Instagram is huge.
It has more than 1 billion users and is the third most popular social media site today.
But Instagram isn’t all about pretty photos and clever art.
In fact, it’s becoming a huge marketing platform where Fortune 500 companies are stepping into the scene.
With all these big companies vying for the attention of users, how can you put your brand forward in the feed so it receives acclaim and attention on Instagram?
The answer is through running an Instagram contest.
Why Run an Instagram Contest?
There are many ways you can advertise on Instagram. You can buy ads. Write copy. Post photos of products.
But nothing comes close to running an Instagram contest.
Why? Because of user engagement.
When you run an Instagram contest, you make a way for users to engage with your brand. They take photos with your product, tag friends, and spread the word about your company.
What’s the best way to run an Instagram contest?
10 Inspiring Brands That Did Instagram Contests Right
Instead of coming up with a generic how-to, let’s look into 10 successful Instagram contest campaigns.
Ready to be inspired?
1. Love One Today’s Avocado Contest
Love One Today promotes a delicious way of life through eating avocados.
To gain buzz online, it launched the AvoFruitFull contest.
Instagram users were encouraged to submit a photo of their own beautiful avocado creations.
Users who got the most likes on their photos won great prizes such as themed water bottles, a food processor, and even a Vitamix blender!
Tip: Offering giveaways that resonate with your followers’ interests (like a Vitamix blender for health-conscious people) is a great way to get your contest going.
2. Stoka Bar’s Boatload of Giveaways
Who wouldn’t grab the chance to win 40 free treat bars?
Stoka Bars are crunchy, delicious, and best of all – low on carbs.
Here’s the contest Stoka Bar did to gain more followers.
Tip: If your Instagram page is new, a contest is a great way to gain new followers.
3. Pink Lime Look’s Good Hair Day Contest
Pink Lime Look gave contestants the chance to be themselves in their entries.
To join the contest, users submitted photos of themselves sporting their favorite hairstyles.
They could choose whatever background they liked for the entry.
All contestants had to do was use Pink Lime Look’s hashtag for the chance to win.
Pretty simple, considering the prize was a $500 makeover!
Tip: If you’re giving out a valuable prize, make sure to mention how much it’s worth for the chance to grab more attention.
4. Lifebox Food and Punks and Chancers Collab Contest
Organic materials and ingredients are essential to anyone who’s health-conscious or vegan.
Take a look at how Lifebox Food and Punks and Chancers ran their collaboration contest on Instagram.
All users had to do was follow the two companies, like the post, and tag a friend.
A cool sweater, a tote bag, and a delicious box of vegan food.
Tip: Collaborating with another company for your Instagram contest is an effective way to gain more followers. It’s great if the company you collaborate with already has its own strong base of followers.
5. How to Make Trouble by Simon and Schuster
Unique contests that ask users for stories almost always steal the show on Instagram.
Here’s the perfect example of how it’s done.
The contest encouraged users to comment with their own personal “troublemaking” strategies.
Cecile Richard’s new book, a tote bag, cute pins, and a bookmark.
That’s a lot in exchange of a story!
Tip: One of the reasons people are on Instagram is because they love to share their lives with others. If you ask for their stories in exchange of cool prizes? You’ll have a sure hit.
6. Valdo Prosecco’s Trip to Italy
Who wouldn’t want to win a spectacular trip to one of the most beautiful countries in the world?
With its contest, Valdo Prosecco made the trip an enticing prize.
All users had to do was take a photo of a cocktail they’d made with Valdo Prosecco.
They then shared their secret recipe as a caption with a hashtag.
The winner was picked out of the 25 top-voted photos.
Tip: Whenever you can, encourage contestants to be creative. Also, letting users vote for top photos is a great way to promote engagement with your brand.
7. Melissa Corser’s Makeup Giveaway
Makeup and nails are the perfect combination for girls who love to get glamorous.
Melissa Corser gave Instagram users the chance to win both with her contest.
