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  • How to Do a Giveaway on Instagram (It’s Easier than You Think!)

Instagram is an ideal social site for many small businesses. Its visual nature helps you connect with your customers and share an interesting and fun glimpse into your business – not to mention it’s the perfect place to showcase your products, your services, and your people.

You know what else it’s great for? Giveaways.

Instagram giveaways can help you boost your engagement on social media and build up your audience on this popular social platform. You just have to know the steps on how to run an Instagram giveaway first.

how to do an instagram giveaway - steps for running instagram contest

We’re sharing tips on how to do a giveaway on Instagram, including what you need to get started, simple steps for success, and what to do once your Instagram giveaway is over.


Steps for running a contest or giveaway on Instagram

Use these simple steps to create a contest or giveaway on Instagram that helps you boost your business, get new followers, and engage your audience.

1. Determine the goal for your Instagram giveaway

Before doing an Instagram contest, decide on a goal that you want to get out of it – ideally, this should align with your marketing goals and objectives. Is your goal to obtain email addresses for your email list? Grow followers? Expand your brand name? Connect with other local businesses? How long will the contest run? Your goal will guide the contest.

2. Decide what type of Instagram contest to run

There are several different ways to run an Instagram contest or giveaway. If you’re running a giveaway for the first time, keep it as simple as possible. You will need to keep track of the participants’ entries, so the easier, the better. Depending on which type of contest you run, it may be difficult to monitor if the participants are completing all the required tasks.

Here are some common types of Instagram contests:

Like to win

Like to Win is the easiest type of Instagram contest. In this type of Instagram contest, the participant must follow your account and like the photo to enter. If someone likes the photo but doesn’t follow you, they are not eligible to win. Easy, right?

instagram giveaway - here's an example of a like-to-win instagram contest

The purpose of Like to Win contests is to get both followers on your account to see more of your brand posts as well and engage users with beautiful visual content.

Tag a friend

Tag a friend is another easy contest to run on Instagram. In this type of contest, participants must comment on your photo and tag one or more users in the comment section of the contest photo.

how to do an instagram giveaway - tag a friend contest example

The purpose of a tag a friend Instagram contest is to increase the reach of your brand through your followers. By tagging someone else in the comment section of the contest photo, your followers are helping introduce new potential customers to your business.

Post your own picture + tag

A Post Your Own Picture Instagram contest works by encouraging participants to post an original picture related to your brand with a custom contest hashtag or tagging your business in the photo. For example, a company may host a selfie contest encouraging users to take a selfie at their business or with their product and use a custom hashtag. These contests have a high participation rate because they are easy for people to do.

instagram giveaway - photo tag contest

The purpose of a post-your-own picture giveaway is to increase user engagement and create a buzz about your giveaway. The more buzz the more people who can become customers. The more people who participate, the better!

This type of contest is also great for user-generated content that you can repost to your social pages later! You can have users tag your business or add your business location to their Instagram post.

Repost + tag 

Another common type of Instagram contest is a Repost contest. In this type of contest, participants must repost the giveaway picture and tag your business or use the giveaway hashtag in their own posts or Instagram Stories.

how to do an instagram giveaway - repost to win

The purpose of a repost + tag Instagram giveaway is to use your followers to increase the reach of your brand by reposting your contest on their Instagram accounts. A repost + tag giveaway will not only reach your followers but your followers’ followers. You will know when someone enters the contest by receiving a notification in your account that someone tagged you in a photo.

3. Decide on a prize for your Instagram giveaway

Depending on your customers, merchandise, and budget, there are a variety of different prizes you can give away. Some ideas include discounts, free items from your business, and gift cards. Market to your customer and give away a product or service that they would want.

how to do an instagram giveaway - determine instagram giveaway prize

If it’s around the time of a holiday, utilize that theme. Many businesses use fun, unofficial holidays to run an Instagram contest. For example, a bakery may run an Instagram giveaway for National Cookie Day, encouraging customers to take a picture with cookies in order a win a cookie basket.

To increase the reach of your contest, team up with another local business to engage their customers and give away something bigger and better. Once you’ve decided what works best for your business, you can post your picture and run your Instagram contest!

4. Determine how you’ll pick your winner

There are many ways to fairly pick your contest winner.

For most contests, you should pick a random winner. You can pick a name out of a hat, but for a more scientific approach, use a website like Random Name Picker. This is the fairest way to blindly choose a winner.

how to run an instagram giveaway - random name picker

Random Name Picker is an easy way to pick a winner for your Instagram contest. 

