3 Things To Consider Before Running An Instagram Promotion
Everyone is on Instagram! Let’s run an Instragram contest! It will be super easy – just ask people to post a photo and we can decide on a favorite and ……
Whoa!!!! It’s not that easy.
Yes, Instagram is very popular right now and it’s easy for consumers to post content and to set up a promotion. But keep in mind that any sweepstakes or contest you run is still subject to laws and regulations for your company. And there are issues with the platform that you need to consider before running a promotion.
Here are 3 Things to Consider Before You Run with an Instagram Promo:
1. Is it legal?
First and foremost, no matter what social platform you use, official rules are necessary for every sweepstakes or contest. The rules need to cover the entry dates, criteria, who can enter, etc. We recommend you leave the rules to your company attorney or a promotional marketing agency and find a way to link to them directly from your Instagram call to action.
Another thing to consider is that if you run a contest there needs to be some measurable criteria or voting system in the rules to determine how winners are selected. This gives you the ability to disqualify people if they don’t follow the rules. This is important as your followers are going to call you out if a clear winner has to be disqualified for posting something obscene or against your standards.
And be sure to check Instagram promotion guidelines!
2. Are you following your company policies?
For many of the companies we deal with, there are internal policies in terms of adverse event tracking or negative comments that need to be addressed. For instance, if you work in a highly regulated industry such as alcohol and you run an Instagram sweepstakes in which half of the entries show minors drinking you will have a big problem. Carefully consider any and all internal policies and try to come up with solutions before problems begin. In the example of a company promoting alcohol you might want to only advertise the promotion to adults 21 and over on an age-gated web site, and make sure the call to action is NOT something that involves showing yourself or others drinking.
3. Is this really your winner?
Unlike Twitter, there is no direct message capability in Instagram. When you decide on a winner and the only data you have on them is their Instagram user name, how do you plan on contacting them? Posting in the comments may be the only way to notify a winner. But you have to think the process through and ensure there is a way to confirm they are who they say they are when they contact you. Otherwise you may get into a situation where you have multiple people claiming to be your user JoeSmith123. Our recommended method is to post a comment on the winner’s photo asking them to contact you, and when they do give them a small, easy task to do, like post a photo of a dog (like our model, Ted) to their Instagram account, to confirm their identity.
Update January 2014: Instagram now has direct messaging capabilities. See how this changes how winners are notified.
Update June 2016: Instagram limited their data feed access as of June 1, 2016. This makes searching and pulling hashtag entries more challenging. If you want to run an Instagram promo you should read about the recent Instagram changes here.
Still have questions? Marden-Kane has run many legal Instagram promotions and can help. You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 516-365-3999.
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