What made this contest different was that users could enter as many times as they wanted.
More tagged friends, engagement, and exposure.
Tip: Who says contestants can only enter a contest once? When you give them unlimited entries, you get massive engagement in return.
8. Fushi’s New Product Launch
When Fushi launched its Biovedic skincare solution, it took to Instagram with a contest.
A full set of Ayurvedic skin products for healthier, more beautiful skin.
Tip: If you’re launching a new product, running an Instagram contest and giving the product away as a prize is a huge way to promote it.
9. Shockingly Healthy’s Contest for Free Tickets
For those into the healthy lifestyle, there are few things as exciting as a Green Living Show.
What Shockingly Healthy did was capitalize on that interest with two sets of free tickets for the show.
Tip: Are there any events in your area that would interest your followers? If so, offering free passes or tickets as prizes is a great way to increase engagement with your brand.
10. Domino’s Super Fan Contest
Domino’s contest offered a huge prize to users who could prove they were “super fans” of its pizza.
The prize? $10,000!
To add to the fun, the contest allowed users to be creative.
They had to prove they weren’t only fans, but super fans of Domino’s.
Tip: The more creative your contest is, the better! If you can give a big cash prize, it won’t hurt your chances of getting thousands of engagements, either.
How to Create an Instagram Contest That Goes Viral
Instagram is huge, and it opens the door to massive marketing opportunities for you.
Also, running an Instagram contest promises you user engagement, attention, and interest.
All you need to do is find out what works and how to set up your Instagram contest.
Remember, allow users to be creative and tell their stories.
Keep in mind why people use Instagram at all: to take stunning photos, be spontaneous, and share their lives with others.
There’s a ton of prize ideas you can select as giveaways. These can be cash, new products, unique knick-knacks, and anything related to your business.
When you’ve set up a contest that follows these cool tips, all you need to do is sit back and wait for the follows and shares to start pouring in!
All screenshots taken by author, November 2019
What You Need to be Doing NOW to Get Your Shop Ready for Black Friday
Did you know that 130 million users use Facebook and Instagram to discover sales and buy products during Black Friday weekend alone?
This means that setting your shop up for success is an excellent way to attract all shopaholics into your business and make serious money. But, with so little time, how can you know what you’re supposed to do?
Well, after talking with Meta experts, I’ve put together an easy-to-follow checklist with everything you need to do AHEAD of Black Friday if you want your Instagram or Facebook Shop to be a huge success this holiday.
So read on, and start planning now!
11 Things you need to do to get your shop Black Friday ready
The key to a successful Black Friday is reaching the right audience with the right products. In years past, this meant a well-placed ad in the local newspaper or a spot on the radio. But today, the best way to reach potential shoppers is through social media. And of all the social media platforms out there, Instagram and Facebook offer the best buying experience.
Facebook and Instagram Shops provide an easy way for businesses to showcase their products and reach a wide audience, and offer a convenient way to browse and purchase items with just a few clicks. Plus, since most users are already using these social media platforms *we’re talking about more than 3 billion*, it has become a natural way to shop.
So if you’re a business owner looking to take advantage of Black Friday, setting up an Instagram or Facebook shop is a must, and here are the best tips to do so:
1. Start planning your holiday strategies if you haven’t already
For many businesses, Black Friday is make-or-break time, when they can either turn a profit or end up in the red. That’s why it’s so important to have a solid plan in place for dealing with traffic.
By mapping out a strategy beforehand, businesses can avoid being overwhelmed by the high demand and ensure that everyone has a positive experience. This means, planning your offer and deals ahead of time, placing your ads budget, doing product inventory, organizing customer service, etc.
Regarding offers, Instagram and Facebook Shops allow businesses to set up coupons and discount codes during checkout, and timely offers to display their deals. Offer parity with your site is key. So be sure to review #7!
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2. Update your Meta Shop banners
In order for retailers to lure customers into their shops, they need to make sure their signage is up-to-date and eye-catching. This is especially true for banners, which are the first thing people see when hunting for good deals and promotions.
