Posted in: Applications for InstagramLast update: 10/07/19
Every day, as part of my job, I get to spend time scrolling through Instagram, hunting down the best giveaways. Yep, you read that right – I get paid to window-shop on Instagram! And because of all that scroll time, I get to see the best and worst of Instagram giveaways. In today’s post, I’m sharing 11 of my favorite recent Instagram giveaways.
All of these brand giveaways had great prizes, great design, great engagement… or all three. But that’s not why I picked them. I picked them because they were creative and original. There’s a lot more to giveaways than just handing out a prize.
So I’ve chosen this set to show you 11 different things you can do with a giveaway. Here, in no particular order, are my 11 best Instagram giveaways of 2019 so far.
- Run an influencer campaign
- Share some inspiration
- Test your followers’ commitment
- Run some market research
- Challenge followers to a pop quiz
- Launch a new product
- Jump on a trend
- Give followers their dream experience
- Be an industry thought leader
- Boost limited edition sales
- Leverage word-of-mouth marketing
1. Run an influencer campaign
What makes influencer marketing so successful?
I’d argue there are two key elements: professionalized word-of-mouth marketing, and aspirational lifestyle.
First of all, influencers are effective because they focus on the social aspect of social networks. They’re like glamorous friends – who just happen to get paid for their product recommendations.
Secondly, they showcase an aspirational lifestyle. Take a look at this example of an influencer giveaway, in association with a beauty brand.
The brand wanted to highlight their range of summer skincare. So the influencer’s giveaway post is full of warm colors and an idealized summer “look”, with the products discreetly included in the frame.
When you run a giveaway with the right influencer, it’s a win-win situation. Choose someone with a look-alike audience compared to your target market. If your followers and the influencer’s followers have similar interests, then you’ll both gain followers from each other.
You can run giveaways in association with other brands, too! Click here to learn how to run effective, secure sponsored giveaways.
2. Leverage word-of-mouth marketing
Of course, not every brand can afford to splash out on a major influencer campaign. But there are more budget-friendly options.
Do some research into micro-influencers and nano-influencers who might be interested in your products. That means people with under 1,000 followers, who have an audience and interests that are relevant to your brand.
You can also use the power of word-of-mouth marketing from your own followers, no matter how big their audience is. Try and build a strong community around your brand.
I like this example from a babywear brand – it’s simple, but effective. The team at The Little Green Sheep know that parenting communities are very strong online. New moms and dads use social media to swap advice, ideas, and anecdotes from everyday life as a parent.
So the brand decided to incentivize that parenting conversation. They offered a prize which their followers would love, and asked people to recruit their friends for a chance to win.
3. Share some inspiration
If you want your giveaway to get attention on Instagram, it’s a good idea to stay tuned in to the current trends.
For example, in 2019, there are some clear trends for successful posts:
- stark, bright colors, especially pink
- custom Story filters and stickers
- behind-the-scenes posts
- quote posts and motivational messages
Here’s a great example of a giveaway which tapped into the trend for quote posts. They asked people to share their female role models to celebrate International Women’s Day:
Not only did Barefoot Dreams start a conversation in the comments, they also collected a ton of user-generated content. All those comments about women role models could be recycled as quotes or motivational messages for the brand’s followers.
4. Test your followers’ commitment
As we’ve already seen with word-of-mouth marketing, giveaways often depend on your followers’ loyalty. Are they happy to recommend your brand? Do they engage with your posts, and join the conversations you start online?
So let’s take things up a notch. You can use giveaways to explicitly collect feedback, reviews, or customer quotes to share on your social media channels.
Here’s a neat little giveaway from Salt Lake Bees, a baseball team:
Once again, this giveaway is well-designed from beginning to end. The giveaway question and the prize go together perfectly. Only true fans will be tempted to enter the contest, so the brand can target their ideal audience.
5. Run some market research
Now we’ve got reviews and feedback covered, let’s run some market research. Remember, when you run a giveaway, don’t just ask for random comments. Use the giveaway question to produce answers that are genuinely useful to you.
Just like in this giveaway, sponsored by Degustabox and PBFit. The foodie subscription service and the healthy peanut butter brand got together to ask customers: Why do you eat PBfit?
All those responses were useful customer feedback for both brands. And, just as we saw with influencer giveaways, both brands gained followers because their target audiences overlapped.
6. Challenge followers to a pop quiz
Let’s consider another goal for a moment.
We’ve been focusing on getting more followers, collecting content and hearing customer feedback. But all of those goals are brand-centric. They’re about what you want.
What about what customers want?
Lots of people use social media for entertainment. So from time to time, you should run fun giveaways for your followers to enjoy.
I loved this example from Legoland California. They put their own Lego twist on Instagram food photos, and set their followers a quick, entertaining challenge. They even squeezed in a reference to their 20th anniversary celebrations.
7. Launch a new product
Next on our list of best Instagram giveaways: the product launch.
Social media has seen the rise of a new kind of brand: DTC, or direct-to-consumer. That means instead of selling via brick-and-mortar stores, these brands sell directly to online shoppers.
So they don’t usually have access to traditional advertizing media, like print, television, or in-store promotions.
Instead, social media giveaways can be an effective way to launch new products:
If you’re releasing a new product, you might feel reluctant to start by giving it away. But you need to think long term.
The giveaway lets you post in detail about your products. Even if people don’t win the prize, they’ve learnt more about your brand – and they could well be tempted into a purchase.
And of course, you can always limit the number of prizes, so they don’t break the bank.
8. Jump on a trend
We’ve already talked about trends for Instagram posts. But what about wider trends in fashion and marketing?
For example, in 2019, retro stickers are making a comeback. Custom stickers with cute designs are highly popular with Millennial and Gen Z consumers.
So how does that help your brand?
Well, brand loyalty is hardly new. But with DTC brands, influencers who are like friends, and the immediacy of social media, more people are interacting with brands in public. And they’re happy to have branded merch from their favorite brands.
This is a great example from cult beauty brand, Not Your Mother’s. They combined the sticker trend with their unmistakable, colorful aesthetic to give away a bunch of prizes.
Best of all, prizes like custom stickers are relatively cheap to produce and send. Think creatively about how to share your branding with followers!
9. Give followers their dream experience
Here’s another trend in modern marketing: experiences. As well as giving away products or branded merch, some of the best Instagram giveaways share special experiences with followers.
Think concert tickets, festival passes, pop-up events, or visits to your brand HQ. The ideal experience prize is something that your followers love, but wouldn’t normally have the cash or access to achieve.
Make sure you choose an experience that’s tailored to your audience. This Vueling giveaway is a good example: they’re targeting young, globetrotting adults on a budget. So flights and festival passes for a music festival in Bilbao were the perfect prize.
10. Be an industry thought leader
Is thought leadership part of your brand strategy? Whatever your industry, it’s worth considering.
Thought leadership is about showing best practices, educating your consumers, and building your reputation. One way to do that is running industry events and awards.
Here’s a terrific example from Cosmopolitan magazine, South Africa edition. They created an event that would appeal to readers and competitors alike: the Influencer Awards.
While they delighted followers with a glitzy event and ticket giveaways, other brands took notice. Cosmopolitan established themselves as a thought leader for magazines and social media.
11. Boost limited edition sales
Finally, let’s round things off with one last example.
Most giveaways only run for 24-48 hours. So they’re the perfect way to promote limited edition products or seasonal offers.
I liked this giveaway from PlayStation, who gave away a special edition DS4 console to gamer fans:
Feeling inspired? Want more practical tips? Download the Professional Instagram Giveaway handbook for free.