How to Host a Successful Instagram Contest

Instagram contest have been an influential and powerful marketing tool for wedding photographers. Though many photographers do not indulge in this kind of marketing technique, hosting a successful Instagram contest with examples  is one of the best ways to attract and book more brides.

Want to run a successful Instagram contest? Here are the essentials that will help you run an effective contest and get real results (book more brides).

Planning your Instagram Contest

The #mainingredient to a successful contest is planning.

You need to set goals for the contest. Why are you running the contest?

After you are aware of your goals, you need to then decide the prize for example a free pre-wedding photoshoot to the lucky winner.

That’s not all, you need to think about how brides will enter the contest, for how long will the contest run and how will you promote it.

Keep reading below to learn how to set up a successful Instagram contest yourself. 

Setting Goals

Every wedding photographer has different needs and goals. Thus, the first step to contest planning is setting your goals. Think about why you are running the contest and if everything goes as you wanted, what will you get? Only after you get an answer to this, proceed. 

The reason to running an Instagram contest can be any of the following:

1. Increase brand awareness

After running the contest, more people are aware of your brand. The brides who are following you will not only become more familiar with you but will invite their bride friends to check your profile. More exposure, right?

Running a contest is a great way to increase your followers. Ask the brides to repost the picture and tag your account or tag their friends getting married soon. In this way many other couples will be driven to your profile. 

When you ask the brides to tag their bride friends to enter the contest, your post will be loaded with comments and the engagement rate will be high. 

4. Getting more UGC (User Generated Content)

Holding a photo contest is a great way to get more user generated content. Ask the bride to repost the contest image, in this way the brides will market for you. 

Choosing a giveaway prize

One of the key essentials to running a successful Instagram contest is choosing a fantastic prize.

Remember, do not giveaway something you want to, instead give something that the brides want. For example, giveaway something that is related to the wedding, a free photoshoot, spa vouchers or discount coupons of a jewelry store etc. Give the brides something that make them enter the contest.

Different ways to enter the contests

There are different contest types, choose the one that matches with your goal:

Type #1

Perform an action on your post
If you want more brides to participate in the contest, this is the best contest type. All you need to do is ask the bride to perform an action on the photo like:

  • Tagging other brides/friends: The most common practice is posting a giveaway picture and asking the followers to tag 3 (or how many ever you want) friends in comments to randomly win a prize. This is the best way to draw attention to your profile, the brides who are tagged will browse your account and may even enter the contest by tagging their friends. 
  • Follow your profile: Many contests conducted by the wedding photographers remind that the winners will be chosen only if they follow their profile. If the giveaway is open for more than a couple of days, you can get many new followers. 
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    Like the post: There is no other contest simpler than this one. Asking the brides to like your contest posts boosts engagement. Deciding a winner also becomes simple in this way. 

Pro Tip - If your goal is to increase engagement, get more followers and increase brand awareness, combine all three ways (comment, follow and like). Don’t worry, you are not asking for too much. 

Type #2

Photo Contest

Ask the brides to repost the contest image on their profile and tag a few friends. This is an indirect way to ask the brides to market for you.

Make sure the prize is good enough to ask the bride's to repost your image. 

Decide on the Contest Logistics

1. Decide the length of the contest

Contests run for a variety of length of time, make certain you find the right length of contest so that the brides have enough time to participate. If the contest runs for more than a week, they will eventually forget to participate. The right length of contest for wedding photographers is 3 - 5 days. 

2. Decide how the winner will be chosen

If you get many entries deciding a winner can be overwhelming. Decide the way you will choose the winner before you start the contest to avoid issues.

Different types of contests require different ways of choosing a winner. The photo contest winner can be chosen by the maximum likes on the re-posted image. If you adopt this way of choosing a winner, make it simple by creating a custom hashtag for the contest so that you can easily find the leaders.

For contests that involve commenting, following, and liking the contest image, it is best to choose the winner on a random basis or go through the comments and see who is the most excited to win.

Pro Tip - Make sure the winner you chose is not a spam account.

Announcing the Contest

When announcing the contest, the things you need to focus on are:

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    Post an attractive graphic

Most brides scroll through their Instagram profile too quickly and may skip the contest post unless you make it clear. Use some editing tools like Photoshop, Pablo, etc. to make the post attractive and clear. Get the complete list of editing tools here. 

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    Simple guidelines to follow

Brides are busy with their wedding planning, and you do not want to take up a lot of their time. If you do so, the chances of them entering the contest diminishes. Don’t confuse them with long captions. Mention simple guidelines to enter, excite them with the prize, and state the deadline.

Pro Tip - Use your branded hashtag 

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    Follow Instagram’s contest rules

Without a doubt, follow Instagram’s 5 simple rules of holding contests. The last thing you would want is to put an attractive and fantastic contest only to have it taken down by Instagram for violating its rules.

After the Contest is Over

1. Re-caption the post

Do not forget to re-caption the contest post as 'closed' after the deadline. Also, announce the winner's name on Instagram Stories and on a new contest post. They will love seeing their name as a winner!

2. Measure success

After the contest, run through numbers. How many likes and comments did the post receive, and how many followers started following you?

Best Contest Tools

If you want to run contests but do not find the time to invest in it, consider the third party apps that take out a lot of your work from the process.

Here are a few to consider:

It makes hosting a contest super simple. The tool comes with a range of helpful features and the interface is pretty straightforward.

It allows you to mention the start and end dates of the contest, terms and conditions and age restrictions, as well as mentioning the actions the brides need to take. 

The free plan allows you to make, schedule, and run the contests. Upgraded plans from $39 per month offers extra features, such as control over the widget text, restricting users by region, etc. 

Wishpond offers photo sharing and hashtag contest. Just like Gleam, it allows you to choose the platform you want to run your contest. You can promote the contest on Facebook, embed it on your website, or feature it on your domain. 

Mention the hashtag you wish to use for the contest and also set the other essential actions. You can even moderate the entries before they appear in public gallery, which can be customized with some options.

There is a free trial available, and the upgraded plans start at $44 per month, which allows you to capture more leads, get API access, and mention more user admins. 

Woobox offers photo sharing and hashtag contest just like Wishpond

It offers cross-platform and mobile integration. You even have the option to set the age restriction, limit the contest to one entry per user, get all the valuable lead details, and manually approve entries. 

If you want, you can allow the fans to add captions and also share the photo entries. After the contest has ended, Woobox will pick a winner randomly (you can choose one yourself as well).
The free trial for the tool is available and the additional features are available starting at $30 per month, including more brand pages, higher participant threshold, etc.

Whether you have had an unsuccessful Instagram contest in the past or just starting out, the tips you have just learned will put you ahead of competition. 

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