Contests for Instagram: How Brands Use Contests To Achieve Wild Success

Instagram contests
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Kamila Palka

Last Updated: Mar 7, 2023

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Contests for Instagram continue to grow in popularity, as many brands come to realize that Instagram is a key channel to expand their reach and target new customers. With over one billion monthly active users, Instagram happens to be the ideal place to promote and rapidly grow your brand, no matter what your ultimate marketing goals are. If Millennials and Gen Z adults are your primary target audience, then I have great news: these two groups make up for more than 60% of total Instagram users. And with Instagram contests, you can reach and engage them with less hassle and more efficiency. 

Why Contests For Instagram? 

It’s no secret that online communities tend to interact with their favorite brands, especially when high-quality content is involved. Instagram contests, aligned with a consistent social media presence and strategy, attract new followers, boost Instagram engagement, and even tap into customer loyalty, as the organizing brand comes across as strong and trustworthy. Let’s not forget about brand and product awareness going through the roof, as Instagram giveaways and contests can grow your account up to 70% faster! 

Follow The Rules And Laws

Talking about customer trust, let’s remember how vastly important it is to follow all Instagram promotion guidelines. Make sure you don’t launch a promotion that violates Instagram’s rules, as you might end up getting your post deleted and account blocked. It’s crucial to include terms and conditions and eligibility requirements (such as age and residency restrictions), as well as state that your contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Instagram. You should also make sure that your contests are in compliance with all applicable federal and state laws. 

Be on the safe side and use a free terms and conditions template whenever running contests for Instagram. It’ll keep you ahead of the game and help your credibility. 

Comment And Tag Giveaways

It’s common knowledge that the easier your contest the more participants it’ll attract. And comment-based giveaways are the most simple and quickest way to boost social media interactions and build out your following. So, if you want to run quick contests for Instagram then put your bets on comment-to-win giveaways! 

Comment With A Hashtag

Everyone can learn from La Croix. They regularly run comment contests on Instagram and believe me when I say, their engagement goes through the roof every time! You might wonder how that’s possible but the answer is very simple; the entry requirements are incredibly clear and it takes less than 30 seconds to participate in La Croix’s giveaways. “Comment our favorite La Croix hashtags for a chance to win!”, I mean… Who wouldn’t participate?

Tag And Win Contests

Do you want to reach as many potential customers as possible? There’s an easy way to expand your audience, and build out your brand community. Simply follow the steps of Yoga with Jennison. 

Jennison looked for a better way to attract new customers, while also maximizing her social media reach. She ran a simple comment-to-win giveaway, and Instagram users participated by tagging two friends in the comment section. This is always a great idea if you’re trying to boost social media visibility and build customer leads. I mention two friends, they do the same and the giveaway, and the brand, go viral! 

Bear in mind that you can also ask participants to follow your account, and it’s a great way to grow your online community, as you can literally get hundreds of new followers with a single giveaway. Just remember that you’ll have to manually confirm whether the giveaway winner is also your follower, as currently there is no automatic way to verify it

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Create Engagement With Open-Ended Questions

One of the most common goals for social media marketing is to increase user interactions, and therefore engagement. As I’ve already explained, comment giveaways do the magic! But if you want to reinforce customer relationships at the same time make sure your entry requirements include open-ended questions. Why? Also, brands gather a good understanding of who their customer is and how they are using the product. Ask them to share their memories, opinions, or even dreams and plans, and in return give them a chance to win your product, freebie bundles or even discount codes and merchandise. Take a look at how Gruum did it.

Social Media Collaborations For Instagram Contests

Do you want to promote your product but your social media following is still not as impressive as you’d want it to be? There’s a simple way to take care of both of these aspects.

Identify Instagram influencers whose target audience is similar to yours and together run an Instagram sweepstakes. Apart from reaching a new audience you also double your chances of increasing revenue. But don’t worry if you can’t collaborate with popular influencers. Instead, you can find a brand whose goals are similar to yours, and together you can target each other’s audience, just the way Like Air and Mr. Tortilla did. 

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Photo And Video Contests For User-Generated Content 

Did you know that customers are 2.4 times more likely to view user-generated content as more authentic than any other content shared by brands? Authenticity plays a big role in purchase decisions, with 51% of customers more likely to continue purchasing from brands that reshare their content. Businesses often use Instagram as their main platform to reshare user pictures, videos, reviews, and comments, as it’s the best way to reach a wide audience, boost credibility, and impact customer lifecycle. 

contests for Instagram stories

Many social media users unknowingly become brand ambassadors whenever they share shots of their favorite products online. Businesses are on a constant lookout for creative and captivating content, and they often obtain it by directly interacting with their customers and resharing their Instagram Stories. 

Did you know that you can reshare Stories from any public account that mentions you? It’s an effective way of boosting brand engagement and social media visibility, but resharing user-generated content as posts isn’t as easy. You need the owner’s consent. 

