Love them or hate them, there’s no denying that contests and giveaways are one of the best Instagram marketing hacks to grow your following.
Here’s why they work: they give you a chance to engage with your existing audience while drawing in new viewers and followers simultaneously. They’re among the best ways to drive interaction and boost your favorability with the Instagram algorithm. So give it a try and watch your Instagram engagement skyrocket!
If you’re stuck for ideas on your next giveaway, check out our list of contest ideas and some kick-ass Instagram giveaway examples to get some fresh inspiration.
Ways Instagram Contests Can Boost Your Engagement
Instagram giveaways are a great way to smash your Instagram KPIs. Aside from bringing in the results, here are a few more reasons you should consider adding Instagram contests to your social media marketing strategy:
Grow your following
Running a successful Instagram contest is a proven way to grow your audience. The best sweepstakes bring new viewers to your page, especially when one of the entry rules is having your Instagram followers or contestants tag a friend in the comments. Here’s a great example from cruelty-free haircare brand, eSalon:
Requiring tagged users to also follow the account extends the reach of the giveaway and guarantees you new followers. People love a contest, and if they feel your giveaway prize is valuable enough, they’ll make sure their friends are following so they can win.
Engage your audience
By nature, giveaways give your audience a chance to interact with your content and your brand. Sure, they bring in forms of engagement such as likes and comments. But more importantly, they pull your audience into your Instagram page and get them buzzing about what you’re doing on and offline.
This is especially relevant if your business has a brick-and-mortar or retail component. Use your Instagram contest or giveaway strategically to drive offline sales for your business. Check out how gelato brand Cremahh inspired their Instagram followers to snap a selfie with their fave gelato flavour and use the branded hashtag #creamahhgelato to win:
Collect user-generated content
Contests are a fantastic opportunity to inspire your audience to generate fresh (and free!) content for your Instagram page. A contest that focuses on UGC adds to your repertoire of digital marketing content and creates social proof to show followers and first-time page visitors why people love your brand.
Whether it’s caption contests, art submissions, or photo challenges, user-generated content is a great way to bring out your audience’s creative side and get your brand top of mind.
Check out how GoPro nails the user-generated content here:
How To Set Up a Successful Instagram Giveaway
- Set goals for your contest
The age-old saying is a dream without a goal is just a dream. Your goals will determine what kind of contest you’ll run.
Ask yourself: what are your reasons for running an Instagram giveaway? Are you trying to grow your audience before a new product launch? Get more email list subscribers? Or just build your following overall?
Whatever it is, figure out what you want to achieve early on. This will make tracking your success or ROI much more effortless.
- Set rules and time constraints
Like any contest, your Instagram giveaway needs to have rules. Whether it’s entry deadlines or actions your followers must take, they should be clear and straightforward. Otherwise, you risk losing participants. Make sure to include your contest rules directly in your caption to make it easy for your followers to find.
Sked-tip: add your giveaway rules in a list using numbers or bullet points for maximum scannability. Check out how online fitness coach Dani Lagerwey does it here:
Don’t forget to set time constraints for your Instagram contest! The end time and date of the contest as well as the time you’ll announce the results should be clear and adhered to when selecting a winner.
If your contest is only open to some geographic regions, include that somewhere, especially if you’re shipping out a physical prize or reward. Your giveaway costs can jump quickly when you factor in shipping to the other side of the world. Steer clear of the risk by including it in the rules right up front.
Lastly and perhaps most importantly, make sure your giveaway rules follow all laws and Instagram promotion guidelines. According to the guidelines, all promotions on Instagram must include the following:
- A complete release of Instagram by each entrant or participant
- Acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Instagram
You can easily add these statements into the bottom of your captions or in a comment to ensure you’re covered.
- Figure out what prize you’ll give away
Now for the fun part – choosing what prize you’ll offer the winner of your Instagram contest or giveaway!
