How to Promote Your Contest on Instagram

One of the best strategies for engaging your audience, driving meaningful actions and growing your business is running a contest or giveaway.

Contests and giveaways are truly outstanding marketing tools, but in order for them to be effective you need to actively promote them and make sure you're exposing them to your following and beyond.

There are loads of great ways you can do this, but one of the most effective channels you can use to promote your campaign is Instagram.

Instagram allows for visually engaging promotion which can blend into the social landscape and connect with users in a meaningful way. To help you get your own promotional efforts underway we're going to take you through all the best tips and strategies for promoting your contest on Instagram.

Run Your Contest Within An Instagram Post

The quickest and easiest way to promote a giveaway on Instagram is simply by running the giveaway directly on Instagram.

When you run a giveaway within an Instagram post you can get users to enter by liking your post, following your page, and tagging friends in a comment. These are all fantastic ways to expose your Instagram page to new audiences and solidify your following.

Link Off To Your Contest From Your Instagram Bio

The downside of running your contest in an Instagram post is that you are highly limited in the actions you can incentivise, as well as the audience you can drive entries from. Plus, administering entries manually is a gruelling chore.

Instead, we recommend you use a 3rd party contest app like Gleam to run your next Instagram contest. This will allow you to drive a wider array of powerful actions and attract entrants from a variety of high-value sources including Instagram.

If you decide to run your Instagram contest with a 3rd party app you can drive traffic to it from Instagram by prominently featuring a link in your bio which takes users to a dedicated contest page on your website, or a hosted landing page.

Announce Your Contest Link

Instagram doesn't allow you to include links in your image captions, so your best course of action for driving traffic to your contest from Instagram is by including a clickable link in your bio and using your posts to promote the campaign and announce that users can access it via your bio.

Your promotional posts should mostly focus on announcing your campaign and getting people excited for it. Just make sure you make it clear to users that they can enter your contest through the link in your bio.

Describe Your Contest

When you post about your contest you want to make it perfectly clear what you're giving away, and how people can enter. This includes telling users if they need to complete any actions on Instagram such as following your page or tagging their friends, as well as letting them know where they can enter your campaign.

You can do this in your image's description and reserve the image for showing off your prize, or you can devote your image itself to cluing people in to the details of your campaign.

Be Visually Stimulating

Instagram is a highly visual platform so it's important that you use eye-catching and appealing visuals to promote your contest. Use bright colours, make sure your pictures are well composed and focus on imagery that's relevant to your campaign.

It's generally a good move to focus on your prize. A good promotional image should catch people's eye, show off your prize in an appealing way and encourage your audience to check out your post and enter your contest.

Highlight Your Prize

More than anything else, your prize is what will incentivise users to enter your contest. If people want your prize, they'll be more than happy to complete actions in order to get their hands on it.

Because of this it's important to put your prize at the forefront of your promotional material. Try using images, videos and descriptive language to showcase your prize and everything it has to offer. Making your prize as alluring as possible is one of the best things you can do to encourage entry.

Use Carousels

A great way to showcase your prize and present your contest in more detail is by using a Carousel to display multiple images within a single post.

This is a great tactic to use if you're offering a prize bundle and want to showcase everything included, or if you're running a campaign that you want to thoroughly explain.

Use Videos And Gifs

Another great way to make your promotional posts more engaging is by using videos and GIFs. This is a great way to draw attention to your post and get people to pay closer attention to your campaign.

You can use videos and GIFs to simply add a little bit of visual flair to your post, or you can use them to give people a rundown of your entire contest.

Ask Users To Tag Their Friends

When you promote your contest on Instagram, your posts will typically only be seen by users who already follow you. Reaching these loyal users is crucial to the success of your campaign, but if you really want to maximise participation then you'll also need to connect with new users.

A simple but highly effective way to do this is by asking users to tag their friends in a comment. This will expose you to a new and highly relevant audience and encourage entry from a wealth of new users who have the potential to become longtime followers or customers.

Incentivise Viral Shares

Another outstanding way to maximise your reach and connect with relevant new users is by using Gleam's Viral Share action to award bonus contest entries to users who share the campaign with their friends.

This is perfect for maximising participation and kickstarting a cycle of social referrals that can put your contest (and brand) in front of a massive audience.

Utilize Hashtags

A great way to gain some extra attention and expose your campaign to new audiences is by using relevant hashtags to attract people looking to win some prizes. You can try using hashtags such as:

  • #giveaway
  • #contest
  • #sweepstakes
  • #win

This may attract some entrants who are just looking to win prizes without having an actual interest in your brand, but if you are giving away your own product or another highly relevant prize you should be able to connect with relevant users.

If your prize has it's own popular hashtag then it's also a good idea to include that in your post, as it will help you find users with an interest in whatever it is you're giving away.

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Create A Unique Hashtag

If your contest requires users to submit their own image to enter then it's a good idea to create a unique hashtag for your campaign.

This will allow you to easily track entries, plus it will help you build engagement and gain traction by making it easy for people to submit images and check out other people's entries.

Plus, if you use Gleam to run your contest you can use our Instagram Import action to automatically import and enter appropriately hashtagged images into your campaign.

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Display People's Entries

If you're running a photo contest then it can be a good move to incorporate peoples submissions into your promotional material. This can help get people excited about your campaign, give them some inspiration for their own entries and encourage people to get involved.

You can showcase entries from campaigns you're currently running, or if you're running a previous contest again you can highlight the best submissions from last time around.

Build Hype

If you want to launch your contest to an excited audience who are ready to take immediate action then you should try posting about your contest before it goes live.

