While Facebook is still the number-one social networking platform for business, Instagram - a Facebook-owned company - is quickly scaling the rankings.
The visual-based network now has 800 million monthly active users, and is the fastest growing social network, while its range of tools and options also continues to rise, diversifying the platform's offering. Instagram Stories now has 400 million daily active users, while there are also more advanced direct messaging options, and IGTV, the app's video-specific offering.
And as Instagram continues to expand, so too do the opportunities to reach people through the app - but if you want to ensure maximum performance on Instagram, you need to boost your engagement rates.
Like all social platforms these days, Instagram also utilizes an algorithm, which rewards post engagement with higher reach and exposure within the app. If you can generate more engagement, you improve your Instagram performance.
So how can you boost your Insta engagement? One option to consider is Instagram contests.
The Value of Instagram Contests
Research from Tailwind shows that Instagram accounts that run contests grow up to 70% faster than accounts which don’t. In addition, Instagram contests generate 65x more comments, and 3.5x more likes than regular posts.
Yet, despite this, only around 2% of Instagram marketers are regularly running contests. That's a missed opportunity - but it's also a great opportunity for your brand to stand out, by using contests to help boost your Instagram presence.
Five Tips for a Successful Instagram Contest
The key to running a successful Instagram contest is developing a plan of action that works with your brand and appeals to your followers.
Here are some tips to get you going.
1. Follow the Rules
If you’re going to use Instagram to run a contest, you have to abide by the platform’s rules.
You can read the official rules here, but here’s the gist:
- Spell out official rules, terms, and eligibility requirements.
- Promotions must include a complete release of Instagram by each entrant or participant.
- It must be acknowledged that the promotion is in no way affiliated with or sponsored by Instagram.
- You must not inaccurately tag content or encourage inaccurate tagging by followers (for example, you can’t encourage people to tag themselves in photos they aren’t actually in.)
In terms of spelling out the rules and releasing Instagram from any liability, the best thing to do is to create a dedicated landing page for the contest and publish all of the information there.
2. Study What Others are Doing
There’s a lot of value in studying what other Instagram marketers are doing, then applying the most successful techniques to your own operation.
Specifically, you should look at the types of contests various business run - a couple of common approaches include:
Tag-to-win contests - For a contest to be effective, you need to do more than just engage your current followers - you actually need to increase your follower count and reach new people. A tag-to-win contest can work well for this purpose.
????CONTEST (CLOSED/DRAWN): We've partnered up with @Scotiabank to help kickstart your weekend by giving away 3000 SCENE points that you can redeem for free movies or meals. Scotiabank’s debit card is the only one in the market that gives free entertainment rewards for everyday purchases and if you open an account now get an additional 5,000 SCENE points • To enter, just tag a friend below + follow @Scotiabank. • Contest runs until July 22nd at 12:00PM MT. Contest winners will be announced in comments and caption within 24 hours after the contest has ended. #curiocitycalgary #sponsored
Photo contests - There’s nothing wrong with a simple tag-to-win contest, but if you really want to increase engagement and further your reach, a photo contest may be the way to go. These can dramatically increase impressions, and maximize contest engagement.
Keep an eye on contests that your competitors run and take notes on what does and doesn’t appear to work. There’s always room for improvement.
Here are some further contest suggestions from ShortStack.
3. Make it Worth People’s Time
In order for an Instagram contest to be effective, it has to be worth your followers’ time. If they don’t feel like they’re getting anything worthwhile in return, they won’t participate.
Also, as your expectations for user involvement increase, so should the prize or reward. A $10 gift card might be acceptable in a simple like-to-win contest, but it’s probably not going to work for a photo contest - you may need something more substantial to encourage followers to publish an image on their own feed.
It's #COMPETITION TIME! ???? We're giving you the chance to #WIN a £100 voucher from @lotd_com To enter, simply: 1. Follow us on Instagram 2. Comment below tagging a friend! You can enter AS MANY TIMES as you like! Good Luck! ???? . . . . . #prize #giveaway #comp #isawitfirst #mallzee #stylehunter #fashionblogger #londonblogger #styleblog #styleblogger #fbloggersuk #outfitpost #trendhunter #streetstyleluxe #beautyuk #londoner #outfitoftheday #bbloggersuk #styleinspiration #vogue #skincareaddict #travelblogger #londonstyle #styleinspo #lifestyleblogger #fashioninspo #bloggerstyle #fashionaddict
4. Make it Easy to Enter
Sometimes Instagram marketers get in their own way - it’s great to encourage as much engagement as possible, but don’t make it harder to participate in the contest than it has to be.
If you’re asking followers to like, comment, tag, use a specific hashtag and share a photo, there are too many hurdles to jump through. Keep it simple and reduce friction.
5. Promote, Promote, Promote
Unless you have thousands and thousands of followers, it’s probably not enough for you to push out a single post about your contest. You need to cross-promote over many platforms.
Some ideas for Instagram contest promotion include:
- Other social media profiles
- Website and blog
- Email newsletter
- In-store signage
As you cross-promote, you’ll push more traffic toward your Instagram profile, and grow your engagement in a much faster and more efficient manner.
Putting it All Together
The statistics show that Instagram works, while they also show that Instagram contests are one of the most effective strategies for increasing engagement. Don't miss the opportunity to maximize your Instagram engagement.
You can start with a small contest and get your bearings, then once you’ve figured out the logistics of it, you can scale up your efforts and run more intricate contests that get people truly excited.