How to Set Goals for your Instagram Contests

Posted by Alex Ditty on Feb 4, 2015 9:00:00 AM

In Campaign Best Practices, Moment Marketing

Create SMART Goals for your next Instagram contest


Instagram contests can be a valuable tactic for your social media marketing but only if you’re running them with a clear purpose. You need to understand the objectives of what you’re hoping to achieve because the campaign will mean nothing if you’re unable to track, and understand its success. In order to measure the success of your Instagram marketing you need well-defined goals in place for the contest. Setting goals is one of the hardest things to determine for social media marketing campaigns, which is why we’ve outlined how to set SMART Goals for your Instagram marketing campaigns. SMART Goals are ‘smart’ because they’re Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Apply these principles to your next Instagram contest to achieve the results you’re looking for.


The first step to your goal creation efforts is specifically defining them. Setting goals of ‘growing your brand presence on Instagram’ or ‘getting more people to participate with your contest’ are certainly good ideas but fall short of being specific, achievable results. By setting more refined goals you can benchmark contest achievements and increase your probability of success. Well-defined specific goals could be ‘grow Instagram following by 30%’ or ‘get 400 unique participants to share with your contest’. These goals set defined benchmarks for you to achieve. Create the specific goals by asking yourself the six W’s:

Who: Who is going to work on achieving this goal?

What: What are you hoping to achieve?

Where: Where will the impact of this goal be felt?

When: How long will it take to achieve this goal?

Which: Which resources and tools are needed to accomplish this goal?

Why: Why are you working on this goal?



The goals that you create need to be something that you can measure. Specifically defined goals are key here because they give you a benchmark to measure against. Though it also helps to have tools in place that can perform this measurement. A general goal like ‘growing your Instagram presence’ doesn’t give you anything to tangibly track against the same way that a specifically defined number of followers to gain does. There are some aspects, like posts to your contest’s hashtag, which will be simple to measure but the more in-depth goals will require a deeper dive into the contest with metrics like Relative Engagement and the pIQ Score. For example you can use a tool like SEEN Campaigns to measure how many new followers you gain on Instagram as a result of your Instagram contests.



Whatever goals you set forth in the contest, you need to make sure that they are achievable by your existing social media marketing efforts. If you’re new to running Instagram marketing campaigns it can be daunting to try and understand what to expect in terms of the engagement with your community. It’s easy to see brands like Nike sharing posts and receiving 200,000+ likes but that’s not typically realistic for most brands. Even for those of us who are more experienced with managing Instagram contests, there's value in understanding how to measure the percentage of engagement you can expect to see with the posts you’re sharing on Instagram. With this practice you can understand what promotional tactics are most effective and what types of content are performing best with your community. Measuring your existing engagement helps set the benchmark for what you can expect with your contesting efforts. Your ability to achieve the goal will help you to be more specific in establishing it. When setting the objective of gaining more Instagram followers, you can analyze your current activations on Instagram to determine what percentage of follower growth would be realistic.



The goals that you set forth for your contest need to be relevant to your overall Instagram and social media marketing goals. Any contest that you run shouldn’t be ‘just another campaign’. They need to fit your overall objectives and tie into the larger picture that spells success for your business. This is where un-specific goals like “growing your Instagram presence” fail to meet the mark. Making that goal more specific can help you better define the focus and theme of the contest to provide you better results for your overall social media marketing objectives



All of the goals that you establish need to be set to a specific timeframe. Since most contests are already set to a predefined period of time anyway this is usually an easily set piece of your SMART Goal planning but this also applies to your social media marketing overall. Set a specific timeframe for when you’ll achieve these goals or they will have the tendency to drag on and never be accomplished. Besides, we’re all looking forward to that finish line!


Download our Instagram Campaign Planning Guide to understand all of the aspects that go into a successful Instagram contest.

Instagram Campaign Planning Guide