Lots of small businesses run their contests on Instagram, having fans like and/or share a photo as entry, or having users tag friends as entry. You probably didn’t really think of Instagram as a viable market for hosting a contest, but it’s actually a great place to do. There’s almost no learning curve — it’s as simple as knowing how to take and upload a photo, the users do the rest.
Types of Contests
Like to Win — This type of contest asks followers to like a photo in order to enter into the contest. A winner is chosen via a random number generator. This contest will likely get you more followers during the duration of the contest, most of whom will stick around after the contest ends, especially if you keep your photo roll interesting and engaging.
Submit a Selfie — People love to take photos of themselves. Ask people to submit a photo of themselves doing something specific or using a specific product. This is where hashtags come into play because you can ask entrants to use certain hashtags on their entry so you can see photos from everyone, whether they’re following you or not.
Voting for Something — Have users vote on a favorite photo submitted by other users who are doing a specific task or using a specific product. The photo with the most votes wins a prize.
These are pretty common types of contests, but feel free to think outside the box and come with something on your own. This is a chance to get creative and really let your company shine.
Running a Successful Instagram Contest
The key to running a successful Instagram contest is to keep it simple, for both you and your followers. Once you’ve decided what type of contest you want to run, look at other Instagram users who have run that type of contest. They might have some great trick you didn’t think of that made their contest a success. While you should try to avoid copying other users outright, it’s okay to put your own twist on an existing idea. Here, a few other tips for keeping it simple and successful:
Pick a contest method and a prize. You can give away whatever you want, but if your ultimate goal is to get people interested in your business, it’s wise to give away a prize that is directly from your business. It doesn’t have to be huge — a free trial of a product or service or a gift card. Don’t cheap out and only give away a $5 gift card, though; you have to make it worthwhile for people to enter.
Use an Instagram contest app to create an actual page for your contest, something you can share to Twitter and Facebook. This will increase your reach beyond your current followers and increase the number of followers you have.
Share! Share the contest details to your blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, and your email newsletter. If you have a brick and mortar store, post a flyer with details about the contest for customers. Include a flyer with their in-store purchase.
Know what’s happening. Use hashtags and Google Alerts to stay on top of what’s happening with your contest. Be sure to answer questions people might have. Make sure to start and end the contest on time.
Do you have any ideas for Instagram contests and/or any tips for a successful contest?