7 Steps to Launch a Contest on Instagram to Boost Engagement and User Generated Content

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One of the best tried and tested ways to boost engagement and user-generated content is by organizing a successful Instagram contest. Many brands all over the world utilize this marketing strategy because of the many benefits it comes with: increases brand awareness, reaches a wider target audience than you would have organically, and eventually, boosts sales and customer loyalty. 

Launching Instagram contests is not all sunshine and roses though—getting followers and users to participate in user-generated contests can be a challenge. Some factors they consider before entering include the criteria that have to be met, how much effort is needed, and the giveaway to be won. 

But don’t worry, this article has got you covered. Once you know the proper steps to launch a successful Instagram contest, your brand can reap the many benefits that come with it. Let’s take a look at 7 simple steps to take in order to boost engagement and user-generated content. 

How to Launch an Instagram Contest

Set Your Goals 

Launching a contest can’t just be a “wing it” kind of strategy; it takes careful planning to get the most out of this tactic. 

So the most important thing to getting started with your Instagram contest on the right foot is setting clear goals. Part of goal-setting for the launch of your Instagram contest means thinking about the purpose of your contest and planning concrete objectives and goals for your brand. 

Whether it’s to gain X amount of new followers, boost engagement by 30%, or get recognition from a wider target audience, having a measure of success is useful to have. It serves as the basis and foundation for why you are launching the contest, as well as having a marker to meet. On average, Instagram accounts who hold contests grow 70% faster than those who don’t. Having this standard of measure can help your brand prioritize the necessary actions to make in order to reach your goals. 

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Decide on Your Prize

Giveaways and free rewards are instant attention grabbers for both new customers and existing followers. Deciding on a prize that appeals to your target audience, however, should be carefully considered. 

The giveaway—whether a product, service, or subscription—has to be relevant to your brand, stays within budget, and is related to your niche market’s interests. If the prize is something unrelated to your business, you could risk attracting followers who have no interest in your brand. Thereby, losing follower count and customer engagement in the long run. 

Coming up with the right prize after all is what motivates your audience to participate and enter your contest. 

Write a Detailed Set of Mechanics

After you’ve set your goals for your contest, being able to write a detailed set of mechanics should come in more easily. Crafting a well-detailed set of mechanics communicates to your followers all the important information to be eligible. 

Your caption should be clear and concise that you’re hosting a giveaway. But it should cover the following: 

  • what the giveaway is
  • how much it’s worth
  • how to enter
  • geographical restrictions (if any)
  • deadline
  • how and where winners will be announced

In addition to the usual sweepstake contest, where liking, following, and tagging is the standard mechanic, exploring other ways to boost user-generated content through customer testimonials, photo caption contests, and trivia about your brand are good marketing strategies to leverage on. 

Just make sure to keep in mind Instagram’s promotion guidelines to validate all administered content from the brand and its participants. 

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Craft a Memorable Hashtag

Creative hashtags are not only engaging but are also useful for monitoring posts related to the contest. It can even pave the way for added participation. When your audience shares an eye-catching hashtag, their followers will be curious and may eventually click to learn more. 

Crafting a memorable hashtag should meet the following criteria: it’s easy to remember, unique, and relevant. With hundreds or even thousands of new hashtags being generated each day, coming up with one that entirely describes your contest is key. Optimizing hashtags also help improve Instagram algorithms by showing your brand to more users on the explore page and story ads.  

Launch a Promotion Campaign

When releasing a new line of products, launching a promotional campaign is effective in getting the word out to your target audience as well as reaching wider demographics. Developing the promotion campaign can be time-consuming, which is where project management tools come in. 

A project management tool allows you to easily get things done properly and on time. Using the right project management software for your brand also allows you to track the campaign more easily. 

Based on your set of priorities, picking the best project management software should help narrow it down. With numerous platforms out there, carefully consider the best one for your campaign to help better streamline communication and eliminate the need for manually monitoring entries. 

Monitor the Submissions

Monitoring thousands of submissions each day can be a daunting task. It may not even be possible to go through each individual submission you receive. By choosing the right social media management tool, keeping track of submissions eliminates the headache of manually managing all posts, comments, and tags. 

With an app like Crowdfire, gathering all mentions never have to be missed out on—you can easily reply to your audience without ever leaving the app. Its features allow you to pre-schedule posts for the announcement of winners and publishing content on the day scheduled.  

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Evaluate Your Results

In the end, holding an Instagram contest would only be proven valuable when your results show you the numbers. 

Evaluating your analytics gets you to understand if your goals were met. To help you properly interpret data, data analysts are experts at gathering insights from data collected during your campaign. 

When it comes to big numbers, analysts can tell you how to make informed decisions, set realistic targets, and predict consumer behavior in the future. Your brand identifies areas you did well in as well as areas to make adjustments to. After all, the primary use of data is to leverage existing platforms and products. 

Key Takeaways

When it comes to launching a successful Instagram contest, there are many decisions to consider—from your goals, prizes, mechanics, etc—but once you’ve figured these out, watch your engagement and user-generated content start to skyrocket. With the right set of tools to help you monitor submissions and evaluate the numbers, you’re right on track for gaining the numerous benefits that come from hosting a contest.  

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