10 Time-Tested Tips for a Successful Instagram Giveaway

Written by Marina Vassilyovska 0 Comments
Whether you have an eCommerce project or you’re offering services, running an Instagram contest is an excellent way to gain a new targeted following and online notoriety. This is especially true for industries often associated with IG (like beauty, fitness, health, hobbies, etc.). However, if you’re selling car parts or courses, you can still benefit significantly from a contest if Instagram is a platform you’re currently targeting.

In this article, we’ve gathered some simple but extremely effective tips that will help you plan a successful Instagram giveaway even if you’ve never done one!

Instagram’s Rules for Giveaways

First things first, as you are probably aware, all social media platforms have rules that must be followed if you want to promote anything on their space, and this includes contests, of course.

Although the same group owns them, Facebook rules are way more complicated regarding giveaway creation. Instagram is known for its less restrictive policies, making it a preferred choice for creating promotional contests.

Rule #1 Statement of release

One of the most critical rules (which people often miss) is the statement of release. It's imperative to include a said statement in  all contest posts shared to Instagram. You can write someting like this:

"Per Instagram rules, this promotion is in no way sponsored, administered, or associated with Instagram, Inc. By entering, participants confirm that they are 13+ years of age, release Instagram of responsibility, and agree to Instagram’s terms of use."

The good news is that you can include it in the captions, and an excellent way to do so (as not to ruin the aesthetics) is to simply put it at the end of your post. Also, once created, you can save it and recopy it for any future giveaways, as it doesn't have to be specific for the given contest.

Rule #2 Don’t break local laws

The next important rule is (obviously) to avoid offering anything that might violate any federal, state, or other laws applicable to the region you’re selling. Suppose you’re running a kitchen supplies store, jewellery business. In that case, your merchandise probably will not be subject to many regulations. Still, if what you sell is a bit more controversial (such as supplements, for example), it would be best to ensure what you sell is legally allowed.

Rule #3 Create official rules and post them

Instagram requires you to include official contest rules and terms of eligibility and make them available to anybody who’d like to check them (and yes, you can get reported about that).

Rule #4 Don’t ask users to tag themselves or others on photos

There seems to be some confusion on this front; you can ask users to mention people in the comments but not in a photo where they aren’t present.

Overall, it’s a good idea to look at the terms for Instagram contests just to make sure you’re not missing anything we haven’t mentioned. Now that you know the restrictions and requirements for running a contest, here are the steps to take to run a contest on Instagram.

Tips for Creating a Super Succesful Giveaway on Instagram

Tip #1 Set a goal for your Instagram contest

Giveaways are simply a form of a marketing campaign, and as such, they need goals and KPIs in order to decide whether or not they are worth it within your industry, your region, etc.

At the end of the day, all of your efforts are directed at driving more sales, yet many different things compose the sales process. For example, you may want to increase engagement with your content (thus increasing trust in your brand), or you might be scouting for newsletter subscribers (generating leads). Deciding your primary goal is will help you determine if the campaign is successful and if you should repeat it in the future. If you are unsure what KPIs you need to set for your giveaway, this excellent article will help you determine the right metrics.

Tip #2: Decide on your budget

Many people mistakenly assume that giveaways will bring them direct sales. Of course, this could happen, but usually, it’s not the typical main goal of a giveaway. Usually, you would be trying to gain followers, amplify your online presence, get some user-generated content, etcon. Therefore, you need to think of this as a long-term investment and not something that will immediately pay off. When considering how much you can spend, you must think of this amount as something that will not generate any ROI in the near future, so carefully estimate how much money you want to allocate.

Tip #2: Check out other giveaways' Terms & Conditions

As we mentioned earlier, T&C are important for Instagram, but also for your own peace of mind, as sometimes arguments around the contests can get pretty heavy. If you are not experienced in running giveaways, a great piece of advice is to check other giveaways (possibly in your own industry, as something may be inapplicable). The bigger brands will usually have lawyers involved, so their T&C can give you a pretty good idea of what your own must include.

Tip #3: Involve other businesses that pair well with your product

Collaborating with another business is an excellent way to level up your Instagram giveaway. First of all, you can provide bigger, better prices if you combine your budgets. Secondly, promoting the giveaway on two accounts will double the exposure, and you will usually elevate each others’ profiles. So if you're a car part dealer, for example, you can pair with a local car service and think of a contest (and prize) that would be adequate and beneficial to both businesses.

The downside is that you may also split the users’ attention, but if you pair yourself with a relevant partner, both of you will likely appeal to the potential viewer.

