The Ultimate Guide to Organizing Instagram Giveaways

Posted in: Applications for InstagramLast update: 03/05/19

Instagram giveaways are enormously popular – and not just with consumers. Brands, marketing agencies, and influencers know that giveaways are a powerful engine to drive engagement. Here’s everything you need to know to make yours a success.

A quick giveaway on Instagram can grow your profile 70% faster than other methods. But of course, that statistic is a best case scenario. If you really want your Instagram giveaways to have an impact, then they need to be flawlessly planned and executed.

That’s why we’ve created this guide. We’ll explain everything your Instagram giveaways should include – and what to avoid.

  • Follow the rules. Yes, social network regulations can be restrictive. Yes, you might get away with bending a few rules. But Instagram is cracking down on rogue accounts – and if you ignore the rules about social media contests, your profile could get shut down. Frankly, it’s not worth the risk to your reputation.
  • Keep it simple. Here’s a common mistake: brands which ask people to like, comment, share, repost, post a Story, send an email… You might think you’re maximizing engagement, but in fact, you’re just making it difficult. Ask users for a single comment or tag, and you’ll see more participation.
  • Go automatic. No one wants to count comments by hand, or manually check who follows you. Use a randomized tool to harvest comments and pick a winner.
  • Be transparent. Your followers want to hear about the winner, and how they were selected. Make sure you use a reputable app to pick a winner. Then share the contest certificate to prove that your Instagram giveaways are free and fair.

If you keep those 4 ideas in mind, you’re already on track for success. Next up, let’s follow the process of designing and running Instagram giveaways.

How to run Instagram giveaways

How to take part

There are many different ways to run Instagram giveaways. In fact, the social network’s rules are relatively flexible (compared to Facebook, for example). But we need to make a distinction between what’s possible, and what’s manageable.

For example, you can ask people to follow your profile for a chance to win. But there’s no way to check if they follow you automatically. You can’t check Instagram likes, either. You’ll have to look up each potential winner by hand – which is a waste of your time and resources.

Contest ideas for Instagram: screenshot of a giveaway post. The image shows a bubble waffle filled with chocolate sauce, strawberries, and a syringe full of syrup. The post caption describes the ingredients and invites users to tag friends for a chance to win the Halloween-themed waffle.

Here are even more effective ideas:

  • Comments. Ask an open question, and run a giveaway for everyone who answers. You can collect comments automatically – and you’ll get customer feedback, opinions, and background information at the same time.
  • Tags. Ask users to tag up to 3 friends in their comments. Why 3? Because it offers a challenge, without becoming spam. If you ask people to tag an unlimited number of friends, then you’re just another spam account. And you risk breaching Instagram rules.
  • Hashtags. Hashtags in the comments won’t have any effect on your post’s reach. But you can use hashtags to find out what users think – for example, give a list of hashtags for different products, and ask people to mention their favorite.
  • Comments with follows. Here’s a compromise. You can’t check followers automatically. But you can run a comments contest, and then manually check whether the winner follows you.

Choose the perfect prize

What’s the biggest factor in making your Instagram giveaways successful? The prize. The prize decides whether people will take part, how much effort they are prepared to make, and how much they appreciate your campaign.

Choose something that your followers will really value: products, discounts, or gifts from sponsors are just a few of the possibilities. Make sure you trail the gift with photo posts and in your Stories.

More examples of Instagram giveaways. The screenshot shows a post by Modcloth, showing 4 different designs for a doormat. Users comment with their favorite for a chance to win the contest.

If you already have an active community, then you can invite your followers to choose the prize. Ask them to comment with a hashtag, explaining which prize they prefer. Here’s an example from ModCloth. The quirky fashion brand asked their followers to choose a new product design – and then ran a giveaway on the post.

Create your post

Once you’ve chosen your contest dynamic, and an awesome prize, there are still a few details left to prepare.

First of all, make sure that your legal bases are covered. Every online giveaway must include a link to terms and conditions. Use a free hosting service to create a short link, and share it in your bio or Story links. If you’re operating in the US, you’ll also want to read this quick guide to legal best practices.

Your terms and conditions must include the date and time of the giveaway, too. Decide how long the contest will remain open, and make sure your followers are aware. Sending reminders is a great way to boost participation, too!

