Instagram contests are a great way to engage followers and get them excited about your brand. But if you want to make sure your contest is successful, there are a few dos and don’ts you need to keep in mind.

In this article, we’ll explore what Instagram contests are, how they can help your following grow, regulations you need to keep in mind, and the most important dos and don’ts of running a contest on Instagram.

What are Instagram Contests?

Instagram contests are simply online competitions that are held on the platform. They usually involve users submitting photos or videos related to a theme, and then winners are chosen by either a public vote or by a panel of judges.

Contests give users a reason to interact with your brand, and they can be a great way to increase engagement and grow your following. If you wonder how to grow an Instagram account quickly, then organizing contests will definitely help you reach your goals. They can also be used to generate leads, promote products or services, or even just to create some fun content.

Why Run an Instagram Contest?

There are many reasons you might want to run an Instagram contest. Here are a few of the most popular:

  • Increase engagement: By running a contest, you can encourage your followers to interact with your brand. This can help you increase the number of comments, likes, and shares on your posts.
  • Grow your following: A contest is a great way to get new people interested in your brand. When users see that you’re running a contest, they’ll be more likely to follow you so they can enter.
  • Generate leads: If you’re looking to promote a product or service, you can use a contest to collect leads. For example, you could require users to submit their email addresses in order to enter the contest.
  • Create fun content: A contest is also a great way to produce some fun and creative content. You can ask users to submit photos or videos that are related to a theme, and then use the best submissions in your marketing materials.

Now that you know what Instagram contests are and why you might want to run one, let’s take a look at the dos and don’ts of running a successful contest.

The Dos of Running an Instagram Contest

1. Do Set Clear Guidelines

Before you launch your contest, it’s important to set clear guidelines. This will help ensure that only relevant submissions are made and that the contest runs smoothly.

Some things you should include in your guidelines are:

  • The contest theme
  • Submission requirements (e.g. photos must be square, videos must be under 60 seconds)
  • Eligibility requirements (e.g. must be 18 years or older, must live in the United States)
  • How winners will be chosen (e.g. by public vote, by a panel of judges)
a screenshot from Instagram website showing clear guidelines

2. Do Have a Great Prize

If you want people to enter your contest, you need to offer a great prize. Ideally, the prize should be relevant to your brand and something that your target audience would be interested in.

For example, if you’re a beauty brand, you could offer a prize pack of your products. Or if you’re a travel brand, you could offer a free trip.

a screenshot from Instagram account familylifeinsta showing a great prize (cruise for two)

3. Do Promote the Contest

Once you’ve launched your contest, it’s important to promote it. You can do this by posting about the contest on your other social media channels, in your email newsletter, and on your website.

You can also use paid advertising to reach a wider audience. For example, you could use Facebook ads or Instagram ads to target users who might be interested in your contest.

4. Do Choose a Relevant Hashtag

To make it easy for users to find and follow your contest, you should choose a relevant hashtag. This could be something as simple as your brand name or the contest theme.

For example, if you’re running a contest for a new product launch, you could use the hashtag #MyNewProduct.

5. Do Engage with Your Entries

As people start to enter your contest, take some time to engage with their submissions. This can be as simple as liking and commenting on their photos or videos.

By doing this, you’ll show that you’re engaged with your followers and that you appreciate their effort in entering the contest.

a screenshot taken from instagram website showing how an Instagram contest should be run

The Don’ts of Running an Instagram Contest

1. Don’t Make It Too Complicated

When it comes to running a successful contest, simplicity is key. If your contest is too complicated, people will be less likely to enter.

So make sure that your submission requirements and eligibility requirements are clear and easy to follow. And if you can, try to keep the number of steps required to enter the contest to a minimum.

2. Don’t Be Vague About the Prize

If you want people to enter your contest, you need to be clear about what they’ll win if they do.

Don’t just say that the winner will receive “a prize pack worth $500.” Instead, list out exactly what the prize pack will include. This will help people see the value in entering the contest and increase the chances that they’ll do so.

3. Don’t Overlook the Rules and Regulations

Depending on where you live, there may be rules and regulations that apply to running contests on social media as explained on Instagram Support. For example, in the United States, there are laws that govern how contests can be run on social media.

So before you launch your contest, make sure you’re familiar with the relevant rules and regulations. Otherwise, you could inadvertently break the law and end up facing some serious consequences.

Some national contest regulations to keep in mind include, but are not limited to:

  • Post the official rules in an easily accessible place
  • Get parental consent for entrants under the age of 18
  • Do not require a purchase for entry
  • Draw winners at random from all eligible entries
  • Do not discriminate based on race, gender, religion, etc.

4. Don’t Forget to Promote the Contest

Once you’ve launched your contest, don’t just sit back and wait for people to enter. You need to actively promote the contest if you want it to be successful.

There are a number of ways you can promote your contest, including:

  • Posting about it on your other social media channels
  • Including a link to it in your email newsletter
  • Promoting it on your website
  • Using paid advertising (e.g. Facebook ads, Instagram ads)

Tips: Announcing it on Instagram Live is a another great way to reach more of your followers, as they will be notified about your recent Live activity and will be more inclined to watch it.

5. Don’t Forget to Disclose Your Relationship with Sponsors

If you’re running a sponsored contest, you need to disclose your relationship with the sponsor in your posts. For example, you could say something like “This contest is brought to you by XYZ brand.”

By disclosing your relationship with sponsors, you’ll be able to stay within the law and avoid any potential issues with the Federal Trade Commission.

6. Don’t Forget to Follow Up With the Winner

Once the contest is over and a winner has been chosen, don’t forget to follow up with them. This could involve sending them a direct message on Instagram or an email.

You should also announce the winner on your social media channels and on your website. This will show everyone who entered the contest that you followed through with your promise and that the contest was legitimate.

7. Don’t Neglect Your Other Social Media Channels

Just because you’re running a contest on Instagram doesn’t mean you should neglect your other social media channels. In fact, you should be promoting the contest across all of your channels to reach the widest audience possible.

So make sure to post about the contest on Facebook, Twitter, and any other platforms where your target audience is active. And if you have an email list, send out a blast about the contest to your subscribers.

8. Don’t Neglect Your Contest After It Ends

Just because your contest is over doesn’t mean your work is done. Once the contest ends, take some time to announce the winner and thank everyone who participated.

You could do this by posting a photo of the winner on your Instagram feed and sending them a direct message.

And if you collected any user-generated content during the contest, make sure to post it on your Instagram account or website. This will show your followers that you value their submissions and help promote your brand.

How Skweezer Can Help Boost Your Contest Engagement

Running an Instagram contest is a great way to boost engagement and grow your following. But if you want to maximize your results, you need to make sure you’re using the right tools and strategies.

Skweezer can help you boost your contest engagement by helping you get more likes, comments, and views on your posts. You can also help buy active Instagram followers so you can reach a wider audience with your contest.

So, don’t go through all the trouble of conducting an IG contest just to have it fall flat. Let Skweezer give you a hand! Give it a try today!