Tutorial: How to run a sweepstakes from Instagram comments

The Instagram Sweepstakes app enables you to import all the comments on an Instagram post and run a sweepstakes among all users who commented. You'll then be able to publish the winners on a customized page and display a Certificate of Validity to give transparency to your sweepstakes.


What you need to know before you start:

  • For apps like Easypromos to obtain the comments left on an Instagram post, they need to use the official Instagram API.
  • Instagram's official API is limited and can only provide the most recent 100 to 150 comments on a post.
  • The only way to collect more than 100 to 150 comments is to monitor the post from the moment it's created. This way it's possible to obtain all the comments.

Therefore, the best way to ensure you don't miss out on any of your sweepstakes post's comments is: (1) publish the post to Instagram and (2) log in to Easypromos immediately after and activate the system for monitoring new comments. We will explain how to do this in this tutorial.


Keep in mind the following two points:

  1. If you've already published a post and are not monitoring it, the app will only be able to recover the most recent 100 to 150 comments. You'll also be able to run the sweepstakes with all the comments that have been imported.
  2. To enable monitoring of new comments you'll need to have an active Basic subscription which costs $29USD/month.


Summary of the Instagram Sweepstakes Tutorial

In this tutorial, you'll find a step-by-step guide to setting up and launching your sweepstakes:


Step 1. Create and publish the post on Instagram

The way to obtain all the comments left on an Instagram post is to start monitoring the post as soon as you publish it, importing the comments in real time. The Easypromos app includes a feature which enables you to monitor and import users' comments in real time, making sure you don't miss any. Find out how the system for importing comments from Instagram posts works here.


Step 2. Access the Dashboard

Access the Easypromos Dashboard from this link: http://admin.easypromosapp.com. If you're not an Easypromos user, create an account and sign in to the dashboard to create and manage your promotions.


This is your dashboard:


A) Your account information is located in the upper bar of the window. Use your account ID (preceded by the # symbol) to identify yourself when requesting help from the Support Center.

B) This is the area where your promotions will be listed according to status: active, draft and finalized.


Step 3. Import the Instagram post

The next important step is to select the Instagram post that you've just published. This will enable you to import all the comments the post has received and activate real-time monitoring of new comments.

To do this, follow these steps:

1. Click "Create New Promotion" to start setting up the sweepstakes.


2. Select "Instagram Sweepstakes".


3. You'll be taken to the sweepstakes setup page. In step 1, click "Connect with Instagram" to start your session.


Note: If this is your first Instagram sweepstakes, your first step should be to accept the app's permissions. We only use these to identify the Instagram account and collect the comments left on your posts. More information.


4. After connecting to your Instagram account you'll see the confirmation screen. Click "Accept and close" to continue:


5. Once you've connected your Instagram account, select the type of sweepstakes by clicking on the "Comments" button to start setting up the sweepstakes:


6. Your next step should be to select the post you've just published in Instagram – the one you want to use to run your sweepstakes:



Note: The "Instagram Sweepstakes" application is available for any Instagram post, photo or video. It's not available for Instagram Stories yet.


Step 4. Activate real-time monitoring

Once you've selected your Instagram post, an open sweepstakes will be created automatically for this publication. If the post already has one or more comments, the system will import them as sweepstakes participants. If you want to import all subsequent comments, however, you'll need to enable real-time monitoring.


Note: Real-time monitoring requires a monthly Basic subscription ($29USD/month) or greater. Find out everything included in the Basic subscription.

If an active subscription is detected in your account, real-time monitoring will be activated automatically, meaning that the system will begin importing all the comments made on the post forwards:


When real-time monitoring begins, the system will configure a monitoring end-date: seven days after the monitoring is activated. You'll be able to modify this date according to the date you plan to finish the promotion:



What if you don't have an active subscription?

If you want to activate real-time monitoring, but you don't have a subscription yet, follow these steps:


1. Go to the Sweepstakes Setup Page and buy a Basic subscription:


2. Once you've bought the subscription, return to your Instagram sweepstakes and activate monitoring by clicking "Monitor now":


3. The following screen will indicate that the monitoring system is activated and that all new comments will be imported to the sweepstakes.


What if you don't need to import new comments?
If you published your sweepstakes post a few days ago, and now need a tool to run the sweepstakes and obtain winners, you won't need to activate real-time monitoring of comments. You can simply run the sweepstakes with all the comments that have been imported.

