Instagram Contesting 101: Everything You Need to Know

instagram 101

Hello everyone! This week we have the wonderful Jane from @mushypeajane giving us the 411 on Instagram contests. Make sure you follow her on Instagram and enter her wonderful #PayItForward contest.instagram 101I have made numerous attempts to envelop myself in Instagram contesting over the last 2 years to no avail. Seemed to me just too damn complicated coupled with the fact that I’m joined at the hip to my 28 inch Industrial size Apple desk top and never owned a smart phone .

The ability to thrive in the face of adversity and not make a drama out of a crisis is something I strive for on a daily basis and a recent storm and the resultant expiring of my modem was the catalyst I needed.

Instead of calling 911 or up skittling it to a hotel until my Internet connection was restored I called a taxi and was at the door of my local Apple store before they got the doors open. 

Within the hour I arrived home triumphant with shiny new iPad and iPhone in hand both non reliant on a home net connection and Thunder and Lightning proof. 

Having spent the equivalent of the Greek national debt on my new toys it was time to put them to work to earn their keep and overcome my reluctance and fear AKA lazy ways and simply go for it and learn the art of effective Instagram contesting.

Of course I reached out to our wonderful  network of Canadian contesting brothers and sisters for plenty of hand-holding along the way  and reminded myself no question is ever to dumb and the girl that never made any mistakes never made anything .

Forgive me if I state the obvious in my tips but if your knowledge as a beginner on Instagram is less than zero then you are in the exact same position as me just 3 weeks ago.

10 Tips for Instagram Contesting

  1. You need a Tablet, iPad, iPhone, iTouch or Smartphone to use Instagram. You can post comments on a desk top or laptop but no photos or re-gramming etc. so contesting is impossible.
  2. Taking screenshots for me is fiddly pressing two buttons at once and all that tech stuff ugh so download a little program that does it for you. I’ve got an Iphone6 Plus with the lovely pensioner size screen so any of the paraphernalia I mention is for Apple devices.  I downloaded REPOST free from the Apple store and this is the one I use. I also downloaded R&R Free once again free from the Apple store but just could not get along with that one. There are loads of Apps for re-posting and re-gramming so try a few out and of course they are free and available for non-Apple users also.
  3. What is Re-Gramming you might well ask? If you are a Twitter user than it is the same as re-tweeting but instead of  re-tweeting someone’s words as on twitter you are re-posting their picture. Instagram is all about the Pic not the words. It took me a while to get my head around this fact to be honest.
  4. How to Re-gram: click on your REPOST icon on your device and type in the posters address in the search bit.  For example, if you wanted to re-gram one of my photos you would type in mushypeajane it will bring up my page and all of my photos. Tap on the photo you want to re-post  and then tap on re-post it then will ask if you want  to open in Instagram so click yes then follow the screens i.e. click next  and share and hey, presto, by golly you did it! You re-posted or re-grammed whatever you like to call it!  Lots of contests require you to re-post an image so it’s vital you have a go at this. Feel free to practice on any of my pics.
  5. What does the heart shape mean and the speech bubble under pics? If you tap on the heart it will turn Red which indicates you like the picture and is almost always a requirement for a contest entry. Tap on the Speech bubble and you can then comment on the picture. One of the reasons for my love at first type with Instagram is that there are no word limits you can babble on at will, perfect for a rambler like me. There might well be limits but put it this way I’ve not reached them yet in any of my posts and I do say rather a lot particularly when doing foodie contests. 
  6. Tagging:  For this once again use the speech bubble click on it then use the @ sign and then the user name of who you want to tag usually the contest organizer and then your contesting friends . There are limits on how many of your friends you can tag so I usually keep it to 3 at a time and then simply tap on the speech bubble again and tag 3 more and so on. To tag the actual picture Instagram itself will guide you just tap where it says tag under the write a caption box where it says “Tag people.”
  7. Finding contests to enter: Much the same as Twitter and Facebook your very best resource is your fellow contesters so get following us!  Another wonderful thing about Instagram is you can follow 7500 others, splendid indeed so you don’t have to be choosy about who you follow with the fear of reaching limits. I started by following other contesters then using the search button typing in the names of many, many Canadian Companies and businesses that I like and can rely on to run contests. If you are a twitter user follow the same users as you do on there. Don’t forget to follow all our wonderful Canadian bloggers start with homewithaneta and take it from there. Take a look at who your fellow contesters follow and follow the same pages. 
  8. How do I know the contest is open to Canada? Not so easy to determine on Instagram but if in doubt Google the company check their contact info and see if they are Canadian based. Lots of contests non Canadian based are still open to Canadians but this will usually be clearly stated in the contest entry pic.
  9. Don’t just fill you page with contest entry pics, upload your favourite shots so you are not seen as purely a contest addict and you have other interests this is always a good idea on social media. Daft as it might sound being seen as a contest addict can deter you from being selected as a winner by some companies even though we are all potential consumers and customers. Make your pics as good as possible, you don’t need anything fancy-pantsy or any special equipment. I just use my phone to take pics and try to find great light, outdoors is perfect this time of year.
  10. Do become a Karma King or Queen i.e. tag your fellow contesters whenever you find anything to enter you will rapidly find they will do the same for you. Engage with fellow contesters and share your lean spells and triumphs by posting messages under their pics.My Winnings

