You’ve likely participated in a few “tag a friend to win” versions of an Instagram giveaway – I know I have! It’s just so easy to enter, and who doesn’t love the idea of receiving a package full of overpriced skin care products or vacation to the South of France for free?!
The thing is, these contests can get a bad rap because there are so many that are run poorly or too frequently. However, if done correctly, they can be a great way to boost engagement, gain followers, or promote yourself to a new audience.
Here’s a breakdown of some Instagram contests you’ll want to avoid, and some you’ll be eater to implement.
As simple as they get, this contest aims to increase engagement and reach on a specific image. This is typically done by posting in-feed and requesting that viewers like the photo and tag a friend that would maybe also like the contest. In order to maximize exposure, allow multiple entries, which mean entrants can cast their ballot as many times as they’d like by tagging one person per comment.
When to use: Promotion of a new product or service, or for a little push when you’re noticing a decrease in engagement on your posts.
Stories are an increasingly popular way to reach audiences…you can provide more information (with multiple stories) and connect on a more personal level with your followers through things like Instagram questions, question boxes, and actually showing your own face and voice. Contests that request you share a post or information from someones story onto your own have the ability to reach more people than the previously mentioned “comment” contest because they’re sharing the contest out to their entire following through stories.
It’s important to note that entrants will need to tag you in their story so you can keep track, but you will not be able to see entries from private accounts. In this case, I would suggest you have entrants with a private account send you a screenshot + DM, because their entry is still important!
When to use: Quick contests (lasting 72 hours or less) and to gain followers.
This type of contest is my favorite, but also the trickiest to pull off. If you’re asking entrants to create content for you (User Generated Content), the prize you’re giving away has to be worth their time. If you’re requesting people post a specific piece of content on their feed, make sure you give them a custom hashtag to use so you can track all entires, and don’t make the requirements too difficult.
Another fun way to run this is creating content in stories. It will disappear after 24 hours, but the value is still there if they’re tagging your brand in their stories with a curated type of post.
When to use: To create a more long-term contest; don’t launch this without a strategy and support behind it. I’ve implemented quite a few of these contests – let me know if you have any questions!
The worst of the worst…loop giveaways. These contests always look too good to be true because they are. They typically feature a very recognizable influencer surrounded by piles of cash or designer handbags, saying “all you have to do is follow all the accounts that X account follows; it only takes seconds!”…You’re intrigued, so you click on that profile only to find that they’re following upwards of FOURTY (yes, 40) accounts, none of which you probably have any interest to follow whatsoever.
I could write an entire post about why these contests are so awful, but the biggest takeaways: your account will be flagged by Instagram for suspicious activity with the sudden increase in followers, and it’s extremely likely that all those followers you gain during the contest (and more) will unfollow shortly after it concludes.
Lest we not forget all the times in 2019 when the Kardashians and other prominent influencers participated in these loop giveaways and faced major backlash.
While this may be a temping contest to run (because you’ll see an increase of engagement right away), you’ll need to consider your long term goals. If you request that followers like your last few images, the Instagram algorithm will adjust and begin showing that person more and more of your content. You may be thinking “why is that bad?”, but there is then a much higher probability that they’ll become annoyed of suddenly seeing so much of your content and hit the unfollow button before your contest even ends.
Interested in finding out what contest would work best for your Instagram? As you read, not all contests are created equally. I love creating custom campaigns and contesting to help you grow your profile traffic and increase Instagram following.