A well-executed social media competition can have a significant impact on your engagement, grow your online audience and increase brand awareness. Think of it not as giving something away for free, but rather what you’ll gain in return. Competitions on Instagram provide a few less limitations than Facebook and Twitter and if you’re a visual brand or a business with a young target market, it’s a no brainer to maximise the platform.
Decide on the Type of Competition
There are a few different ways to run Instagram competitions. Before deciding on the competition type, determine what your objective is. Do you want to reward your existing followers? Gain more followers? Alter your market perception? These are important questions to ask yourself before you get started.
Next is deciding on the prize. Remember, the more generous, impressive or exclusive the prize is, the more entrants you’ll attract. If it’s not within your budget to give away something with high monetary value, think of something that will provide an experience that can’t be purchased or isn’t readily available which may build hype or excitement.
The most important thing of all is ensuring that your competition is easy to enter. If it’s not clear how entrants can get involved, you’re unlikely to get a good response.
Now that you’ve determined those details it’s time to decide on the type of competition. Three popular methods are:
- Tag a friend
- User generated content
The Repost Competition
This involves you as the brand posting an image which users must repost in order to enter. This can be done with either a reposting app or by screen-shotting the image. Entrants can be tracked with a hashtag - we recommend something unique to avoid confusion. Before deciding on a hashtag, do a bit of research to make sure it’s not commonly used already – this will only make tracking competition entries all the more challenging. Something like #europewithetihad or #coleschristmas are great because they incorporate the brand’s name as well as something unique.
The image or graphic that you ask entrants to repost is crucial. Aim to make the image as pleasing as possible as to interest the audience while still fitting in with the 'Instagram' aesthetic; think flat lays or neutral, clean and vibrant graphics. If you’re allowing people to enter more than once, consider creating a few different graphics for them to choose from. Flight Centre Australia does this really well:
- Spread brand awareness organically by capitalising on entrant’s existing audience
- Great if you have a beautiful, creative graphic that people will want to share
- Reward those dedicated to your brand
- Repost competitions are slightly less convenient to enter than some other competition types, so you may get fewer entrants as a result.
Tag a friend
This is one of the quickest and most simple ways to run a competition on Instagram. As a brand all you have to do is make a once-off post where entrants must tag a prescribed number of friends to enter. All individuals tagged must then be following your account to successfully enter. A winner is selected at random from the comments.
A good tag a friend competition results in a prize for not only the winner but the people they tagged in order to enter – such as dinner for four or in Status Anxiety's case, a bag of your choice for you and a friend.
- Quick and easy way to run a competition
- Grow your number of followers quickly
- Convenient and simple for entrants
- The need to provide a prize for each person the winner tags
User generated content (UGC)
UGC competitions are usually run by asking entrants to post a piece of original content to their own account and include a competition hashtag in their caption.
In 2015, Starbucks UK asked their customers to post photos of their iconic red Christmas cups that they’d decorated themselves using #redcupcontestuk for the chance to win a £50 eGiftcard. In 2016 Starbucks then pooled the best entrants of the competition and recreated those cups to be used in their stores across the Christmas period.
- UGC competitions give you access to lots of fresh content which you can share on your own page
- Much like repost competitions, asking people to enter by posting content on their own page significantly increases your organic reach.
- This style of competition requires more effort for the entrant, so as a result the number of entries are likely to be fewer.
Time to launch!
Before you publish your competition make sure you do a bit of house keeping on your page - is all of your bio information filled in? Is your page active? Are you proud of your existing content? Competitions increase traffic to your page, so you want to make a good first impression. And finally, regardless of the type of competition you wish to run or the prize you're giving away, be sure to familiarise yourself with the Instagram promotion guidelines to keep you on the safe side.
Drawing a winner
Selecting competition winner(s) can be done in two main ways; random or skills based. Just remember, it's important to outline how the winner will be drawn to entrants from the outset. There are a plenty of websites and apps which allow you to draw a winner from random. If you decide to select a winner based on skills (this works best for UGC competitions) be sure to outline to entrants on what basis you'll be selecting a winner before they enter.