A well-designed banner can help to create a sense of urgency and excitement, convincing shoppers that they need to act now in order to get the best deals. These act as hero images from a traditional site, but for your Instagram Shop.
Additionally, they can be used to highlight specific sales or promotions, making it easy for shoppers to find the products they’re looking for. After all, what good is a sale if no one knows about it?
So if you’re looking to make the most of this busy shopping day, don’t forget to update your social shop banners with eye-catching designs. It could make all the difference in attracting customers to purchase in your store.
3. Make your organic media is shoppable
Facebook and Instagram Shops allow you to tag a product every time you post a picture, reel, story, or video. This is especially relevant because it drives users from an organic publication to your shop where they can check all the information about the item they’re interested in.
Plus, tagging can give you clean insights to how they’re interacting with products and creatives.
Hat tip: Did you know that you can tag your products in the description of your feed posts? No more using ‘link in bio’ in your copy for your organic posts. Use the @ symbol and choose ‘products’, once you have found your product select it and BAM, your product is now linkable in your Instagram post’s description!
4. Set your products up for success
Each product description should contain anything and everything a user needs in order to buy. This includes:
- Engaging and informative product descriptions
Standing out from the crowd of sellers can be especially hard during the holidays. However, a great way to do that is to make sure your product descriptions are clear, concise, and compelling.
No matter if you’re selling clothes, accessories, or home decor, a good product description will tell potential customers everything they need to know about a product, including its features, benefits, etc. Plus, it should also be engaging, so that shoppers are tempted to click “add to cart”, so don’t forget about the call to action and use strong and convincing language to urge the buyers to take your deal.
Be sure to exclude urls in your product description because it’s not allowed. Keep your product descriptions centered on benefits and remember, users often have 1-3 seconds to evaluate the efficacy and interest in a product from a product description.
Images that are well-lit and clearly show the product details can be the difference between a customer clicking “add to cart” or moving on to the next item on their list.
For Instagram and Facebook Shops, images need to be at least 500×500 pixels. Additionally, it’s important that you include more than just one image and focus on features.
Extra tip: according to Meta experts, if your product is in the lifestyle category, detailed product images can help you increase your possibilities of making a sale by 6-8%.
Extra extra tip: Include an image of a customer’s selfie with the product. Showcasing real customers using or holding your product makes a big difference with your conversions.
- Include price, availability, and sizes
No one will buy anything from your shop if you don’t have this information! So check your products and make sure that all of them include the deal price, pieces in stock, and sizes (this one applies only for items that are in categories like: Clothing Accessories, Newborn & Baby Fashion Accessories, and Costume Accessories)
Regarding sizes, you can (and should) add a size chart to help users feel confident in the purchase decisions and potentially reduce return rates.
Bear in mind: July 2022, Meta changed the basic information each item showcased in their shops needs to have in order to be displayed, so click here to discover everything your products need to have!
5. Update your catalog
An outdated catalog will make it difficult for them to find what they’re looking for, and they may decide to do their shopping elsewhere.
So, it’s important that you check and update your catalog to display all the products that are on sale to help your customers make important purchase decisions and drive sales.
Taking this into account, your catalog should:
- Have all the products displayed with their variants
- Include product details: complete all data fields (materials, ingredients, multiple images, videos, and size charts where applicable)
- Be maintained: update collections with new items and inventory quantity. Regarding this, you can use Meta Pixel to automatically update your catalog and reduce operational load.
6. Enable checkout on Facebook and Instagram Shops
Redirecting users to your own website or another platform in order to complete a sale is inconvenient and can lead to lost sales. So, it’s HIGHLY recommended that you set up your shop with checkout, if you’re allowed,to help potential customers discover and buy your products on one platform.
**For eligible stores in the US, all fees are waived through the end of 2022 for enabled checkouts.
Onsite checkout can be set up in Commerce Manager and it’s available for US shops only; it will give insights into shopper demographic and full-funnel conversion data which, in return, can help you optimize your campaigns.
