The Best Ways to Do an Instagram Giveaway

Are you looking for the best way to do an Instagram contest?  Or maybe you just need a few awesome giveaway ideas you can use?

Keep reading- you’ll find tips and strategies to help you execute a successful Instagram giveaway that aligns with your marketing goals.


What You Need to Know: Instagram’s Rules for Contests

Instagram does not make it too difficult to run contests, compared to other platforms that limit entry requirements and conditions.

The one rule you need to comply with (and which most people don’t) is the statement of release.  This ABSOLUTELY MUST be included on ALL contests that are shared to Instagram:

Per Instagram rules, this promotion is in no way sponsored, administered, or associated with Instagram, Inc. By entering, entrants confirm that they are 13+ years of age, release Instagram of responsibility, and agree to Instagram’s terms of use.

Make sure to include this statement at the end of your contest.

Best Way: If you run frequent contests, you may want to copy and paste this verbiage somewhere like Evernote, or notejoy on your mobile so that you can easily access it.Image 2018-09-12 at 2.23.54 PM.png

Instagram requires you to run your contest legally, ensuring you don’t violate any federal, state, or other laws applicable to your area. In addition, Instagram requires you to include official contest rules and terms of eligibility.

Remember that you can’t tag anyone in the contest post who’s not actually in the Evernote itself, and you can’t ask users to tag themselves in a photo in which they do not appear. Users can mention (tag) people in the comments of a post but can’t be tagged in the actual post itself.

If you have a legal notice on your website regarding contest rules and details, you can post that link in your caption. For an updated list of the terms for Instagram contests, visit their help center.

Now that you know the restrictions and requirements for running a contest, here are the steps to take to run a contest on Instagram.

Image 2018-09-12 at 2.52.04 PM.png

#1: Pick a Goal for the Instagram Giveaway

The first step is to define a goal for your contest. For instance, you might want to:

  • Generate more engagement on your posts.
  • Grow your Instagram following.
  • Get more people to sign up for your email list.

In general, contests are a great way to grow your audience and expand your reach on Instagram. When using contest requirements to “tag a friend in the comments,” as in the post above, your existing audience does the work of sharing your content with their friends. And if their friends have similar interests and like your Instagram contest, they’ll enter and tag their friends too. Your follower count then grows exponentially.

Instagram contests will usually boost your post engagement, resulting in multiple benefits in relation to the Instagram algorithm. With your post performing well, it may rank higher in hashtag searches, allowing new audiences to find your content. And if your audience isn’t typically responsive to your normal posts but engages with a contest post, it can help bump your regular content higher in their feeds for a period of time.

#2: Plan Your Instagram Giveaway

Once you’ve chosen a goal for your contest, you’re ready to plan it.

Select a Relevant Prize or Incentive to Participate

Your Instagram contest prize should be something related to your business or brand. Don’t give away an iPad just to get traffic; it won’t bring in quality participants who will actually benefit your business. You want to choose a prize of significant enough value to warrant the level of participation. The more valuable the reward, the more participation and participants you’ll get.

To illustrate, asking people to take a photo with your product or performing an action and posting that to their profile is a big “ask” and warrants a larger prize. Conversely, asking people to like a post and tag a friend in the comments is a small request and would warrant a low-value prize.

In this example from @stickstonestyle, the prize is a leather backpack, which is a relatively expensive prize and worth the effort to craft a post to win.

Set a limit to your prize value or units available. You may recall the @sunnycoclothing Instagram contest that allowed “everyone” who reposted their photo within 24 hours to receive a free bathing suit. The campaign went viral, taking the account from 7,000 followers to over 750,000 followers overnight, but the small local company couldn’t fulfill the orders for all of the free suits.

They ended up shelling out over $73,000 in refunds for shipping costs alone. Had they put a limit on the contest for “the first 5,000 people,” they could have controlled their exposure and liability.

#3: Launch and Promote Your Instagram Contest

In your contest post, you can communicate your contest or giveaway with text in the image or graphic. This way, it won’t be dismissed as just another photo when people are scrolling through their Instagram feed.

Choose an image that’s related to the theme/content of the campaign. In your contest post caption, include the terms of entry and legal disclaimers mentioned above.

How you promote the campaign will depend on how long it will run. Decide if you’ll post multiple times a day or once daily. Based on your Instagram analytics, determine the best times of the day to post (which may differ for different days of the week).

Choose an image that's related to the theme/content of the Instagram campaign.

It’s important to note that most contests won’t go viral and generate massive results for you overnight. Your first contest may only get a few participants. If your audience isn’t used to you hosting contests, they may be hesitant to enter or may not even notice it’s a contest you’re hosting. Repetition and consistency in hosting contests will help build momentum for your brand.

To ensure more people see the contest, cross-promote it to your Instagram Stories, your Facebook group or page, your newsletter, or in your store.

#4: Evaluate Instagram Contest Results

Track the results of your contests to measure the participation, increase in followers, clicks to your website, and other criteria. You can begin to compare the data from each contest to determine which types of prizes, the times of the year, the content, and the types of participation that drive the best results for your business, based on your individual goals.

When the contest wraps up, I recommend that you edit your post caption to read “Contest CLOSED” at the very beginning of the post. This will ensure that users who see the post after the contest has expired won’t attempt to participate.

When the contest wraps up, edit your post caption to read "Contest CLOSED."

What do you think? Are you excited to try an Instagram contest? Have you run a contest before? Please share your thoughts or tips in the comments below.

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