Getting started with Instagram


Instagram is a mobile social networking service that users interact with via photos, images and hashtags.

It is fast becoming more popular with promoters and there has been a noticeable increase in the number of competitions being run on Instagram.

As it is a fairly new arena for competitions some compers are unaware of it and that can mean it gives you great odds of winning, as some Instagram competitions get very few entries.


As Instagram is app based you will need a mobile device such as a smart phone or tablet to be able to use it to its full functionality – you can set your account up via a PC, browse photos, follow accounts and comment but you cannot post images or share to stories.

To set up on your mobile device go to the app or play store and download to start. It will require basic information and you can log in with your Facebook account if you have one.

It is always worth adding a profile picture and a small bit of information about yourself – known as the bio!

And a good thing to note is that if you set your account to ‘private’ only your followers will be able to see your stuff – and that includes any comp entries that require a share.


For ease and to understand the basics of the app there are navigation icons;

At the bottom of the screen from left to right you have;

Home – which is basically the feed page of your followers

Search – which allows you to search for companies, friends etc. You can also use this to search for hashtags such as #ukcompetitions

Reels - is a content format that allows you to create and share 15-second videos with others in a new dedicated Feed on the Explore page

Shop – which takes you to the shop pages of your followers

Profile – which takes you to your home page

At the top of the screen are more navigation icons, from left to right;

New post – which allows you to create a new post

Activity – which shows you all activity on your account such as likes and new followers

Messages – this is where you can access your inbox


Most promoters will require you to follow them and like the competition image. Some will require a comment and tag a friend and some may want you to share.

To follow on Instagram, you simply hit the blue follow button (under the profile picture and bio) – once you are following this will turn to white and say following (Insta is currently restricted to you being able to follow 7500 accounts).

To like a competition post, click the heart icon underneath the image or double click the image itself – once you have liked it the heart will turn red.

To comment you need to click the speech bubble icon and this will take you to where you can enter your comment. Once you’ve written what you want there is a ‘post’ button which will then allow your comment to be displayed underneath the image.

To tag a friend you will need to do this in the comment part too – simply stick an @ in front of your friend’s username to bring them up.

To share click the arrow button – this allows you to share to your stories. Now this is the part where you’ll need your account set to public because otherwise the promoter will not be able to see it. Another good tip is to tag the promoter in your share. Once you’ve clicked share you will see it says ‘add post to your story’ – hit that and it then allows you to type – top right of the image will be a lower-case and upper-case A. Click on those and you then simply type promoter’s username – be sure to add @ at the start. Once complete – hit done in top right – and then bottom right hit your story and you’re good to go! Tagging in the promoter to your story will send a notification to their inbox.


As with any social media account if all you do is enter comps the platform could see you as spam – be sure to break up the comping with some of your own photos, don’t enter too many comps at once as if you like, follow, share too much in a concentrated period of time you could endure an Instagram ban. These can vary from a few mins to a few days. So, it is just something to be aware of. Don’t let it put you off.

Ensure you interact with your friends too – not just competition posts and companies.

If you win a comp on Instagram most will tag you – usually as a reply to your comment if you made one or on the post itself announcing the winner - which means you’ll receive a notification. Others might mention you in their stories which means you’ll get a message in your inbox.