Decide what it is your followers will compete for. A good rule of thumb is that the value of the prize should match the level of action you want your audience to take. This is the best way to maximize participation and make your Instagram contest worthwhile.
Ideally, the prize should be related to your company or brand in some way. Remember: the goal of your giveaway isn’t just to engage with your current audience; it’s to attract new leads and future brand fans.
While everyone loves prizes like cash or Amazon gift cards, it’s much better to attract followers who have a genuine interest in obtaining your product or service. It ensures everyone who enters is there for your brand, not just random people looking to earn a quick buck.
- Promote your Instagram giveaway
Now that you’re ready to get your contest up and running, you need to find ways to spread the word and build some hype around your contest.
Promote your Instagram giveaway as widely as possible. Post about it on your feed, share it to your Instagram Stories, or even use more engaging forms of content like Reels, a video announcement, or a gif to draw people in.
You don’t just have to rely on Instagram, either! Use other owned channels, like your website, other social media platforms, or even Facebook or Instagram ads to promote your giveaway. The Daily Hive does a great job promoting their giveaways below:
You can even use influencer marketing to help get the word out. Connect with popular influencers in your target market or your local area to help create some buzz around your Instagram contest and get the entries flowing.
The 10 Best Instagram Giveaway Ideas to Try
There’s no one way to run a successful Instagram giveaway. As long as your contest helps you engage with your target audience, you’re on the right track. So take risks, get creative, and try out one or all of the giveaway types on this list!
Below are our winning ideas to get those engagement numbers up and build a loyal following:
Like or comment to win
The most straightforward of the bunch, a good ole’ “like and comment to win” offers a simple yet effective style for your next Instagram giveaway.
The rules are straightforward: in your contest post or caption, include a call-to-action for participants to like and comment on the post to be entered to win.
With this style of giveaway, the barrier to entry is low. Plus, you don’t have to track entries through things like hashtags or forms. Less work is always a win in our books.
Here’s an example:
Tag a friend
A slight step up from the “like and comment to win”, tag a friend giveaways are the best way to bring new viewers to your page. Let your followers do the heavy lifting by adding a rule stating they must tag a friend (or two…or three…) in the comments to enter your giveaway.
By doing this, the tagged friends will receive a notification that leads them directly to your content and by extension, your account. In many cases, it will lead to the tagged friend following your page and maybe even entering your contest by tagging some of their friends.
Here’s an example from a #WorldChocolateDay giveaway hosted by Navitas Organics. Take a page out of their book by adding a rule that gives contestants an additional entry per friend tagged and watch your followers and engagement grow!
Photo challenge/user-generated content
Who doesn’t love a photo challenge? If your brand is product-based, photo challenges are a fun and effective way to collect user-generated content and build brand awareness with your contestants’ audiences.
Sked tip: Make sure to save the photos so you can reshare them to your brand page later. Don’t forget to credit the original poster.
There are tons of ways to run a photo contest. Run a selfie contest encouraging your Instagram followers to snap a pic with your products or ask them to post a Story and tag you. Offer bonus entries if they leave a review or testimonial to further demonstrate positive social proof for your brand.
Check out how IGers Boston inspired Boston photographers and artists with their Instagram photo challenge:
One of the most creative Instagram giveaway ideas is to post a photo or trending meme and ask your audience to submit their best caption. Use a photo or topic that’s associated with your brand in some way to build recognition.
The rules are simple: the caption that your team deems the most clever or entertaining is the winner. Outline the selection criteria you’ll use to pick a winner and any rules or guidelines to make sure things stay appropriate.
For example, fitness and nutrition company Trifecta offered a lifetime subscription to their app as the prize for their photo caption contest. Check it out:
Trivia games have been around forever. Why not bring this family favorite to your Instagram feed?
An Instagram trivia giveaway lets your followers show what they know and have fun while doing it. You can ask them questions about your brand, a historical fact, or even a trending topic or pop culture moment. Asking questions that tie to your brand is a sneaky but surefire way to educate people and inspire them to try your products and services.
