FREE STUFF! How to run a competition on Instagram

Competitions are a great way for brands to build excitement and expand their Instagram audience. To make sure your next one runs smoothly, we’ve put together some easy steps on how to run a successful Instagram competition.

Step 1: Choose the type of competition

There are a wide variety of competition types to choose from depending on your needs. Some of our favourites are:

  • Like to win contests

Like to win contests involve users liking the post to enter. They are simple to run and generally have a lot more entrants as it doesn’t require much effort from the user.

If you decide to go with a like to win content, make sure you ask entrants to also follow your account, and tag a couple of their friends to keep the engagement flowing. It is also important to note that in Australia, sweepstakes (chance) competitions like these legally require a permit (annoying, we know). More information on permits can be found here.

  • User-generated content competition

User-generated content competitions ask entrants to create and upload a photo using a campaign specific hashtag. These competitions are a great way to get your entrants engaging with the brand, however they do require a bit more effort to enter so you better make sure the prize is worthwhile!

Remember to use a simple hashtag, and use it as an opportunity to create a theme for the entries. Also, make sure you find a hashtag that is unique, otherwise you might have some confusion about who’s actually entered!

  • Share a photo competition

Photo sharing competitions involve the brand posting a photo, which users then repost to enter into the competition. This can often cause a chain of reposts, as users continue to repost from each other. This method is a great way to easily control the message of your giveaway by choosing what you want everyone to share.

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Step 2: Set up your rules

Before you launch your contest, it’s important that you read through Instagram’s Promotion Guidelines.

Next step is to let your followers know how exactly they can enter and be eligible to win. Make sure you determine how long the competition will run for, and how many winners there will be and spell this out clearly in the giveaway guidelines.

Step 3: Choose a prize

A good prize will encourage a strong response from users. Make sure it’s something that’s related to your product or service as it will attract people who are genuinely interested in your brand.

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Step 4: Launch and Promote your contest

Once you’ve got everything sorted, you need to post to Instagram. Include the rules of how to enter clearly in the caption. It’s also handy to use some general hashtags like #contest and #giveaway to get your competition out there. Even though the contest is only on Instagram, it’s a good idea to share the details on your other social media platforms to attract more users.

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Step 5: Pick your winner/s

When the competition closes, choose your winner (either randomly or by selecting the best photo). Let them know by tagging them in a post, or contacting them directly.

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If you had a user-generated content competition, share the winning entry on Instagram (and be sure to give them the credit they deserve!). You can also use this post as an opportunity to thank everyone for entering.

Do you need help with running your competition on Instagram? Or perhaps are looking for an influencer/s to host a giveaway for your brand? Email us today at

Astrid Chorinsky

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