How to Run a Competition on Instagram: 6 Steps for the Perfect Giveaway

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Contests, giveaways, and sweepstakes are major engagement generators, so it’s essential to learn how to run a competition on Instagram ASAP.

With the ability to bring more followers to your page, you can boost your metrics within a couple of days. Not only that, but they’re also a fantastic way to build a loyal community and get more conversions.

Fortunately, hosting different types of contests on Instagram is simpler than it seems at first. This guide can help you set up the perfect giveaway that can catapult your accounts to digital success.

What Are the Benefits of Running a Competition on Instagram?

There are many benefits to hosting Instagram competitions, from increased engagement numbers to a higher number of eyes on your content. It’s a fantastic way to get people involved with your brand and the message you want to put across.

Let’s review some major benefits you’ll experience from hosting a competition.

Boosting Your Following

One of the most challenging parts of owning any social media account is figuring out how to get more followers. On Instagram, a large following can make a huge difference between irrelevance and total digital success.

That said, hosting a competition is a fantastic way to build your audience from the ground up.

Not only will your existing following appreciate being able to win amazing prizes but prospective followers as well. This point is especially true if you have competitors follow and like your posts to be entered into the contest.

You’ll start to see your numbers grow overnight and continue to increase throughout your contest.

Better Audience Engagement

Undoubtedly, having more followers is a great way to establish dominance in your niche. However, audience engagement is equally, if not more important.

The more people you have viewing and liking your content, the more likely you’ll be to have more product sales.

You’ll even find engagement is essential for influencers as well. When working with brands, they want online personalities with high engagement numbers, proving their advertisements and sponsored posts will be seen.

It’s also important to note higher engagement puts you in favor of the platform’s algorithm, increasing your posts’ visibility.

With the help of a contest, you’ll be getting authentic engagement from real Instagram users. This helps to boost your brand awareness while also attracting more people who could become loyal customers.

Getting User-Generated Visual Content

Marketing your products and services is essential for the success of any online business. One of the best ways to bring eyes to your product catalog is to get your hands on user-generated content (UGC).

With UGC, you can show prospective customers how many previous customers love what you have to offer.

User content for a photo contest is far more enticing than written testimonials and even testimonial videos, increasing your sales. When hosting a contest, you can have entrants create pictures or entries with your brand tagged.

These tags give you an entire trove of resources you can use to show how your products work and are loved.

How to Run a Competition on Instagram: 6 Steps for the Best Giveaway


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Deciding to host a competition on Instagram is the first step to bettering your digital marketing plan for direct engagement. There are a few easy-to-follow steps you’ll need to know how to make it the best giveaway your potential customers have entered.

Let’s dive into the process.

Step 1: Start Planning

As expected, the first thing you need to do when hosting a competition is to make sure you plan all your contest ideas.

There are many important things to note, such as the type of contest you want to host, eligibility requirements, and the entry action. It’s also essential to think about how long the contest will run, so you and your audience know when a winner will be chosen.

Above all else, the most important thing to consider is the final goal of your giveaway. Although it would be nice to give your audience freebies, it must be mutually beneficial.

As such, think about what areas you need to improve on your social media platforms, for example:

  • Increasing followers: If you want to boost your follower totals, consider having entrants follow your account for their entry to be counted.
  • Increased engagement: To boost engagement, a great idea is to have competitors like, follow, and share your posts to be granted an entry.
  • Boosted brand awareness: If you’re looking to spread your brand awareness, sharing your competition post is a great way to bring new traffic to your social media profiles.

Step 2: Decide on the Rules

Decide on the Rules

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Before hosting your giveaway, the next step of the preparation process is to decide on the rules you want for the competition.

Rules can include deadlines, entry requirements, and even geographical restrictions due to shipping. The most crucial part of deciding on rules is to make sure they are clearly laid out for all entrants to see.

A few examples of important rules you might want to consider include:

  • List of steps for your international audience to enter
  • Having a complete release for entrants to sign
  • Entry requirements, such as following on your social media channels
  • Deciding on the time frame for the contest length
  • Figuring out if entrants can get additional entries
  • Making a list of the common prizes you might give away

The last thing any business wants is to deal with a PR disaster revolving around unclear terms of entry.

All competitors should know what to do, how long they have to enter, and when a winner will be chosen for the contest prize. You’ll also want to include the host's contact details for entrants to get in touch through the contest post.

Step 3: Curate the Perfect Prize

The first thing your audience will look for when you host a competition is what the prize includes. People obviously want to know what they’re putting their effort into and whether it’s worth the time investment.

That said, always ensure your prize equals the steps entrants need to take to win.

For example, having a ten-step entry process for a free shaker bottle isn’t likely to get many impressions. Also, it could lead to a few negative comments under the competition post that you’d rather avoid.

It’s best to sit down with your team and decide on a prize representing your brand and benefiting your audience.

If it’s a simple and quick competition, you can opt for less expensive prizes, such as discount coupons or small freebies. However, if you’re asking your audience to submit pieces of art or take pictures to share, a larger prize would be beneficial.

Geographical restrictions are another massive part of picking your prize, as they can determine what you can and can’t ship overseas.

Step 4: Develop a Marketing Strategy

At the end of the day, your competition will bring plenty of impressions and traffic in less time than other marketing methods. That said, you still have to put effort into promoting the giveaway or sweepstakes in the first place.

Otherwise, you’ll have a dead post on your page that only your most loyal followers will know about.

Using your other social media accounts is the best way to develop a marketing strategy around a giveaway or competition. You can share it directly on your Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other platforms.

Even marketing it on Instagram is a great idea, as you can post an interactive Story or Reel that allows people to enter directly.

The more you push your contest to your audience, the more entries you’ll get in less time. It’s an effective way to double down your growth strategy by focusing on marketing before, during, and after your contest.

Step 5: Design the Creatives

The final step of getting your contest ready to push to your audience is to begin designing your creatives. You can post about your competition to your followers in many fabulous ways.

Instagram allows users to upload multiple photos and videos, Carousels, Reels, Instagram Stories, and even host live events.

These features are the best way to generate a highly attractive competition that will net the highest number of contest entries. It’s also essential to spend a lot of time creating the most attractive creatives possible to build contest recognition.

Use bold and brilliant coloring with an easy-to-read font that explains the basics of the contest.

Always ensure your creatives align with your brand image, which dramatically benefits brand awareness. Also, it’s essential to make your contest types accessible to all your followers, such as adding subtitles on videos for those hard of hearing.

Step 6: Publish Your Social Media Contest and Track the Entries

At this point, you should have everything ready to get your successful contest out to the public.

All that’s left is to publish your contest using Instagram’s many posting features. You must pay close attention to your entries, as they can give you some valuable information.

You’ll want to use social media management tools like Instagram’s built-in analytics for business accounts. With these tools, you can track different metrics ranging from age to geographic location to get an idea of who your target audience is.

This information is invaluable because it tells you exactly who to market to, helping make your future social media efforts more profitable.

Effectively Running a Competition on Instagram

Every social media user needs to know how to run a competition on Instagram. With the ability to spend a few hours making creatives and picking a prize, you can increase your engagement ten-fold. You’ll also be building a positive brand reputation while boosting brand awareness all at the same time.