How to Host an Instagram Contest

Instagram has become one of the biggest social media platforms for people to share their pictures and to market their brand. With over 300 million active users, and 75 million daily users, the growth of this photo sharing site is scaling new heights. Apart from the candid photos of slumber parties and the monstrous number of selfies that are put up every day, Instagram has become a rostrum for small businesses to come up with marketing strategies to increase the sale of their establishments, one of which is the ever-popular Instagram contests!

Using Instagram is fun and an Instagram contest is probably one of the smartest way (not to talk of it being FREE) to garner a huge audience or followers in a short span of time. You can simply start hosting a contest by giving away small prizes as incentives, for the number of “likes” or “reposts”. Gift cards, travel and retail vouchers, food coupons, electronics, discounts cards, are some really good options to starts with.


Plan The Type Of Contest

One of your first concerns should be the kind of contest you want to run.  Do you want to run a “like” contest – by simply asking people like a post? Or do you want people to “share” pictures surrounding a particular theme and include your chosen hashtag, for example, #InstaBizGrowthGiveAway Or do you want to do an email-gated contest where people have to give their email addresses to take part? Whatever you decide, put yourselves in the shoes of the audience – If you are going for a theme-based contest, then be absolutely sure that the requirements of your contest are not too broad and the steps to take part will be easy to execute by your target audience.


Build The Contest

In order to build your contest, you will need to create a post/an image and upload to your Instagram account, which should include:

  • What you want people to do to take part, e.g. like your post, Tag their friends, etc
  • Let your audience know the start and end dates of the competition – you can include this in the image or simply put it in the text area
  • Decide on a prize / prizes and let your audience know what this will be, FREE coaching, training, products, etc are options you can choose from


(The Picture above is of the Instagram Contest I am currently holding. Prizes include my brand new InstaBizGrowth Course and 30 minutes One on One Instagram Coaching with me. Participate at


It’s Time To #Promote

Here comes the most important part of hosting the contest. How popular, or how trending your contest is going to get will depend on your promotions and marketing.

  1. Update and announce your contest on Instagram, post the requirements and challenges, and build followers.
  2. Post a blog about it! (Like I am doing now)
  3. Promote it on other Social Media Networks – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest
  4. Send an email to your email list and let them know abot the contest and what they can win
  5. Inform your friends and colleagues

Be sure to use Hashtags, for example, #InstaBizGrowthGiveAway is the Hashtag I am using for my current Instagram contest. Using hashtags will help you to collect and organise the numerous entries that may pour in. Remember, your hashtag should be unique to your brand or company.


Keep your audience engaged during the contest

Continue to share value as the contest is going on. Also continue to remind your audience that the contest is still on, as well as the Prizes they can win by entering!

If your contest entails people voting for a picture to win, let your audience know which picture/image is leading at the said time.


Decide on a Winner / Winners

Pick a winner, or winners, based on the time frame and the entry criteria you made available to your audience at the beginning of the competition. If you are choosing a winner through a public-voting system, let the audience know how many votes the winner or top winners received that enabled them to win.

Once the winner(s) have been decided on, immediately notify them through your Instagram account or via email if relevant.


Outcome of Contest

At the end of the contest, you should have more followers, have exposed your brand to even more people and grown your email list of leads if you required participants to give their email addresses.

Happy Hosting!

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