Do you want to learn how to run a successful contest on Instagram? Well, you’re about to find out…
With more than 300 million active users, Instagram has fast become one of the most popular social media platforms to date. The simple notion of snapping a photo and sharing it with the world has turned into a $35 billion idea, and it just goes to show how powerful visual communication can be. Running a social media contest has plenty of benefits such as building brand awareness; gaining more followers; and increasing your leads, but since Instagram is a new playing field for many businesses, it can be hard to know where to begin.
The Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing for Business
If you want to run a successful Instagram contest but don’t know where to start, take a look at these 7 steps to create a contest on Instagram.
Step 1: Plan a strategy
Creating a strategy is the most important step as it will help bring clarity to your campaign. Start by setting out achievable goals so you have something to work towards. Whether it’s increasing your followers by 50% or gaining 100 leads, you need to set out credible goals so you can measure how successful your campaign has been, once it’s over.
In the planning stages it’s also important to think about the T&C’s. How does a person enter your contest? There’s plenty of options including like-to-win; tag your Instagram name; enter their email; follow your page; or use a unique hashtag within their photo.
nce you’ve considered your contest type, think about how long you want it to run for. It should have an expiration date so you can encourage a sense of urgency, but make sure you run it long enough to get the most out of your campaign. This infographic suggests the best duration is between 25 – 60 days, but so long as you are putting in the right promotion, you should see the results you want.
Step 2: Check out the competition
Another crucial step to take before you jump head first into a contest is to snoop out the competition. Has your competitor run a similar contest? What theme did they use? How successful was it?
This kind of data can help influence the steps that you put in place for your own contest. You can take inspiration from their strategy and use that as a foundation to make yours better!
Step 3: Decide on a theme
Marketing is all about telling your brand’s story, and Instagram is the perfect tool to help you do that. You should choose a theme that will reflect your brand’s story, making it creative and inviting enough for people to want to join in. This can be the difference between 10 likes or 1000, so take your time and consider who your audience is and the type of content that they are likely to post.
Take Tiffany & Co as a great example. They chose a theme around ‘true love’ and encouraged fans to submit photos of what they defined true love to be. As an iconic jeweler that oozes romance, this theme suited their story perfectly.
Not only does this type of User Generated Content campaign (UGC) encourage people to engage with your brand, but it also helps to promote your products on a broad scale, helping to create a winning campaign!
Step 4: Choose your hashtag
When people enter your competition you should make sure they add a unique hashtag to the post so you can build up a stream of photo’s to pick the winner from. Sure, it needs to be relevant to the theme of your campaign as mentioned in step 3, but it should also be memorable and easy to search for.
Remember that you’ll want to utilize the hashtag across all of your social platforms, so keep it consistent with your brand. It may be tempting to use a popular hashtag such as #win, but this will be harder to judge the entrants as you’ll find many posts that are not relevant to your contest.
If you want to do some hashtag research on your competitors then check out Talkwalker as it’s a great tool that lets you analyze and compare hashtag campaigns.
Step 5: Design awesome artwork
Now you’ve got the basics out the way it’s time to put the wheels in motion and there’s no better way than to start designing the artwork. Take advantage of Instagram’s ‘arty’ style and get creative with your banners.
To make your contest a success, include an example photo of what you want participants to upload, simple instructions on how to enter, the competition hashtag and ask a question to encourage your audience to get involved.
Take a look at Mark Jacons #CastMeMarc as below as the perfect example…
Step 6: Promote across all channels
Clearly you want to bring more exposure to your campaign so start cross promoting on all of your social platforms. In addition to sending out emails to your database, try and reach out to influencers and write a blog for them which mentions your contest within the post.
You should also add your promotional banners to your blog, Twitter, Facebook pages etc and start posting about it when your audience is around.
So when should you post?
Well according to this post, users will interact with your Instagram pictures regardless of when you post them. But if you’re promoting it across other channels then research shows that the best time on Facebook is 1pm – 4pm, and on Twitter it’s 1pm – 3pm. It’s also good practice to check out your social media analytics to find out when your audience is most engaged.
Step 7: Measure your success
Once the contest is complete and you’ve notified the winner, it’s time to measure the success of your campaign. Did you reach the goals that you made in step 1? Third party apps such as Iconosquare will not only help you run an Instagram campaign, but it lets you check out the metrics of the campaign too.
Don’t forget to use the data that you’ve gained from your contest to your advantage. Write a blog post about the winner and include their photo; send an email to all who took part; and keep engaging with your new followers!
The rest is up to you!
Hopefully that has given you every step you need to run a contest, so now the rest is up to you. With 60 million photos uploaded to this platform everyday, it’s clear that Instagram offers a valuable opportunity to any business. Think carefully about your strategy and your contest theme, to help bring the exposure your brand needs. Good luck.
Guest Author: The author of this post is Issa Asad, a social media strategist and best selling author of Instant Profits with Instagram.
Listen to this post as a podcast