Note: Remember that the Instagram API is limited and only able to retrieve the most recent 100 to 150 comments on a post. Find out how the system for importing comments from an Instagram post works.


If you wish to finalize the sweepstakes with the comments imported and you don't want to import new future comments, go to Step 6 of this tutorial.


Step 5. Finalize monitoring of comments

Once the participation period is over – and you no longer need to import new comments for the sweepstakes – you'll be able to stop the real-time monitoring. You can then run the sweepstakes and obtain the winners.


Note: If you need to import new comments before running the sweepstakes, you can re-activate monitoring at any time (as long as you have an active subscription).


Step 6. Review the list of finalists and apply exclusions

You're on the open sweepstakes page. Beneath the title you'll find the number of participants and options for viewing the data. In this section, you'll also find various tools for filtering and excluding users from entering the sweepstakes. These tools enable you to establish the following dynamics:14.jpgThese tools enable you to establish the following dynamics:

  • Asking participants to be followers of one of more Instagram accounts.
  • Requiring users to include up to five mentions in a comment in order to enter the sweepstakes.
  • Filtering the finalists according to the hashtags they use in their comments.

Discover all the options for filtering and excluding users available in your Instagram sweepstakes.


Step 7. Define the number of winners and alternates

Next, indicate how many winners and alternate winners you need. We recommend always requesting alternate winners as it makes awarding the prizes easier and more efficient. Why?15.jpg


Click "Continue" and you'll be taken to the Test Page. Here you'll be able to carry out a test to see how the sweepstakes will work and how the winners will be displayed.


Step 8. Carry out a test and run the sweepstakes

Before you run the random sweepstakes, you have the possibility of carrying out a number of tests to see how the tool works. Clicking on "Ready! Carry out sweepstakes" will launch the random sweepstakes. Once the sweepstakes has been carried out, it can't be repeated.16.jpg

Step 9. Prepare the announcement of winners

Congratulations! The sweepstakes has been carried out and the results will be displayed. You can now think about announcing the winners and awarding the prizes.


A. "Winners and Alternates" section:

Here you'll see the list of winners and alternates. From here you can manage the prize winners, and change them if needed.


B. "Claim your prize" section:

Do you want the winners to be able to confirm their details and claim their prize? You can set up and activate this section to aid in the prize-awarding process. This way, the user who visits the Winners Page will be able to claim the prize from there, verifying their details and confirming that they're interested in receiving the prize.


C. "Publication of winners" Section:

When you run the sweepstakes, the tool will generate two important URLs that you should be aware of:

  • Certificate of Validity URL. The Certificate of Validity confirms that the sweepstakes has been run once only and completely at random. This certificate identifies the sweepstakes and it can't be modified. Share the URL with winners so that participants can see that your sweepstakes was run fairly and transparently.
  • Winners Page URL. This is a microsite where the names of the winners and the alternate winners are displayed. This way, communicating the results will be easier. You'll be able to customize this page to adapt it to your brand and needs.

Click on the pencil icon to edit the Winners Page and customize it to fit your needs:19.jpg

Step 10. Contact the winners

When the Winners Page is ready, share it on social media. You can use the "Share on social media" button or copy and share the URL of the Winners Page directly.


Tip: If you'd like to announce the winners on Instagram, we recommend the two following actions:

  1. Publish the link to the Winners Page in the Bio of the organizing brand's Instagram account.
  2. Publish a post or a story where announce the result of the sweepstakes and that it can be seen in the Bio.
  3. Use your social media channels to share the link to the Winners Page. 

Keep in mind the fact that links in the comments or description of the photos in Instagram are not active and can't be clicked on.


Step 11. Notify the winners

In the 'Publication of winners' section you'll find the option to notify the winners directly. This tool will let you post a public comment on the sweepstakes post on Instagram mentioning the Instagram name of the winners. The winners will then receive an Instagram notification letting them know that they've been mentioned. 


This tool is limited to a maximum of five mentions and 300 characters. If you have a lot of winners, and the total text is more than 300 characters, you can copy the text provided by the system (including the mentions of all the winners) and then manually post the comment directly to your Instagram account.


Step 12. Manage winners and alternates

From the 'Winners and alternates' section you can:

  • See whether winners have claimed their prize, and review the details they've provided.
  • Manage the prizewinners and change them if necessary.
  • Download all the information provided by prizewinners in a file.
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