Request A Demo

5 Killer Instagram Contest Tips for Brand Exposure

In case you haven’t noticed, Instagram is one of the highest-returning social media platforms this year. Research from L2 found that 65% of top-performing Instagram posts feature products, meaning if you are hoping to showcase your product to a large audience (and of course sell more product), Instagram is sure to deliver great results. But if you want to improve your marketing game and drive even better results, you might want to take a look at running some contests.

2017 Holiday Planning Guide for Social Marketers

5 Tips for Running a Successful Instagram Contest

Instagram is killing it, folks. If you aren’t using this platform, then you’re missing out on a chance to take your brand exposure to the next level. Think of the 500 million daily active users on Instagram and the potential for them to convert into customers. There are a variety of reasons for the success of Instagram, but it ultimately comes down to the high level of engagement the platform offers, as well as the human attraction to visual content. Instagram users are highly active, and marketers can leverage their audiences to increase sales. L2 also reported that consumers who see a user-generated photo on their path to purchase have a 4.5% higher chance of conversion.

There are multiple ways to leverage Instagram as a marketing and branding tool, but contests have proven to be enormously successful over the last couple of years.

Here are a few tips to help you enjoy results in this area.

1. Set Clear Goals

Before you do anything else, you must take the time to understand who your audience is – as it pertains to Instagram – and what they want from you. You can do this in a number of ways, both intuitively and by using data.

What sorts of posts do your followers interact with most frequently? When are your followers most active? What sort of content do they post?

“If you’re looking to drum up a lot of engagement, you should aim to center your goals and purpose around content that your audience actually wants to post and engage with.”

-Marketing Expert Bethany Cartwright

Simply Measured Listening allows you to explore topics surrounding your brand, your competitors, industry, or specific offerings.

2. Choose a Compelling Reward

People have to be motivated in order to participate in your contest. And while every individual user has their own motivation, you should develop a reward that compels the majority of your followers. According to Wishpond, a good incentive does three things:

  • Encourages followers to take a specific action
  • Aligns with what you’re asking. (In other words, simple incentives require simple actions, whereas bigger prizes are given for more involved requests).
  • Is related to your brand in some form or fashion

If you can find a reward that checks off each of these boxes, you’ve got a compelling prize for your contest.

3. Encourage User-Generated Content

One of the biggest benefits of an Instagram contest is that it offers you the opportunity to leverage user-generated content. Instead of just asking people to like or comment on a post, ask them to create their own content (or share some of your content). This increases your exposure and gives you content that can be used in the future.

As an example, Starbucks hosted their White Cup Contest, asking users to design a cup and share it to Instagram using the hashtag #WhiteCupContest. The winning cup would be turned into a limited edition reusable plastic cup.

4. Select the Right Time Frame

The timeframe is very important. If the contest is too short, you won’t get enough visibility. If it’s too long, people will lose focus and avoid getting involved. While it all depends on the sort of prize you’re offering and how big your audience is, a week-long contest is typically a safe bet.

5. Measure Results

Finally, you should measure the results of your contest so that you know exactly how you did in terms of exposure, reach, engagement, and conversions. This will let you know whether or not the contest was cost-effective and what you can do in the future to make it more beneficial.

Using Simply Measured Conversion Tracking, you can determine the business value of your Instagram contest.

Gamification for the Win

Whether it’s Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, or any other interactive social platform, gamification is hugely popular right now. People love socializing, but they also like winning. Contests provide an opportunity for both of these desires to converge in a highly visible way. Consider trying your hand at an Instagram contest and see what sort of feedback you get.

If you’re looking for more ways to optimize your Instagram strategy, read our blog post, “When Is the Best Time to Post on Instagram?” to gain insight into what the pros say are the best days and times to post content.

Get everything you need to analyze the metrics that matter

The 30-Day Social Marketing Transformation Plan


Larry Alton

Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Never Miss a Post!

Request a Demo