As a marketer it’s always difficult to answer this question: Is Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest the best place to run your contest? Are these the only social media platforms that can add value to my brand and increae more brand awareness?

These are great platforms, but there are others such as Instagram that are gaining huge popularity and can increase brand awareness and sales.

Instagram has over 300 million users who share more than 70 million photos and videos each day. It has become an essential tool for marketers to generate more users and promote their business effectively.

Instagram posts generate a 4.21% brand engagement per follower, which is 58 times more than Facebook and 120 times more than Twitter. Traditionally, companies created ads and promotions on Instagram about their products, but now more and more companies are optimizing this platform by creating contest and quizzes that are very interactive.

Setting up an Instagram contest for the first time can present some challenges, but by following the necessary steps you can make it highly interactive and engaging for your users, generate a large ROI for your efforts and increase brand awareness exponentially.

How to get started

Develop a clear strategy on what kind of contest you’d like to run. For example, some options include like-to-win, tag your name, follow your page etc. Next, determine how long you’d like to run your campaign for.

Choose your contest prizes (if you are awarding them) and make sure that they are relevant to your business. This selection is one of the most important aspects of your campaign. Make sure to check out what your competitors have done in the past, and if they are running live campaigns make sure that yours is unique and stands out.

Create a hashtag, design themes and artwork that are relevant to your business, and make them simple and unique. Promote and share your contest across as many channels possible to leverage traffic towards your brand. Measure what’s working and what’s not and make changes to your contest accordingly.

Running a successful contest can enhance your brand value in the market. Here are some ways marketers can use to increase brand awareness using Instagram contests:

  1. Creative visuals for the contest: Create creative visuals for your contest that are in sync with your business; this makes your business look friendly, personal and possibly trendy. Your visuals will easily catch users’ eyes and make your brand stand out. Marketers can also feature customers using their products in their contest to make it more appealing and personal. If you look at the Starbuck’s campaign below, it gives a great visual representation of the brand (i.e. that it’s a coffee and a lifestyle company). The images embrace the values and credibility of the brand.
  2. Run contests on trends or events that tie in with your brand: Create a contest that runs on the current trends in the market and ties in with your brand in order to gain higher buzz and engagement. Consumers want to be part of what’s going on in the world and marketers can take advantage of that. Running a contest on current trends helps elevate your brand’s credibility and shows that you are keeping pace with the rest of the world. Through this, brands can also surprise and delight their customers, that in return increases brand engagement. For example, Dunkin’ Donuts ran a very unique contest during Halloween, where users were encouraged to decorate a cup with a costume on, upload it on Instagram using hashtag #DressDD, and win prizes. These types of campaigns can create huge engagement and buzz, thus increasing brand identity and visibility.
  3. Reach out to Influencers: Partner with influencers that are natural fits with your brand and are hugely popular on Instagram. Let them share or participate in your contest. Great influencers can build credibility to your contest and your brand. Landing influencers isn’t always easy, so we’ll cover that in a future blog post.
  4. Publicize the winner’s story: Share the story about your winner, get his/her name, occupation and other details and create a story around their experiences during the contest. This will help your brand to connect personally and emotionally with your audience and they will know that your brand cares about them. The World Bank’s campaign #EachDayISee wrote and shared a blog where they thanked the winners of the campaign publicly.
  5. Build a Community: Use contests to build communities and generate loyalty towards your brands. Create contests that users want to share with their friends and talk about how cool your brand is. This is a great way to enhance your brand awareness and tell your brand story to new users.


With the growing popularity of Instagram, marketers need to be highly creative and unique when creating interactive contests. Instagram for marketing has not yet reached it full potential, but its quickly getting there. If done properly, contests can lead to higher engagement and awareness for your brand. If you are already running contests on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, then we recommend that you give Instagram a try. We are sure you will see great results for your brand.