Instagram isn’t just a place where people share selfies and pictures of their food. This incredible social channel is also an excellent environment for businesses that want to build connections with their customers. 80% of Instagram users say that they follow at least one company online. One of the easiest ways to make followers fall in love with you today is to give them something for free by running an Instagram giveaway.

Although many amazing Instagram marketing strategies have proven to be very effective over the years, giveaways are by far some of the best ways to build brand loyalty, attract new followers, and generate social buzz.

Although your company incurs a small expense when you give something away for free, the value you can earn in return is often astronomical.

So, how do you launch your first contest?

Instagram Giveaway Rules: Staying On The Good Side Of ‘Gram

The Instagram giveaway rules that you’ll need to follow whenever you’re launching a contest on the platform are pretty simple. For instance, you’ll need to make sure that everyone who followers your page understands that the competition isn’t tied to Instagram in any way.

Adding a small statement to your post that explains the details of your Instagram giveaway, and who can get involved (people over 13 usually), will save you from some legal repercussions.

You’ll also need to make sure that you don’t ask your followers to tag themselves in your content or tag anything that doesn’t appear in the photo. Instagram penalizes users for this.

To reduce your risk of issues with your Instagram giveaway, take a look at the promotion guidelines here.

Instagram Giveaway Ideas: Contests To Run

There are many different approaches that businesses can take to running an Instagram giveaway.

Ultimately, there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy. You’ll need to consider what you’re trying to accomplish, and what sort of audience you want to reach with your competition before you get started. For instance, if you’re trying to grow your follower count, then it makes sense to use an Instagram giveaway that asks people to tag their friends or use a branded hashtag when they sign up.

Some of your options include:

  • Like to win contests: These are the easiest options for your Instagram giveaway, as they require very little input from your audience. However, they’re not great for building engagement.
  • Tag a friend competitions: In this giveaway, you ask your followers to leave a comment and tag a friend to win. Tags improve your chances of reaching new customers and followers.
  • Post a selfie or picture: In this kind of Instagram giveaway, you can ask followers to post a picture that’s relevant to your brand, such as an image of them wearing or using your product. This is a great way to collect user-generated content for social proof.
  • Share this post: In these kinds of giveaways, you ask people to share your post and tag you with a branded hashtag to enter the contest. This is another relatively simple approach, but it requires more work from the audience than a simple like to win contest.

Once you have an idea of the kind of Instagram giveaway you’re going to use, then you can start to build out a plan for your competition. The following steps will help.

1.     Choose A Goal For Your Instagram Giveaway

The first step of running a successful contest is knowing what you’re trying to accomplish. After all, that’s the only way to make sure that your efforts are driving the right results. The goal that you want to accomplish will also determine what kind of contest you run.

For example, if you just want to generate more engagement on your posts, then you can simply run a like-to-win or comment-to-win contest. On the other hand, if you’re going to produce user-generated content, it’s better to ask people to publish photos or videos with a branded hashtag.

@Vikingbooks launched an Instagram giveaway to improve their social following.  They asked followers to leave a comment to promote engagement and tag their friends in their post too.

2.     Choose A Prize For Your Instagram Giveaway

Next, once you understand what you’re going to (hopefully) get out of your giveaway, you can think about what your audience is going to get out of the deal too. Remember, your prize needs to be compelling enough that it will convince people to enter, but you don’t want to spend a fortune either. The size of the prize needs to match the amount of effort you’re asking people to put into getting involved.

A simple like-to-win Instagram giveaway might reward people with a free giftbag. On the other hand, if you want people to create custom content for your brand, then you’re going to need to give them something with significantly more value.

Make sure you choose a reward that’s relevant to your industry too. It doesn’t make much sense for a cosmetics company to give away some free clothes (unless they’re partnering with another brand). However, a giveaway of trending makeup items would be a great prize.

3.     Outline Your Instagram Giveaway Rules

The entry criteria for your Instagram giveaway depends on several factors. You’ll need to pay close attention to the Instagram giveaway rules that every brand has to follow. However, you’ll also need to think about what you want to accomplish with your new campaign. For instance, if you want to spread brand awareness, then you might just ask participants to like your post and comment with the name of a friend who they’d like to share their prize with.

On the other hand, if you want to draw attention to another page on your website, your blog, or your product page, then you might ask your participants to go to the link in your bio to enter the competition. You can even ask your followers to go and get the answer to a question from your blog and send it to you in your DMs for a chance of winning.

