Money shower from Concentration game show 1972

Instagram Contests – Two Different Experiences

Winning at Instagram Contests

Lately, I’ve been playing around with Instagram contests for one of my clients. And it’s been working out well for them. After a little experimentation, we landed on the type that got the best results: comment to enter the contest and tag friends for more entries.

increased likes from instagram contests

increased engagement rateFor these contests, we’ve also been asking for a variety of different feedback from followers as the entry question. And aside from the possibility of winning a prize, people seem to enjoy giving their input. And the client, in turn, is learning more and more about their customers.

If you’ve ever thought of giving a contest a go, I highly recommend it. You will need to experiment a bit and try different things to see what works for your business. But this is something that can cost you close to nothing to do.

Failing at Instagram Contests

That said, I also had a big FAIL with an Instagram contest. I was helping another client promote their yearly community fundraising event. It’s a huge, unique event with something for everyone from small children to foodies to history buffs. After the success I had with Instagram contests for my other client, we decided to try one for this event. The prize was a pair of VIP tickets to the event, a $150 value.

This contest for VIP tickets posted three times and while people liked the posts Not. One. Person. Entered.

instagram contest no entriesSeriously, an open bar, exclusive entertainment and curated food provided by neighborhood restaurants and .. nothing.

What went wrong?

First, the Instagram account had been created but never used until I started posting on it earlier this Spring. I started building up followers, but most have ties to the community organization in charge of the event. Some of these people probably didn’t enter because they already had access to free tickets.

Second, the hashtags just weren’t enough to spread the word about the contest much beyond the account’s followers. The Facebook ads we bought did well. Putting a little money behind the giveaway posts may have been just the boost it needed.

Third, clearly Instagram alone wasn’t enough to make this content a success. Next time I’d recommend using something like Rafflecopter to run the contest giving people more ways to enter.

Why Try Instagram Contests?

Have you heard the news? Instagram is moving from a strict chronological timeline to an algorithm based feed. Having an algorithm means if your posts don’t generate engagement (likes and comments) fewer of your followers will see your future posts.

Do you know what can help increase engagement with your posts? That’s right, contests! The first client I mentioned above kicked off these contests well before the algorithm started rolling out. And I think it’s helped keep their posts in their followers’ timelines.

Don’t forget, though; you can’t slack on the rest of your posts. Pay attention to which posts seem to resonate with your followers and emulate them when it makes sense.

Have you been using Instagram contests? How are they doing for you?

Laura Nunemaker

15+ years experience in email marketing, social media, and content development. Former retail bakery owner. Digital nomad. Loves cycling & scuba diving. Vegan. Cat magnet.