How to Run a Perfect Instagram Contest: A 10-Step Guide (1/3)

Last Updated on November 7th, 2019 at 10:48 am

run an perfect Instagram contest

With about 400 million active users monthly and over 80 million posts per day, Instagram has established itself as an obvious platform for brands looking to increase their reach and engage with their audience. Figuring out how you can run a perfect Instagram contest, but is much less obvious. Sure, it sounds like an efficient technique for stirring up a conversation — it capitalizes on user-generated content (UGC)and typically requires very little commitment for participants. However, where do you begin? And how could you make sure that you are covering all of the bases?

To help give you some direction, we put together a detailed list of steps to run through when run a perfect Instagram contest. From setting targets to monitoring submissions, we have covered all the basics below — and we have included some inspirational examples along the way. Check it out…

How to Run a Perfect Instagram Contest: A 10-Step Guide

1) Plan goals.

Before you dive into an Instagram marketing contest, it’s necessary to plan it out first. The important thing to running a successful contest is to have a goal — one that aligns with the interests and behaviors of your target audience.

Whether you are looking to develop your brand presence on Instagram or build out your list of followers, it is necessary that you set a particular purpose so that you aren’t left wondering whether or not you were successful in the end.

To assist narrow your focus, think about the audience you are attempting to achieve: What sorts of posts do they like seeing on your account? What types of posts do they enjoy posting on their own feeds? How do they behave on the platform? When you are looking to drum up lots of engagement, you need to aim to center your targets and purpose round content that your audience truly needs to post and engage with.

Remember to establish a time frame and budget for your contest, as figuring out these logistical details upfront will assist you to design a more effective contest.

2) Create an entry method.

Though the most effective and engaging Instagram contests are those that truly prompt your audience to post their own images, there is a number of different ways brands could make contests on Instagram. Because of this, it’s necessary to establish and emphasize what it takes for your audience to truly enter the contest.

Listed here are some ideas for how your audience may enter your contest:

  • Have your audience publish an image or a video to Instagram with a particular hashtag and a particular theme.
  • Have your audience solely follow you or do so in addition to making a post.
  • Have your audience tag your brand in their post.
  • Have your audience Like or comment on one of your posts.

Ensure you establish what the guidelines are for entering the contest, and make that clear on your promotional materials. Maybe your contest is centered round a hashtag that does not embrace your brand name. When you still want your brand to be tagged to gain recognition, you must make that clear in your rules.

Run an Instagram Contest

3) Find the perfect hashtag.

A great hashtag is key to any engaging Instagram contest. Without it, there is no link between the contest and the content being generated. In other words, hashtags help make brand and/or contest recognition by serving as a mechanism for sharing and driving participation.

Bother is, creating the proper hashtag will be difficult. In case your contest goes to have a timeframe (and it should), you want to make a hashtag that you aren’t going to want to use again and again. Not to mention, there are lots of hashtags being made each day, making it tough to land on something unique and catchy.

To help you come up with the best fit, consider these contest hashtag tips:

  • Short: Make a hashtag that sticks in people’s minds. The more readable and identifiable your hashtag is, the better it’s for your contest.
  • Related: Ensure you’re making a hashtag that should be very clearly related back to your brand name, product, or services. When you choose a generic, crowded hashtag such as #ThrowbackThursday, it is likely that you will have a hard time figuring out who your participants truly are.
  • Memorable: Users are likely to see promotions for your contest prior to truly publishing the content. This means your hashtag should be memorable enough for users to consider it once and keep in mind to act sometime later. Attempt to make your hashtag catchy, simple to search, and simple to write. Keep away from weird spellings and confusing word choices.
  • Universal: Think about your audience. Does everybody speak the same language or use similar words? When you have an international audience, be sure you are careful about utilizing slang words or region-specific terms that may confuse people.
  • Rare: Do a search before you select a hashtag. Are there a lot of users utilizing your ideal hashtag for some other purposes? If so, you might want to head back to the drawing board.

An example of an effective, engaging hashtag:

Earlier this year,, online personal budgeting, and financial management firm hosted their #MyMintMoment contest.


The contest was well-designed for a number of causes, one of which is its hashtag. The hashtag — #MyMintMoment — is easy, short, memorable, and simple to know. It stayed on-brand and had a clear theme.

The purpose of the contest was to get users to publish about the things they were saving for. Participants posted photos of tattoos, vacations, weddings, children, cars — you name it.

Run an Instagram Contest

It is a nice example of an efficient hashtag, however, it’s also an ideal example of how UGC can be utilized to drive marketing decisions. Think about it: Mint asked participants to share posts about things they were saving for. Sounds like a simple method to gain insight surrounding the unique motives and interests that fuel the usage of their service, doesn’t it?

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