The very thought of how to run an Instagram contest should lead you directly to the 5 W’s and how.
- Who do you want to target the sweepstakes towards?
- What are you going to giveaway?
- Where will you host the sweepstakes?
- When should you be holding it?
- Why are you hosting a contest?
- How are you going to execute it?
Answering these key questions will automatically begin to shape your Instagram giveaway or any other social sweepstakes for that matter. It will be the secret to how to run an Instagram contest successfully.
WHO will enter your Instagram contest?
Who do you want entering your giveaway? That will determine the WHAT. What you giveaway will have a direct impact on who enters. Ensure your prize mirrors the entrants you are seeking.
For example, if your product is targeted towards mothers with young children, you are got going to offer a prize that would suit senior citizens or golfers.
Also, do not disqualify someone based on their Instagram feed. You do not always know who your audience, consumers or cheerleaders are.
For example, the grandmother may be a customer as she buys for her grandchildren. The starving student may become your biggest influencer. Never assume. You know the old adage.
WHAT will you giveaway on your Instagram contest?
What are you going to giveaway? This is another key on how to run an Instagram contest successfully.
I always recommend giving away your products and services before adding in other types of prizes. You do not want to disconnect your brand from the promotion.
For example, cosmetic and clothing companies are very successful at hosting Instagram giveaways featuring their latest colors, styles or fashions. Not only are they garnering audience engagement on their channel, they are letting those followers and fans see what trends are up and coming, different ways they can wear or use the products, etc.
If your company isn’t as visual as food, décor or travel, ensure you give a prize that then dovetails with your overall marketing message.
For example, a car insurance company can giveaway a gas card or a dentist can giveaway a smile gift basket with items such as toothbrushes, mouthwash, lip balms, breath mints, sugar-free gum, etc.
Just because Amazon Echoes and Google Homes are popular prizes, doesn’t mean you should be giving one away … unless you can tie it into your brand.
For example, a lamp company giving one away, with the special sensors, touting it can automatically turn on the beautiful lighting they make/sell.
WHERE will you hold your contest?
In this post where is obvious; Instagram. However, these questions could be applied to any social sweepstakes you choose to utilize. That said, you must ensure that every social sweepstakes follows the promotional rules of that channel. In this case, Instagram states:
- If you use Instagram to communicate or administer a promotion (ex: a contest or sweepstakes), you are responsible for the lawful operation of that promotion, including:
- The official rules;
- Offer terms and eligibility requirements (ex: age and residency restrictions); and
- Compliance with applicable rules and regulations governing the promotion and all prizes offered (ex: registration and obtaining necessary regulatory approvals)
- You must not inaccurately tag content or encourage users to inaccurately tag content (ex: don’t encourage people to tag themselves in photos if they aren’t in the photo).
- Promotions on Instagram must include the following:
- A complete release of Instagram by each entrant or participant.
- Acknowledgment that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram.
- We will not assist you in the administration of your promotion and cannot advise you on whether consent is required for use of user content or on how to obtain any necessary consent.
- You agree that if you use our service to administer your promotion, you do so at your own risk.
Be sure to include short rules in the mechanics of the contest as well, plus a link in the bio to full official rules. All short rules should have:
- time and end date,
- and any other requirements, such as; does the winner have to pick-up the prize, or the entries will be judged.
SHORT RULES: There is one (1) prize of a $100 gift card to our store to be won. Open to residents of the United States. Contest ends at 11:59pm ET on Tuesday, May 1st 2018.
Like New Year’s Resolutions, your marketing and social media planning should be set in January, and unlike most resolutions, they should be adhered to for 12 months.
TIP: As social media is a fast-paced platform, do not host long giveaways. I recommend no more than two weeks for any social sweepstakes.
I constantly see comments on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram giveaways asking the sponsor when the contest ends and if the entrant is eligible, as those are the two most omitted contest entry requirements.
If people feel they can’t win, they won’t enter, even if they would like the prize.
If your mechanics and rules are clear and easy to understand, it will make the contest easier to manage. You will not be fielding questions from confused entrants or entries that don’t properly match your entry requirements as the ‘rules’ were not understood.
WHEN will you have your Instagram contest?
Timing is everything. You will not be successful if you choose to host Christmas Holiday Giveaway near Mother’s Day.
Like New Year’s Resolutions, your marketing and social media planning should be set in January, and unlike most resolutions, they should be adhered to for 12 months. When creating your annual corporate marketing goals and setting up your promotions and social media marketing calendar, be sure to add in content that is fun, topical and touches your brand in some way.
Check out the Hashtag Calendar for the year to figure out which days those are. There are hundreds. Here are three of my favorite examples.
- ‘Pi Day’ which is held every March 14th or 3/14. #PiDay
- ‘Star Wars Day’ which is held every May 4th. #StarWarsDay #Maythe4thbewithyou
- ‘National Iced Tea Day’ which is held on June 10th #NationalIcedTeaDay.
Also, be at the ready to jump on trending topics. Social media moves quickly and as timely events take place, your team should be ready to pivot and react at a moment’s notice. Remember Oreo’s tweet during the 2013 Super Bowl blackout?
That said, DO NOT jump on any tragedy to pitch, sell or give away a product or service. Scott Stratten and Alison Kramer of Unmarketing routinely feature marketing efforts gone awry on their Unpodcast such as:
The real estate agent who thought it was a good idea to send a letter of condolence to the person whose neighbor had died and the blatantly pitched the bereaved about selling their house.
The airline that kicked a pregnant woman who was kicked off a flight as her 23-month old was crying. They felt the child was uncontrollable and didn’t wait 5 minutes for the child to calm down and fall asleep.
You do not want to be on his podcast or worse, in their next book, because of what you thought was a good idea, that when sideways.
Plus, the sad story being told isn’t about you. Instead, be one of the helpers Mr. Rogers’ mother told him to look for when tragedy strikes. We need more kindness, compassion, and love in this world, not sales pitches.
WHY do you want to run a contest on Instagram?
Why do you want to host a giveaway? Instagram isn’t The Field of Dreams. If you build it, they may not come. How do I know this? I know this because I get hired most frequently near the end of a promotion to help salvage the engagement and number of entries.
You must know why you are undertaking any marketing activity. Do not host a sweepstakes ‘just because’ you need to be posting something, anything on Instagram. ‘Anything’ does not garner results or success. It also shows in the quality of the contest, which in turn will be reflected in the results.
Ensure each promotion you create is part of your overall marketing plan and dovetails with all your online and offline activities on how to run an Instagram contest successfully.
HOW to run an Instagram contest?
How are you going to execute the contest?
Are you using a contest app such as Woobox or are you tracking the entries manually? Have you pre-tested the contest hashtag to see what you get before you start to use it? How else are you planning to share it, besides Instagram?
Once a social media sweepstakes marketing structure and format have been created, you can then use that formula for all your social sweepstakes. Similar to a recipe you can follow again and again to bake a delicious cake. The giveaway template you design can be used over and over again to execute successful social media contests.
CONCLUSION – Answer these questions to learn how to run an Instagram contest successfully!
All these questions on how to run an Instagram contest successfully and more need to be answered in advance of launch, and in some cases in advance of building it. How to run an Instagram contest successfully will depend on your answers.
A contractor doesn’t start hammering 2×4’s together randomly. First, plans were drawn up by an architect, so everything can be put together in order and correctly, from the concrete foundation to framing, electrical and plumbing. The same with a contest. It first must be designed, in full, and then built, in order, so when executed it holds its structure.
Are you missing any other elements in how to run an Instagram giveaway now?
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