bring attention to your photo contest. Another way to promote your contest is by mentioning it on your other (preferably verified) social media channels. This way, fans from other outlets that may not already be following you on Instagram can participate and know that the contest isn’t spam.


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