One of the best parts about social media is you have the opportunity to test new strategies in front of countless potential clients. This is especially true for Instagram. From Stories, to hashtags, to links to other social platforms, there are plenty of ways for you to reach Instagram followers who are potential clients.

With your Instagram account, you should have fun with your followers and get them excited to see your posts every day. What’s a simple way to keep your followers engaged and motivated to interact with your posts? A contest! To get you started, here are 11 steps to run a successful contest on Instagram.

1. Determine the Details

Just like any other plan you create, determine the details for your contest. Decide how long it should run, and what the specific dates are. Then, give yourself a budget to spend for the entire contest. Finally, write down the goal you want to reach with this contest. If you want to increase your followers by a certain percent, or generate traffic to your website or blog, make sure you write that in your plan.


Related: What ways can you attract ideal clients to your photography business through all social media platforms?

2. Find an Entry Method

When you have a solid plan in place, decide how followers will enter the contest. One option is to use a third-party app, such as Votigo, to run the contest and manage the entries. There may be a cost for a third-party app, but if you already planned that in your budget, this may be a viable option.

3. Choose a Theme

A surefire way to make your contest stand out is to choose a theme, which you can use to create graphics, messaging, and a clear vision for your contest. Perhaps your contest will involve your followers sharing their favorite childhood photo of their significant other, or maybe it’s a photo contest for fellow photographers. The theme you choose needs to showcase the intention of the contest, so people will be excited to enter.

4. Create a Unique Hashtag

Once you choose a theme, you can then create a unique hashtag to tie into it. Hashtags are key to place your contest in front of a larger audience, so it has to be something that stands out and gets people excited. As one of the rules of the contest, you can include that each person who enters must use and share the hashtag.

Related: How can using a specific hashtag help you book your dream venue?

5. Determine the Prizes and Winners

One of the biggest incentives for your followers to interact with your contest is the prize they could win from it. Decide what type of prize you will give away, and how many people can win. The prizes should relate back to your photography business, so they keep you top of mind. Sometimes, it can be best to choose 3 winners, and stagger them by price and importance.

6. Figure Out Prize Distribution

Now that you know what you are giving away, and who will receive it, decide how the prize will be distributed. If it is something they can receive in email, then there is little for you to plan (minus writing a quick email to congratulate them). If you need to send the prizes to the winners, figure out the logistics of that before the contest starts (to eliminate a headache later on).

Tip: Remember, fast is best. Just as you deliver your images from a wedding photography editing service to clients as quickly as possible, do the same with their prize. If you wait too long, you may disappoint them.

7. Include Specific Rules

Every contest needs rules and regulations, so create specific and detailed rules your followers will understand. Rules and regulations for the contest should include how many times someone can enter, what the specific entry details are, and things not to do to be accepted.

8. Create a Landing Page

Whether you use a third-party app, or you filter the entries yourself, create a Landing Page for followers to access and fill out their information. This option allows you to easily collect their email addresses, which means you have their contact info when it’s time announce the winner (as well as for future marketing campaigns).

9. Announce and Promote

Once the final details are together, post about the contest on Instagram. When you share a post about it, let followers know you have a specific #linkinbio so they can quickly enter. In addition to the post on Instagram, create an Instagram ad, share about it on your other social platforms, or create an email blast to send out.

10. Monitor the Progress

While the contest is live, pay attention to how engaged your audience is. If you notice they are not engaged after you initially shared on Instagram, reach out to your audience in different ways (email blast, blog posts). Ask your fellow photographers or vendors to share about the contest on social media. You can make quick adjustments as often as necessary to spike awareness and engagement.

11. Finalize the Contest

After the contest has ended, send out a congratulatory email to the winner(s) and share about their win on Instagram. Inform the winner(s) of what the next steps are, and when you will deliver their prize(s). After that, create a report of how well your contest performed with your audience. This can help you learn better techniques to use for the next contest you run.

Further Read: Introducing Instagram For Wedding Photographers

When you run a successful contest on Instagram, you expand your reach and attract more potential clients to your website and blog. What else can you do on your Instagram account to encourage interaction and success? Download our Instagram for the Wedding Photographer Guide to find out! 

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