Instagram is having a large audience of about 700 million, among which 400 million check their Instagram daily. With this great customer potential, many businesses and individuals have turned to Instagram as a social media strategy to increase traffic, engagement, and customers to their sites. It is easy today to run contests online, with an Instagram contest. One important thing to take note of is the statement of release that is designed to maximise online value.

All contest posts shared on Instagram must have the statement below (or something similar).

Concerning Instagram rules, this promotion is in no way sponsored, administered, or associated with Instagram Inc. By entering, entrants confirm that they are 13+ years of age, release Instagram of responsibility, and agree to Instagram’s terms of use. Be vigilant to insert this statement at the end of your Instagram contest caption.

Trick: If you intend to regularly run contests,  copy this and post it in a note or app on your mobile device for easy access for future contest posts.

Instagram requires you to run your contest legally, ensuring you don’t violate any federal, state, or other laws applicable to your area. In addition, Instagram requires you to include official contest rules and terms of eligibility.

Have in mind that it isn’t possible to tag anyone in the contest post who’s not actually in the post itself, and you can’t ask users to tag themselves in a photo in which they do not appear. Users can mention (tag) people in the comments of a post but can’t be tagged in the actual post itself.

If you have a legal notice on your website regarding contest rules and details, you can post that link in your caption. For an updated list of the terms for Instagram contests, visit their help center.

Now that you know the restrictions and requirements for running a contest, here are the steps to take to run a successful contest on Instagram.

1. What is the goal of your Instagram Contest?

Before you start any contest, you must have a goal. For example, you might want to: increase traffic, generate more engagement on your posts, grow your Instagram following and others.

In general, contests are a great way to grow your audience and expand your reach on Instagram. When using contest requirements to “tag a friend in the comments,” as in the post above, your existing audience does the work of sharing your content with their friends. And if their friends have similar interests and like your Instagram contest, they’ll join in and tag their friends too. Your follower count then grows exponentially.

If you’re launching a new product or service, a giveaway campaign can be a resourceful way to drum up excitement and interest. For product-based businesses, UGC (user-generated content) is a powerful way to generate fresh content and gain a new perspective about how your product is being used.

Instagram contests will usually boost your post engagement, resulting in multiple benefits in relation to the Instagram algorithm.

Your post may rank higher in hashtag searches, allowing new audiences to find your content when it performs well. And if your audience isn’t typically responsive to your normal posts but engages with a contest post, it can help bump your regular content higher in their feeds for a period of time.

2 Plan your Instagram Competition

After you have chosen a goal, you’re set to plan it.

Pick a relevant prize or incentive to participate

Your Instagram contest prize should be something related to your business or brand. Don’t give away an iPad just to get traffic; it won’t bring in quality participants who will actually benefit your business. You want to choose a prize of significant value to warrant the level of participation. The more valuable the reward, the more participation and participants you’ll get.

To illustrate, asking people to take a photo with your product or performing an action and posting that to their profile is a big “ask” and warrants a larger prize. Conversely, asking people to like a post and tag a friend in the comments is a small request and would warrant a low-value prize.

Determine how users will participate

You also need to decide how users will enter the contest. Some possibilities are to follow your account, like the post, @mention one or more other users, post something with a hashtag, go to your website, and so on. Entry requirements can be one or any combination of these criteria.

The key is to make it easy for users to participate. Limit the entry requirements to three or four steps.

Contest rules or conditions

Define contest rules and conditions for eligibility. Should participants be of a certain age or are there certain restrictions (like Only for Africans)?

Also, you need to determine the duration of the campaign, as well as the start and end dates. Is the campaign a 1-day campaign or will it be for multiple days, 1 week, or 2 weeks? If the requirements to enter involve participants sharing an image or other more time-consuming actions, the campaign may need to run longer.

Use a Campaign Hashtag to promote your contest and source content shared as entries in the contest, as well as track your success and analytics. It is important to choose a hashtag that’s related to the campaign, theme, product or service, and/or your business.

The campaign hashtag should just be for that individual campaign. Also, make sure no one else is using it.

When planning your campaign, you also need to decide how winners will be chosen and how you’ll notify them. Will you use a random generator tool (Ritetag, hashtagify, instavast hashtag generator) or will entries be judged? Will you email the winners or DM them on Instagram? Or use another method?

Once you’ve notified the winners, you can publicly announce them on Instagram via a campaign post. It’s a best practice to inform winners privately before publicly announcing them on Instagram.

3. Launch and promote your Instagram Contest

To do so, you can communicate your contest or giveaway with text in an image or graphic. This is to call viewers’ attention when people scroll through their Instagram feeds. Relate your image to the theme of the campaign.

When writing the caption for your contest post, include the terms of entry and legal disclaimers mentioned above.

How you promote the campaign will depend on how long it will run. It is important to decide if you’ll post multiple times a day or once a day. Use your Instagram analytics to determine the best times of the day to post. Do not expect a massive result overnight, especially if your audience isn’t used to you hosting contests. Consistency will help build momentum for your brand.

Moreover, to ensure people see the contest, promote it on your Instagram Stories, your Facebook group or page, your newsletter, or in your store.

4. Assess contest results

Track the results of your contests to measure the participation, increase in followers, clicks to your website, and other criteria. You can begin to compare the data from each contest to determine which types of prizes, the times of the year, the content, and the types of participation that drive the best results for your business, based on your individual goals.

At the end of the competition, edit your post caption to read “Contest CLOSED” at the very beginning of the post. This is to stop users from participating after the contest is ended.



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