If you’ve partnered with another brand or influencer in exchange for using one of their products as a prize, like @Birchbox did below, then you might want people to follow the other brand as part of your Instagram giveaway rules.

Birchbox Instagram giveaway rules

4.     Select A Campaign Hashtag

Whether you’re trying to spread brand awareness with your Instagram giveaway or not, it makes sense to get as much value as possible out of your campaign. On Instagram, hashtags help your content to appear more frequently on Explore channels. Additionally, the more you use hashtags, the more likely you are to connect with new people who will be interested in the content and products you have to share. The campaign hashtag that you choose needs to be exclusive to your campaign, so make sure that no-one else is using it before you get started.

The best hashtags:

  • Feature your brand name
  • Are short, simple, and easy to remember
  • Include the words “win,” “contest” or “giveaway.”

A great way to gather valuable content from your giveaway is to ask people to share a picture of them using your product, along with a branded hashtag.

5.     Launch And Promote Your Contest

Once you have your Instagram giveaway rules ironed out, you can launch your contest and start gathering as much feedback from your customers as possible. Remember, you’ll need to promote your giveaway as much as possible to get plenty of entrants. Think about partnering with influencers and other companies to improve your chances of success. Additionally, cross-promote your Instagram competitions on Facebook and other social pages whenever you can.

It’s helpful to put a time limit on your contest too. This will let people know that they only have a certain amount of time to get involved. This also means that your followers will be less likely to dither over whether they should enter or not. FOMO is a powerful motivator on social media. No-one wants to feel as though they’re missing out, particularly when they have the chance to win something for free.

As you move closer towards your deadline, remind your followers that time is running out with new posts that feature your competition hashtag.

6.     Be Prompt About Picking A Winner

Finally, make sure that you pick a winner for your contest as soon as you reach your deadline. If you’ve successfully generated a lot of excitement about your Instagram giveaway, then people will be waiting with bated breath to see who won.

The last thing you want is for people to question whether you’re as reliable as you claim to be when you fail to hand over the prize that you promised. Use a random Instagram giveaway picker (we’ll talk you through some below) to choose someone entirely without prejudice. If possible, look for an app that allows you to publish a secure and non-editable certificate of validity whenever you choose a winner.

Instagram giveaway winner announcement

A great way to boost engagement and improve your brand’s reputation is to ask your winner to give you some additional content to publish when they receive your prize. Ask them to share a video or photo with an “unboxing” of their winnings. This will help audiences to trust that you’re going to give them a prize if they get involved with your Instagram competitions.

Keeping Competitions Fair With Instagram Giveaway Pickers

One of the biggest issues that businesses have when they run an Instagram giveaway is that it’s often challenging to convince followers that your choice of winner was utterly objective. If you want to avoid any complaints in your comments or even angry messages to Instagram, use an Instagram giveaway picker. These are tools that allow businesses to select someone entirely at random. For instance, you can:

  • Use a free number generator: If you have 400 entries for your Instagram giveaway, user a random number generator pick a number between 1 and 400. This means that you’ll have to count to the right number chosen by the generator, but it’s a simple enough process. You can even find a generator by merely typing “Random number generator” into Google.
  • Use a random name picker: Similar to a random number picker, a random name picker allows you to enter all of the names of your entrants into a digital tool. You’ll need to create a spreadsheet of names to do this, which can be quite tedious. However, if you’re listing your winners anyway – perhaps so you can follow them later, then this could be the best option for you.
  • Use an Instagram giveaway picker app: If you want something that requires a little less work on your part, then you can use a tool like the EasyPromos app for Instagram Sweepstakes and competitions. This app allows you to filter finalists based on the number of friends they’ve mentioned and so on. The app automatically chooses a winner on your behalf, and it also provides a certificate of validity that promises followers that the draw has been entirely random. The certificate is white labelled, which means that you can add your own branding.

Making The Most Of Your Instagram Giveaway

A great Instagram giveaway isn’t just an exciting way to boost your follower count and generate buzz for your brand. If you use your competitions correctly, they can also provide you with a vast amount of information that you can use for future campaigns. For instance, if you track the results of your contests on Instagram insights, you’ll be able to see what kind of competitions promote the most attention for your company or drive the best engagement.

Remember, the majority of Instagram giveaways aren’t going to go instantly viral and generate huge results overnight. Your first contests might only get a handful of participants. However, the more you grow your following, prove your credibility, and learn how to use Instagram to your advantage, the more valuable your competitions will become.