7 Instagram Contest Ideas to Boost Brand Awareness

Contest-running Instagram accounts can experience follower growth up to 70% faster than non-contesting accounts.

If you want to have a popular Instagram account, coming up with and running some Instagram contest ideas is a good place to start.

In this post, we will show you how you can use Instagram competitions to increase your company's brand awareness.

We'll also look at some of the best practices that you should keep in mind when running your contests.

In the end, you'll know how to run a successful Instagram contest that will give your business the attention it deserves.

Why Instagram Contests are a Good Idea

There are of course other ways to get more Instagram followers, but few other methods can increase your follower numbers so quickly and with such little effort.

Not only that, Instagram contests can also help you get more engagement.

Posts related to Instagram contests earn around 64 times more comments and 3.5 times more likes compared to “normal” content.

Instagram contest ideas - more engagement

Additionally, 91% of the posts that received 1,000+ comments are contests.

Instagram Content Ideas - Posts with the most comments are contests

All of these statistics show that running Instagram contests is one of the best ways to increase brand awareness.

Don't worry if you are concerned about getting stuck in a cycle of competitions aimed at increasing brand awareness. You don't have to keep running contests to take advantage of great Instagram Contest Ideas.

This is because by running contests you will notice a trickle down effect on the rest of your normal content. People will feel a greater affinity with your brand because of the goodwill you have generated in your competitions.

As a result, they are more likely to share and engage with your normal content.

Since more followers are generated in competitions, more people are of course confronted with your content. This increases the likelihood that the proportion and engagement will be higher than before the competition.

Best Practices for Running Contests on Instagram

Before running your first competition, there are a few key best practices that you need to understand. If you don't follow some of these best practices, you may be breaking Instagram's rules.

It could also cause your competition to produce lackluster results, which can mean a lot of wasted effort.

What are these best practices?

The first is to make sure you are writing a clear and detailed description for your competition.

When writing the description for your contest, keep the following in mind:

  • What are the rules
  • What people have to do to be eligible
  • All restrictions on who can participate
  • The price
  • The deadline
  • When will you announce the winner?

Doing so this way is an easy way to stay on the right side of the advertising policies provided by Instagram.

Instagram Contest Ideas - Advertising Guidelines

It is important that you do not deviate from the guidelines as this could put your account at risk.

Here is a great example of a contest description.

Instagram Contest Ideas - Description Example (Meraki Notebook)

They did a good job of detailing this so it is difficult to fit in a picture.

Here is the first part that will help identify a reason for the competition while also describing what is on offer.

Instagram Contest Ideas - Description continued

This second part does a good job of letting people know what to do in order to qualify for a win.

Instagram Contest Ideas - Get an Additional Entry Example

The next bit tells people how to get an additional entry. The terms of the competition are clearly set out, including how the competition winners will be announced.

Instagram contest idea - terms of the contest

If you examine how others write their contest descriptions, you will learn a lot about what makes a bad description different from a good one.

You also need to make sure that you are giving out relevant prizes that your target audience will be forced to pay.

If you focus on giving prizes that are relevant to your target audience, your competition will get better results.

If the products you are giving away are not specific to your target audience, you run the risk of generating followers who are not interested in your company or the products or services it offers.

In the long term, this probably does more harm than good.

Such people will no longer be able to follow your account after a competition or simply will not be able to use your profile in the future.

By choosing the right prices, you can reliably gain the right followers and generate brand awareness among the best populations for your business.

All of these help increase the likelihood that you will get a return on investment from your efforts.

As you might have guessed, giving away items of great value tends to lead to higher engagement.

The table below shows that prizes worth $ 1,000 or more generally generate 5.8 engagements per 100 followers.

Instagram contest ideas - valuable prizes get more engagement

That number is pretty high compared to the 1.7 engagements brands enjoy for giving out prizes worth $ 99 or less.

If you want to give away a quality award but don't have the funds to invest in one, consider partnering with another brand. Provided you have a large enough number of followers, there are brands out there willing to give away a prize for your contest in exchange for a promotion.

