— February 19, 2018
Instagram is useful, and for some brands, it is working miracles. It’s easy to get involved with, and the sheer quality of the platform almost forces brands to tell their best stories. As long as you’ve mastered visual marketing, you’re fine.
But Instagram contests are still an enigma to some brands. These easy to set up and very engaging tools are fantastic solutions for engagement issues. Run a contest, and watch as your engagement shoots up. Okay, it may not happen overnight, but we’ve got a few tips that should allow you to master the whole thing, very quickly.
Like much of what happens in social media, not having a plan is not a plan. You have to be very careful when you invest time and other resources into stuff like this, and your client will expect results. So the very best thing you can do before anything else is plan what you are going to do and work out what you are trying to achieve.
Work out the time frame you’re focused on for getting the thing out there. Then also make sure that, if budget is an issue, your costings are on the money. No one likes stuff that goes over budget, especially if it has potential ‘fail points’.
The fail points won’t be an issue if you plan. The one thing you should be absolutely clear on here is the content that is used in the contest. You need to make sure that you are using content that resonates with your audience.
If you don’t they won’t show up. Take the time to find your best posts on the platform, and most importantly the posts that got the most shares. That style of content is your sweet spot, and your audience will be engaged.
How They Can Enter
This is an interesting point because there are so many ways to enter a contest online these days. The best bet is to ensure that any entry is ‘Instagram friendly‘. This means it has to feature aspects of the platform to really engage.
Make sure you are clear on the way that people enter. Do they just take pictures and tag them? Or do they have to use a particular hashtag that you’ve made up?
The style of it all
This is crucial. Because you’re creating a contest that has prizes and you want as many people as possible to enter, you need to have a clear style of the competition. Bearing in mind that a lot of what the contest is based on involves images, think of the best kind of images you would want to show up in your inbox.
Then make this the theme of the contest. A fast food retailer, for example, would use a theme of eating quickly. They may ask participants to create images in their restaurants, or they may ask that entrants eat their food in odd places, and photograph it.
Through knowing your audience you should be able to come up with an attractive and useful prize. Something they really want to win. Many brands just offer free services for a year (which for some brands is significant as an outlay).
Others offer physical prizes such as promo materials, or VIP tickets to an event. Whatever you choose, the prize should be something that really resonates with the audience.
This is a tricky area and we reckon that the more control you have over this part of the process, the better. You can create a competition ‘panel’ that will decide who wins the contest.
This is worth doing because once you let the audience (and their millions of friends) get involved in liking something, it can be ‘gamed’ pretty easily. You need control, so set up a panel and make this very clear to entrants.
The Terms and Conditions
The legal part. Grab your nearest lawyer and make sure that the terms and conditions you present to entrants are legitimate and also very clear. You don’t want any confusion.
This is vitally important because you could have some very bad luck and have someone take advantage of the system. And that’s especially the case if the prize is a good one (see earlier point).
Your terms and conditions should be very straightforward. A lawyer or legal professional will be able to get them in order. They should include guidelines on how to enter, who can enter, the closing date and so on.
Get the word out
This is the fun bit for many brands. Hitting all your audience on the platforms and channels they use daily is the best possible scenario here, so you need to know them very well.
Get the word out on the social media channels they use, and make sure you hit the email list too. Don’t make a mistake with email either. Follow guidelines for getting your email opened, and use attractive email design to really grab their attention.
Back to social, create a string of promo posts that build up excitement about the contest as it begins, and during its run. Urgency can be created as you near the closing date.
And that’s it
Almost. You now need to monitor it and start making changes here and there. If the uptake isn’t big enough, look at your metrics and see if it is a reach problem. If it’s an engagement issue, alter the marketing so that you gain more interest. Generally speaking, the more you monitor what is going as the contest continues, the better the end result.
When the closing date appears, make an announcement on social that makes it clear that everything is over and you are just letting the panel decide on winners.
Then, check out the traffic you’ve received to your hub site, and also the engagement levels on your social media.
Handy tip: once the contest is over, the promo isn’t. Use email addresses and account details to thank people for entering. Then talk about an upcoming contest. If you want to make this part even more effective, ask them for competition ideas.
Running an Instagram contest is easy, as long as you get that planning right. Know your audience, and make sure the prize is something they actually want. That helps.