Every brand is striving for the attention of consumers on Instagram. Small businesses, influencers, restaurants, stores, bloggers, beauty brands, clothing lines, etc. often struggle and feel stuck due to a lack of followers and low engagement. Hosting a productive sweepstakes on Instagram is one of the most effective ways to increase followers, build brand awareness, drive engagement, and grow sales in a short period of time with little effort.
As per a study by Tailwind, Instagram giveaways receive 3.5 times more likes and 64 times more engagements (followers, likes, and comments) compared to regular posts. Your followers grow 70% faster in 3 months by hosting an Instagram giveaway.
If you are wondering how to get started, you are in the right place! Just, grab a cup of coffee, sit down, and read this guide for creating and running a successful Instagram giveaway to grow your niche audience and expand your reach on Instagram.
Let’s first look at the benefits of social media contests together with the potential drawbacks of an Instagram giveaway:
Benefits of an Instagram Giveaway
- Hosting an Instagram giveaway not only boosts your follower and engagement count but also generates brand awareness.
- Instagram giveaways are cost-effective, fun & engaging as well as easy to set up, run, & replicate.
- Build stronger relationships with current followers
- Engages and entice existing followers, creating an emotional connection
- Reach new prospective fans
- Encourage your audience to engage more with your brand
- Improve your brand’s trustworthiness
- Catch the attention of influencers in your niche, driving tons of traffic to your website
- Generate excitement for your upcoming products or releases
Drawbacks of Instagram Giveaway
- Cannot include links in Instagram posts or options for sharing the post
- One of the biggest drawbacks of an Instagram Contest is that you cannot collect user emails or contact details to take advantage for your future marketing campaigns.
Here is a great tip to fix this problem
You can build an email list by creating a landing page linked to your Instagram bio. You can easily create your giveaway using tools like Woorise, Gleam, Wishpond, Easypromos, or Woobox. You must purchase a small plan to get the email data of sweepers.
Types of Instagram Giveaways and Contests
There are many different ways to do a giveaway on Instagram. Here are some of the most popular contest ideas to explore.
Like and Follow
“Like to Win” is the easiest type of Instagram giveaway where sweepers have to follow your account and like a giveaway post for a chance to win. This ultimately increases your followers and reach.
Tag a Friend
Sweepers must tag one of their friends in the comments section of the giveaway post to enter. Thus, they can help provide you new leads and grow your audience.
Comment to Win
Solicit users to comment directly on the giveaway post to enter and win. As a result, your post engagement and customer base will increase. This method is best for sponsors who want to boost post engagement amongst followers.
Photo/Video + Hashtag (User-generated Content)
Users are required to post an original photo/video showcasing your product/brand or selfie along with a custom contest hashtag and tagging your brand onto their feed. You can also ask entrants to share a story telling how your product or service has improved their life. This method not only increases user engagement & brand awareness but also creates a buzz about your giveaway.
Repost + Hashtag
Ask sweepers to repost the giveaway picture in their own post along with the giveaway hashtag and tagging your brand. This method increases the reach of your brand
Post a photo and ask the entrants to caption your photo in the comments section. This method helps you build relationships with your audience.
Trivia or Skill-Based
Sweepers have to answer trivia questions regarding the sponsor’s products/services to enter the giveaway. This method helps your audience learn about your offerings.
Creating Your Instagram Giveaway in 12 Steps
Now it’s time to show you exactly how to do a giveaway on Instagram!
1. Determine a Goal
The first thing you need to do in order to create an Instagram giveaway is to decide what you are hoping to achieve from your giveaway. If you don’t determine a goal, then ultimately you are giving away the prize for free which is good for your followers but not for your business. Instagram giveaways serve multiple purposes so setting a goal is important to reap the benefits of the giveaway.
Types of Goals
- Boost engagement on your Instagram posts
- Increase your Instagram followers
- Boost Your Email subscribers
- Generate user-generated content (UGC)
- Grow Your Website visitors
- Driving sales of a specific product
- General awareness for your business or new product
- Generating activity around a specific Instagram #hashtag
You can achieve a single or multiple goals at once. Every other decision for the giveaway such as prize, content, etc. depends on the goal so make sure you are clear in your objective.
2. Collaborate With Other Brands/Influencers
Partnering with a brand/influencer will large followings increases your prize pool and reach. Users trust a giveaway that is sponsored by the brand they trust. You need to make sure that the collaborating brand or influencer is of the same niche or have the same values to grow your Instagram presence and generate more traffic.
If you are partnering with the brand, then the giveaway entrants have to follow each brand in order to enter and win. The collaborating brand or influencer will post your Instagram contest announcement on their Instagram profile to help you get a loyal and engaged fan base. If you are running a giveaway to boost your Instagram presence, then this is the best way to reach a far wider audience.
3. Research Your Audience
Researching and understanding your audience helps you to effectively create an Instagram Giveaway. You can gather an array of data like location, gender, and age of your audience using ‘Insights’ within the Instagram app. Also, check out your audience’s behavior, their way of interaction with your brand, and what specific content they like and interact with.
