Beginner’s Guide to Running a Social Media Contest

Beginner’s Guide to Running a Social Media Contest

Are you looking for a simple way to boost your Instagram engagement? It's as easy as running a contest!

Reasons Why You Should Run a Contest…

1. Visibility

Running a contest on Instagram will bring on new followers and brings major brand awareness to your business with one post. It boils down to one fundamental idea… People love winning free stuff! If they see a chance to win something for free, your followers are likely to engage. They'll tag their friends, neighbors, family, hairstylists, and coworkers in order to have a chance to win! This leads to the domino effect - before you know it, plenty of people have eyes on your post triggered by a friend tagging them or posting about your contest.

2. Increase Your Instagram's Engagement

All of these people interacting with your profile/post are going to send your engagement through the roof! This, in turn, causes the Instagram algorithm to give your post a little boost by showing the post to more people. This means more contest entries, more followers, and more brand awareness! It will also assist in building stronger relationships with your existing audience. When you give something away, it helps create an emotional connection between you and your followers.

3. Boost Your Followers

If you're looking to grow that follower count, make sure you select the type of contest that requires those who want to enter to follow you! You can also take it a step further and partner with another brand or company - this opens you up to a new audience! It all goes back to wanting free stuff. People will want to enter and if you set up a contest prize they can't refuse, you'll watch your follower count rise.

Types Of Contests

1. Like to Win

This the simplest and most basic type of Instagram contest: simply have your followers "double-tap" on the contest post to enter themselves into the contest. This method gives all of your followers have a fair shot because it guarantees one entry per person! This way works best for lower-stakes contests.

2. Comment to Win

Another simple entry method is having your followers comment on the post to enter your contest! The options are endless with this method - whether it's a photo captioning or commenting on their favorite emoji, you have some creative freedom here! If you want to limit each follower to one comment, make sure to make that clear in the copy!

3. Tag to Win

A very popular Instagram contest method and probably the best way to increase your engagement — have your existing followers "tag a friend" to enter the contest. From there, it's a domino effect! That tagged friend tags their friends. From there it continues, people keep entering and before you know it, everyone they know is entering into your contest!

4. Post a Photo to Win

This Instagram contest method involves your followers posting a photo on their personal Instagram account. They enter the contest by tagging your account in the photo they post or using a specific hashtag that you provide. Another example of the Instagram contest domino effect: now the followers of the accounts who post are much more likely to check out the contest, and your account!

5. Repost-to-Win

Similar to post a photo-to-win contest, the repost-to-win contest requires your followers to share your post on their personal story! Keep this in mind when you create your graphic for your contest - if it's going to reposted and seen by their followers, make sure it's branded well! If it includes all the contest information and is visually pleasing, people are more likely to click and find out more. This is an easy way to spread your content by using your followers!

The Execution

Now that you know the why behind running an Instagram contest and the types of contests that you can run, you need to how to execute it!

1. Choose the Best Time to Run Your Contest

This is where Instagram analytics come into play. In your analytics, you can see when your followers are most active on the app. Pay attention to what days you see the most engagement and post then! When it comes to the time of year, you can focus on major themes. For example, we are currently running a March Madness-themed contest on our Instagram (@HyperchatSocial). Whether it's a holiday, sports event, or even time for a new product launch - make sure to plan accordingly.

2. Partner with a Brand/Company

Another way to ensure a successful contest is partnering with a brand, influencer, or company! Teamwork makes the dream work! Make sure to select a brand or company that aligns with your values and will represent you well. You want to take into consideration both your audience and your partner's audience. If you find a great partner, this doubles your entries and expands your network!

3. Pick a Prize

We know that people love winning free stuff, but you still want to pick something enticing! Think about it this way: what would your followers be interested in? What could they use in their lives? What is worth them entering your contest? Choose a prize that has value and decide what kind of investment you want to make to grow your following and boost engagement!

4. Create Rules

Time to set some rules! Here are a few things to take into considerations…

  • How should your followers enter the contest (take your pick from the above options)?
  • How many times can they enter?
  • Any major restrictions?
  • When does the contest end?
  • When will the winner be announced?

5. Launch it!

Now it's time to spread the word! Once your contest is up and running, make sure to tell everyone! Promote it on your Instagram story and then spread it to every other platform that you are active on. Include it in your newsletter, put it on your website - any way you can think to promote your contest.

6. Pick a Winner

When the timeline of your contest to an end, it's time to select the winner! Depending on the type of contest you ran, there are a few ways you can pick a winner. If it was a creatively based contest, you can pick your favorite. If it's a comment or tag-to-enter contest, you can use a randomized online generator to select a winner for you. Create a post to announce the winner and make sure to thank everyone for entering!

When it comes to running an Instagram contest, it isn't as intimidating as it might seem! Follow these guidelines and watch your followers grow, engagement skyrocket, and brand awareness increase! If you're unsure of how to navigate Instagram contests or just have questions about social media, we are here and ready to help. Go ahead and schedule a consultation with us and we'll begin showing you how to turn your Social into Sales.


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