Hashtag or Follow-to-Win? 3 Tips on How to Choose an Instagram Contest

Posted by Danny Wood

Many social media contesting platforms will claim to offer Instagram Contesting, but it’s important to find out if they offer the full range of options necessary to run the right contest for your brand or account. Hashtag contests are commonly known, but in many cases a “Follow-to-win”-style contest would be better suited for the type of results you’re looking for.

A Follow-to-win contest is any contest where, instead of sharing User Generated Content, users are required to complete a set of Instagram actions, including some or all of following your account, liking a particular post, commenting on a post, and/or mentioning a friend in a comment.

1. What is your current Instagram Audience size?

The first thing to consider when choosing an Instagram Contest is your current number of followers. As a general rule, if your account has less than 1000 followers, running a Follow-to-win contest will bring you the best results. While your account still has under 1000 followers, it is important to focus on growing your audience size in a sustainable, organic way.

A Follow-to-win contest can be quite helpful here, especially when combined with a requirement that participants mention one or several friends in a comment. This increases visibility of your contest and your account within the circles of your current followers, and will likely result in many additional entries and followers. (This is similar to Strutta’s Refer-a-Friend Viral Sharing Incentive.) It is also believed that increasing the quantity and speed of engagement around a single post has a positive impact on the Instagram Algorithm’s impression of your post.

If you are still set on running a Hashtag contest even though you do not yet have the followers to support it, another option to consider can be sourcing the audience of an Instagram Influencer.

Remember! If you acquire Instagram followers through buying them and violating Instagram’s Terms of Service, this will not help you to be able to run a Hashtag contest.

2. Is your product or service something that your audience would post about?

Instagram users have become more selective about the types of content that they post to their Instagram feeds with the introduction of Instagram Stories, which allow them to post photos and videos they won’t necessarily want to be available forever for a short period of time while saving other content for their feeds. Although we unfortunately cannot yet run contests based on Instagram Story content, this can be another way to decide which type of contest to run, and a great way to promote your giveaway itself!

Seeing as the most popular content on Instagram can mostly be categorized as Lifestyle, if your product or service relates to lifestyle, a Hashtag contest is likely a possibility for you. If your brand is in a different sector such as B2B, a Follow-to-win contest may be a better choice.

3. What is your ultimate objective for running an Instagram Contest?

Instagram Contests can serve a number of different purposes and benefits for your brand or account. The most straight-forward is to increase the number of followers of your account in a short period of time. Of course, if this is your objective, a Follow-to-win contest is likely the right choice.

Instagram Contests can inspire users to create User Generated Content around your brand in order to be considered as participants. If your objective is to encourage the creation of UGC by your audience in the form of photos or videos (including Boomerangs), a Hashtag contest will likely achieve your goal. (Keep in mind that with a Hashtag contest, it is also possible to include conditions for your participants such as that they be required to follow your account.)

Additionally, Instagram Contests can serve to increase overall visibility of your brand or account on Instagram through driving commenting, mentioning and posting by your audience. Although both a Hashtag and Follow-to-win contest with a requirement of mention(s) can help to achieve this objective, it is important to think about the action you would like your audience to take as a result of this brand exposure. If you would ultimately prefer that your participants’ audience follow your Instagram account as a result of being exposed to your brand, a Follow-to-win contest will work best. If you would prefer general brand exposure and brand building, a Hashtag contest will best meet those objectives.

Whether you’re looking to run an Instagram Hashtag contest or an Instagram Follow-to-win contest, Strutta’s Tagwin Platform is the best option to run Instagram Contests & Giveaways