7. Offer Parity
An Instagram or Facebook Shop is an extension of your store, but in a more consumable form that doesn’t require users to go from a place to another in order to buy something. This means that both should offer the same data: from prices and deals, to contact information and banners.
Why? Because some people may find your social shop and make their purchase there, meanwhile others would prefer to go to your website to get more information about you, so offer parity is a must if you want to build trust with potential customers. After all, no one wants to find mismatched prices!
8. Enable product reviews
By reading reviews, users can get an idea of what other shoppers thought of a particular item before they make a purchase and it can help them make informed decisions. That’s why they’re a key player when it comes to driving sales during Black Friday.
Regarding this, US shops with onsite checkouts have access to ratings and reviews and can manage them in Commerce Manager, which will allow you to check customer feedback and answer them.
Remember this: you need to have a shop with onsite checkout to enable product reviews and ratings.
Moreover, it’s possible to import reviews from 3rd parties! For now, Yotpo and Bazarro are active, meanwhile, Okendo and Stamped.io will be available with the reviews section in the next quarter.
9. Don’t forget about user-generated content
User-generated content has the added benefit of being more authentic and relatable than traditional marketing materials. It’s this human element that can be critical in helping persuade undecided shoppers to make a purchase. In fact, UGC drives a 9% increase in CTA clicks for buy now or view on the website
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During Black Friday, this type of content can be a valuable tool for helping brands connect with consumers and build trust, so it’s important to include it in your strategy.
For this, you can use images and videos of different customers using, wearing, and loving your products or provide buyers with information like “how to use” or tips that can help them make the most out of an item.
If you go to the UGC section of your commerce account, you can find UGC that’s ready for potential use in your stories and in your Meta Shops. You can find any images that tagged your handle or used one of your branded hashtags. When you find images that you’d like to use, you can send a request to that user’s profile for permission of usage of that media in your store.
It’s really that easy!
10. Leverage Shopping Ads and Catalog Ads
Instagram shopping ads allow businesses to showcase their products directly in the Instagram feed.
By tagging product photos with relevant information, businesses can create ads that include pricing, product descriptions, and a link to purchase the product. These ads are designed to be highly visual and engaging, and they provide a convenient way for users to learn about and purchase products without ever leaving Instagram.
On the other hand, Advantage+ Catalog Ads are a must-try for those businesses that have a large catalog of products and don’t want to be bothered by having to create a different ad per product. Instead, this type of ad helps you to create one campaign for all your products and show it to people that are interested in even one item from your catalog by creating an individual ad.
By integrating Catalog and Shop Ads into your paid media plan for Black Friday, you can attract possible customers and take them through your sales funnel all in one platform.
If you’re not familiar with these types of ads, you should start experimenting and scaling them as you see fit from now on! Also, don’t forget to set up your CPA!
*** Black Friday ad ramp up should begin by September 20th. October 15th is the BIG day when everyone enters the Meta Ads marketplace and auction pressure increase***
11. Prepare your customer support service
Answering questions from possible customers in less than 24 hours increases their possibility to make a purchase by 50%, that’s why it’s important to invest in effective customer service to help users get a clear understanding of your business and build trust.
With Facebook and Instagram Shops, you can get an email every time someone asks specific questions and reply by using the feedback tag on Commerce Manager. These replies become publicly available helping future customers see that social proof to make better buying decisions.
However, this feature is only available if you have enabled checkout and are an admin to the commerce account.
When should you start?
The peak of users eager to get Black Friday deals starts from October 15th to the big date *yes, more than a month before Black Friday*, so it’s crucial that you start optimizing your Instagram and Facebook Shops ASAP.
And, if you feel like this long list may overwhelm you and already give you a headache, at Mongoose Media we have a team of experts that will take this task from you and make the most out of your shop to go from plan to bestselling during the holidays!
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