Instagram tips for compers

Lots of compers are still struggling to get to grips with Instagram, but it’s an amazing source of low-entry and creative competitions so it’s worth persevering! It’s my most successful social media platform for wins, I love to share my travel and foodie adventures as well as competitions so please do follow me at @superluckydi and also my second account, @discohat!

My new 30 minute video features 12 Instagram tips to help you to find, enter and win comps, and will hopefully inspire you to put a bit more effort into your Instagram comping. If you click through to watch on YouTube you’ll be able to navigate the different sections easily by clicking the timestamps in the video caption.

Instagram tips for compers

1. Check all the Instagram feeds for giveaways

Did you know you have a choice of feeds on Instagram? By default your Instagram home feed shows a mix of content from accounts you follow, plus adverts and content that Instagram thinks you will like (it’s similar to Twitter’s default FOR YOU feed). If you enter a lot of giveaways, Instagram will eventually learn you like them, and show you lots more on your main feed – but this means you’re missing out on new content from the accounts you’ve actually chosen to follow!

If you tap on the Instagram logo at the top of your home screen, you can switch it to the Following feed, so it only shows you content from the users you follow.

Or you can switch your feed to Favourites – this feed only shows content from your favourite Instagram accounts. To add a user to your favourites, go to their profile and make sure you already follow them. Then tap Following and Add to favourites. You’ll see a little star next to their posts if they’re on your favourites list. You can view and edit your favourites list from the top menu. This is great if you are looking for specific prizes or you know of brands who run regular giveaways. 

Don’t forget to swipe through stories too – this can be like a feed of giveaways if you follow lots of compers!

2. Use Navigation shortcuts

Using Instagram quickly and efficiently will help you enter more competitions! Swiping across to the left from your home feed will quickly take you to your message inbox (but this won’t work if you swipe a post featuring multiple photos). Swipe across to the right and you’ll be able to quickly add a new post, story or reel. If you have multiple Instagram accounts, quickly switch between the two you’ve most recently used by double tapping your profile picture at the bottom right of the screen.

3. Create a winning profile

Not every promoter will choose their winner fairly and at random from the comments on a post. They may well be influenced by what you say in your comment, by your username or picture, or the photos and bio you have on your profile. Make sure your profile looks good, so if they do check it out you’ll come across as their perfect brand ambassador. You don’t want to look like someone who’s only on Insta for the competitions! Upload a profile photo and an interesting bio that mentions your hobbies.

Instagram is designed for you to share your own photos and videos, not simply share everyone else’s. Make your grid and stories unique and interesting. With lots of original content, your profile will look much more appealing to a promoter. You can pin three photos to the top of your profile, which can be a good reflection of your personality!

Share competitions to your story, but also share your own photos, plus reels and posts that you like – your favourite sports stars, celebrities, funny videos, etc. Remember stories only last 24 hours but you can always save your favourite stories to a highlight on your profile – eg. favourite travel or food photos.

4. Use Instagram search to find competitions

Use the search function by tapping the magnifier at the bottom of the home page. If you love giveaways the screen should already be showing some WIN posts, although many will have already expired! Type in a hashtag, for example #ukgiveaway, #giveawayuk, #ukcomp, #ukcontest, #ukcompetition, #competititionuk #creativecomp, #creativecompetition, then tap on the Tags header and choose the tag from the list. On the results page, tap Filter and select Recent top posts (unfortunately the ability to view all recent posts has been taken away from us!). To follow a hashtag, simply tap Follow on the results page. New content with that hashtag will now pop up in your Instagram feed. 

You can also search Instagram using a word or phrase, eg. Brighton Giveaway – but unlike a hashtag search, there’s no way to sort the results to show recent results first, so sifting through results checking the dates can be rather time consuming. However, it’s also a good way to find new local businesses to follow!

5. Follow lots of compers

I find a lot of Instagram comps by looking closely at what my comping friends are doing. If you’re not following many compers yet, they’re easy to find – just check the comments of an Instagram prize draw, or check the unique hashtag for a creative competition to see who is using it. Then visit the compers’ profiles and check out what else they’ve shared. If you find a comper who’s entering the type of comps you enjoy, then follow them, maybe even add to favourites, or set notifications for their posts and stories – then you’ll know every time they post something new.

When you’re following compers, check stories (at the top of Instagram) often – some compers can add as many as 30 giveaways a day to their story. In my YouTube guide I mention Sophie (The Competition Fairy) but sadly she no longer shares giveaways on her profile.

Find friendly compers to tag on my special pinned post.

