5 Ways to Run Interesting Contests on Instagram

Instagram contests are a great way to generate attention for your brand on a platform with over a billion users. Whether you are trying to grow your online presence quickly or simply want to share with your followers, there are many reasons why you may want to run an Instagram contest. You can increase engagement with contests and giveaways which will make your content visible to Instagram’s algorithm. However, before you enter your first Instagram contest, here are several points you need to know, including how to stay within the rules and get the best results.

  • Your Instagram contest must operate lawfully.
  • Photo tagging should be accurate.
  • You should also include entrants’ complete releases of Instagram, and a statement clearly outlining that your contest is in no way affiliated with Instagram.
  • Instagram will not assist you in running a contest.
  • Contests on Instagram are run at your own risk.

Ideas to run the Contest


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  1. Establish Objectives and Goals

It is important to plan out your Instagram marketing contest before getting started. Running a successful contest means having an objective that aligns with your target audience’s interests and behaviour. The most important thing you can do whether you are trying to get Instagram followers buy or increase engagement is to set a specific goal so that you are not left wondering if you have succeeded.

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Considering the audience you are trying to reach can help you narrow your focus: What are their favourite posts to see on your account? How do they like to post on their feeds? What is their behaviour on the platform? Ideally, you should aim to focus your goals and purpose around content that your audience will actually want to post and interact with if you are looking to drive engagement. You should consider establishing a contest time frame and a budget as you will be able to plan a more effective contest if you know these details in advance.

  1. Make an Entry Method

The most engaging and effective Instagram contests are those that require participants to upload their own photos, but brands can run contests in a number of different ways. To increase the chances of your audience actually entering the contest, it is important to establish and emphasize what they need to do.

These are some ideas that can help increase engagement on your profile and encourage people to enter your contest:

  • Use a specific hashtag and theme to encourage your viewers to post photos or videos to Instagram.
  • Follow your audience exclusively or have them follow you in addition to creating a post.
  • Make sure your audience tags your brand in their posts.
  • Encourage your audience to Like or comment on your posts.
  1. Create the Perfect Hashtag
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An engaging Instagram contest relies on a good hashtag. In the absence of this, the contest and content cannot be connected. Therefore, hashtags serve as a mechanism for sharing and promoting participation in brands and contests. The problem is, coming up with the perfect hashtag can be challenging. In a contest with a time limit, you should choose a hashtag you will not want to use repeatedly. It is also hard to pick a hashtag that is unique and catchy when there are so many being created every day.

However, to help you identify the optimal hashtag for gaining more followers on Instagram and participation, consider the following guidelines:

  • Short: Become a household name by creating a memorable hashtag. The more readable and recognizable your hashtag is, the better it is for your contest.
  • Relevant: When creating a hashtag, you should make sure that it relates back to your brand name, your products, or your services. It is likely that you will have a difficult time figuring out who your participants are if you choose a generic, crowded hashtag such as #ThrowbackThursday.
  • Memorable: It is likely that users will see promotions for your contest before you post the content. It is important that your hashtag be memorable enough for users to remember to act on it after thinking about it one time. You should make your hashtag easy to search, easy to write, and catchy.
  • Universal: Consider your audience. Is everyone speaking the same language or using the same words? Be careful about using slang words or regional terms that might confuse an international audience.
  • Rare: Make sure to search before selecting a hashtag. Do a lot of people use your ideal hashtag for some other purpose? Then perhaps it is time to start over.
  1.  Define a Clear Theme
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If you have decided to host a UGC-based Instagram contest, you are now ready to select a theme! It is perhaps best to choose a topic that complements your target market and your niche interests, but you should not hesitate to lean on popular trends, upcoming holidays, or current seasons.

Allow your audience to share their favorite self-portrait by joining the selfie bandwagon! Your contestants can provide a visual example of your brand or simply pose in the mirror for a fun shot. This is a great way to gain Instagram followers by buying them and get people talking.

  1. Decide on an Appropriate Award

Consider your target audience, your budgetary constraints, and how aggressively you are planning to reach your goals when determining what the award for your contest should be. It should not be forgotten that when you ask your audience to take part in your contest, you are asking them to do something. In any endeavor of this nature, you will need the prize value to exceed the cost and effort required to enter the contest. Free t-shirts are unlikely to make people jump through hoops, but something like a free vacation is likely to.

In addition to matching the entry action, your prize should also align with the interests of your target audience. Consider your target audience. What might they like? You might have a long list of answers for this question — the budget not taken into account. A value-packed prize that conveys your brand’s unique essence is what you are looking for to also increase engagement. The most common prizes brands provide for contests are gift cards, free services, coupons, giveaways, or goodie bags, but be always in favor of getting creative too.

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After learning everything you need to know about running an Instagram contest, put your newfound knowledge to work for your brand and gain Instagram followers. This will not only engage and expand your audience, but you will also end up with great new content that can be used to inspire future content and contests.