How to Run an Effective Instagram Contest

Instagram giveaways

Instagram contests used to be a lot more simple. Back in the days of like to win, all consumers had to do was double tap a photo to enter a contest. Then, brands started to wise up and realize that while these contests are really easy to set up, they get very low engagement and don’t develop any sort of connection with the audience. Now that Instagram’s algorithms are more complex, it’s easier to grow your audience organically using the Discover page. If one of your followers likes your photos frequently, it’s likely that their friends will find you on the discover page, so these like to win contests aren’t completely ineffective. But wouldn’t you rather have an Instagram contest that you can say effectively blew your previous Instagram audience out of the water? Here’s how to run an effective Instagram contest:
Instagram giveawaysThat was our train of thought, too! So during the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament, we tried out an Instagram contest that was a little more complicated. The goal was to boost followership in time for the tournament coverage to start. During tournament week, we post videos and pictures of weigh-ins on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all day for those who couldn’t make it out to the Crystal Coast, so letting people know where to find the live coverage was a must. And so, the hunt for the right followers began.

Why an Instagram Contest?

Running a giveaway on Instagram is a great way to get your loyal followers to do the work for you, helping spread the word about your business and find new visitors who may be interested in your product or service. Instagram contests are a fun new form of social prospecting that won’t cost you a ton of money. You just need smothing valuable to give away, and a little bit of extra time to keep up with the contest engagement.

Goal: boost followership

Starting follower count: 3771

Contest Giveaway:  T-Shirts, Croakies, Koozies, Tumbler Cups, Hats, Phone Case, and Big Rock Memorabilia

Rules: Follow us, like this post, tag 3 friends in the comments for one entry. For an additional entry, repost this photo using #bigrocktournament

The results? Pretty good on the first try. We did two giveaways: one right before the tournament and one during. The results were impressive the first time, gaining us 395 new followers in the two days before the winner was announced. But the second contest during the tournament gained @bigrocktournament 737 participants. Since the contest took place during the tournament when we experienced our highest new followership, there is no way to tell for sure exactly how many followers were gained strictly from the contest. But, by the end of the giveaway, we had seen a 3,025 follower increase.

What We Learned

  • Participation in these contests tends to trail off after 2 days, or sooner if you are posting new photos more frequently.
  • Partnership giveaways are a great way to use another business to mutually boost followership (Big Rock and Calcutta Fishing teamed up for the second giveaway, and Calcutta saw over 500 new followers as a result)
  • Instagram users are surprisingly willing to follow a lot of rules to win a giveaway. Don’t be afraid to make the contest a little more complicated – it will significantly increase your engagement.
  • Instagram rules state that you must be 18 or older to participate in these giveaways. Younger people still participated, but we had to disqualify them from the results.
  • When choosing a winner, you have to be fair and random. We recommend to pick a submission without bias.

At BG Digital Group, we’re continuously experimenting with innovative digital marketing ideas and finding what works for your business. We create marketing that matters for businesses large and small on the Crystal Coast and around the world. Learn more about digital advertising, social media marketing, web design, and more from the most highly awarded digital agency in Eastern North Carolina.

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