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In it to win it – Instagram competitions

With over one billion people using Instagram every day, it’s not surprising that the app has become a go-to place for brands to run competitions.


Kelsie Hatton



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With prize opportunities ranging from thousands of pounds to spend at your favourite clothing brand, to as little as a personalised water bottle, there’s something to interest everyone.

And the competitions can be entered with just a couple of clicks from your sofa – so why wouldn’t you?

Incorporating Instagram competitions into your marketing strategy can help support a business objective via measurable social KPIs, such as increasing awareness of key brand messaging, boosting engagements or building a bigger audience.

In a nutshell, Instagram competitions are a great way to draw attention to your brand on one of the largest social media platforms. They help boost engagement and get your content noticed by the Instagram algorithm, but the advantages don’t stop there…

So, what are the benefits of using Instagram competitions?

They’re cost effective

Even competitions with lower value prizes can receive a large number of entries, so on the whole they’re super affordable to carry out.

Rewarding loyal followers

Competitions can be a way to build a stronger relationship with your current following by rewarding them with prizes that they will enjoy.

Gaining new followers

They can be great mechanics for attracting new followers, even if only a small percentage stick around after the competition ends.

Building awareness

Competitions can build hype around a certain product or a page if you encourage people to share with their friends; motivating the contestants to spread the word with likeminded people.

A wide product trial

When there are multiple winners in a competition, it allows a range of people to try your product if they haven’t already.

Increasing engagement

Competitions are a sure-fire way to increase engagement on a page, attracting new and relevant fans to help increase comments, shares and likes.

What makes Instagram competitions different to other competitions?

You can use Instagram ads to reach the exact target audience you’re aiming for, which will help to get more interactions throughout your competition. You can also collect customer data by creating custom audiences, so you can follow up with them after the competition is over and remain visible to them.

There are a bunch of engaging ways you can execute an Instagram competition too. Here are a handful of our favourite examples…

Like and/or comment to win

If you’re after a super simple way for people to enter and an easy way for you to moderate, then this is the mechanic for you (it also happens to be the most widely used route). They are a good way to create buzz around your brand and tot up entries, but as it’s so easy, the quality of people you’re attracting may not be the best, so always consider your objectives before choosing a competition type.

Photo caption contest

Here’s another simple mechanic whereby you post an interesting or unusual photo and ask followers to post their caption in the comments, showing off their wit and humour, with the best response winning a prize.

Tell us in the comments

This a great way of exposing the brand to people who might not be following you or haven’t heard of the brand before. Ask people to tag their friends in the comments of the post to win a prize, which will then notify each person of the content. If they like what they see, they might engage with the brand themselves, meaning you gain a new follower – nice!


You can encourage people to respond to questions to show how much they know about your brand. These trivia questions could be relating to the brand or showing a skill, which can serve as social proof. If people don’t know the answers, they may end up researching and learning further.

User generated content

UGC is a good way to collect content from followers that can be shared across other social channels (with permission of course!). UGC can be a big ask of followers, but totally worth it! You can ask people to show themselves using your brands products, share a story of how the brand has improved their life or post photos that are related in some way. The content generated can double up as testimonials or even act as consumer research.

Scavenger hunt

You can use the Instagram feed to provide clues that people need to follow to find a prize.

Whilst running these competitions are fun, there are still some watchouts that should be considered:

  • Before carrying out your competition, you need to decide what you want to achieve out of it, which entry mechanic you are going to use and what prize is appropriate so that you are aligned from the get-go
  • Always be clear from the outset what constitutes as an entry and how the winner will be selected
  • Set out watertight terms and conditions of the competition including a definitive start and end date. We advise running these by a compliance team to make sure you have dotted your Is and crossed your Ts
  • With the introduction of GDPR, you need to be explicit about what you intend to do with any data collected in the competition
  • Never publicly disclose any information about the winner and do not suggest they provide their contact details or address in the public domain. Always do this in private or direct messages on Instagram

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