How to run a promotion on Instagram

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Koh Samui, Thailand - March 21, 2018: Woman hand holding iPhone X with social networking service Instagram on the screen. iPhone 10 was created and developed by the Apple inc.

Instagram turns 10 this year, and with around one billion users it is still one of the most influential social media platforms of our time. For marketers it brings huge potential from the countless opportunities to run prize promotions for a low cost and effort, but with great effectiveness. Georgia O’Donnell, Junior Client Relationship Manager at PromoVeritas gives her point of view on Instagram promotions.

Why run an Instagram promotion?

Some of the many reasons for running competitions, prize draws and campaigns on Instagram include high engagement, sales uplift, data capture and the low planning and implementation time they take. The main benefit  is that they don’t cost a lot to run and are a free form of advertising that can actually create a wealth of content for a brand.

So what are the some of the different Instagram promotions that brands and agencies can run?

1. Instagram Prize Draw
This is a standard mechanic where the brand has free reign in deciding whether they want to involve just simple comments or photos to enter. What we typically see is brands posting promotional posts on their timeline, asking consumers to comment with their hashtag underneath a set post in order to be entered into the prize draw. Or… brands will ask consumers to post a photo / video to their own personal grid and using a caption where they must tag the brand and use the hashtag. Also, you must have a clear link on posts and brand bio to the full T&Cs!

2. Instagram competition or contest
Competitions mean asking your followers to be a little bit more creative but typically this results in increased engagement for the brand and more opportunities for marketing with user generated content. Competitions on Instagram would typically involve brands asking consumers to post a photo or video on their own personal timeline with a caption answering a question or detailing something which is then judged by a set criterion and then the final winner is decided by a panel. Also, you must have a clear link on posts and brand bio to the full T&Cs!

3. Surprise and Delight
These are rare but highly effective. Win over your followers if you see someone post something nice about your brand on social media, and reward them with a gift, with no strings attached! You can run something like this without T&Cs as long as there is no wording on any of your marketing asking consumers to actively do something in order to receive a gift and there must be no wording related to the word ‘win’ and ‘prize’. A surprise and delight should be completely random, and the consumer must not have to do anything. It is simply a gesture of the brand!

The Rules for Instagram Promotions

PromoVeritas have run thousands of social media promotions and always recommend Instagram over some of the new platforms because it is simple to use, and the rules are easy to follow. Here are some tips to help you run your next Instagram campaign. As part of its mission to “capture and share the world’s moments” Instagram encourages promotions but will not permit any kind of spammy behaviour to keep the user experience meaningful. So, you cannot inaccurately tag content or ask users to do so either. For example, asking someone to tag someone in a photo in which they do not appear is outlawed and can mean the account will be blocked. You can find Instagram’s guidelines for promotions here, but these are the rules in a nutshell:

You cannot:

You can:

ask people to tag themselves in a photo in which they are not ask people to comment a hashtag under a post
ask people to tag their friend(s) in a photo they are not in ask people to post their own photo with a hashtag to their personal timeline grid
ask people to like a photo to enter

How can PromoVeritas help you run your Instagram promotion?

• Checking that your mechanic is compliant with the rules of Instagram and the local laws of your target audience
• Drafting your T&Cs
• Extract all comments and photos from Instagram
• Conducting independent winner selection whether it be for a prize draw or competition
• Provide an audit trail in line with CAP Code requirements
• Ensure your promotion runs smoothly and successfully!
• Winner communications and prize fulfilment

For help and advice with running promotions on Instagram and across all social media contact PromoVeritas on 0203 325 6000 or email

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