How to run your first Instagram competition

Feb 11, 2019
minute read

One great way for Small Businesses to build a fan base is to run an Instagram Competition.

With over 800 million active users, Instagram is the perfect platform to engage your audience and develop your following.

To run an effective Instagram Competition there are a number of factors that need to be well thought out beforehand. It doesn’t have to be difficult, but taking the time to plan your Instagram Competition strategy can really help to optimise end results.

4 Steps To Your First Instagram Competition

1. Determine your end goal

Before you begin to think about prizes and the number of followers you’d like to acquire, it’s important to consider the purpose of your competition. Ask yourself – are you hoping to increase engagement, develop your brand presence or increase your following?

2. Choose The Type Of Instagram Competition

Once you’ve decided on your objective, you need to then think about what type of competition is best for your desired outcome.

For example, if you are looking to increase engagement with a single post, you can conduct a ‘Like Instagram Competition’ (see below), where users like a post to enter.

Four types of Instagram Competition to choose from:

  • Like Competition— This one is very simple, all you have to do is request that users like your post in order to enter. This type of competition is best for increasing engagement on posts, as it is essentially effortless and super straightforward for users to enter.
  • Comments Competition—This type of Instagram Competition is similar to the one above and is run basically how it sounds – tell users to comment on your post to enter. If your end goal is to increase engagement, then this type of competition is another great option. Pro tip – you can request that users tag a friend in the comments to enter, this is great as it drives organic traffic to your post and can really help to build new followers.
  • Photo Competition—Photo Competitions are super popular on Instagram because of the visual nature of the platform. To conduct a photo competition, ask users to post a specific type of photo to their account using a predetermined hashtag that you’ve chosen in advance. For example, a cafe giving away a free dinner for two could ask users to “post a selfie with your perfect date” using the hashtag #perfectdinnerdate to enter. This type of competition is perfect to build user-generated content for your brand i.e. if you’re looking to increase the number of posts that are tagged to your business hashtag, using this type of competition is ideal for you.
  • Repost Competition— A Repost Competition works in the same way as the Photo Competition above, however, instead of users creating and posting their own image, you provide the content for them to re-post using the Re-post App or a screenshot. This type of competition allows you to maintain control of the messaging and branding associated with the competition. It can also make the competition more discoverable on Instagram by clearly stating “WIN” or “CONTEST” in the post image, which helps to attract more users to the post.

3. Define the rules

When conducting an Instagram Competition it is super important to define and clearly articulate the rules.

Details you need to include:

  • What the prize is + what is its worth
  • How to enter
  • Competition end date and time (including time zone)
  • Who can enter (i.e. only business, only public accounts etc.)
  • Valid location (i.e. only valid for Perth-based entrants)
  • The currency of prizes (i.e. AUD)
  • Postage included/not included (if applicable)
  • Define how a winner will be chosen (i.e. winner chosen at random, winner with the most entries etc.)
  • And finally, you must include a sentence that states your competition is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Instagram (see text you can use below). “This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Instagram”

Pro tip – if your competition has a lot of terms & conditions, or there are extra details you’d like to explain, you can also create a page on your website with these extra details, add the link to your bio and direct users there for more information.

4. Share your competition via hashtags

To make sure your competition reaches as many people as possible, use relevant hashtags on the competition post to promote it.

Example hashtags below:



Remember you have other platforms you can promote your Instagram Competition on – a hello bar on your website, a specific page on your website, a blog post, on your Facebook page, and via email to your customer database.

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