4. Familiarize Yourself with Instagram Rules
Instagram promotion guidelines are relatively simple compared to Facebook. You must strictly follow the Instagram rules to avoid the risk of being kicked off the platform.
Here is a list of Instagram terms and conditions:
- Use the term “contest”, “sweepstakes” or “giveaway” accurately on Instagram to prevent miscommunication with entrants and unwanted legal issues.
- State the name of the sponsor running the Instagram giveaway
- Include details about how to enter
- State the duration of Giveaway (start and end date)
- Include Eligibility Requirements (age and location)
- Outline Prize Details
- Include how and when the potential winner(s) will be Chosen
- State how the prize will be shipped to potential winner(s)
- Instagram will penalize you if you ask entrants to tag themselves in your content
5. Pick a Prize That Your Audience Will Love
The prize is the only thing that will entice sweepers to enter your giveaway. Your prize must be something relevant to your business or brand that your target audience needs. This way, you gain entrants interested in your business/niche rather than in prize.
The main goal of any new business is to grow Instagram followers and we all know that the first 10K followers are the toughest to gain. New businesses with zero or too few followers can offer lavish prizes like iPhone, iPad, cash, vacation, and Amazon gift card to supercharge their follower growth.
But, businesses with a solid base of Instagram followers should not offer these lucrative prizes. It can bring you thousands of followers but won’t create any customers or bring in quality participants. Once the giveaway is over, the participants interested in the prize will unfollow you.
So you must be thinking about what prizes you can offer. A $25 to $30 prize will be enough for a simple giveaway that asks users to just tag a friend. But if you ask users to create content and tag your business, then you need to offer a great prize. How much to spend on prize is totally your call. Lots of options are available that fit all budget. The options are as follows:
- An exclusive prize package containing your own products
- Your own services (free membership, loyalty points)
- Your store gift card or store credit
- You can also check out the prizes being offered by your competition or related niches that run contests to get some giveaway prize ideas.
You must also set a prize value and unit limit. For example, a small local company, @sunnycoclothing promised to giveaway a free bathing suit to everyone who reposted their giveaway photo within 24 hours. But, the campaign went viral and the followers increased from 7,000 to over 750,000 overnight. The company was not able to fulfill the free suits orders and made a payment of over $73,000 in shipping costs refunds. So if they had put a limit for the first 5,000 people, the scenario would have been different for them.
6. Determine How Users Will Participate
There are 7 different types of Instagram giveaways that we mentioned above (Like & Follow, Tag a Friend, Comment to Win, Photo/Video + Hashtag, Repost + Hashtag, Caption, Trivia, or Skill-Based). If this is your first time, try to keep it as simple as possible for growth and exposure. The entry method must require only two or three steps.
Most sponsors ask users to like, comment, share, repost, or post a Story to maximize engagement, but eventually it becomes difficult for users to enter the giveaway. So users avoid entering. The key for maximum participation is asking users to comment, follow, or tag.
If your goal is to boost followers, then ask users to just ‘follow’ your brand to enter and win.
And if you want to increase your brand visibility, then ask participants to repost the Instagram Giveaway photo or tag their friends in the comments
7. Decide Duration of Giveaway
The next step is to determine the length of an Instagram giveaway. Choosing an appropriate duration, i.e. 1 day, multiple days, 1 week, or 2 weeks is very crucial when it comes to an Instagram giveaway.
Big brands with a highly engaged audience go for 24-hour sweepstakes but small brands should avoid it as too short won’t be enough to promote and make people enter.
Sponsors make mistake thinking that longer giveaway attracts more people. But, if the giveaway lasts too long, the entrants might forget about it.
Most of the sponsors stick to 3-7 days as it increases the buzz and sense of urgency among entrants
The length of your Instagram contest must match the amount of the prize. If the prize is highly valued, then you should go for the longer giveaway to maximize submissions. If the prize is small, a shorter giveaway time is great as people don’t like to wait for the results.
8. Select the Creative and Right Giveaway Hashtags
Hashtags not only help you to track entries & conversations of your Instagram Contest but also highlight your brand, campaign, or product. Creating a compelling and exclusive hashtag is very important to skyrocket engagements on your Instagram Giveaway. The hashtag must be related to that individual campaign and your business for brand awareness.
You must create a longer and more descriptive hashtag along with the word contest or giveaway. For example, #[yourbrand]giveaway #[yourbrand]contest, #productgiveaway[yourbrand], #[yourbrand]productsweepstakes, etc.
Avoid using common hashtags like #giveaway or #contest as they attract prize pigs and people who are entering any giveaway they find in order to get rid of non-targeted audience.
Don’t forget to include your giveaway-centered hashtag in your giveaway post and image.
9. Create the Perfect Instagram Giveaway Post
Instagram is all about pictures, so create a high quality and captivating Giveaway post to catch the attention of your followers. There are no hard-and-fast rules for the perfect Instagram giveaway post. But, two important elements that must be included in every Instagram giveaway post are a bold, colorful image and text announcing the giveaway.