Many Instagram accounts heavily rely on pictures submitted by their social media followers. Every year, millions of tourists visit the Golden State, so businesses like Visit California easily collect beautiful images from their online community. However, small businesses face bigger challenges when it comes to obtaining UGC and this is when Instagram photo contests can take the weight off their shoulders. 

contests for Instagram UGC

UGC-focused photo contests, when run correctly, bring numerous benefits to brands. There are a few key points you should consider:

  • Topic. Set a specific topic to guide users. Don’t ask them to share just random pictures. “Your favorite product on holidays”, or “Show us how you use our ”. 
  • Purpose. Explain why you need the pictures and how you will use them. People won’t share their personal pictures if they don’t know how you’re planning to use them.
  • Prize. Give something in return for your followers’ efforts. Offer product bundles for the best photo, or discount codes to all participants. It’s a great product promotion strategy and you might even boost your sales. 
contests for Instagram UGC

So what’s the best way to obtain Instagram users’ consent to repurpose their content? Launch an easy “hashtag and entry form” contest. Users participate in your Instagram contest by connecting their account with a registration form in which they leave their contact details and accept terms and conditions! 

Edit the terms and conditions template and mention that by accepting the terms and conditions users automatically give you permission to reshare their content. Easy, right? Then you can display all the entries in a public gallery – the way Smartbox Portugal did – or share your favorite shots on your Instagram feed the way regularly does. 

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Reinforce Brand Awareness With Branded Photo Contests For Instagram

Do you want your branded contests to stand out? An easy and effective way to shine the light on your brand is running a photo contest where participants personalize their pictures with stickers and frames provided by your brand. Wondering what’s so special about it? You can enable a voting system and ask the public to choose their favorite pictures. This will encourage social media sharing, and therefore boost brand awareness and social media visibility. 

LATAM Airlines and TravelUp agency ran a pizza creating contest which attracted almost 1000 participants, and 17,000 viewers. Notice how all pictures feature the organizers’ logos. Can you think of a more ingenious way to expose online users to your brand? 

Use Instagram Contests To Convert Followers Into Qualified Leads

Think about all the people that follow you on Instagram and imagine how great it’d be to contact them with personalized offers and promotional campaigns. Let’s take a look!

Entry form giveaway applications are the most simple tool in any marketer’s toolbox. All you have to do is customize the application, come up with an attractive incentive and share the link on your social media channels the way Ottsworld did. Personally, I use the tool, you can personalize your links, display them in a variety of different ways, and you can even connect it with your Instagram, Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter accounts.

Social media users headed to Ottsworld’s link in bio to then access a registration form where the organizer requests contact information. Remember, you can ask for email addresses, phone numbers, favorite breakfast cereal… But each field is a new participation barrier so the simpler the better. 

In this case, Ottsworld expanded their mailing list adding more than 560 new subscribers.

Also, if you want to convert as many followers as possible, you can distribute discount codes and coupons to all registered participants, which also increases your revenue potential.

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Gamify Your Marketing

The word “gamification” is still quite new when it comes to marketing, however it’s interesting to watch how quickly this new trend is gaining popularity and recognition. Even though gaming isn’t associated with nobel characteristics, gamification in business offers surprising benefits for brands. 

What would you do if Instagram got deleted? How would you locate the hundreds or thousands of followers that daily interact with your brand? Let’s be honest, you wouldn’t be able to reach them in any way. That’s why it’s vital for brands to own  customer data. Not only does customer data help brands deliver personalized experiences but it also helps them generate synthetic data which improves business efficiency.

Gamification helps in not only converting followers into leads, but also in reinforcing customer loyalty and further exposing online communities to brands’ corporate image and the brands’ products/services. 

Convert Followers With Playable Promotions

We all know that content is king and that powerful interactive content is where it’s all at. Comments and likes are grand and all, but if you want to boost sales, reinforce your brand and stay top of mind with your customers you have to engage them in more innovative ways. 

A creative and effective marketing action is a branded prize wheel through which brands can distribute discount codes and attractive freebies. The trick is that every participant must register in order to spin the prize roulette! 

If you wish to share single prizes you can opt for another game such as a branded Memory or Puzzle game. You use images of your products to further increase product awareness, and can  even fully customize the application to match your corporate image. Once you launch a game, use the tool, Stories and sponsored posts to disseminate the contest and encourage users to directly interact with your brand.

contests for Instagram games

Running Contests For Instagram On Your Story

More than 500 million people use Instagram Stories on a daily basis, therefore, it’s no surprise that many brands and influencers turn to Stories as their main channel for launching giveaways and contests for Instagram users. While using the Q&A feature or other engaging tools available for stories are great for overall engagement, it may not be the best for your contests. Just hear me out.

Currently, Instagram doesn’t allow any tools to automatically collect giveaway entries from Instagram stories. This means that you’d have to monitor all new entries and manually write them on a piece of paper or in a word document. Simply put, you can’t run automated giveaways on Instagram Stories, which makes them less reliable and loads of manual work to achieve your marketing goals. For now, take the safer, streamlined route and run a traditional giveaway, and use Stories to promote your contests like in the example below.

contests for Instagram story

Succeed With Contests For Instagram

Hopefully this article has given you some useful insights into Instagram contests and that you now understand how easy it is to engage your audience on this super trendy social media platform. And if you’re just getting started, make sure you discover some handy tips on setting up and promoting your Instagram account before you run catchy contests for your Instagram followers! 

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Author Bio

Kamila Palka is a marketing assistant at Easypromos, always on a lookout for creative digital promotions and new blog post ideas. When she’s not working on a new campaign, you’ll find her working out, skydiving or starting a new Netflix series with her cat.

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