A great way for your business to increase awareness and social media engagement is to run an Instagram/Facebook contest or giveaway. These contests are a cost-effective way to gain more followers and new customers fast! They are easy to do, but just like anything online, there are best practices to follow.

From reviewing the rules to setting up and monitoring online contests, we’ve outlined all the basics below.

Here’s how to set up and run a contest on social media…

Know the rules before you begin

Before you begin, review the rules and regulations for Instagram and/or Facebook. Instagram has made it easy to run contests compared to the Facebook regulations that limit entry requirements and conditions. And when it comes to Instagram, make sure to know the dominant rule: the following statement (or one similar) MUST be included on all contest posts shared on Instagram…

Per Instagram rules, this promotion is in no way sponsored, administered, or associated with Instagram, Inc. By entering, entrants confirm that they are 13+ years of age, release Instagram of responsibility, and agree to Instagram’s terms of use.”

Instagram contest rules:

  • Instagram requires you to run the contest legally so you don’t violate any federal, state or local laws.
  • You are required to include official contest rules and terms of eligibility
  • You can’t tag anyone in the contest post who’s not actually in the post itself or ask users to tag themselves in a photo where they don’t appear (they can tag themselves in the comments of a post)
  • If you have a legal notice on your website detailing the contest rules you should post that link in your caption.
  • Visit the terms for Instagram contests for more information

Facebook contest rules:

  • You cannot require people to use their personal timelines or friend connections to participate
  • You are responsible for running the contest legally
  • You are required to acknowledge that Facebook has nothing to do with the contest
  • Facebook updates contest rules regularly, so keep up-to-date on the rules and regulations here

Define objectives and goals

Once you determine which platform to run your contest on, define the contest objectives and goals. Make sure you define the purpose—whether you’re looking to grow brand presence, increase followers, grow your email list or promote a product, set a specific goal that is measurable at the end. Make sure the purpose of the contest aligns with the interests and behaviors of your audience and consider your target market as you create the contest… what kinds of posts do they enjoy? What do they“like” on your feed? How do they behave on Facebook/Instagram? 

Plan the contest

Once you’ve defined the goal, you’re ready to plan the contest. There are three steps to do this…

Step 1. Select the prize or incentive. Your contest prize should be related to your business or brand and not just something fun to get more followers. You want to choose a prize of significance that warrants the level of participation. The more valuable the reward, the more participants you’ll probably get. For example, asking people to take a photo with your product or perform an action and then post it to their personal account is a “big” ask that will probably require a larger prize. However, asking someone to like or comment on your post is a small request. 

Step 2. Decide how users will enter. There are ways to do this and entry requirements can be one or a combination of a few. But the key is to make it easy for people to participate! Limit the entry requirements to three steps. 

Here are a few ideas…

  • Have the audience post a photo or video with a specific hashtag
  • Have them follow you in addition to creating a post
  • Have them tag your brand in a post on their story or feed
  • Have them like or comment on one of your posts

Step 3. Define rules and conditions. Make sure the rules and restrictions are clear (ie- age limit, U.S. residence only, etc.). Decide on how long the campaign will run and a start and end date. You will want to decide how winners are chosen and how they’ll be notified. This could be a random generator tool or judgement from the President, CEO or marketing department. Let participants know this and how the winners will be announced (emailed? DM on Instagram or FB? Or another method?). We recommend always publicly announcing winners on your social media account, but it’s nice to inform the winners privately beforehand.

Launch and promote the contest

Once you’ve planned it all out, you’re ready to launch and promote the contest on your social media accounts. Create a post with a catchy photo and communicate the contest with a text in the image or graphic. This way it won’t be scrolled over or missed by your audience as they are scrolling through their feed. Choose a hashtag to promote your contest so you can track your analytics and success. The hashtag should be related to your business, campaign, theme, product or service and exclusive to your contest. And don’t forget to cross-promote the contest on all social media accounts as well as through email campaigns, your website and even in person at your business location.

Review the success

Last but not least, you’ll want to track the results and measure the participation of your contest by monitoring the increase in followers, clicks on your website or other criteria. Once you run several contests you can compare the results to determine which types of prizes, times of year or social media platforms are the most successful for you. Once the contest has ended, don’t forget to go back and edit your contest posts to read “CONTEST CLOSED” at the beginning of each post so customers know it has expired.

We tell our clients to run contest regularly! Social media contests and giveaways are proven ways to promote products and services, while increasing followers and brand awareness. 

Need help launching your next social media contest?

Contact us today.