How to Get Leads (and Sell More Stuff) with Instagram Contests and Giveaways

Learn how to effectively run Instagram contests and connect with potential leads using software, official requirements, hashtags, and autoresponder emails.

By Ana Gotter ・4 min read
Best Practices
Business & Marketing Strategy
Campaign & Contest Ideas
ShortStack Tips & Tricks
Social Media

When looking to connect with new customers and win over potential leads with Instagram contests, a lot of small businesses rely on the “tag a friend!” strategy as a requirement to enter the contest.There are two problems with this.The first is that it actually goes against Instagram’s policies, and could potentially land your account in hot water. The second is, it’s not effective -- even if you do get away with it. There are much better ways to go about getting leads and building a following on Instagram.Instead of having your followers spam their friends -- who might not ever even look at the post -- there are tools and strategies you can use to connect with leads who'd be interested in your contest and your business.Just follow these four steps, and you’ll collect valuable, useable leads with your Instagram contest.

Use Software to Run Instagram Contests

Using contest software like ShortStack is the only way to actually capture the useful lead information you need. Likes and follows don't come close to the value of having an email address which you can use to share special offers and announcement, again and again, using marketing automation tactics.

ShortStack Photo Upload Contest

This was built using ShortStack's Photo Upload Contest template View and Create Your Own Obviously you shouldn't ask users to leave their personal information publicly on social media, and you don’t want to deal with the hassle of asking them to PM it to you (even if you did, most people would not do this). Contest software allows you to capture lead information securely and privately.

Make It Part of the Official Requirement

Plenty of Instagram contests have multiple requirements that you need to complete in order to actually be officially entered into the contest. This may include liking the page, submitting a photo, and—yes—submitting lead information.Where you list the requirement for submitting an email address can also make a difference as to whether users are willing to do so—or remember to do so. Don’t list it last, because then users will think of it as an afterthought. Instead, list it second—after the “like our account” and before “submit the photo with the following hashtag”—to increase the likelihood that users won’t stop to think about it, and will just sign up.

ShortStack's Refer-a-Friend Contest

This was built using ShortStack's Refer-a-Friend Contest template View and Create Your Own Be clear about any requirements you have for your contest by posting rules on a landing page and linking to it from your bio.

Contest Rules Landing Page

This was built using ShortStack's Contest Rules template View and Create Your Own

Require Social Engagement as Part of Your Instagram Contest

Capturing lead information is the priority for this contest, but the social benefits Instagram contests can provide still shouldn’t be ignored. Not only will UGC-focused contestsgive you plenty of great content to share later on, it will also increase your visibility further. Learn more about user-generated content permissions.Instagram photo contests are an excellent opportunity for this type of engagement. Oreo’s #myoreocreation contest was an excellent example of this. They urged users to create their own flavors, and to share their idea in their own individual Instagram posts using the hashtags.

Oreo's #myoreocreation contest

Oreo ran a #myoreocreation contest urging users to share their ideas and flavorsWhen users upload their own Instagram post for your contest using your contest’s hashtag, all of their followers will see it. There’s a good chance that at least a few of their followers will have similar interests, meaning that they may be in your target audience. By clicking the hashtag, they’ll be able to find your own posts about the contest. Presented with the chance of winning a prize that’s of interest to them—and from a company their friend has publicly supported—they’re much more likely to enter the contest and give you a new and engaged lead.

ShortStack's Instagram Upload Contest

This was built using ShortStack's Instagram Photo Upload template

Use Hashtags to Connect with New Customers

After you’ve set up your contest’s landing page and official requirements, you need to figure out the most effective ways to maximize the visibility of the contest. Many of your followers, after all, may already be customers; you want to connect with new users who aren’t yet connected to you in order to get the most out of your lead generation efforts.The best way to do this without breaking Instagram’s contest rules is to get smart about your hashtags. Hashtags are searchable topics, and they can help you increase your visibility and reach substantially. By using the right hashtags, you’ll put your contest directly in front of an interested, engaged audience who is actively looking for similar content. This is a great way to introduce your brand to users who haven’t even heard of you, and it gives you the chance to immediately capture their lead information and gain them as a follower.

Zucker's Bagels contest

Zucker's Bagels ran a clever contest using hashtags Add at least eleven hashtags to every single post, and opt for industry-relevant hashtags you know would be popular for your target audience. An #instacontest can get you a lot of visibility, but a gelato shop in Texas using #sweettreatsforDallas would get better results for that business; your audience will be more relevant, and so will your leads.

Send Welcome Autoresponder Emails Immediately

Immediately after capturing lead information using an autoresponder, it’s a good idea to follow up so that contest participants will remember who you are. This will make them more likely to open your emails in the future, and it’s the last step you need to cement your new leads’ interest to begin the relationship.

Filtering entries using ShortStack's email builder

Filtering entries using ShortStack's email builderSetting up an autoresponder campaign and sending a brief entry confirmation and welcome message as soon as someone enters is a great first step. You could even include a welcome offer, like a discount or a free trial. Using ShortStack's marketing automation features you can even distribute email to filtered lists), taking leads from cold to warm while your brand is still relevant in their minds.

Leverage your contest’s visibility and popularity to win over leads, which will benefit your business both immediately and long-term.

Instagram contests can be great for engagement, but that shouldn’t be all that they do. Leverage your contest’s visibility and popularity to win over leads, which will benefit your business both immediately and long-term. You can use ShortStack’s software to generate the leads and our autoresponder tool to immediately follow up, striking while the iron is hot to begin nurturing your leads.What do you think? Do you use Instagram contests to generate leads?

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About the author

By Ana Gotter ・4 min read

Ana Gotter is a regular contributor to the ShortStack blog. She also writes for sites including Social Media Examiner, Business 2 Community and Adspresso. Find her at Expert Business Writer - Ana Gotter.

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