Running Social Media Contests on Facebook, Instagram, and Google+


Social media contests are a fun and effective way to interact with followers, grow your follower base, and build brand awareness. You can use them to generate leads, entice users to sign up for your newsletter, get more likes, and much more. But where should you host them? Facebook and Instagram allow social media contests (with some caveats, of course), but Google+ doesn’t. That said, you can still mention your offsite contest on Google+. If you’re building a presence on any of these social networking sites, holding a contest is a fantastic idea.


Last year, Facebook changed its promotional guidelines to make it easier for businesses to hold social media promotions and contests. In the past, contests had to be contained within a tab. Now, they can reside directly on a business page’s timeline. Other changes included the ability to use social media contestslikes as a voting mechanism and collect entries by having users comment, like, post, or leave a message on the page.

While you could create a simple contest on your timeline — and follow all of Facebook’s promotional guidelines, consider using a professional Facebook contest app to create, administer, and manage your contests on Facebook.


Due to its photo-centric platform, Instagram contests revolve around photos. According to Instagram Help Center’s “Host a Photo Campaign” page, you should use hashtags to organize submissions to your Instagram contest. Ideally, you’ll come up with a unique hashtag for your contest so that only those images specifically tagged with your contest’s hashtag will appear in the hashtag’s RSSfeed.

In addition to coming up with a good, unique hashtag, you’ll need to create a webpage with the contests details such as contest length and deadline, prize, eligibility requirements, rules, how the winner will be selected, how the winner will be notified and so on.

Once you’ve completed your contest page, the next step is to promote it. Options include pay per click advertising, sponsored Facebook posts, general Facebook posts, email, newsletters, and Twitter.


Google+ prohibits the running of contests and promotions on its network. However, according to its Contests and Promotions Policy, “You may display a link on Google+ to a separate site where your Promotion is hosted so long as you (and not Google) are solely responsible for your Promotion and for compliance with all applicable federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations in the jurisdiction(s) where your Promotion is offered or promoted.”

Thus, if you are running a Facebook or Instagram contest, you could link to that contest on your Google+ page.

Running social media promotions on Facebook and Instagram is relatively easy. Make sure to follow each site’s guidelines and consider using a third-party tool to create the most engaging contests possible.

infusionsoft certified consultant



Thomas von Ahn | Chief Elephant Slayer | Viral Solutions LLC
thomas von ahn

Watch out elephants! This slayer of business challenges comes with 30 years of record breaking sales, marketing, operations, training and leadership experience . He has worked face-to-face with 100’s of small business owners as well as large firms. His love of creating, communicating, developing and executing results for clients shines with each project, publication and training event. His entrepreneurial spirit, passion, industry experience, education, problem-solving prowess, charismatic personality and been-there-done that attitude leads his client focused approach.



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Filed Under: Social Media