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Want To Run an Instagram Giveaway? Here’s What To Know

Jamie Landry
May 13, 2024
Last Updated On
pink vector image of gift to represent instagram giveaways

Instagram giveaways have evolved with the platform — from a tactic to garner followers to a way to engage and reward existing followers, Instagram giveaways are a great way to boost engagement and give back to your followers, and even transform customers into social followers. 

This blog explores: 

  • Why should you host a giveaway? 
  • How to do an Instagram giveaway.
  • Types of Instagram giveaways. 

Why Host An Instagram Giveaway? 

Hosting an Instagram giveaway or contest can be a powerful tool to build your following, increase brand awareness and get your product or service in front of a new customer in order to build lifelong loyalty. Brands commonly host giveaways to:

Gain Followers 

Perhaps the most popular aim of hosting a giveaway is to gain followers. Often, brands request contest entrants to follow their account, which is a great way to attract new users to your account. By setting entry criteria such as liking the post, commenting or tagging friends, brands can encourage activity that increases their content’s visibility. This interaction, especially when users tag multiple friends, exposes the brand to a wider audience and drives more traffic to a brand’s profile as users follow the page for more updates or return to check on the contest's progress or engage with new comments. 

Additionally, giveaways can foster a sense of community and excitement around a brand, making followers feel more connected — this excitement could lead to better long-term interaction with your brand’s content. 

Generate Engagement 

Often, Instagram giveaways require the entrants to follow, like, comment and share a specific post or story. This can be a great way to incentivize users to engage with your Instagram posts. Requiring engagement for a giveaway can also help your posts appear in more people’s feeds, since the Instagram algorithm typically recommends posts to user’s who have shown an interest in similar content.  

However, using a giveaway to increase engagement should be accompanied with longterm plans to boost engagement rates, like refining your community-based marketing best practices, using engaging elements in Instagram Stories like stickers, questions and polls or working with new influencers to diversify your content and generate interest.  

Collaborate and Build Relationships

Giveaways can be a potent tool for collaboration — especially if you’re able to combine forces with a relevant influencer, creator or brand to enhance the offering and leverage each other’s followings with an Instagram collab post. One broad example of this is Poosh, which incorporated different products for influencers to use during their ‘Camp Poosh’ experience at Coachella. This introduced products in the health and wellness space where Poosh lives, and encourage creators with significant social presences to use — and share — their products. 

person in green sweatsuit throwing popcorn in air during camping event at coachella
Image credit: @poosh

Hosting an Instagram giveaway has many benefits — but again, it’s important to remember that giveaways and contests aren’t one-time fixes, but a useful tactic used among others to boost your social profiles. For example, many brands turn to giveaways to build their audience if they’re losing followers, but if users are just trying to get something for free — or help their friend get something for free — they’ll likely be an unengaged follower or stop following your brand altogether. But this doesn’t mean they’re a pointless endeavour. Hosting giveaways and contests is a great way to reinforce loyalty among your audience and give back to your social media community. 

How To Do an Instagram Giveaway

Conducting a successful giveaway on Instagram requires careful planning, attention to platform rules and clear objectives. While it’s simple to write a caption and give away some product, brands should consider their business goals, objectives and gaps in their social presence, to determine how contests and giveaways can be used to fill these gaps.

1. Familiarize Yourself With Instagram’s Giveaway Policies

Before launching your giveaway, it's essential to understand the legal requirements and platform rules that govern promotions on Instagram. Per Instagram’s promotion guidelines, you must list the official rules, including eligibility requirements, how you’ll select a winner and make sure your promotion adheres to any local laws or regulations. You must also ensure your giveaway complies by stating that Instagram does not sponsor, endorse or administer your contest. 

2. Define Giveaway Goals 

Clear goals will help shape your giveaway and measure its success. Decide what you want to achieve, whether it's increasing your follower count, boosting engagement on your posts or driving mobile traffic to your website. Each goal might require different approaches to the structure and promotion of your giveaway.

3. Determine Your Budget and Prize

Determine an amount within your social media marketing budget that covers the cost of the prize and any promotional activities to advertise the giveaway. The prize should be enticing to your target audience and relevant to your brand, as this encourages more participation and ensures that the engagement you gain is relevant to your business.

4. Plan and Run Your Campaign

Develop a promotional plan for your giveaway. Create eye-catching visuals and craft posts that clearly explain how to enter the giveaway, what the rules are and when the giveaway ends. Utilize Instagram Stories, Reels, and regular posts to keep your audience engaged and informed about the contest throughout its duration.

5. Choose Your Winner 

Choose a method to fairly select your winner, whether it's randomly through an online giveaway tool or based on criteria specified in your contest (like the best photo or most creative comment). Ensure the process is transparent to maintain trust with your audience.