Photo contests are subjective, so you can pick a winner based on the photo that you like the best or best fits the theme of your contest.

5. Pick a theme and craft your contest post

Pick a theme for your Instagram contest — choose an upcoming holiday, current season, or popular trend. (For more ideas, check out our marketing calendar.)

Once you have your theme, take a creative and original picture to post on Instagram. Instagram is all about cool pictures and graphics, so post something high quality and eye-catching to your followers! You want your photo to stand out to followers. It is imperative that the photo is visually appealing to generate interest.

Keep words off your picture (except maybe a callout that it’s a giveaway or contest), and instead post relevant contest information in the description box. Keep it short and sweet. Clearly define all the rules so that people can enter correctly.

Make sure to include all of the eligibility guidelines in the comment of your photo such as, “Like to Win a Summer Tote Bag filled with beauty products! Must follow our account and like a photo to win. Contest ends on June 25th at 1 p.m. Eastern Time.” Be polite in the description so that you seem personable.

This Instagram contest caption clearly outlines the information and includes a fun, bold graphic:

instagram contests and giveaways - post about your contest on instagram

Image Source

It’s very important to refer to the Instagram promotion guidelines in your description. You must also acknowledge that the giveaway is not sponsored, endorsed, or administered by Instagram or associated with it.

6. Use Instagram contest hashtags

Perhaps the most important part of running an Instagram giveaway is to create a unique hashtag to post in the description. Using a custom hashtag for your business or contest will help increase engagement. This is especially important if the rules require others to repost the picture or post their own original photo as it files the photos together for easier access to find the entries.

The purpose of a hashtag is so that you can search the hashtag and find all of the posts related to your contest. The hashtag needs to be original so that unrelated pictures to the giveaway are not included. For example, a contest with #bakery is not specific enough. Unrefined Bakery uses its business name as a custom hashtag (#unrefinedbakery) so they can see any post that uses that tag.

instagram giveaway - use a custom hashtag

A unique hashtag specific to your business separates everything else. You can also include hashtags that are relevant to the giveaway post to generate new, organic participants and potential customers.

It’s important to research these hashtags ahead of time to ensure that the right audience is finding the picture. You want to make sure that the hashtag you use does not direct participants to irrelevant or negative content.

7. Promote the Instagram giveaway on social media

One of the best ways to use Instagram for your small business is to cross-promote your posts on other social media channels. After you post your giveaway, make sure to spread the word about it on your other various social platforms. This notifies customers that might not follow your Instagram that you’re running a contest. Post the details on your Facebook or Twitter account to encourage followers to check it out and enter the contest.

facebook giveaway - facebook contest entry method

Write a blog post about the contest related to the theme in order to further describe the entry details. If your company is connected to relevant bloggers, maybe ask them to write a post about it or share it on their social media.


What to do once your Instagram contest is over

Once your Instagram giveaway has ended, there’s still some work to do!

Pick a winner!

Use one of the methods we outlined earlier to select your winner and make their day!

Announce the winner of your Instagram contest

After your Instagram giveaway is over, make sure to announce the winner. Notify them on Instagram through a comment or private message. Thank the participants for entering and share the winner on Instagram in a separate post.

how to run an instagram giveaway - announce the winner

Image Source

If you’re running an Instagram photo contest, share their original picture and explain why you chose it. Engagement between you and your followers is important in making personable content and acquiring more followers or potential customers. Also, make sure to thank everyone that participated! Let them know that you appreciate the support of your business. This is important in ensuring future participation and support of the business.

And, if you’re planning additional contests or giveaways, make sure to let your audience know so they keep checking back for more opportunities to win!

Keep your new followers engaged

After you’ve run an Instagram contest, you’ll likely have a new crop of followers on the platform. So, now’s the time to keep them engaged by posting regularly on your Instagram page. We’ve got you covered with some ideas on what to post on Instagram.


How often to run an Instagram contest

Run the contests regularly! Instagram contests are great ways to frequently offer special promotions to your loyal customers that follow you. You could also link up with other local businesses and contribute to a group giveaway that reaches more of your target market.

how to run an instagram contest - partner with other businesses

This business partnered with other related businesses for a mega-prize for their Instagram contest.


Start running Instagram giveaways today

Instagram contests and giveaways can help you reach a new audience, engage your existing audience, and make your customers happy. By following these simple steps, you can run successful Instagram contests in no time!

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