If you’re worried about being stuck in a cycle of constantly churning out contests, all in the name of boosting brand awareness, don’t worry; you don’t need to continuously run contests to reap the benefits that good Instagram contest ideas can offer.
That’s because you’ll notice a trickle-down effect on the rest of your normal content as a result of running contests. People will feel a greater affinity toward your brand due to the goodwill you’ve generated with your contests.
As a result, they’ll be more likely to share and engage with your normal content.
Plus, because contests generate more followers, there will naturally be more people exposed to your content. This increases the likelihood that share and engagement levels will be higher than ‘pre-contest levels.
Best Practices for Running Contests on Instagram
Before you run your first contest, you need to be aware of some important best practices. Failure to follow some of these best practices could mean that you’re going against the rules of Instagram.
It could also lead to your contest producing lackluster results, which can amount to a lot of wasted effort.
What are these best practices?
The first is to make sure that you write a clear and detailed description for your contest.
When writing the description for your contest, be sure to cover:
What the rules are
What people need to do to be eligible
Any restrictions on who can enter
When you will announce the winner
Doing things this way makes it easy for you to stay on the right side of the promotion guidelines provided by Instagram.
It is important that you don’t stray from the guidelines, as doing so could put your account at risk.
They’ve done a good job of making this detailed, so it’s difficult to fit into one image.
Here’s the first part, which helps establish a reason for the competition while also describing what’s on offer.
This second part does a good job of letting people know what they need to do to be eligible to win.
The next bit tells people how they can gain an extra entry. The terms of the contest are clearly shown, while also indicating how the winners of the contest will be announced.
By studying how others are writing their contest descriptions, you’ll learn a lot about what separates a bad description from a good one.
You also need to ensure you’re giving away relevant prizes that your target audience will feel compelled to have.
If you focus on giving away prizes that are relevant toyour target audience, your contest will generate better results.
If the products you’re giving away aren’t specific to your target audience, you run the risk of attracting followers that don’t care about your business or the products or services it provides.
In the long term, this arguably does more harm than good.
Such individuals may unfollow your account after a contest, or simply not engage with your profile in the future.
By picking the right prizes, you can reliably attract the right kinds of followers and generate brand awareness among the best demographic for your business.
All of which helps increase the odds of you earning a return-on-investment from your efforts.
As you might have guessed, giving away items of high value tends to produce higher levels of engagement.
The chart below shows that prizes worth $1,000 or more generally achieve 5.8 engagements per 100 followers.
This figure is quite high when compared to the 1.7 engagements that brands enjoy when they give away prizes worth $99 or less.
If you want to give away a high-value prize, but you don’t have the funds to invest in one, consider arranging a partnership deal with another brand. Provided that you have a large enough follower count, there will be brands that are willing to provide a prize for your contest in exchange for some promotion.
The way you promote the brand that provides the prize should be low-key. In the description of the contest, simply mention that the contest is sponsored by a particular company.
It may be that you have a product or niche that is perfectly suited to photo contests. GoPro is an exampleof such a product.
If so, you should place a special focus on running photo contests.
That’s because this format will be especially easy to pull off while also providing you with an abundance of user-generated content that you can feature on your Instagram account.
Instagram Contest Idea # 5: Voting Contest
A voting contest revolves around the following steps:
You ask people to upload a piece of content alongside a designated hashtag. You also ask people to tag your profile in the description.
Your followers then search Instagram using this hashtag and vote for the one that they think is best. The easiest way to collate votes is to ask people to like the photo that they think should be the winner.
The person with the most likes is deemed the winner of the contest.
This contest format is great at generating engagement because you’re asking people to take a lot of social actions. Plus, the people who enter the contest will promote their own entries through their social channels.
However, you could argue that such a format is potentially asking too much from people.
Because of this, you may want to use this contest format only when you have a highly-engaged audience that cares about your profile and its content.
With that being said, another way you can run this contest is by having people submit photos first, and then only you find them using the assigned hashtag.
Based on what you find, you pick 3-5 finalist images and host them on your own profile.
You then ask your followers to like the one that they think is best, and the photo with the most likes wins.
This approach can help you achieve great results with a voting contest without asking too much of your followers.
Here’s an exampleof a profile that is doing something similar, but instead asking people to submit the photos to the host’s account directly.
Here’s a bit more context.
Here’s an example of how someone might post their own content in the hopes of obtaining a vote.