How Tombow USA got their highest Instagram engagement ever

Posted in: Success casesLast update: 20/09/19

Tombow USA have grown their Instagram profile to hundreds of thousands of followers – in just four years. Here’s how they got their best engagement figures yet, with 12 days of Christmas giveaways on social media.

The brand

Tombow is a worldwide art and craft brand, well-known across North America for their high quality tools such as Dual Brush Pens, art markers, colored pencils, drawing pencils, erasers, fine pens, adhesives/glues, and correction tape. Tombow’s goal is to create the world’s best products so that artists and crafters can create their best work.

In the last four years, Tombow has grown their social media profile massively. Instagram is a key component of their marketing strategy, and they have developed a highly skilled team to keep up. In 2017, they received Ragan PR Daily’s Digital PR & Social Media Award for Best Use of Instagram.

Screenshot of Tombow USA's Instagram profile, with 5608 posts, and 415,000 followers.

The challenge

Since 2015, Tombow’s Instagram followers have increased from 2,000 to over 400,000 people. At first, this boosted their website sales – and in 2018, they received access to Instagram’s shoppable posts as well.

Screenshot of a shoppable post from Tombow USA. The image shows a notebook with some sketches of lemonade in a jar, and the pencil used for the sketch. The pencil is tagged with a label that users tap to shop.

“Anytime we start a new marketing campaign or initiative, we think about how we can promote it on Instagram and involve our fans,” says Brittany Luiz, the Media & Public Relations Manager responsible for growing Tombow’s online presence. “We love hearing their feedback, communicating with them, and giving them opportunities to interact with our brand.”

As part of that strategy, Tombow wanted to give back to their fans, artists, and collaborators at Christmastime. The challenge was to bring customers and creators together with some festive cheer.

Screenshot of a Tombow USA post on Instagram around Christmastime. The image shows a present wrapped with colorful Christmas paper and a gold ribbon, next to the marker pens used to create the wrapping.

The campaign

Tombow decided to run a giveaway – but they wanted to make their Christmas campaign stand out from the crowd.

First, they decided to create a giveaway series for the 12 days of Christmas. This was a clever strategy to hold people’s attention for almost 2 weeks, during the peak season for Christmas gift-shopping.

Second, they created prize bundles in association with artists and suppliers.

For example, on the 12th day of Christmas, Tombow gave away a 10-pack of their new Fudenosuke color pens… and a set of planners and planning material from their partners, Bloom Daily Planners.

A Christmas Instagram giveaway from Tombow USA. Day 12: a pack of color pens and some planners from a brand associated with Tombow, set against a blue background and the word "giveaway" in white calligraphed text. Users have to follow both brands, like the photo, and comment with their favorite holiday tradition.

And on day 7, they gave away a set of pens in holiday colors, along with a copy of Hand Lettering For Relaxation by author and craft influencer Amy Latta.

A Christmas Instagram giveaway from Tombow USA. Day 1: the image shows a book and a pack of color pens against a pink background, with the word "giveaway" in white calligraphed text. Users have to follow Tombow and the book's author, like, and comment with their favorite holiday tradition.

The brand kept engagement high by using a similar design for all the giveaway posts, so that followers could instantly recognize and join the competition each day. And they made it easy and entertaining for users to take part: they just had to comment and describe their favorite holiday tradition.

The only problem was the sheer volume of comments. Tombow receives up to 8000 comments on each giveaway post – so they needed an easy, automated tool to process all the comments and select a winner.

“We started using Easypromos in 2018,” explains Brittany Luiz, “[so] we figured it would be the perfect year to try to execute the 12 Days of Giveaways campaign.”

The result

Most of the giveaway posts received around 7,000 likes, and a similar number of comments. And inviting people to follow Tombow and their collaborators led to an increased audience for all the brands and influencers involved.

“The promotion was definitely a success!” Brittany reports. “Several of the giveaway posts ended up being some of our best performing posts on Instagram for the entirety of 2018. It’s a campaign we will likely continue to do year after year.”


“The Easypromos platform definitely lives up to its name! It’s incredibly easy and straightforward to use, and makes giveaway management very simple. I love that we can exclude previous winners, select back-up winners, and have the ability to really customize the parameters of each giveaway campaign.”

Brittany Luiz

– Media & Public Relations Manager –

Corinna Keefe

English copywriter at Easypromos marketing team