So how did I do so far?? Well 3 prizes:  a $200 Amazon Gift Card, A $99 High End Skin care kit and a  $100 Gift Card and Two Steel Whisky Flasks in 3 weeks. Sure has got me hooked!  Good Luck and winning vibes everyone see you on the gram!



Aneta Alaei
Aneta Alaei

Aneta is a Toronto-based mom of four that loves a good meal, great company, and learning something new. In her free time, you can find her trying to keep yet another plant alive.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

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  1. July 25, 2015 / 3:42 pm

    Great post! If you have Windows 8 or higher (Windows 10 is available for free in 4 days!), you can get an app on the Windows App Store called Instapic that will allow you to use Instagram in the same way as you would on a phone

  2. nicolthepickle
    July 28, 2015 / 9:38 pm

    I’m not very instagram savvy, but I won my very first thing on there the other day. It was an eyeshadow set that I’m really looking forward to.

  3. July 29, 2015 / 9:28 am

    I’ll be happy about this new Instagram feature if I’m happy about Windows 10 😉 A great development nonetheless. Thanks for sharing Brenda.

    Besos Sarah.

  4. July 29, 2015 / 9:30 am

    I have to say that I’m not a big fan of Instagram contests but I understand why it’s popular and appreciate you sharing your tips Jane. Great post idea.

    Besos, Sarah
    Journeys of The Zoo

  5. Jane Reid
    August 5, 2015 / 5:18 pm

    Well an update for you since I sent this to Aneta 2 more lovely Instagram wins ! $100 of Physicians Formula Make up and a Vitamix yay! so persist I say and huge luck everyone see you on Instagram @Mushypeajane

  6. Jane Reid
    August 5, 2015 / 5:19 pm

    Congrats honey and I will tag you whenever I can when I find contests hope you have many more wins!

  7. Jane Reid
    August 5, 2015 / 5:20 pm

    Thanks Sarah took me an age to get into Instagram but so glad I did I now love it as much as Twitter Whoops another addiction !

  8. Debbie Bashford
    August 12, 2015 / 11:40 am

    I really dislike instagram and twitter

  9. Neal
    August 13, 2015 / 8:16 am

    Thanks for the tips! IG is very confusing to me!

  10. nicolthepickle
    August 17, 2015 / 7:22 am

    Aww, thanks Jane. I’ll tag you too.

  11. mrdisco
    August 20, 2015 / 1:21 pm

    instagram contests are a bit of a pain if you ask me.

  12. Julie
    November 19, 2015 / 11:12 am

    It took me a long time to get into IG and I’m still not 100% but am getting better. It’s tricky but I have won 2 very nice prizes on IG….I don’t see many IG contests, are there less of them?

  13. nicole a
    November 25, 2015 / 11:20 pm

    This was helpful, I usually avoid instagram because I find it complicated to use

  14. Victoria Ess
    December 6, 2015 / 9:47 am

    Thanks for the tips! It’s a bit complicated at first!

  15. Debbie White Beattie
    October 16, 2017 / 2:58 am

    I’m new on Instagram and I only have my laptop but I’ve been entering contests for years and it has gotten really hard to win anything in the last couple of years despite entering many every day and I’m starting to think I might give it up soon. But so far I’ve kept trying !