This is a great way to build hype, get people to pay close attention to your Instagram page before you launch and ensure you have an excited audience ready to enter when you do go live. If you really want to maximise your audience come launch day you should ask your following to tag their friends in all of your pre-contest posts. This will help you build a bigger, more excited following for your contest's launch.

Promote Your Contest Regularly

When your contest does go live it's a good idea to post about it regularly. Your entire following is unlikely to see all of your posts, so promoting your contest on a regular basis is an outstanding way to maximise your reach and remind your audience to enter.

When you promote your contest it's important that you're always keeping things fresh. You don't want your posts to become spammy and repetitive to those who have seen them all. Use different wording and images, and update users about the progress of your contest and how long there is left to enter.

Build Urgency At The End of Your Campaign

As your campaign reaches its conclusion you should do what you can to build a sense of urgency and encourage as many users as you can to enter the contest while they still can.

You can stress the limited time left in the campaign, highlight how easy it is to enter and emphasise the value of your prize. This should help you drive more entries before time runs out.

Show Off Previous Winners

If you run giveaways on a regular basis then you can try using your previous winners to promote your current campaign. Showing people with their prize will add legitimacy to your contests and get people excited about the prospect of winning a contest themselves. These are both great factors for encouraging entry.

You can even use your winner announcement post from one giveaway to announce your next one. This is a highly effective way to get previous entrants who weren't lucky enough to win to keep paying close attention to your page and try again next time.

Capitalise On Holidays And Special Events

Aligning contests with holidays and other special events is a great way to capitalise on their natural excitement and add an extra layer of engagement to your campaign.

You can base your whole campaign around a special event, or you can just use it to liven up your promotional posts.

If the holiday or event you sync your contest up with has it's own popular hashtag you should incorporate into your promotional posts. This can help you reach a wider audience and connect with relevant users.

Cross-Promote On Other Platforms

One of the key advantages of running your contest with a 3rd party platform is that you can drive traffic to your contest from a wide variety of sources including Facebook, Twitter, email, your website and much more. This will help you reach a much wider audience, increase participation and maximise the value of your campaign.

Instagram makes it easy to cross-post to Facebook, but since Facebook allows you to include links in your posts you're better off crafting new promotional posts.

Promote Posts With Instagram Ads

If you want to maximise the reach of your contest and connect with an audience beyond your existing following then you should consider promoting your contest posts with Instagram ads.

It's a great way to expose your contest to a new, relevant audience and drive powerful actions from potential fans, followers and customers.

Partner Up With Other Brands

Another exceptional tactic for extending your promotional reach is partnering up with other brands to run a collaborative giveaway.

You can team up with brands offering complementary products to form an irresistible prize pool and run a contest which drives actions that benefit everyone in the partnership.

What makes partner contests so effective is that you won't only be able to promote your campaign to your own following, but also to your partner's following. This is an outstanding way to expose your brand to new users and leverage your partnership to build immediate trust.

Learn How to Run a Partner Campaign

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Team Up With Influencers

As well as partnering up with other brands, it can also be highly beneficial to team up with a relevant Instagram influencer to help promote your giveaway.

You can reach out to influencers and ask them to promote your contest in exchange for monetary compensation, interesting content, or dedicated actions in the campaign.

Partnering up with the right influencer can give your promotional reach a massive boost and drive awareness and entries from targetted users who may have otherwise never even known your brand existed.

Run A Gleam Campaign With Influencers

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Promote Your Contest With Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories have become a fundamental component of the Instagram experience and if you neglect them in your promotional efforts you are limiting what you can achieve on the platform.

Instagram Stories present you with some great opportunities to promote your contest or giveaway in a highly engaging way. Here are a few tactics you can use:

Drive Traffic To Your Contest

Instagram allows you to include links in your stories which gives you a fantastic opportunity to drive traffic to your contest directly from a promotional post.

You can add an image to your story which promotes your contest and allow users to access it simply by swiping up. It's that easy.

Use Videos

Making a quick promotional video for your contest and showcasing it in your story is a great way to build a whole lot of engagement, explain your campaign and get people excited to enter.

Just remember to link off to your campaign so users who see your video can quickly enter without any barriers to entry.

Add A Post To Your Instagram Story

If you're running a contest within an Instagram post, or requiring users to interact with a particular post as a part of your contest then you can easily share the post on your story and allow users to check out the post with an easy tap.

All you have to do to is go to the contest post, tap the share icon, select Add post to your story and customise how you want to present your story.

Get People Excited For Your Giveaway

Your Instagram story is also a good tool for getting people excited about an upcoming contest. If you have a campaign going live soon then making a quick post about it in your story is a great way to build awareness and get people to pay attention to your page so that when you do launch, you're launching to an excited audience.

Use Instagram Stories Ads

If you want to boost your promotional reach and share your contest with a large and relevant audience then you should consider using Instagram Stories Ads.

This is a terrific way to share your contest with an audience you otherwise wouldn't have reached and drive meaningful action from targetted new users.

You can send users directly to your contest from inside your stories, so using Instagram Stories Ads is an awesome way to drive some immediate entries from relevant users you would have otherwise struggled to reach and convert.

Make Sure Your Contest is Mobile Friendly

The overwhelming majority of Instagram use takes place on mobile devices, so most of the users you send to your contest will be entering on a mobile device.

This makes it crucial to set up a campaign which functions flawlessly on mobile.

This can be a challenge, but Gleam makes it easy. With Gleam's Competitions app you can create powerful contests that are automatically optimised for mobile devices so you don't have to worry about anything getting in your way when you promote your contest on Instagram.

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