As Instagram has far surpassed its 100-million-active-user milestone, and with more than 67 percent of the top brands having an active presence on the photo-sharing platform, the likelihood of a brand campaign or contest being hosted on it has almost become an expectation.  Although there are many techniques to reaching current and new audiences on Instagram, one way is through an Instagram photo-sharing contest.

Here are five considerations for a branded Instagram contest.

1. Research Messaging and Campaign Themes

More than likely, a brand’s campaign will be connected to a specific theme, campaign or message. Like any other promotion, surveying the landscape for content that is related to the messaging is essential. Not only does this research ensure that the branded hashtag isn’t already being used for questionable or completely unrelated content, but it helps predict any possibility of the hashtag being hijacked. Research will also help determine how to best track the contest submissions, whether it’s through a hashtag and/or @-mentioning the brand.

2. Measurement, Tracking and Organization

A hashtag (or a specific Instagram handle) can be used to help track the contest submissions. Using a specific tool to track the contest submissions (Nitrogram, Statigram, Webstagram, Simply Measured, etc.) will help with organizing internal trackers for submissions and winners, as well as keep the analytics organized for any reporting needs.

3. Legal Necessities

Generally speaking, there will need to be an official rules and regulations statement written up. While this is similar to a contest on any other social platform, it is more difficult to link to these official rules on Instagram since links are not clickable in photo descriptions or comments. However, during the contest period it is convenient and the most transparent to change the Instagram profile description to mention the contest, the contest period and include the link to the rules as the profile’s website.

4. Curating Content and Cross Promotion

Instagram is also different from all other social platforms in the fact that everything brands want to share through its profile requires creative assets. In addition to the creative the brand owns and is able to create for the contest, there is also the opportunity to compile user generated content that is applicable to the brand and contest. This also makes for great cross-platform promotion for the contest as the brand can highlight the winners, runners-up and overall submissions for the contest.

5. Notifying the Winners

Once winners have been chosen, they need to be notified and logistics need to be set in place. Unfortunately, not all of this can take place publically on Instagram (nor should it!). Notifying the winners by commenting on their image, posting their image or mentioning them in a comment is the best way to get their attention. Include a corporate email address that the winners can contact for the next steps (shipping address, signing an affidavit, coordinating schedules, etc.).

There certainly is not one best route to take for promoting or conducting an Instagram contest, but if it’s always beneficial to stay organized, do the necessary research, plan ahead (or anticipate the unpredictable) and maintain a consistent voice and presence.

What are some key learnings you discovered through Instagram contests?

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Image Credit: laihiu

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