As one of the fastest-growing social media networks with over 1 billion active users, Instagram has become a powerful marketing tool for businesses across the globe to promote their products and services.

However, in a competitive ecosystem with over 2 million monthly advertisers, increasing your visibility, brand awareness, and sales can be a challenging task to accomplish. 

Fortunately, hosting an Instagram giveaway is one of the many strategies proven to be highly effective when run correctly to attract new followers, build a larger online community, and ultimately increase your bottom line. 

Before you’re ready to launch your contest, consider the following tips and best practices to maximize the success of your Instagram giveaway.

Instagram Contest Rules

At the beginning of any contest or giveaway on Instagram, it’s important you understand the rules/regulations and abide by them to ensure your content is not misinterpreted or flagged as spam. Although Instagram’s rules are relatively straightforward when it comes to giveaways and contests, we recommend reviewing promotional guidelines before getting started. 

Determine the Goal 

By establishing a specific objective for your giveaway, you’re able to customize your strategy and record the success of your giveaway based on the goal. Determine the goal based on what makes the most sense to your brand. For example, what do you lack most? Perhaps you want to increase your follower count, strengthen traffic to your website or grow your sales. The goal will impact other decisions that need to be made surrounding the giveaway, such as; the prize, entry criteria, and means of promotion. 

Prize Selection

When selecting a prize, ensure it’s a product or service your current and target audience wants or needs. For example, perhaps your goal is to spread awareness of a new product your company is launching; giving away the exclusive product will entice users to enter. Since no one else has access to the product yet, you create a sense of exclusivity to your audience.  

Furthermore, make sure the prize makes sense to the nature of your business. Giving away a generic prize unspecific to your brand will attract the wrong audience who aren’t genuinely interested in your product or service. If your business doesn’t have the financial support to give away a highly valued prize, consider a partnership with a local and relevant brand. 

Consider a Brand Partnership or Influencer

Consider a partnership with a business or local influencer that aligns with your brand. By selecting a company or influencer with a similar following, you can cross-promote to two separate audiences to achieve maximum exposure. For instance, your business is a coffee shop, partnering with a gourmet donut shop or a bakery would be beneficial as those audiences have something in common, they both enjoy local eateries. If you’re contemplating the influencer route, find an influencer with a solid follower base and measure the engagement they receive on their posts. Then, research their past partnerships to determine if they’ve partnered with brands similar to yours. 

Entry Criteria 

The entry criteria will ultimately reflect the goal of the giveaway. For example, if your goal is to increase your following, you might ask each participant to like, follow, and tag a friend in the comments, increasing your reach significantly and result in new followers. If you’ve decided to partner with a relevant brand, include a request to follow them as well. Or, as discussed above, if your goal is to draw attention to your website, you might direct entrants to your website to find entry criteria there. 

To maximize interest and participation, ensure your entry rules are clearly defined and do not involve too many instructions. Having a limited set of instructions will generate higher engagement in your post and ensure you reach as many users as possible. 

Location

Include the location of entrants within the copy of your post. Shipping a parcel halfway around the world can get expensive; you don’t want the shipping cost to outweigh the value of the prize. Or, if you’re offering a service, someone in a faraway country will likely not travel just to utilize your service. For example, you could say, “Giveaway is open to Canadian residents only” however the geographic restriction is entirely up to your business and industry. 

Eligible Entry Dates

Your giveaway should always include a clearly identified entry deadline. A common misconception is that the longer your Instagram giveaway runs, the more entries you’ll receive. Contrary to popular belief, we recommend 4 to 7 business days for a standard giveaway to capitalize on creating a sense of urgency within your audience. Within the copy, ensure you include the dates and the times of entry and closure of the giveaway. For instance; The giveaway ends Friday, June 4, and the winner will be announced on Saturday, June 5. Once the giveaway has ended, add the text “Giveaway Closed” at the beginning of your caption to inform your audience their entry is no longer eligible. 

Number of Entries 

Let the audience know how many times they can enter the contest. We suggest one entry per user for ease of picking a winner. Unless your goal is to create engagement, allowing multiple entries will get you closer to your goal. 

Select a Giveaway Hashtag

Creating a hashtag for your giveaway helps your post surface on the explore channels and will increase visibility on the user’s news feed. Furthermore, the right mix of hashtags will expose your giveaway to the most relevant people. Chose hashtags such as #giveaway #[brand location]giveaway, [brand name]giveaway or something similar. Help spread awareness by creating a compelling and unique hashtag that’s relevant to your brand. 

Promote Promote Promote! 

You’ve put a lot of thought and energy into creating this giveaway. To maximize entries, you must have a strategy. First, build the anticipation by creating sneak peek posts and stories to let your audience know something exciting is about to happen! They’ll be watching for your announcement and checking in on your account. Creating a promotional email can help to achieve greater reach as well; if they weren’t following you on Instagram, now they’ll surely hit the “follow” button. Finally, share your giveaway on your other social media platforms, with a link to your giveaway post. If your budget allows you to do so, consider boosting the post. If you properly target your audience, even investing a small amount will further your reach, allowing for more entries in your giveaway. 

Picking the Winner

The most exciting part of the giveaway, picking the winner! Figuring out the winner will depend on the entry criteria outlined in your caption. For a fair evaluation, ensure the entrant has abided by the terms and conditions outlined within entry requirements. 

Use a random and free generator such as; random.org, which picks winners manually or commentpicker.com, which selects winners based on the comments submitted. To contact the winner, message the user via Instagram’s direct messaging feature, or post an image announcing the winner via the graphic with their account tagged in the caption and the photo. 

Evaluate Contest Analytics

Once the contest is complete and you’ve selected the winner, it’s time to track the results. Determine which analytics you’d like to record that relate to the goal you initially set. Metrics you may want to track;

  • Follower Count
  • Likes and Engagement 
  • Website or Landing Page Traffic
  • Sales Revenue

When assessing the success of your giveaway campaign, it’s also important to take note of the comments or dm’s you received. For example, did users understand the rules of the giveaway? Did you find commonalities with users? Did your giveaway reach its goal? Tracking all of the metrics above will help to determine your ROI and how to optimize your strategy when building out your next contest.

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