How To Run a Competition on Instagram

A quick quide to help you get the best results from running Instagram competitions.

By: Kate,

Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have become increasingly popular for brands looking to engage consumers. Running a contest on Instagram requires an entirely different approach than those other social networks. Before you start, here’s what you need to know.

Instagram is one of today’s most popular social media platforms. It’s used by billions of people worldwide to share user-generated content like photos and videos with their social media followers.

Are competitions allowed on Instagram?

Yes! There's nothing stopping you from creating a contest post on Instagram. You may just get some great results from it. The only thing to think about - depending on your target audience - is whether you really want to use Instagram, or run the competition on Facebook instead. There are subtle differences between the two that are important when running competitions.

How do you run a competition or contest on Instagram?

There are many ways you can run an Instagram contest. Here are some ideas. The first step is choosing which type of participation you want from your target audience. Choose your contest idea from these:

1) Invite users to follow you on Instagram. This option allows users to follow you Instagram account to generate new entries. Depending on the types of contests you run, this may be the best way to go. 

2) Choose a specific group of users who follow you, and share the entry method with them. For example, you could create a separate group called "Competition Club" and invite everyone in that group to enter your competition.

3) Create a custom hashtag to promote your contest post. This method allows you to target a specific group of users based on certain criteria (such as location, gender, age, etc.) to invite to enter. Some contest formats, like running a photo contest, work well this way.

Once you've decided which option works best for you, you'll need to decide when to hold your contest. There are two main types of Instagram contests:

1) Time-based - These contests usually last for a set amount of time, such as 24 hours, 7 days, 30 days, 90 days, etc.

2) Post-based - These contests allow participants to submit user content at any point during the duration of the contest.

How to Promote your Instagram Competition

When you're ready to launch your contest, you'll need to make sure you have a plan for promoting it. Many companies use paid advertising to promote their Instagram contests. However, you can also promote them through organic means and contest posts, leaning on social proof to drive more user engagement.

For example, you can share your contest announcement on your own Instagram profile, include links to your contest in blog posts or tweets, and post about your contest on relevant pages on your website.

If you'd rather not pay for ads, you can always ask your fans to spread the word about your contest. They can share your contest announcement via their own profiles, or they can tag others in photos or comments.

Of course, your choice of promotion methods depends largely on the type of contest you're running. A time-based contest might benefit from having paid ads because you want to reach as many potential contestants as possible. On the other hand, a post-based contest might work better organically, or with user-generated content, because you want to encourage people to take part without paying for ads.

Instagram Competition Terms and Policies (Promotion Guidelines)

Don't forget - just like other social networks, Instagram has clear policies around competitions and how businesses should run them on the platform. 

Their Promotional Guidelines include reminders and provisions related to:

  • The offical rules (of the competition)
  • Terms and eligibility requirements
  • Compliance with applicable rules and regulations
  • Acknowledgement that the competition is not sponsored, endorsed, or administered by Instagram

Visit to read and understand Instagram's Promotional Guidelines.

The bottom line is that choosing the right kind of Instagram contest for your business depends on your goals. Are you trying to increase engagement? Do you want to generate leads? Or do you just want to give away prizes like a gift card to build brand awareness?

Whatever your goal, we hope our guide helps you find success on Instagram!


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