The way you promote the brand that delivers the price should be low-key. In the description of the competition, simply mention that the competition is sponsored by a specific company.

This Instagram post shows how you can achieve this.

Instagram Contest Ideas - Sponsored Contests

You also need to think about how you are going to announce the competition.

It is a good idea to use a custom image in the post announcing the contest.

Here is an example of how you can do that.

Instagram Contest Ideas - Custom Image for Giveaways

As shown above, there is also the option to add the terms of the competition to the image.

Let's look at some of the contest ideas you can use.

Instagram Competition idea no. 1: Tag to Win

The idea of ​​the tag-to-win competition is nice and straightforward.

All you do is ask people to tag a friend in the comment section so that they are also in the contest and eligible to win the prize.

This competitive format is an excellent way of increasing the organic reach of your profile.

This is because people who have been tagged by someone are likely to receive a notification.

These people will then review your profile and potentially become followers.

You can also mark others. This creates a viral feedback loop that brings more people into the competition.

To increase the effectiveness of this feedback loop, you can also ask people to follow your account as well as tag someone.

Here is an example of a brand using this strategy.

Instagram contest idea - to enter, tag a friend

If you want to be brave, you can ask people to tag two people. This in turn increases the potential reach of your competition.

The competition below shows how this can be done.

Instagram Contest Ideas - Tag Two People

Here is another example.

Instagram Contest Idea - Example 2 of Tagging 2 Friends

When the contest is over, randomly pick someone from the comments section. You can use an automated system to do this so that the competition remains objective.

If any of the eligibility requirements is to follow your profile, compare the winner's account with your list of followers to make sure everything is in order.

An alternative variant of this format, the “nominate a friend to win” contest, can work just as well.

Instead of asking people to tag someone at random, you can instead suggest that they tag someone they believe deserves to win.

With this type of format, the contest winner is the person tagged, not the person who left the first comment.

Instagram Competition idea no. 2: You are welcome to win

This Instagram contest is where you ask people to like your content if they want to enter the contest and have a chance to win.

You can even use the phrase "double tap to win" as it is automatically pleasing to double-tap a photo in the Instagram app.

There is also an option to ask people to like your brand on Facebook to increase the visibility and therefore the impact of your competition.

If you want to increase your number of followers, mention that people must also follow your profile if they want to be eligible to win.

Here is an example of how this can be done.

Instagram Contest Ideas - Example for

This profile used the combination of asking people to follow and like, increasing the potential engagement this contest can generate.

Instagram Competition idea no. 3: Selfie competition

Instagram is arguably the home of selfies, so this type of competition is a great fit for the platform.

It's a kind of competition that works particularly well with products.

A selfie contest involves asking people to post a picture of themselves while they are using your product or with the product somewhere in the background.

This competitive format is particularly useful for businesses as it shows potential customers how a product can be used. It's an excellent form of user-generated content.

When writing the description for a selfie contest, create a unique hashtag and ask users to use that hashtag when they post their photos.

You can find the pictures people have uploaded for this contest by searching for the hashtag on Instagram.

At the end of the competition, choose the image that you think is the best.

When creating the rules for a selfie contest, be sure to add that you might use the content at a later date.

User generated content can be a great source of social evidence. Long after the contest ends, you can repost the contest-generated content.

Here is an example of how you can have a selfie contest.

Instagram Contest Idea - Selfie Contest

Similar to the "Like-to-Win" example from earlier, you can combine the selfie contest format with the other contest formats that we covered earlier.

You could mention that people like the post announcing the contest and need to post a selfie.

Instagram Competition idea no. 4: Photo competition

The photo contest is closely related to the selfie contest we just covered.

The difference, however, is that you don't ask people to take a selfie. Instead, they can take whatever type of photo they want.

As before, ask users to submit photos with a hashtag that you created.

Then, search Instagram with that hashtag to find a winning photo.

In this type of competition, you don't always have to offer the winner a physical prize.

You can just let people know that the price is for you to post their content on your profile.

Here is an example of a photo contest related to a Boston News channel.

