Since Instagram is a mobile-first platform, working with the site on desktop and searching for content isn’t as friendly as other photo platforms that work equally well on both (e.g. Photagon). You can still search for specific hashtags on Instagram (one at a time, unfortunately), such as the obvious #contest, #competition, #giveaway, #win, etc. Another way to find such opportunities is by searching Google and Twitter, using targeted long-tail keyword combinations which would also point to Instagram competitions, e.g. ‘’win Instagram photo contest.”
Check Out the Competition
When searching for contests and the associated hashtags, you will often find Instagrammers who participate in many of them, a.k.a. ‘’compers.’’ Following the accounts of compers will help you find competitions to enter, as well as clue you in as to what kind of photos they are submitting. Beat them and take home the prize!
Figure Out the Rules First
Once you find the contests you want to enter, you’ll have to get acquainted with the rules, or T&Cs (terms & conditions). Carefully read them to make sure your marvellous photographs will not get disqualified because you didn’t use the right hashtag or you didn’t follow the account of the contest, etc. If your account is set to private, you will need to open it up to the public as posts need to be visible to everyone to be considered.
Don’t Get Disqualified
In addition to the T&Cs of each contest, you must also follow general Instagram rules and best practices when submitting photos, to ensure you are in line with their community guidelines. The latter frequently disallow the display of bare nipples (that includes breastfeeding photos), bare sex organs or even pubic hair, period blood, unshaven female legs, pregnant women working out, the act of urinating, and some other less obscure type of images that could seem innocent to most. When in doubt, better leave it aside.
Search for Hashtags
In addition to the hashtags that you will probably have to use in order to be a part of photo competitions on Instagram, you can also use all sorts of other hashtags that describe the photo or your photography profile/style so that you can gain new followers. Instagram itself will also show you trending hashtags within the app, so be sure to take advantage of those with each photo posting.
Promote Your Entry
At this time Google doesn’t index Instagram images as Instagram blocks web crawlers from crawling content on the platform and indexing it. Instagram does, however, allow Google to index user profiles. Thus, people can find your Instagram profile in Google but not the pictures that you have uploaded to the platform, which means the best way to get support is through Instagram itself or other social networks, where you have followers.
Using a popular hashtag alone should help your photo get some additional attention but it will also help get more likes if you actively promote it on your other channels (Facebook, Twitter, Medium, Ello, your blog/website/vlog) so don’t be shy and get the word out!
Perhaps some of your followers are already on Instagram but aren’t yet following you there. The added benefit of getting the word out is giving them an opportunity to do so, and also helping you do well in a contest, so it’s literally a win-win scenario.
Love photography contests? Instagram isn’t the only place where you can take part; join Photagon, the newest online photography contest platform where you can submit your own entries and vote on others.’