Check out how Slinger Community Library does it here:
Since you’ll likely get a handful of correct answers, the best way to format a trivia giveaway is to randomly select a winner from the pool of people who answered the question correctly. Try a random name picker tool like Wheel of Names and record a video of you spinning the wheel for a fun winner reveal!
Repost or share to your Instagram Story
Along with liking, commenting and tagging a friend, offer additional giveaway entries for contestants who share the original giveaway post to their account.
Asking your audience to share is the best way to get your contest post seen in mass quantities. It gets more eyes on your content and, therefore, your page. Encourage them to personalize their Stories by adding GIFs, tag stickers, and polls to see whether their followers have tried your products.
Whenever a user shares a post via the Repost app or their Story, you’ll get a notification from Instagram. This makes it easy to track who’s sharing and pick a winner.
Get inspired by mom and model Elise Della’s giveaway here:
As a social media manager, we know you work hard to build your account’s following. Celebrate in style with a follower milestone giveaway!
Whether it’s 100 or 10,000 followers, a follower milestone celebration is the perfect way to give back to your audience and thank them for their support. It’s also an excellent means to keep that upward momentum and drive even more social traffic to your account.
Sked tip: If you’re just shy of the follower milestone you’re trying to hit, entice your audience with an upcoming giveaway to motivate them to share your page and get you over that last hump.
Check out how Steinway & Sons reached 10k followers on Instagram using this strategy:
Hashtags are a powerhouse for Instagram reach. Not only do they give Instagram users a way to browse the platform for content that suits their interests, but they also drive brand awareness. Even better – using a branded hashtag in your Instagram giveaway gives you an easy way to sort through contest entries and UGC generated as a result. It’s a win-win.
To use hashtags in your contest, invite participants to add a photo or Story with the hashtag to be entered to win. Ensure the hashtag clearly conveys a) your brand or company name or b) a topic of interest or relevance to your brand.
Check out how finance tech company Mint used their #MyMintMoment campaign to inspire their followers to reflect on a happy memory and share a time when a finance dream came true:
Link in bio forms/email list signups
The best social media marketers know that while gaining new followers feels good, your social media campaigns should also take the relationship one step further. Driving people to sign up for your contest using the link in your bio allows you to generate new leads for your business by capturing participants’ names, emails, and any other info that might interest you.
Since this type of contest goes beyond a simple like and involves users handing over valuable contact information, make sure the reward is intriguing for your audience. It could be a larger prize like a vacation or a free subscription to your software service for the next six months. Whatever it is, make sure it’s worthwhile.
To set it up, simply add the form or mailing list signup to the link in your bio. Then, in your post, let people know that they must fill out the form completely to be entered to win.
Looking for a bio link tool that does all this and more? Check out Sked Link to add buttons to anywhere on the web using an on-brand gallery of your Instagram posts.
Collaboration with other brands
Last but certainly not least are joint giveaways, or giveaway collaborations hosted by multiple brands. This contest style is a favorite among small businesses.
Slide into the DMs of fellow local businesses, or reach out to brands whose audience you’d like to tap into and ask if they want to partner with you for your contest.
Not only can giveaway collaborations help you reach new audiences, they increase the value of your prize and attract more audience participation.
To enter, ask your audience to follow both brands and include a photo or carousel featuring both your products. Remedy Organics and Bitsy Brain Food made their contest twice the fun here:
Sked tip: Don’t forget to use Instagram’s new Collabs feature so you can all share the engagement from your giveaway post.
Manage Your Instagram Giveaway Like a Pro With an Instagram-First Social Media Tool
Now that you have everything you need to know to run a successful giveaway, you need the right tool to put it into action.
Sked Social’s Instagram-first tool lets you keep an eye on your contests in real-time. Our easy-to-use feed planner allows you to slide your giveaway content into your feed in an attractive and cohesive way, while detailed analytics let you analyze and learn from your giveaway post.
Try out a free trial today!