Instagram Contests: The Surprising Hack to Floor Your Competitors

Everywhere you look, the ubiquitous social media contest is never far away. And, if by any chance you miss one, you can be sure a caring friend or relative will tag you into it. The question is, why are there so many free contests and online prize giveaways?

Are audiences that desperate for freebies?

It's often said that if you deliver high quality, informative, and useful content, your organic traffic will grow over time. While that is not in dispute, we have all been there before; doing all the right things but gaining little or no traction in terms of follower numbers, impressions, or conversions.

So, what gives? Because, more often than not, all we get for our high-quality content is the deeply frustrating KA CHING! from our competition's cash register!

Truth be told, we all love being appreciated or even rewarded for no reason, and every marketer knows it. It’s the well-known rule of reciprocation; if you give your customers something, they will in turn feel like they ought to return the favor.

So, if giving out a free gift helps your business bond with customers and cultivate loyalty, why not? As it turns out, everyone actually does love a free lunch! Which partly explains the enormous success of Instagram contests. 

The Audience is There, But You Just Can’t Gain Traction

It’s a fact that Instagram and other social networks have billions of active and highly engaged users. Which is great for any business looking to convert even a teeny-weeny fraction of them into paying customers. Except for one inconvenient complication; every business is fighting for the attention of every one of these potential paychecks.

Take your business online and you need patience by the bucketload before your target audience even realizes that you exist. Unless of course, you have the luxury of splashing a small fortune on paid advertising and numerous marketing campaigns.

So how exactly does your business get noticed amid all the viral videos and mega celebrities who seem to dominate every conversation?

Gaining the attention of an audience, and then making enough of an impression to make a sale is what the Instagram contest is all about. As we shall see below, running a contest might just be what your business needs to snare those coveted conversions and get a jump on the competition.

Why Instagram Contests Make All the Difference

Instagram contests, whether it's a simple product giveaway for tagging your friends, or a cash prize for a randomly selected winner, are part of every successful marketing campaign. When you give your customers a small gift or freebie, you win their loyalty for a long time.

Here are other reasons why running a properly executed Instagram contest can make all the difference for your business:

1. Contests Generate Great Brand Awareness

The main objective of any social media contest is to increase brand visibility and spread the word about new or existing products and services. An Instagram contest encourages your followers to share a post with their friends and relatives in order to win a specified prize.  

Most contests involve tagging friends or sharing branded content with other users online in exchange for an entry into the contest. The incentive to win a cash prize or a product giveaway drives your followers to participate in the contest. 

Hundreds or even thousands of users get to share your branded post on their pages, which means your brand appears in thousands of users’ streams. In effect, you are letting your followers do the advertising for you, for free.

Social media contests spread the word more effectively than ads, especially since shared posts are less intrusive and appear more like recommendations from friends rather than paid promotions.

2. Instagram Contests Save You Money

Compared to other marketing channels such as paid advertising, social media contests are cheap and cost little more than the prize you are willing to give away. Even if you opt to promote the contest as a sponsored post, your spending will be far less than that of any other marketing channel.

For any business, the return on investment for your marketing campaign is critical, and contests deliver more bang for your buck in terms of engagement, awareness, and conversions. Rather than spend a fortune on paid social media advertising or content marketing, opt for a simple well executed contest to generate the same level of conversions.

If you are looking to save on marketing costs, especially as a startup, Instagram contests may just be the best option for you.

3. Contests Increase Engagement

As many businesses have discovered, it is extremely tough keeping attention-deficient social media users engaged. Raising the number of clicks, visitors, views, comments or tags on your page takes patience and creativity. Without engagement, it is difficult to increase follower numbers or conversions.

Contests stimulate and encourage followers to engage with your brand. Users have a good reason to share and tag their friends, more so because there is a prize to be won. The possibility of winning is enough to entice even the most passive social media user into clicking, viewing and tagging friends.

Aside from raising brand awareness, contests also increase interest and focuses attention on your brand. This sort of engagement cannot be matched by a paid ad, and yet it comes at a fraction of the cost.

4. Contests Provide Important Data About Consumers

Instagram contests can be used to gather data about your followers’ preferences, tastes, and buying habits. Furthermore, you can use contests to capture data such as email addresses etc. for use in future marketing campaigns. Unlike your typical capture form, a contest incentivizes followers to provide contact information much more easily.  

Furthermore, contests can be designed to encourage users to comment and give opinions about your product or service, which is valuable in assessing your brand performance. Getting to know your customers is the first step in knowing how to target your message and adjust to changing preferences or competitive offers from your competitors.

5. Increased Conversions and Sales

The main point of any marketing tool is to raise conversions and therefore revenues. The end result of all that brand awareness, engagement, and brand loyalty is to increase sales. Instagram contests stand out for their ability to provide increased conversions while winning you more followers.

By giving you a platform to spread a targeted marketing message, contests can be the most effective launchpad when introducing new products or offers. This is a great way to quickly increase sales without spending excessive amounts on marketing.

There are many ways to increase brand awareness and raise engagement levels among your audience on Instagram. However, the simple, cost effective Instagram contest is probably one of the easiest and most effective ways to quickly achieve your marketing goals.

To find out how to design and execute a successful Instagram campaign, click here to engage our experienced Instagram marketing team. Our expert insights will help you develop superbly curated contests that generate the highest rates of engagement and conversions for your business to leapfrog the competition.