How to Run an Instagram Photo Contest for Business

Running an Instagram photo contest is a fun and easy way to promote your business on Instagram. Not only can you gain exposure and new followers, but it’s also a great way to give back to your Instagram community. Our friends at meowbox, a subscription box for cats, have over 500,000 followers on Instagram and run about one Instagram photo contest a month. They gave us the breakdown on the very best way to run an Instagram photo contest for your business: 

  1. Partner up with another business

If you want to get the most exposure and gain new followers, partner up with another business! This way, you can promote your Instagram photo contest to both of your audiences, and also share each followers. When teaming up with another business for an Instagram photo contest, it’s common practice to have your followers follow both businesses in order to enter, so you’re helping each other out! But don’t make it too complicated: it’s best to only partner up with one business instead of multiple. You can also choose to partner with an influencer instead of a business, like the example below from Mommy Mailbox and Bethany Menzel

  1. Have a clear call-to-action

Whether you want to have your followers tag a friend or post a photo, it’s important to have a clear call to action so your followers know what is required to enter the contest. When creating your call-to-action, your main goal is to increase your followers and gain exposure. Two of the most popular ways to do this is to have entrants tag a friend or post a photo.

Tag a Friend:

For this type of contest, you can have your followers tag a friend (or three) in the comments to enter. When their friends are tagged in the comments, they will look at your Instagram post and be exposed to your business. Then, they can enter the contest themselves by tagging more friends! Lifestyle blog Treasures & Travels do a great job of this in the example above, and they got over 1000 comments as entries.

Post a Photo:

If you’re running a contest or giveaway that has a high prize valuation (or you just want the most exposure possible), you can ask your followers to post a photo to Instagram using a specific hashtag so you can track the entries. When running an Instagram photo contest, you should ask your followers to post a new photo and include your Instagram handle and contest hashtag in the caption, like Meowbox has done in the above example. To choose a winner, you can search the hashtag:

The benefits of this kind of Instagram photo contest is that your business gains exposure to all of your follower’s followers! When someone posts a new photo to Instagram with your businesses’ handle and hashtag, their followers can become intrigued and click to learn more about your business (or enter the contest themselves!). 

  1.  Be clear about the rules 

It’s important to be explicit about the rules for entering your Instagram photo contest. You want to be clear and concise about what is required to enter, and also include an end date and time. Here’s an example of how to write your caption for your Instagram photo contest: 

It’s summer giveaway time! We’re partnering up with @otherbusiness to give one lucky follower a brand new camera for summer adventures. Here’s how to enter:

  1. Follow @mybusiness + @otherbusiness

  2. Post a new photo of your favorite summer spot to Instagram

  3. Include the hashtag #summercontest16 and tag @mybusiness + @otherbusiness in the caption

Contest closes on June 1st at 9pm EST, and you can enter as many times as you like. Good luck!

  1.  Keep the Instagram photo contest short

To promote your Instagram photo contest and get the most entries, you’ll want to post about your contest frequently. You don’t want to bore your followers, so keep the entry window short and sweet, so you can schedule Instagram posts about the contest for every day or two to remind your followers about the contest. The optimal time for an Instagram photo contest is 3-5 days, according to meowbox. When my travel blog Local Wanderer ran an Instagram photo contest we set the contest length for two weeks, which was way too long! If someone is interested in entering your contest, they’ll want to do it sooner rather than later. 

Once you’ve run your Instagram contest and gained your followers, don’t stop there! Look for another business to partner with, and try to do a new giveaway once a month to keep your followers interested in following your business. Have other tips for running an Instagram photo contest? Let us know in the comments! 

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Source:, originally published on 2021-07-08 18:46:07