Dana Sullivan Kilroy is a communications professional with more than 20 years of experience delivering compelling content. Her work has appeared in national, award-winning publications and sites, including: The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Fast Company, Inc.
If you’ve been considering running a photo contest, incorporating Instagram can be a smart move.
For starters, Instagram is a photo-sharing platform so you’re not asking fans to do anything they’re not already doing online.
In addition, you can build your Instagram contest on an interactive campaign and get fans involved on multiple levels.
Every day we’re seeing more businesses using Instagram for the kinds of contests and giveaways that have been popular on Facebook for years.
While some of the best practices for Facebook contests carry over onto Instagram, there are a few additional things you can keep in mind when building and hosting an Instagram photo contest.
4 Things to Remember When Building and Hosting an Instagram Photo Contest
1. Research Available Templates: At this stage in the social media game, there is most likely a template you can use to execute any marketing campaign you have in mind. Before you begin building your Instagram Photo Contest from scratch, investigate if the campaign builder you’re using offers some templates to help get you started.Hopefully you’re using ShortStack.com to build your promotion and we offer a variety of Instagram templates and two specifically for photo contests. Our Instagram Photo Vote Contest Template is ready to go with vote restrictions, sharing, voting, entry form and entry restrictions all set up for you. All you have to do is add your logo and design elements to match your brand. We also have our Instagram Promotion Template which allows you to run an integrated Instagram Campaign. This template is for the more complex promotion but allows you to offer an entry form, exclusive content, product feature and downloadable content. All of which can be customized to fit your needs. The great thing about these templates is by using ShortStack’s Upload Photo From Instagram Button visitors can enter right from the campaign without having to go through their Instagram app. This means that desktop and mobile users can easily enter your promotion. Here’s how it works:Visitors click the “From Instagram” buttonThey enter their Instagram usernameThey select the photo they want to enter from their Instagram account **Any visitor with an Instagram account can enter, whether their profile is private or public.
2. Clearly Outline the Entry Steps on Your Campaign: Instagram Campaigns are successful because they’re fun and easy! However, you never want to leave your audience hanging when it comes to the steps needed to take to enter your promotion. We recommend clearly outlining the entry steps on your campaign. When you have a contest on Instagram there are a variety of entry options. You can ask people to simply upload a photo, to add a hashtag, follow your page, share a photo, tag friends, comment or like a photo. Make sure you clearly state ALL of the steps that are required of your participants to enter.
3. Pick a relevant hashtag: Hashtags are an easy way to keep track of your entries and expand the reach of your promotion. However, hashtags can be tricky because you want them to match your brand, not be too difficult to type or spell, and ideally not be used before. When deciding on your hashtag use a hashtag checker like tagboard.com to see if your hashtag has previously been used.
4. Cross-Promote your Contest: Once your Instagram Contest is ready to go it’s time to get the word out. The beauty of running an Instagram Promotion through a software like ShortStack is you can easily collect the entries onto your campaign and then add a voting element. From there you can even open your promotion to followers outside of Instagram. A few ways you can get the word out about your campaign is by promoting it on your other social channels, sending an email to your existing fans, putting an ad on your website, and buying Facebook ads.In today’s example, the Bridal Elegance & Pageantry did a great job of posting about their promotion on their website. When visitors land on BridalElegance.Us.com they can click on a “contest” tab and see that they can win one of 5 $100 gift cards. Clicking on the ad (shown below) takes visitors to their Instagram Promotion campaign.
Example of an Instagram Photo Contest
Bridal Elegance & Pageantry is a bridal, prom and pageant store. Their promotion for Homecoming 2015 offers up five $100 gift certificates for visitors who enter a photo through Instagram.
Entrants are asked to select their favorite photo, share their entry and vote.
Bridal Elegance & Pageanty is using the hashtag #BEHC2k15 to support their campaign.
They used ShortStack’s Instagram Photo Vote Contest Template to build their Campaign and added in some of ShortStack’s custom theme colors to enhance the look.
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