Ideal Instagram Giveaway Image Format
You must create a visually appealing image or photo for your giveaway to make it stand out and generate interest. You need two attractive images for your Instagram Giveaway: one for Posts and another for Stories. Both images have different dimensions.
The image must include:
- Specific prize
- Giveaway end date
- “Win _______” (your prize)
- Limit (age or location) as the subheading
- The word “giveaway”
- Your logo or brand colors
- Giveaway-centered hashtag (if any)
Ideal Instagram Giveaway Text Format
In texts, you should clearly define all the rules including eligibility, the date and time of the giveaway, detailed guidelines on how to enter, bonus entry, winner selection and other T&Cs. You must also describe the number of winners and prizes in detail. You can use hashtags, mentions, emojis, and emoticons in the text to make it reachable.
10. Launch and Promote your Instagram Contest
Once planning and prepping has been done, launch your giveaway on Instagram. The next step after launching your Instagram Contest is to promote it for making it viral and a successful sweepstakes marketing. Promotion is a key factor to bring more exposure.
Ways to Promote Your Instagram Giveaway:
Sponsors who have enough funds can use paid promotion channels to promote their Instagram giveaway for optimal results. Some of the paid ways to promote Instagram giveaway are Sweepstakes Directories, Google Adwords, Facebook ads, Video ads, Ads in newspapers & magazines, Social influencers, LinkedIn ads, Twitter ads, Pinterest ads, TV & radio (needs big budget), and Programmatic ads.
Paid ads are the best way for new businesses to promote their Instagram contest.
Don’t underestimate the power of free ways to promote your Instagram contest. Posting on all available free platforms help you to gain as many entries as you can. You can post your Instagram Contest to your social channels, Instagram stories, Reddit, emails, blog post on your website, or a partner’s website and forums for free to maximize reach.
11. Choose a Winner
After the end of the Instagram sweepstakes, it’s time to pick a winner. You must select a fair winner based on your decided winner selection method: randomly or judged. Handpicking a random winner for an Instagram giveaway is time consuming as you can’t export the Likes or Comments on a post. Luckily, there are a few Instagram Giveaway Picker Tools you can use to randomly pick a winner from your Instagram contest and prevent favoritism or fraud.
Instagram Giveaway Picker Tools
Once a lucky winner is selected from the horde of participants, verify whether he/she has followed all the rules or not. Then, contact the winner(s) via direct message to notify them that they won the prize. You can also comment on their photo and ask them to contact you.
To congratulate the winners, publish their name(s) publicly via a campaign post, Stories, DMs and comments to make them Instagram famous and build trust with your followers.
Always update your Giveaway post to say that it’s over.
12. Evaluate Instagram Contest Results
The final step is to measure the success of your Instagram Contest. Tracking the results helps you learn whether you have reached your goals or not.
You must evaluate the following things:
- Total number of entrants
- Engagement levels
- Product trials
- Total reach
- Clicks to your website or landing page
- Follower growth
- Hashtag volume
- User-Generated Content Submissions
- Quality of the content you received
Some of the tools to tally the results of your Instagram contest are Instagram insights, Google analytics, manual reporting/exports, and contest tool reporting. Once you figure this out, it will be easy to see the ROI and create a better contest for next time.
Bonus Tips To make Your Instagram Contest Successful:
- Use additional posts, Instagram countdown stickers in Stories, or a countdown post to remind your followers to enter the giveaway
- Follow influencers who entered your giveaway to build a relationship with them.
- If you solicited users to comment on your giveaway, then reply to their comments
- Don’t host Instagram loop giveaways
- Never use the word lottery in your Instagram contest or giveaway
- Do not tag any individual or brand that is not part of your Giveaway
- Never promote inaccurate tagging
Hopefully, this complete step-by-step guide helps you to learn how to do a successful giveaway on Instagram. An Instagram giveaway that is not planned and executed properly can hurt your growth. So, follow the above steps properly to create a niche-specific giveaway for achieving your goals in your social media contest. Niche-specific giveaways attract the target audience and ultimately provide you loyal, engaged followers that will help you meet your marketing goals.
This is a post written on behalf of one of my marketing partners. All opinions are 100% mine.
Hero photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash
The giveaway prize is really important. We’ve had the best luck using specific prizes for our target customers rather than generic prizes like gift cards.
The only thing I’d add is a lesson that we learned the hard way: be very careful what winner/comment picker you use. Most of them (including the ones listed) DO NOT use the official Instagram/Facebook API and scrape content, which can get your account banned. Others even ask for your credentials, which is a no-no. The only free app officially approved that we found is Popsmash, which also tracks stats and other stuff. So whatever you use, do your research first because ‘no login required’ sounds great but could get your Instagram account banned.
Appreciate your thoughtful comment Gary, and had no idea! Will consider adding them upon the next revision after I do more homework! Thanks!
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