Instagram hashtag contest: types and examples

César Rodríguez
César Rodríguez
Learn how to collect user-generated content, promote your brand, gather contact information, and turn consumers into brand ambassadors with an Instagram Hashtag Contest.

First, let’s talk about your marketing objectives for Instagram. There are many different ways to organize Instagram contests and giveaways, depending on your specific brand strategy and goals. If you’re considering a hashtag contest, it’s probably for one of these two reasons:

  1. You want to collect user-generated content
  2. You want to make your brand more visible on Instagram

Even with the changes to the Instagram API, both of these goals are still achievable. However, instead of the old-style hashtag contest, you now have two different apps to choose from. Let’s look at the features available.

Organize a mention + hashtag contest

Participants post a photo or video on Instagram, @mention your brand, and use your #campaignhashtag in the caption. The mention + hashtag contest app collects all the posts in real-time.

Then you can reward everyone for taking part with a prize draw, pick a winner by popular vote, or ask an expert jury to choose their favorite.

What are the benefits of Instagram hashtag contest with mention?

  • Virality. Using a hashtag and mention automatically makes your campaign more visible on Instagram. It’s easy for users to find other competition entries, check your original post about the contest, and look up the terms and conditions.
  • Followers. Including your brand mention in the photo caption means that users create a direct connection between your profile and theirs. You can learn more about them with a single click.
  • Loyalty. Once your profiles are connected by the brand mention, you can contact users with direct messages. Set up Instagram Quick Replies to respond to competition entries, answer common questions, and be more responsive.
  • Versatility. You can combine Instagram and Twitter posts in your mention + hashtag contest. So long as you use the same hashtag on both networks, and connect your profile for Twitter and Instagram to the app, all posts will be collected.
  • Transparency. Adding your mention, as well as the hashtag, shows that users are intentionally joining your competition. They haven’t just used your campaign hashtag by accident! And, because they can easily find your original post, the contest rules are transparent and easy to find.

Turn consumers into brand ambassadors with a Hashtag + Mention contest

There’s no better way to promote your brand than to have happy customers post about it on their favorite social media channels. By sharing positive experiences about your company, social media users become your brand ambassadors, helping you reach and positively influence new prospects. And here’s an example from SHAD, a motorcycle case and seat producer, showing how to use hashtag contests to grab the attention of a considerable number of Instagram users.

Mention + Hashtag contest

The company based in Barcelona wanted to reach more motorbike riders and expand its Instagram reach. They opted for a Mention + Hashtag contest in which they gave away a $300 SHAD voucher. Users participated in the contest by uploading a picture of their SHAD product to their Instagram account, using the hashtag, and mentioning @shad_motorcycle_cases in the post description.

How to run an Instagram photo contest with registration form

The Hashtag + Entry Form contest starts out just like a mention + hashtag contest. People share a photo or video on their Instagram profile, making sure to use your #campaignhashtag.

Next, they log into your unique contest app. They connect their Instagram account, share contact details, and agree to the terms and conditions, privacy policy, and image permissions. (So you can make the best use of all that quality user-generated content.) Then users can select the specific photo they want to share for the contest, and it will be added to a public photo gallery.

What are the benefits of Instagram hashtag contest with registration form?

  • Leads. You can’t collect users’ contact details from Instagram. But when you ask people to connect with your contest app, you have the opportunity to ask for more personal details, such as email address or age.
  • Access to private profiles. When users post to private profiles, you can’t share their posts – even if they use your hashtag. But when they share photos to the app, you can add them to the public gallery and reuse content as you choose.
  • Express consent. The app includes checkboxes for terms and conditions, privacy policy, and even image rights. So you can be totally confident that users consent to your use of their data and original content.
  • More ways to pick a winner. Combine the app with other advanced contest dynamics, such as Instant Win rewards or promotional codes.
  • Segmentation. Limit your promotion app to specific countries, or set a minimum age for participation. Add extra questions to the registration form so that you can segment and qualify your new leads.

Hashtag + Entry form contest: post in your feed and complete the entry form app

Take a look at this Hashtag + Entry form photo contest organized by Inaba, a pet treat brand. As part of their 2023 Halloween campaign, the brand organized a photo contest among its audience. To participate, users had to post a  photo of their cat enjoying one of the brand’s treats using the contest hashtag and fill out the registration form available on the brand’s Instagram BIO. The brand also made a point of clearly stating all participation requirements as well as how winners would be chosen.

Hashtag + Entry form contest

The Instagram Hashtag + Entry form contest is ideal for gathering User-Generated Content (UGC) and, with it, the explicit consent of participants that the brand can use it. The registration form also includes the legal terms, privacy policy, and all the checkboxes that the brand needs to ensure that, by participating in the contest, the user agrees to provide the images for the brand to use.

Compare types of Instagram hashtag contest

To sum up the contest mechanics, features, and marketing objectives, we’ve created this table to compare the two types of contest, side by side. Once you’ve made your choice, then you can register for free to get started.

Hashtag contest options

We hope you found this article useful to help you get your hashtag contest going. If you still have doubts or need further information don’t hesitate to contact us via live chat. We will be happy to help.

request a DEMO