Instagram contest idea - photo contest

Here's another one from the Empire State Building Instagram account.

Instagram Contest Ideas - Photo Contest Example 2

You may have a product or niche that is perfect for photo contests. GoPro is an example of such a product.

Instagram Contest Ideas - Photo Contest Ideas Example 3

In this case, you should pay special attention to holding photo contests.

This is because this format is particularly easy to access, while also giving you a wealth of user-generated content to use on your Instagram account.

Instagram contest idea # 5: voting contest

A voting contest revolves around the following steps:

  1. They ask users to upload some content next to a specific hashtag. You also ask people to tag your profile in the description.
  2. Your followers then browse Instagram using that hashtag and vote for what they think is best. The easiest way to get votes is to ask people to like the photo they think should be the winner.
  3. The person with the most likes is considered the winner of the competition.

Here is an example.

Instagram contest idea - example of a voting contest

This contest format is great for generating engagement as you encourage people to take lots of social action. In addition, those who take part in the competition advertise their own posts through their social channels.

However, you could argue that such a format might be asking too much of people.

Because of this, you may only want to use this contest format if you have a very engaged audience that cares about your profile and its content.

With that said, you can also run this contest by submitting photos first and then only you can find them using the hashtag assigned to them.

Based on what you find, choose 3-5 finalist pictures and host them on your own profile.

Then, ask your followers to like the photo they think is the best and the photo with the most likes wins.

This approach can help you get great results with a voting contest without asking too much from your followers.

Here's an example of a profile that does something similar, but instead asks people to send the photos directly to the host's account.

Instagram Contest Idea - Voting Contest Example 2

There's a little more context here.

Instagram Contest Ideas - Sample Voting Contest Rules

Here is an example of how someone can post their own content to get a vote.

Instagram Contest Ideas - Voting Contest, Example 3

When running this type of contest, you can also ask people to post their contest content on Facebook as well.

Then you can count the likes people have accumulated on this platform and combine them with what they have achieved on Instagram.

When you do it this way, you can expand the reach of your competition and improve your ability to generate brand awareness.

Instagram Competition idea no. 6: Subtitle competition

A closed captioning contest is a competition where you ask people to label a photo you've uploaded.

From this point on, you can either:

  1. Choose the best lettering at your own discretion or
  2. Tell others to like the best caption.

The label with the most likes is the winner.

While the second option can be a great way to get your audience involved, the first option can help keep people from artificially inflating their preferences.

Here is an example of a closed captioning contest:

Instagram Contest Ideas - Subtitle Contest Example

You may want to edit the image you are using to advertise the contest to highlight the fact that you need a caption.

Instagram Contest Ideas - Caption Context Example 2

The speech bubbles in the post above are a great example of how this can be done.

Instagram Competition idea no. 7: Challenge competition

If you are able to put a contest together in a short amount of time, a challenge contest can work wonders.

With this competitive format, all you have to do is create a simple challenge for the contestants and the person who solves the challenge wins.

The challenge doesn't have to be complex. Indeed, simpler competitions generally lead to more social engagement and participation.

The following post shows how this can be done.

Instagram Contest Ideas - Challenge Contest

This competition only asks which number the account holder is thinking of.

It's easy and fun. The spontaneous feeling also helps increase the authenticity of the profile, which encourages long-term engagement.

Here's another example, this time with a marble guessing challenge.

Challenge Instagram Contest Ideas - Context Example 2

This contest format is simple and hassle-free, making it a great choice for anyone new to running contests on Instagram.


You should now understand how to use Instagram competitions to increase brand awareness.

Once you run your first contest, you will find that the whole process is a lot of fun. It's also likely a lot easier than expected.

Decide on a competition theme, create the rules and create your own hashtag. Increase user engagement by posting the competition on Facebook.

If you're nervous about setting up your first Instagram contest, get in touch. We can help you with strategy planning (and assist you in your other digital marketing endeavors).

If you can encourage others to invite their friends to compete, do so. The more people see your competition and content, the better.

Do you have any tips for running Instagram Contests?

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