6. Use keyboard shortcuts

I love shortcuts on Instagram and Twitter as they save so much comping time! Sometimes it’s tricky to remember your comping mates’ usernames – use Text Replacement on your device to set up shortcuts for names and sentences and you’ll be able to enter comps at lightning speed and leave several comments in no time at all. Don’t overdo it in one session though, as you may get a ban! I use shortcuts starting with i for instagram – eg. it3 will tag three friends. I use shortcuts iv1 and iv2 to tag my friends Carol and Jodie in vegan giveaways!

7. Don’t get banned!

Instagram bans are common for compers. You’ll see a message “We restrict certain activity to protect our community” if you’ve been banned. Sometimes Instagram will let you know the date it’s over – usually a ban lasts 72 hours.  To prevent bans, take it slowly and don’t enter too many comps in one session! If you’re banned, be patient, enter comps elsewhere – or set up a new account in the meantime (you’re likely to get a ban quickly on a new account, so take it slowly and be sure to post your own content). Read more in How to avoid an Instagram ban.

8. Set up a second Instagram account

On Instagram you can only follow 7500 accounts maximum – it sounds a lot but for compers this is a pain. Unfollowing is time consuming, and there’s no clever way to do it quickly – see my blog post how to mass unfollow on Instagram. Often you can unfollow 50 or more in a session, but Instagram takes several days to actually update the numbers – so you can’t get on with your comping!

An alternative is to set up a brand new account, and transfer over some of your follows from your main account. This might be a general comping account, or you could name it something related to your hobbies – eg. baking, travel, beauty, running, family, cocktails etc! Go to Settings and Privacy – then Add Account. Switching between them is as easy as tapping your username at the top of the screen – or double tapping your icon in the bottom right corner. The trickiest part is ensuring you don’t accidentally enter the same giveaway from your different accounts. I have assigned my second account – @discohat – to food, beauty and drink giveaways and am slowly transferring over the relevant accounts when I see them in my feed – unfollowing from @superluckydi, and then following from @discohat.

9. Enter competitions near to the closing date

As Instagram stories are only visible for 24 hours, sharing a giveaway on the closing date means that your message should be at the top of the promoter’s inbox when they choose their winner, so could work in your favour if they’re not conducting a proper random draw from the comments – and many of them don’t! 

For a creative competition, enter as late as you can, and tap the competition hashtag to see other entries, to make sure yours is unique and stands out. If you enter late, this means there’s less chance of your followers being able to squeeze an entry in at the last minute.

Save comps into dated Instagram collections, so you can enter on the closing date. Tap the bookmark to save, then choose a collection or create one. Find your saved posts and collections by tapping the three lines at the top of your profile, then Saved. Collections are also great for saving non comping posts too – like recipes or places you want to visit. Find out more in my post How to save posts on Instagram.

10. Engage with brands

Engage with brands as often as you can, especially your favourite users! If you have time, post longer comments for your competition entries – take a bit of time to think about what you type and make it relevant to the brand or prize. eg. – I know @friend is renovating her house at the moment so new tiles would be perfect! (this is also a benefit to your tagged friend, as seeing this message in their notifications lets them know what the prize is). The brand will appreciate you’ve actually put some thought into your response, and might well favour you as a winner – especially in a giveaway with lower entry numbers. 

Make sure you like and comment on a brand’s non-giveaway posts too. If you use their products, wear their clothes or visit their venue then take a photo and tag them in a story, as they really appreciate this. Brands like to reward dedicated fans, especially those they can see will share a photo of the prize. This is why influencers and bloggers do well with giveaways – they’re constantly engaging with brands and their followers. Lots of compers win a prize and don’t even share a photo to say thank you – which is just plain rude!

11. Check your notifications regularly

Check your Instagram notifications tab regularly for tags from promoters and friends. I get lots of notifications, so to track what I’ve seen I will always tap the heart on the top one. Then when I come back later or the next day, I can swipe down and know which ones are new since my last visit.

Check your message inbox too – and if you have the option, tap requests to see messages from users you don’t follow. Instagram recently changed settings so a tag from someone you follow goes directly into your inbox – this can be annoying if you have a comping friend who is very active with their tags!

As well as tags and DMs, some winners are tagged in stories, which only last for 24 hours – so you do need to be checking notifications at least once a day. 

12. Watch out for fake winning messages

Instagram has a problem with fake accounts pretending to be famous brands. These accounts will find giveaway posts, set up a clone account then follow the entrants, hoping they will follow back. Then they will send a ‘congratulations’ DM with a link to collect their personal details – or they may even ask for payment of postage costs for sending the imaginary ‘prize’.  Don’t ever give your credit or debit card details to someone who says you’ve won a prize – you should never have to pay to receive a prize. And report and block scam accounts! Read my post How to spot scam giveaways on social media to make sure you know all the warning signs of a scam.


