4 tips to grow your Instagram following for competitions

By Lex Haringman

Instagram is a highly visual platform which can help you to build your brand image through photos and videos far more effectively than Facebook or other social media sites. Recent statistics show that more than half of Instagram users are under 34 years old, with it being the most popular among those who fall within the 18 to 24 age group. This makes it a great platform for targeting a younger audience.

In this post, we’ll be sharing some tips to help grow your Instagram following for competitions. Our advice focuses on why you should stop using Instagram as a way to get ticket sales. If you view Instagram this way, you won’t grow your following and it’s as simple as that.



Tip #1 Stop using Instagram for the hard sell.

When setting up your Instagram account, it can be tempting to show your followers all the prizes you have on offer with pushy captions about ticket prices and current odds. People don’t like being sold to, so it’s better to do it discreetly! This is known as soft selling.

Our advice… Post a high quality image which you think your followers would like, with a short and sweet caption about the prize. If it’s a bundle of prizes, you can share a carousel with an image for each individual prize. A carousel is also great for showing larger prizes, like a car or bike, from different angles. High quality photos are so important for Instagram feed posts.

If you’re not posting an image that looks great, it won’t get the results you want it to.

This tip really helps if you have a very clear target audience. For example, if your competition site specialises in cars, it’s likely that your followers will want to see high quality photos of cars. And if you show them this, they’ll engage with it!

We’re sure you’re wondering how to promote your other prizes that don’t photograph so nicely… This is what your Instagram Stories are for! A simple photograph of the prize or a video of you showing off the prize and explaining its benefits.

Not sure what your followers will want to see? Go onto their Instagram pages and see what sorts of things they post. If there is a recurring theme, then you know what your followers will want to see! Or if you’ve been posting for a while, look through your posts and see what posts your followers engage with the most.

A good caption for your Instagram posts will make it clear that it’s a giveaway, tell your followers what they can win, how to enter and the rules. If a user needs to visit your site to enter a competition, include a Call To Action and let them know the link is in the bio. For more tips on writing descriptions, check out our blog post on writing compelling prize descriptions for your competitions.


Tip #2 Be active, use hashtags and engage!

It is so important to stay active on social media. The amount you post varies from site to site, and with Instagram we recommend posting at least three times per week or once per day at maximum.

We know this doesn’t sound like a lot, but you have Instagram Stories too… We recommend posting to your Stories at least ten times per day. If you post to your Instagram feed three times a week, you can make sure your posts are high quality with well thought-out captions.

Post between three times a week and once a day to your Instagram feed. Share to your Instagram Stories at least ten times a day.

Staying active doesn’t mean just posting content to your feed. We also mean you should be posting stories, commenting on and liking your followers’ content, replying to comments left on your posts and using appropriate hashtags.

Hashtags are important for increasing the visibility of your Instagram page and can help you to reach your target audience who may not know you exist yet. We recommend using five or six relevant and specific hashtags. The more relevant they are, the more useful they will be to getting engagement on your post. There are a few sites which can help with finding the most relevant hashtags. Tagsfinder is just one example of a free and simple to use tool for hashtags.



Tip #3 Make use of IGTV and Reels.

All of these added extras on Instagram are really helpful for gaining exposure for your business. IGTV is a great way to do unboxing videos or showing off a new car you have up for grabs. IGTV videos can be up to 60 minutes long (60 minutes if you’re uploading a video from your computer or laptop, and 15 minutes if you’re uploading from your phone).

Similar to TikTok, Reels can go viral and you could become an internet sensation overnight (if you’re lucky!). It’s a great way to get your brand name out there and for people to become more aware of what your business is and what you do.

Stand out and show off your prizes with Instagram’s IGTV and Reels features – there’s potential to go viral!

When it comes to Reels (and TikTok), there are many viral sounds you can use. Doing a Reel may seem scary or intimidating, but the pay-off from doing this is massive.

As with your Instagram feed posts, we don’t recommend using Reels to hard sell your products. This won’t go viral because it’s not something people enjoy watching or can engage with. Engagement is what makes Reels (and TikToks) go viral. So you want a post which you think your followers will engage with. If your competition site sells cars, upload videos of cars using cool videography techniques and using viral sounds.


Tip #4 Giveaways.

The oldest trick in the book… Giveaways. Giveaways are a great way to bring awareness to your brand. Some brands have even claimed to grow by 70% because of a giveaway!

Instagram has an algorithm that means it will show your post to more people if it’s getting more engagement. This signals to Instagram that they should feature more of your content on your followers’ feeds.

When choosing a prize for the giveaway, it’s important to choose an item that your audience will really want to win. If you choose something they aren’t really interested in, your post won’t see much engagement and the giveaway won’t be much of a success.

Giveaways are a great way to grow your followers, but make sure to keep the followers once you get them. You can do this by following the tips above… Stay active, don’t hard sell, and make full use of Instagram’s features.


Looking to work with a digital agency who specialises in prize competition web design and marketing? Get in touch today.


This blog post was written by Lauren, Team Zap’s Social Media and Email Marketing Expert.