How to conduct an Instagram competition the right way

8. 8. 2019

Contests can be an effective way to increase a brand’s awareness on social media. When conducting a competition, you should remember that there are certain rules that should be followed so that it will bring the intended results.

Before organizing any competition on social media, you need to know what is the business goal you want to achieve.

The goal of an Instagram giveaway may be:

  • Promotion of the product/service offered
  • Increased brand awareness on Instagram
  • Knowing the recipients and their preferences
  • Gathering ideas for new products
  • Engaging with fans
  • Getting new potential customers

This is a very important step because all activities (including the form of the competition and its promotion, as well as the prize) will be aligned to the previously defined goal.

Choosing the type of Instagram contest to run

When choosing the form of the giveaway, follow this one rule; the simpler the better. If it is too complicated, the competition will most likely have a small response because users simply will not want to perform complicated tasks to win unless the prize is really worth it.

Your Instagram giveaway can be one of the below:

  • Having fans answering an open-ended question
  • Photo competition
  • Film competition etc.


The prize should encourage your fans to take part in the competition and should be suitable for your target group. Most importantly, it should be closely related to the brand. It is worth considering what kind of reward will be the best. You can choose one large prize, but it is a good idea to introduce some additional, smaller prizes as consolation prizes.

Setting the rules of the competition

Rules are an essential element when running a competition. It must comply with Instagram’s policy.

Here is what you should always remember when constructing the rules:

  • Inform that the promotion is not sponsored in any way, supported, carried out or associated with the Instagram website;
  • Include the name of the company conducting the competition;
  • Inform about the start and end dates;
  • Inform about the restrictions regarding participation, i.e. age or location;
  • Write in an understandable way how to enter the competition;
  • Explain how and when the winners will be chosen;
  • Inform how and when the prize will be delivered, as well as the possible need to cover shipping costs.

It should also be noted that it is inconsistent with Instagram’s regulations to misidentify content and encourage other users to do so. In the context of the Instagram competition, this means that people can not be encouraged to tag themselves in pictures that they are not on.

Important elements to keep in mind – examples

Inform and use attention-grabbing creatives

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The competition organized by Nivea Polska on the company profile contains all the necessary elements. All important information is included in the description of the photo. The regulations have been linked in a PDF file ready to be downloaded. The photo itself clearly communicates the nature of the action (contest). Also, it is colorful, attracts attention, contains little text.

It is worth noting that not many competitions organized on Instagram into account the fact that the platform provides a place for creativity.

Include the company that partners in the Instagram giveaway

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The competition carried out by Paula Jagodzińska in cooperation with HiHybrid meets almost all the requirements of a competition, including information about the sponsor. However, there was no information that Instagram is not related to the action in any way. It would also be worth mentioning how the prize will be delivered to the winner. Perhaps the blogger will inform the winner of the competition in a direct message.

Inform about the start and end dates of the action

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Huawei announced the end date and the way of entering the competition. However, I miss information about the rules for selecting the winner. The very wording “answer the competition question” can be misleading, since the competition consists of making birthday wishes for the player.

Write in an understandable way how to enter the competition

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Joanna Ambroz clearly informs about the rules of the competition, the date of completion and the manner of selecting the winner. It is a pity that she does not inform fans about the way of handing over the prize to the winner. It would also be better to mark the photo (simple “Competition” added in the picture) so that Instagram users know immediately that they are dealing with a competition.

Inform about the restrictions on participation, i.e. age or location

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The Ballantines_Poland competition is an example of using the age limit to exclude participants. As it is a company that sells alcohol, only adults can participate in the competition. It would be good to add information about the start and end date of the campaign, as well as how they will select the winners. Such information should be included not only in the regulations, but also in the promotion post, so that the participant can quickly and easily understand the rules.

Adherence to the above-mentioned rules imposed by Instagram is not difficult and certainly help achieve great results. Thanks to this, you will certainly be able to carry out an effective competition that will help achieve your set goal(s).


Cognitive sciences graduate pursuing a career in marketing. Always on the move, always busy still finds the time for little pleasures. In her free time goes to Zachęta Art Gallery or explores the nooks of Netflix.


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