A great way for your small business to increase social media engagement, get more followers, and new customers is to run an Instagram contest or giveaway. If you haven’t already, now’s the perfect time to start using Instagram for your business! Instagram has proven to be a great resource for carrying out contests and they’re easy to do. Here are some tips on how to do an Instagram contest or giveaway for your small business.
Before doing an Instagram contest, decide on a goal that you want to get out of it. Is it to obtain email addresses for your email list? Grow followers? Expand brand name? Connect with other local businesses? How long will the contest run? Your goal will guide the contest.
Decide What Type of Instagram Contest to Run
There are several different ways to run an Instagram contest or giveaway. If you’re running a giveaway for the first time, keep it as simple as possible. You will need to keep track of the participants’ entries so the easier, the better. Depending on which type of contest you run, it may be difficult to monitor if the participants are completing all the required tasks.
Types of Instagram Contests
Like to Win
Like to Win is the easiest type of Instagram contest. In this type of contest, the participant must follow your account and like the photo to enter. If someone likes the photo but doesn’t follow you, they are not eligible to win. Easy, right?
The purpose of Like to Win is to get both followers on your account to see more of your brand posts as well and engage users with beautiful visual content.
Tag a Friend
Tag a Friend is another easy contest to run on Instagram. In this type of contest, participants must comment on your photo and tag another user in the comment section of the contest photo.
The purpose of a Tag a Friend Instagram contest is to increase the reach of your brand through your followers. By tagging someone else in the comment section of the contest photo, your followers are helping introduce new potential customers to your business.
Post Your Own Picture + Hashtag
A Post Your Own Picture Instagram contest works by encouraging participants to post an original picture related to your brand with a custom contest hashtag. For example, a company may host a selfie contest encouraging users to take a selfie (picture of themselves) at their business or with their product and use a custom hashtag. These contests have a high participation rate because they are easy for people to do.
The purpose a Post Your Own Picture is increasing user engagement and creating a buzz about your giveaway. The more buzz the more people who can become customers. The more people who participate, the better!
Repost + Hashtag
Another common type of Instagram contest is a Repost contest. In this type of contest, participants must repost the giveaway picture and use the giveaway hashtag in their own post.
The purpose of a Repost + Hashtag Instagram giveaway is to use your followers to increase the reach of your brand by reposting your contest on their Instagram accounts. A Repost + Hashtag giveaway will not only reach your followers, but your followers’ followers. You will know when someone enters the contest by receiving a notification in your account that someone tagged you in a photo.
Decide on a Prize
Depending on your customers, merchandise, and budget, there are a variety of different prizes you can give away. Some ideas include discounts, free items from your business, and gift cards. Market to your customer and give away a product or service that they would want.
If it’s around the time of a holiday, utilize that theme. Many business use fun, unofficial holidays to run an Instagram contest. For example, a bakery may run an Instagram giveaway for National Cookie Day, encouraging customers to take a picture with cookies in order a win a cookie basket.
To increase the reach of your contest, team up with another local business to engage their customers and give away something bigger and better. Once you have decided what works best for your business, you can post your picture and run your Instagram contest! Check out this guide with examples of Instagram Giveaways for more information.
Pick a Theme
Pick a theme for your Instagram contest—choose an upcoming holiday, current season, or popular trend. For more ideas, check out our Marketing Calendar.
Once you have your theme, take a creative and original picture to post on Instagram. Instagram is all about the cool pictures and graphics, so post something high quality and eye-catching to your followers! You want your photo to stand out to followers. It is imperative that the photo is visually appealing to generate interest.
Keep words off your picture, and instead post relevant contest information in the description box. Keep it short and sweet. Clearly define all the rules so that people can enter correctly. Make sure to include all of eligibility guidelines in the comment of your photo such as, “Like to Win a Summer Tote Bag filled with beauty products! Must follow our account and like a photo to win. Contest ends on June 25th at 1 pm Eastern Time.” Be polite in the description so that you seem personable.
It is very important to refer to the Instagram promotion guidelines in your description. You must also acknowledge that the giveaway is not sponsored, endorsed or administered by Instagram or associated with it.
Related: Instagram Contest Ideas
Instagram Contest Hashtags
Perhaps the most important part of running an Instagram giveaway is to create a unique hashtag to post in the description. Using a custom hashtag for your business or contest will help increase engagement. This is especially important if the rules require others to repost the picture or post their own original photo as it files the photos together for easier access to find the entries.
The purpose of a hashtag is so that you can search the hashtag and find all of the post related to your contest. The hashtag needs to be original so that unrelated pictures to the giveaway are not included. For example, a contest with #icecream is not specific enough. JP Lick’s #LIXPIX is unique and affiliated only with their photo contest.
A unique hashtag specific to your business separates everything else. You can also include hashtags that are relevant to the giveaway post to generate new, organic participants and potential customers. It’s important to research these hashtags ahead of time to ensure that the right audience is finding the picture. You want to make sure that the hashtag you use does not direct participants to irrelevant or negative content.
Promote the Instagram Giveaway on Social Media
One of the best ways to use Instagram for your small business is to cross-promote your posts on other social media channels. After you post your giveaway, make sure to spread the word about it on your other various social platforms. This notifies customers that might not follow your Instagram that you’re running a contest. Post the details on your Facebook or Twitter account to encourage followers to check it out and enter the contest.
Write a blog post about the contest related to the theme in order to further describe the entry details. If your company is connected to relevant bloggers, maybe ask them to write a post about it or share it on their social media.
After the Instagram Contest is Over
For most contests you should pick a random winner. You can pick a name out of a hat, but for a more scientific approach, use a website like Random Name Picker. This is the most fair way to blindly choose a winner.
Photo contests are subjective so you can pick a winner based on the photo that you like the best or best fits the theme of your contest. When you announce the winner to these types of giveaways, make sure to tell the participants why you chose the winning photo.
How to Announce the Winner of an Instagram Contest
After your Instagram giveaway is over, make sure to announce the winner. Notify them on Instagram through a comment or private message. Thank the participants for entering and share winner on Instagram in separate post.
If you are running an Instagram photo contest, share their original picture and explain why you chose it. Engagement between you and your followers is important in making personable content and acquiring more followers or potential customers. Also make sure to thank everyone that participated! Let them know that you appreciate the support of your business. This is important in ensuring future participation and support of the business.
How Often to Run an Instagram Contest
Run the contests regularly! Instagram contests are great ways to frequently offer special promotions to your loyal customers that follow you. You could also link up with other local businesses and contribute to a group giveaway that reaches more of your target market.
Have you run an Instagram contest for your small business? Let us know in the comments how it went!