Tutorial: How to run a sweepstakes among all users who post a hashtag on Instagram

Easypromos lets you run a sweepstakes among all users who have posted a photo or a video on their timeline on Instagram using a specific hashtag.

The application Instagram Hashtags Sweepstakes lets you import all the photos and videos that have been posted on the users’ profiles with a certain hashtag in just one click and run a sweepstakes among all those users. You can publish the winners in a customized page and post the certificate of validity to give the sweepstakes transparency.

 

What you should know before starting:

  • The “Instagram sweepstakes” tool to collect hashtags posted by participants is used at the end of the process when the participation period ends and you want to select the winners. So the first step should be to announce the action to your Instagram community to encourage them to post their photos/videos with the hashtag you decide. And once the period for participation is over, you should access your Easypromos control panel, create a new promotion, insert the hashtag you want to import and the start date, and the system will import all the hashtags to the application so you can run the sweepstakes. This is the process described in this tutorial.
  • The first Instagram hashtags sweepstakes is free and is limited to maximum 200 hashtags.
  • For the second sweepstakes and onward it’s necessary to have a subscription which can be:
    • Basic subscription for $29/month. The sweepstakes is limited to maximum 200 hashtags.
    • Premium subscription ($159/month) and White Label subscription ($349/month). The sweepstakes has no limit to the number of hashtags.

 

Summary of the Instagram hashtag sweepstakes:

Here is the step by step guide to configure and run the sweepstakes:

 

Step 1. Access the control panel

Access the Easypromos Control Panel from this link. If you're not an Easypromos user, create an account and sign in to the control panel to create and manage your promotions.

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Step 2. Create and configure the basic aspects of the sweepstakes

1. Create a new promotion by clicking the button ‘Create new promotion’.

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2. You will see the available products. Select ‘Instagram Sweepstakes’.

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3. You will be presented with the sweepstakes setup screen. As a first step, click on the 'Connect with Instagram' button to log in with Instagram:

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Note: If this is your first Instagram sweepstakes, first you need to accept the app's permissions. We only use these to identify the Instagram profile to be able to show you a list of the posts on your profile. More information.

 

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

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

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6. Now you can configure the following options:

  • Hashtag: Insert the hashtag you want to track and import to the application.
  • Import start date: Select the date the importation should start from. The system will track and import the hashtag from this date and time until the moment when you create the sweepstakes.
  • Time zone: Select the time zone of the sweepstakes.

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7. Click on the ‘Create’ button and wait for the system to finish importing all the hashtags. Once it’s finished, the open sweepstakes will be created with all the users who’ve posted the hashtag. You are now ready to run the sweepstakes.

 

Step 3. Review the list of finalists and apply exclusions

You're on the page with the open sweepstakes. Beneath the title, you'll find the number of participants and if you click View, the application will show you a list of the imported users where you will have the following information and options for each user:

  • Created on: This is the date when the user posted on Instagram using the hashtag.
  • Comments: This shows the photo and the comment of the user’s post.
  • Excluded: You can exclude the user by checking this box.
  • Blacklisted: By checking this box the user will be added to the blacklist of your account.

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Furthermore, the app gives you a photo gallery to see and review the photos posted by the participants in a more graphic way and exclude users very easily.

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Note: This gallery is only for the organizer to see and easily exclude entries. If you’re interested in creating a public gallery with the participants’ photos and have the option to enable voting, you should try a Hashtags contest.

 

The tool gives you the following options to exclude participants:

  • Blacklist. You can add users who utilize bad practices to your blacklist and exclude them all at once in any sweepstakes so you don’t have to search for them one by one. Your blacklist is associated to your Easypromos account and is therefore always available.
  • Exclude previous winners. If you don’t want a previous winner to be able to win again.
  • Exclude entries registered after. This lets you set the end date of the sweepstakes so that users who posted with the hashtag after this date will not enter the final sweepstakes.
  • User must be followers of. This options allows you to include the organizing brand’s Instagram profile and also other Instagram profiles so that only the users that are followers of the selected profiles enter into the final sweepstakes.
  • One-time exclusion. If you want to exclude a user because he or she doesn’t comply with the requirements or rules, you can use the search field to find that user and exclude manually, or you can do it from the entries list.

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Step 4. 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.

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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 5. Carry out a test and run the sweepstakes

Before you run the random sweepstakes, you have the possibility to carry out a number of tests to see how the tool works.

Note: The possibility to make a test is not available for the first free sweepstakes.

When you are ready to run the sweepstakes, the system will allow you to finalize it to obtain the winners and alternates. In case you don’t have an active Basic subscription, the system will allow you to purchase it at this moment:

Once you have the Basic subscription active and you are ready to finalize the sweepstakes, click the "Ready! Pick the winners” button and winners will be picked randomly. Once the sweepstakes has been made, it can’t be repeated.

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Step 6. Prepare the publication 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.

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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.

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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:

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Step 7. Announce the winners

When the Winners Page is ready, time has come to announce the winners of your sweepstakes.

To do this, in the “Winners publication” section you will have the following options available:

  1. Share-button that lets you disseminate the Winners page on your social media channels (Facebook and Twitter) with just one click.
  2. Get the URL of the Winners page to disseminate it through all your channels and other social media.

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 that links in the comments or description of the photos in Instagram are not active and can't be clicked on. Discover more ideas on how to announce the winners of your Instagram sweepstakes here.

 

Step 8. Notify the winners

“Winners publication” section you will also find the option to notify the winners directly: Send. This tool will let you post a public comment on the winner’s post without having to access Instagram. This way the winners will then receive an Instagram notification letting them know that their post has a new comment.

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Step 9. 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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