Instagram giveaways by Birchbox. The image shows a hand holding a pencil, along side pencilcases and various Paris-themed products, against a Millennial pink background. The caption explains that this is a co-branded giveaway. Users enter by following the 2 brands involved and tagging 2 friends.

Now for the fun part. Make your Instagram giveaways stand out with attractive, on-trend, on-brand images. Remember that you’ll need separate images for posts and Stories, as they use different dimensions. We’ve got even more design ideas in this classic post, but here’s a few quick tips to get started:

  • Include the word “giveaway” in your images.
  • Show off the prize.
  • Use your logo or brand colors.

Ideally, you should include the same elements in text of your giveaway post. Tell users it’s a GIVEAWAY, describe the prize, and make sure they know exactly how to take part. Don’t forget the closing date and T&Cs! You can dress up the text with hashtags, mentions, emoji, and emoticons, too.

Instagram giveaways for restaurants. The screenshot shows an ice cream sundae, yellow bunting and silver confetti against a blue background. The overlay text reads, "Steuben's ice cream social". The caption invites users to follow and comment for the chance to win a social for 10 people.

Launch the giveaway

It’s an Instagram giveaway – so you should be publishing all over Instagram. Although the giveaway itself is based on a post, you should also use Stories, ads, and even IGTV to promote your campaign. You can cross-post to Facebook, too.

Carry on posting, even after the giveaway has been launched. Stories are a great medium here. Use them to trail a giveaway, share a sneak peek of the prize, highlight the giveaway post, remind users of the deadline, and even share the process of selecting a winner – live!

Instagram giveaways advertised in Stories. The image shows 5 screenshots from different giveaways, including reminders, thanks to the users, prize previews, and winner announcements.

You can include up to 10 posts, including promoted posts, in a single giveaway. So you could publish a follow-up post on the last day of the giveaway, and collect comments from both the original and the reminder post.

Consider working with influencers, too. Here’s a great example from NYX cosmetics brand in Czechia and Slovakia. To celebrate opening a new store, they gave away tickets to a special event with prominent influencer Lucie Lou. She shared an identical post, boosting the brand’s hashtag and logo recognition.

Instagram giveaways with influencers. In these screenshots, the brand and influencer have published identical photos. Users can comment on either post to enter the contest.

If you work with influencers, consider using the multi-network giveaway app. Use it to run a single giveaway from several accounts – including your brand’s profile, sponsors, and influencers.

Track comments and interactions

Once the giveaway is open, stay active! Although the app will work automatically, you should still take the time to check through your users’ comments and reply to them. Think about setting up quick replies for users who message you with questions about the giveaway, too.

You can access detailed statistics about how many people comment, and when. Use this info to decide whether you want to extend your contest, or if it needs more publicity.

Statistics from an Instagram giveaway, presented in a bar chart. X axis: time of day. Y axis: unique participants. The chart shows that participation is highest between 4 and 7 pm.

Statistics remain available even after the giveaway ends, so you can also use this data to help plan your next campaign.

Pick a winner for your Instagram giveaways

Your users will be waiting with excitement to hear who’s won the prize. It’s important to be punctual, transparent, and trustworthy. This is an opportunity to promote trust in your brand – if you get it right!

Use a random tool to pick a winner, and make sure it’s a reputable one. Look for apps which publish a secure, non-editable Certificate of Validity.

Instagram giveaways for Labor Day. The image shows a United States flag flying against a cloudy sky. The overlay text reads, "Congrats to our Labor Day giveaway winner! From Easy Company Clothing and SD Wood designs". The caption explains how the user can get in touch to claim their prize. The winner has commented on the post to say thank you.

Next, make sure you publish the winner. Use posts, Stories, DMs and comments to make sure that everyone has heard the good news. You could also take the opportunity to announce the next giveaway, or highlight the prize products in your store.

Of course, the most popular content on social media these days is video. Whether you post a horizontal clip on your profile, or add a vertical-format Story, a video announcement is sure to get more views and engagement.

When you select a winner, the Easypromos platform creates an instant, animated video with sound effects. You can edit the colors and text of the video, and pick the right format for your posts. Take a look:

There’s a reason so many brands entrust Easypromos with their giveaways. In fact, there are 20 reasons! Click here to learn more.

Corinna Keefe

English copywriter at Easypromos marketing team