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How to host a contest using InstagramLast week I showed you how to use Instagram at events and how to connect your social media with it.

This post is about how to run a contest on Instagram to create buzz and build a following.

One of the most important aspects of hosting any type of contest is to plan it out well before you launch it! Holding contest are a fantastic and fun way of using social media.

What is the contest topic?

Instagram is picture based social media. You want contestants to snap pictures based on a certain topic and post them on there.  You want to create something that ties in with your brand, message or what you sell.  Be creative.

How to track & organize entries

You may wonder how you are going to track your entries on Instagram. You will need to create a hashtag that all entries must have.  Just like Twitter, hashtags are very important on Instagram.  There is nothing special that you have to do outside of Instagram to create the hashtag.

To use Hashtags on Instagram you simply need to pair the “#” with text and no spaces in the caption section.  It will automatically create a link on the hashtag when you post the image.  The hashtag will also be linked up on Twitter if you post the image on there.

When creating your hashtag for your contest, you will want to make sure it is something descriptive or fitting for your contest yet unique so that it is simple to see who has entered.  Using a hashtag that might be associated with something else will make it more difficult to organize the entries.

Using the Hashtag Feed Address

As I mentioned every hashtag creates a way to track who is entering but it also creates a RSS Feed.

Do you know you can use that feed in different ways to promote your contest on different networks?

Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Pull the feed into a widget to display the images on your site for others to see and participate.
  • Create a custom landing page on Facebook pulling in the feed images.
  • Pull your RSS feed into your Twitter feed.

To use your Instagram hashtag feed, use the following URL:

http://instagr.am/tags/[hashtag name]/feed/recent.rss (where [hashtag name] appears is the name of the hashtag without the #)

How to Enter

Keep it simple when creating the rules for them. Instagram is basic and instant! Don’t complicate your contest with a bunch of rules.

  1. Have them follow you on instagram.
  2. Post a picture.
  3. Include your selected hashtag in caption.
  4. Share with friends on other social networks.

Announcing Your Contest

There are a few different options that allow you to put text on an image or create your own image to announce your contest.

Textgram allows you to easily create insta-text-images. Download this app to create your announcement for Instagram.

Be sure to include:

  • The name of the contest.
  • The rules including the deadline and exactly how to enter the contest.  Be sure to include the hashtag you decide on.
  • The prize(s) that the winner(s) will win.

When you post your announcement on Instagram, be sure to include the hashtag in the capture too.

Spread the Word!

A contest will only work if people know about it.

Make sure you integrate the contest with your other social networks after the announcement.

Give the contest plenty of time for word to spread. Find ways to get the word out daily about it.

Build anticipation before you announce. Let people know it is coming up before you launch it so they get excited about it. Hint around what you have up your sleeve or what you’ll be giving away!

Have a bad-ass prize

The true motivation for people to enter a contest is to win something awesome! I am not saying you have to spend a fortune but make it something that they want or is cool! Do you have a product? Give that away! Reach out to some of your favorite product brands to see if they will do a sponsored giveaway with you in exchange for being part of your contest and receiving publicity!

Want more Instagram?

You need to instantly check out more Cool stuff that you can do with Instagram! It is seriously THE hottest thing right now. It ranks up there with Pinterest!

13 Fun Apps to Enhance your Instagram Experience

Leave a Comment Below

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial on how to host a contest using Instagram! Please be sure to leave a comment below with your Instagram username so I can follow you back!  And don’t forget to share this tutorial with ALL of your social friends! 🙂

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