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Instagram Tips & Resources

How to Get 500+ Instagram Followers with a Single Post

Updated on February 17, 2017
7 minute read

Everyone wants to get more followers on Instagram, but not a lot of people know how to do it. They’ll post regularly, use great hashtags, and engage with their community, but followers are slow to trickle in. Hands down, the easiest way to quickly get more followers on Instagram is to host an Instagram contest. 

Published February 17, 2017

Everyone wants to get more followers on Instagram, but not a lot of people know how to do it. They’ll post regularly, use great hashtags, and engage with their community, but followers are slow to trickle in. Hands down, the easiest way to quickly get more followers on Instagram is to host an Instagram contest

If you follow the steps below and use our proven Instagram contest formula, you really can get hundreds of Instagram followers from just one post! It may sound extreme, but it does work. Here’s exactly how to do it:

How to Get More Followers on Instagram Step #1: Find the Best Time to Host your Instagram Contest

There’s never a “bad” time to host an Instagram contest, but it’s a good idea to tie your Instagram contest to a larger marketing goal, such as raising awareness around a new product launch! Consider when your business might benefit the most from an extra boost in awareness and engagement.

Some ecommerce businesses like to run Instagram contests during their “off-season” or during a stretch of slow business. It’s a great way to stay relevant and get more followers on Instagram — especially because your competitors are probably posting less frequently! Check your Instagram analytics to determine when your Instagram account gets the least amount of engagement and plan to host your Instagram competition during that time period!

If you’re starting a new Instagram account, hosting an Instagram contest with a few different brands or influencers is an easy way to get more followers on Instagram and generate a ton of engagement. 

The Proven, Magic Formula for Hosting an Instagram Contest:

Here is our proven Instagram contest formula to help you get more followers on Instagram from a single post:

  1. Partner with a brand or influencer with a similar target market and audience

  2. Choose a prize that gets your community excited

  3. If you’re partnering with an influencer, have them host the contest on their account (if you’re partnering with a brand, you can determine the best account to host the contest)

  4. Create clear rules: to enter, follow @youraccount and @yourpartner and tag X # of friends in a comment

  5. Run your contest for a short period of time: no more than 5 days, ideally 2-3 days

Vitamix followed this Instagram contest formula when partnering with popular food blogger Foodess, resulting in ~331 followers in 3 days, which is impressive considering Foodess has a following of around 11k. See all her contest rules here.

Now that you know the formula to get more followers on Instagram, here’s how to execute it:

How to Host an Instagram Contest Step #2: Partner with Another Brand or Instagram Influencer

Time to pay attention: this is the most important step for hosting your Instagram contest! Partnering up with another brand or an Instagram influencer is the key to getting more followers through an Instagram contest. By running the Instagram contest together, you get to share each other’s audiences and reach hundreds or thousands of potential new customers…all from just one Instagram post!

When selecting a brand or Instagram influencer to partner with, be sure to choose one that has a similar target market and an audience that would be interested in your products. This also helps with the success of your Instagram contest because you’re targeting the type of customers you want.

If you choose Instagram influencer marketing over collaborating with a brand, allow the influencer to take the lead on the Instagram contest. Let them choose when to post and what photo to use, because they know their audience best! Have the influencer post about the contest on their channel first, and then regram the photo to your channel and direct your audience to enter the contest on the influencer’s account.

Remember: the goal is to get new Instagram followers, so you want to leverage the audience of another account instead of your own.

Step #3: Pick a Prize for your Instagram Contest

This is the fun part! Choosing the prize for your Instagram contest is all about understanding your audience. What have your followers been asking about or interested in lately? Creating  your Instagram contest around a product or service your followers really want is a great way to show that you’re listening to what your community has to say.

If your business is local, you can try a non-product giveaway like a meet-and-greet or other special experience as a prize, instead of a free product. At the end of the day, choosing a prize for your Instagram contest comes down to knowing what your audience wants and what will drive the most excitement. If you can get a bunch of people to tell their friends about your Instagram contest, you’re much more likely to get more followers on Instagram!

It’s also important to consider the monetary value of your giveaway. For instance, in the United States, if a prize is valued at $600 USD or more, the recipient will have to pay taxes on it. That may not be a problem for some larger businesses, but you should refer to your country’s laws for specifics around sweepstakes, contests, and lotteries.

Step #4: Create Rules and Launch your Instagram Contest!

When you’re running an contest to get more followers on Instagram, you want to make the contest go as viral as possible. The best way to do this is to ask followers to tag at least one friend in the comments to enter — this is key to your growth. By getting Instagram users to tag their friends in the comments, you can draw more attention to the contest and increase your brand awareness by having even more people see your Instagram account and enter the contest.

Ensure that the rules for your Instagram contest are clearly stated, that you have a start and an end time, and that one of the rules is that entrants must be following both accounts to win! Here is an example from The Burrard Hotel and Local Wanderer that you can replicate:

Now for the moment you’ve been waiting for — it’s time to go live with your Instagram contest!  Once the post is live on your partner or influencer’s account, repost it onto your own Instagram account to show your influencer or brand partner some love, and let your audience know about the contest. If possible, try posting a complementary Instagram story about the contest, and don’t forget to share the contest on your other social channels as well to increase overall reach.

That’s it! Now that your Instagram contest is live and you’re starting to get more followers on Instagram, keep in touch with your partner brand or Instagram influencer throughout the contest and engage with your new audience as much as possible. Show that your business is an active and interested in connecting with their community.

Once the Instagram contest is over and you’ve selected a winner or winners, you should see a massive boost in your Instagram followers — but that doesn’t mean your work is done!. The Burrard gained almost 500 Instagram followers from partnering with an influencer with 60,000 followers, but once you have those followers you have to work hard to keep them all!

Be sure to post engaging content after the contest and comment back to all your new followers. Pay attention to your new followers and make them feel like they’re a part of your community. Whether that’s replying to their comments or regularly featuring the brand or influencer that you’ve partnered with, you’ll be rewarded with their loyalty for many months to come.

Ready to get more followers on Instagram by hosting your own Instagram contest? Let us know about your success!

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About the Author
Content Marketing Specialist

content strategist by day, filmmaker by night // available for freelance // previously @milkmakeup@bigspaceship@foursquare@birchbox

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