Tip #4: Offer a product/service of yours and not a generic prize

Many users in the past have offered pricey items, such as Macbooks or phones, in the hope that this will attract more people - and it does. The problem is that these people often will interact with your account only for the purpose of entering the contest. In fact, some people surf social media solely in search of giveaways (they are called “bounty hunters") which means that their presence in your following will be useless at best. Because they aren’t genuinely interested in your business, they are unlikely to ever again engage with you and will only mess up your statistics resulting in a decreased engagement rate.

If you choose to offer something you produce/sell - especially if it’s a niche thing - the chance of reaching your target audience will increase significantly.

Tip #5: Make the prize worthwhile

Even if you’re not running on a tight budget, you need to consider that internet users are flooded these days. It costs more and more to capture their attention, as practically EVERYONE on the internet is your competitor, trying to steal a portion of their time and sell them something.

Whatever you decide to offer, make sure it’s something that will attract their attention, and it will seem worthy enough for them to spend their time meeting the requirements of your contest (e.g. tag three friends)

Say you have an online store that sells cosmetics; don’t offer something from your budget line. Choose an expensive brand and/or a bundle. A luxury brand item will get better engagement than an average one, even if the latter one is a set.

Tip #6: Keep things simple

Even a big prize might not keep the attention of your potential follower if you ask them to do too many things. Decide on your primary goal (is it gaining followers? Gaining notoriety? Generating User Content that you can use later on?) and stick to it, without trying to have everything at once. Suppose your main goal is to gain followers, for example. In that case, it’s much better to ask them to follow you on different social platforms (e.g. Follow Us on Instagram and Facebook) than to post a picture doing some activity.

Tip #7: Be creative with your prize

While it’s true that the primary goal of your giveaway will somewhat restrict what you can ask of your users, you can still try being creative and capture their attention via originality. Say you’re a service provider; if your prize is a service, up the stakes by adding something that usually is not included in your competitors’ offers. So, if you’re a hairdresser, and your prize is a hairdressing appointment, a nice add-on could be a manicure session. If you’re an eCommerce business, throw in a gift for a friend as well, or say that the customer can pick their own prize from a line of items.

Tip #8:  Mix popular hashtags and your campaign hashtags

Frequently people will create unique personalised hashtags for their current campaign but then forget to include the most popular relevant ones. Obviously, one of the best ways to achieve maximum distribution is through the use of hashtags, so absolutely include the big ones that may be relevant to your giveaway. On the other hand, using just generic ones will diminish your chances of creating a brand buzz, not to mention missing the chance to get creative and witty, which is often key to gaining traction.

In other words, mix your hashtags and try to keep them under 20 as Instagram is subtly pushing down the feed posts that overuse hashtags.

Tip #9: Update your bio to include the giveaway

First of all, make sure your Instagram bio has all the details you may want to present to your potential consumers. A giveaway is a moment when your account may blow up, so of course, you’d want to present your business as best as possible.

Secondly, it’s a good idea to mention the giveaway in your bio, in case someone lands on your main account and not the giveaway posts (it’s like a mini cross-promo between your bio and your feed)

Tip #9: Put it on Instagram Stories

When people follow your account, they'll see all of their interactions with stories that are chronological and located at the top of their feed. You want them to interact as much as possible when they first make contact. Use this opportunity to promote giveaways by telling them about current ones using reactions (love, wow), mentioning winners from past giveaways, and linking to your giveaway post.

If you’re lucky enough, your story can also be picked within the Explore section of Instagram, which is a guaranteed blow-up of your contest.

Tip #10: Get that FOMO flow running

Giving a sneak peek of the prize can significantly increase users’ interest, but if you combine it with some limitation (typically time), the effect would be much better. Say you are offering a SPA voucher, you can post a picture of one of the activities that are to be included (e.g. Turkish bath) and include text in the picture saying “48 hours left before you can no longer win a free luxurious Turkish Bath.”

Remember: Stay consistent!

Post a reminder about your giveaway every other day or so to keep it fresh in people's minds. Use your other channels to promote the Instagram contest (for example, your Facebook page) and regularly post reminders there too. The thing is, users may see something but not interact the first time (or not see it at all, unfortunately!). Regular posts about your giveaway will ensure maximum reach. Try not to be boring, though - posting the same creative with the same copy will not work as nicely as creating a conceptual series of posts.

Final Thoughts

Overall, due to their popularity these days, it's hard to do a successful giveaway, but we hope the tips we’ve gathered for you will help you. Remember, there are no rules written in stone, so if you feel anything is not suitable to your business model, don’t be afraid to stray away from the advice your read and experiment with your own ideas.


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About the Author

Marina Vassilyovska is the Chief Storyteller at Kualo. She’s a big fan of digital storytelling, but she’s also very passionate about environmental protection and often volunteers in relevant initiatives. You can also spot her on WordCamps on local meetups, where she’s always up for a chat.