What Your Business Can Learn From Recent Instagram Competitions

SocialB Digital Marketing Blog Last modified: 15 Apr 2021 by Ollie Mowles
Social Media

Want to gain followers? Hoping to increase long-term engagement? Keen to share your content with more people? Queue the Insta competition!
It’s no secret that Instagram competitions are a great way to spread the word about your brand. You only have to look at businesses like EventsByTaste whose giveaway boosted their following from 10k to 100k within a couple of weeks, and it seems like a no brainer, right? However, getting these kinds of results isn’t always as easy as we think. Recently there have been some failures of epic proportion, with businesses creating more harm than good for their brand.

Luckily, you’ve got SocialB to make sure you don’t fall into the same trap. We’ve looked into the nitty-gritty details behind successful and not-so-successful giveaways, compiling it all into one place to show what your business can learn from recent Instagram competitions. Here’s the low-down…

Set yourself up for success.

Before you play a new game, you’d read the rules, right? Well, setting up an Instagram competition is no different. Understanding T’s and C’s may not be the most thrilling pastime, but we 100% recommend reading Instagram’s promotional guidelines before planning a giveaway. For anyone who just saw the words “T’s and C’s” and inadvertently started reading faster to skip to the fun stuff (yep, we see you), hold your horses. We’re about to take a dive into the recent competition giveaway by Molly-Mae Hague to show why understanding the guidelines is absolutely vital! Trust us, you want to learn from her mistakes.

Recently, reality TV star Molly-Mae launched an £8,000 Instagram giveaway. At face value, the competition seemed successful, with her post receiving over a million likes and almost 3 million comments. However, the giveaway was later found to have broken official rules. After receiving complaints, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that the prize was not awarded in accordance with the laws of chance and that the promotion itself was not administered fairly.

This decision on Molly-Mae’s Instagram giveaway resulted in an official warning from the ASA, highlighting that she must ensure all future Instagram competitions are “administered fairly and that prizes are awarded to genuine winners in accordance with the laws of chance and by an independent person or under supervision of an independent person”.

The moral of the story?

Understand the T’s and C’s of running an Instagram competition before you begin. You don’t want something as simple as not reading the rules to negatively impact your business’s reputation. Once you’ve got the guidelines nailed down, the all-important question is WHAT are you going to give away? In a world where Instagram competitions are around every corner, your prize needs to be desirable to your target audience. The Oast House, an outdoor bar/restaurant aimed at young professionals, hit the nail on the head with this in their most recent competition.

?We will be giving away a table for six guests on our first open Saturday, inclusive of complimentary round of beverages!

To enter simply
?Tag your pals
♻️Reshare to your story

?Winner announced on Monday 1st at 12:00!

The prize – an exclusive table on the first Saturday after lockdown is eased, plus a round of free drinks – caused their engagement to skyrocket. The Oast House knew their audience, created an enticing giveaway prize and provided clear, easy to follow entry instructions in the caption. So when you’re ready to launch your own Instagram competition, take a leaf out of their book by making sure your post is shareable, has clear instructions on how to enter and states when the winner will be announced.

2. Be LOUD and PROUD

Once your competition post is live on the ‘gram, it’s time to make some noise. We’re not talking about shouting it from the rooftops (although shouting from a roof could be fun content if it fits in with your brand), but more about being ACTIVE during your giveaway. Insta lives, resharing stories from people who share your giveaway post, creating a countdown to the date when you announce your winner – the world is your oyster! Be your own hype-person and create the buzz around your competition.

You also want to be sharing top-quality content while your competition is running, so that as traffic increases to your account, new followers can see what you’re about as a brand. EventsByTaste’s Insta giveaway received around 300,000 entries and took them from 10k to 100k followers during their competition. Their account has since dropped to 94k followers, but high retention shows that the entrants were both relevant and interested. Throughout their competition they were active, engaged with their followers and showed people what they’re all about.

3. “All’s fair in love and Instagram competitions”

Having a fair process to select your winner is KEY if you want people to develop a trusting relationship with your brand. Take the Molly-Mae Hague example. The ruling from the ASA that her giveaway was not administered fairly could potentially damage her reputation, deterring people from entering her competitions in the future. It’s important to remember that people enter giveaways under the presumption that they have a chance of winning, so be really clear, open and honest when selecting your winner.

But how can you do this? Drawing the winner on Instagram live is a great way to drive engagement and show fairness. When it comes to randomly selecting your winner, there are free platforms like Wask that generate all valid entries directly from Instagram. That being said, be aware that even when using independent, fair platforms, things may not go to plan. EventsByTaste went live and used a generator to pick a random winner, but later realised that the winner didn’t meet their eligibility criteria. They popped back on Instagram live, explained the situation and selected another winner – an ingenious way of showing authenticity and complying with the rules.

A recent Instagram competition that took winner fairness to a potentially controversial level was Parklife Festival who revoked their competition winners prize due to unfairness. After announcing their competition winner, the individual attempted to sell his tickets for triple the face-value price. The festival caught wind of this and tweeted “Lol. Your tickets have just been cancelled pal”. The tweet has since been deleted but shows how brands are faced with the pressure to ensure fairness with their giveaways.

To wrap it up, Instagram competitions are a great way for your business to increase long-term engagement, but only if they’re done well. Set yourself up for success by creating a simple strategy around the giveaway, research other competitions that have done well and be completely transparent when it’s time to draw your winner. Your followers may drop slightly once the winner has been announced, but if you are consistently posting quality content, you should retain positive engagement from your target audience.

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