One of the ways to increase followers and engagement is through a contest. There are two broad forms – “Likeathon” or a “Hashtag User Generated Content (UGC)”. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.
There are certain requirements that one needs to respect and meet in order to make the content successful including adhering to Instagram’s promotion guidelines.
The first step is how to get people to enter to the contest. After all, if there are no contestants, then there is no contest!
How to run the contest – How will people enter?
As was mentioned, there are two broad ways to attract contestants. The first one includes users competing amongst each other for the most likes. For example, if the contest theme is about traveling to Rome, Italy, then people will post and will compete for the most likes of a particular picture of Rome. The second way to initiate the contest entry is via UCG.
To use the UCG method, one needs to come up with a hashtag that is relevant and unique for the content. More on the hashtag later. With this method, then users will post pictures and include the relevant hashtag in their posts. The hashtag use initiates their entry to the contest.
How will you choose a winner?
At this point you need to set some rules about the winner selection. There are various ways that you can do this process. The two most extremes are a vote by the users or a jury.
The vote by users means that each one votes for the one they like the most. Once the voting process is completed, then the post with the most likes wins the contents.
On the other hand, one can set up a jury of experts who collectively work together. The jury will decide who the winner is based on a unanimous agreement. Either method can work. In most cases, one could also choose a combination of the two to achieve a happy medium.
Regardless of the method selection the rules should be made clear before the start. Users should know how the winner is decided. Instagram’s policy is important. However, one should also check if there are any legal barriers that can cause some challenges later within their own country.
Promote the contest and engage with users
Here comes the fun part! You have to go out and promote the hell out of your contest to get some participants to apply. One of the most efficient ways is to promote via other social media platforms. Since you may be on Facebook, Twitter, Medium, then you can promote it there.
Another method to consider is via your own blog. You can post the content via your own blog for your readership. This works especially well if your readership is already on Instagram. One additional benefit is that it can drive more visitors to your blog as people wish to know more about the contest.
In addition to choosing the method, one should also choose the appropriate hashtag. There should be a hashtag that stands out and is easy to remember. You can use the tag for promoting the contest and others will start talking about it. In this way you can use your own efforts plus that of your followers across various networks including your blog.
Set goals and monitor progress
When defining the contest, you should have a goal in mind. For example, increase the number of followers, or increase the amount of engagement. Irrespective of the goal, you should be able to measure it and track the success of the campaign. Good goals also have a time limit associated with them. For example “acquire 1,000 new Instagram fans in 1 month”.
Once you have launched the contest, then you should monitor the progress. If you are expecting a low volume of participants, then you can manage it yourself. In contrast, if you expect a high number of participants, then the are some software tools that can assist.