I hope you find the video guide helpful – as always, please do ask any questions in the comments below or get in touch via my contact page.

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18 Responses

  1. Caroline Kelly says:

    Do you know if there’s a way to share to stories using instagram on a laptop rather than a mobile, I like to comp in my breaks at work on my laptop but not sure it’s possible.

    Also any idea how to stop being followed by scam accounts if your profile is public. I got hacked on Instagram a few years back so a bit reluctant to set it back to public

    • Di says:

      I don’t think there’s a free way to do it – I found this article but it doesn’t work on my mac! https://skedsocial.com/blog/create-instagram-stories-from-laptop

      If you’re currently set to private then sharing to stories is pointless as the promoters won’t be notified, and can’t view your stories. They can only see public stories.
      If you’re bothered about scam followers, just go to your following list and ‘remove’ them! And be cautious if you see a notification that a brand is following you – if it says FOLLOW next to the notification rather than FOLLOWING then it’s probably a scam profile clone (because you would already be following the brand if you entered their giveaway!)

  2. Maisie Young says:

    So Di, do you think it’s better to put one comment with a bit of a message like your shortcut examples? Or to tag lot’s of people? Thanks for all your help X

    • Di says:

      Sorry Maisie, I missed this comment! I think a few words and one tag is always better than multiple tags in one comment!

  3. Janet says:

    Hi Di, I’m totally new to Comping, and your website is invaluable! I’m a bit of a technophobe though. I’m thinking of joining Insta- I have a couple of (probably daft!) questions. I’m assuming your profile needs to be public? Do you have any security concerns about that? And when you’re following so many brands and friends etc, how do you not get overwhelmed by the constant influx of posts from them- do you just favourite the people you actually want to hear from? In which case how do you know about those brands’ giveaways and comps- just search for UK giveaways daily and check fellow compers stories? Sorry, it’s probably obvious and apologies if you’ve covered it all elsewhere! Best wishes, Janet

    • Di says:

      HI Janet! That’s good to hear you want to give Instagram a go. I recommend your profile is set to public, as otherwise companies won’t see your story shares. As for security concerns, if you’re concerned then don’t use your real name at all on your profile and just stick to nicknames. Be cautious about any messages or notifications you get from accounts you don’t follow. If you watch the video I explain about the different feeds. You can add your friends, family and most important people to your FAVOURITES so you can always check the latest updates. And once you start using Insta you’ll realise how fast it is to actually swipe through the brand posts!

  4. IRENE HODGSON says:

    Hi Di, thankyou this was so helpful ! I have learned so much, probably explains why I do not have much success lol. Really basic question, how do I tell if my Instagram page is public ?

    • Di says:

      tap the three line menu at the top right of the screen and next to ACCOUNT PRIVACY it should say Public!

  5. Lisa Buckley says:

    Wow! Very comprehensive, many thanks! I’ve won a few things on Instagram over the last few years, but going to take it a bit more seriously now!

  6. Sarah Forrester says:

    Thanks Di .. this is very helpful indeed! X

  7. Yvonne Townsend says:

    Hi Di – Thanks for the above- great info. Can you only swap from one account to another on your phone. I can only get my original account up on my computer. Also when you do short cuts for more than one person when I post the short cut it doesn’t change colour and when you click it doesn’t take you to the persons profile.

    • Di says:

      If you go to the MORE menu at the bottom left of the browser window, you’ll see an option to SWITCH ACCOUNTS. You will need to be logged in to your new account too, it won’t show until you’ve done this. Once you’re logged in, you’ll see the icon for your most recently used account just above the More menu and can switch by tapping it!

      • Di says:

        As for the shortcuts, are none of the @ tags linking at all in a multiple post, or just the ones following the first name? Are you including a space before the @?

  8. JanMC says:

    Thank you. Great video, very helpful to an Instagram novice like me! Wondering what the best way to find creative comps is? From following other compers ??

    • Di says:

      I’m in the Creative Comps Facebook group which is great (but it only opens to new members once or twice a year – keep an eye out for the invite in Lucky learners!) – but yes, I find plenty of comps by following other creative compers and setting notifications for their posts and stories.

  9. Caro says:

    Can promoters tell if you have more than one account ? And hold it against you?

    • Di says:

      If you’re only entering their competitions from one account then there would be no reason for them to find out or be bothered at all. Lots of people have multiple accounts for their family, pets, work, blog, hobbies, etc!

  10. Melanie Rice says:

    Love this! Thank you 🙂

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