6. Analyze Results

After your giveaway ends, analyze its performance against your initial goals. Look at metrics such as engagement rates, number of entries, follower growth and any increase in website traffic or sales to measure ROI. This analysis will help you understand what worked well and what could be improved for future giveaways, refining your Instagram marketing strategy to better achieve your marketing objectives.

Types of Instagram Giveaways

From user-generated content (UGC) competitions to strategic collaborations and giveaways, there's a variety of contest formats that can be tailored to meet different marketing objectives. These contests encourage interaction and foster a deeper connection between brands and their audiences. Here’s a breakdown of some of the most popular types of Instagram contests and how you can implement them.

Boost Engagement and Interaction 

A straightforward giveaway asks followers to perform specific actions like following your page, liking a post or leaving a comment. This type of contest is easy to set up and can quickly boost engagement and visibility by giving users a great incentive to respond. 

family wearing christmas pajamas in front of tree eating lays chips
Image credit: @lays

In this example, Lays encourages engagement by doing something a little different — rather than giving away their own product, they ask users to write about how they wish to spend the holidays with their family for a chance to win a $100 digital gift card. 

UGC 

UGC contests involve your audience creating and submitting their own content as part of the contest. This could be a photo, video or even a testimonial, usually related to using your product or service. The benefit is twofold — you engage your customers by making them part of your brand story and you collect valuable content that can be used in future marketing efforts. 

close up image of flower from shot with iphone contest
Image credit: @danesduet

One of the most well-known UGC campaigns was Apple’s ‘Shot on iPhone’ photo contest. For this contest, they wanted to celebrate and promote the new (at the time) iPhone 13 camera features. To enter, participants were to take macro shots with their iPhone, tagging them with the ‘#shotoniphone’ Instagram hashtag. From there, a panel of winners selected 10 winners who had their photos featured on the Apple Instagram Account (@apple), billboards and Apple’s website. This is a great way to show off the phone’s features with real-life examples, and give amateur (and pro) photographers a chance to build their resume and promote their skills. 

Tag a Friend

This type of giveaway encourages users to engage with your content and increase your reach by tagging friends in the comments of your contest post. It's simple to execute and effective for growing your audience quickly.

three leather bags in neutral colors on floor
Image credit: @gravitypope

In this example, Gravity Pope gives away two bags to selected followers that follow, like, tag a friend and save their post — to sweeten the deal, they offer an additional entry to users who post and share this image to their Story. 

Collaboration 

Collaboration contests involve partnering with another brand or influencer to offer a combined prize. This type of contest is great for reaching new audiences and gaining followers from the partnering brand or influencer, while sharing the costs and benefits of the giveaway.

side of cardi b's head and brown hair with text overlay reading 'giveaway'
Image credit: @nyxcosmetics

In this example, NYX Cosmetics partners with Cardi B to give away Cardi B’s pink leather jacket she wore in their ‘Beauty Advisor Cardi B Presents’ series. To enter, participants must like and comment a specific emoji. 

Instagram Stories

Contests on Instagram Stories can involve asking followers to share a specific post on their stories, use a branded hashtag, or tag the brand in a story of their own. This type of contest is highly engaging and can increase visibility as stories are prominently displayed and often viewed by followers.

Dive Into Instagram Performance With Dash Hudson

Dash Hudson offers a comprehensive set of tools designed to elevate your Instagram strategy through advanced analytics and actionable insights. With Instagram Insights, brands can dive deeper into the metrics that matter most and assess everything from engagement rates to e-commerce integration. Dash Hudson’s Vision AI tool is a game-changer for your social media strategy — with Vision AI, brands can predict the performance of the content in their visual library, so you can rest assured you’re sharing the most impactful images on your feed. Meanwhile, Social Analytics and Monitoring let you track content performance in real-time, so you can determine the impact of your giveaways and the return on investment you’re seeing from contests. Community is one of the most important elements of a giveaway — with this tool, you can respond to questions, queries and ensure you stay engaged with your followers long after your giveaway is over. 

FAQs

How do you pick a winner for Instagram giveaways?

To pick a winner for Instagram giveaways, it's essential to use a transparent and fair method, such as a random generator tool or an app designed for contests to ensure all participants have an equal chance. Clearly communicate the selection process in your giveaway post to maintain trust and clarity among your audience.

Are giveaways allowed on Instagram? 

Yes, giveaways are allowed on Instagram, but they must adhere to the platform's promotion guidelines. Ensure you specify the rules, eligibility requirements and terms of the contest clearly in your post to comply with legal and platform-specific regulations.

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