From Likes to Freebies: How To Do a Giveaway on Instagram

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Karen Lin

Instagram 101 | Jul 04, 2024

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Is there anyone you can name off the top of your head who would say no to free stuff? We didn’t think so. Everybody loves getting things for free, whether a gift card or an all-expense-paid stay at a luxury hotel. That might explain why people love joining Instagram giveaways if they have a shot at winning a cool, free prize. And today, we’re teaching brands and creators how to do a giveaway on Instagram to engage their target audience.

Giveaways may be super fun and have chilled, laid-back vibes. But a lot of thought and work goes into mounting one successfully. Let’s break down these contests and the best way to do a giveaway on Instagram based on your goals. Depending on your niche, we’ll also throw in some cool creative ideas for your giveaways!

Gift boxes with ribbons in different colors.

What Is a Giveaway on Social Media?

Social media giveaways are online marketing events brands run to give users a chance to win a free prize. Brands will typically set the criteria participants need to meet to join the contest. These include liking a post, following the brand’s account, sharing content on their Story, and more. From the pool of participants, the brand chooses a winner who gets the prize.

Giveaways are a terrific opportunity for brands and creators to give back to their fans. Offering a cool prize up for grabs is an awesome way to say thanks to everyone who supports your brand.

At the same time, giveaway posts are also a great way to grow your presence on your social media platforms. They generate a lot of buzz, which leads to more visibility for your account. They’re great for boosting brand awareness and increasing your follower count.

It also drives tons of engagement, especially if your giveaway rules contain a like, comment, or share component. That makes it an amazing audience engagement strategy if you need to raise those engagement metrics and connect with fans.

Finally, giveaway content can create a sense of community among those joining the contest. This is especially true when your promotion guidelines require people to interact in the comments. It’s a great way to build and strengthen your online community through something fun and creative.

Scrabble letters forming the phrase, “Join us”, with cute rainbow and heart trinkets against a colorful background.

Why Do People Like Joining Giveaways?

People love joining giveaways because they get cool stuff for free and with minimal effort. With a few taps to like, share, and comment on a post, they stand a chance at winning fun prizes. These prizes include free products, gift cards, discounts, exclusive access to sales, club memberships, concert tickets, and so much more.

But aside from cool prizes, joining a giveaway also has an emotional pull. According to Psychology Today, people experience a positive charge of emotion when someone offers them a free gift. It feels kind of like a reward, especially when people need to pay for most things to experience and enjoy.

That’s why it’s super important for brands to make giveaways fun and engaging, not merely superficial. It’s a chance to genuinely pique your target audience’s curiosity and make them happy and excited about your brand. So, drum up the excitement and develop the most interesting giveaway mechanics you can when planning your contest!

A woman holding a small gift box with a red yarn bow in her hands.

How To Do a Giveaway on Instagram To Gain Followers

As mentioned earlier, running a giveaway is a terrific method for getting more followers on Instagram. But to meet this goal, you must craft your giveaway to boost your follower count strategically. Here’s how to do a giveaway on Instagram to gain followers, step by step:

1. Pick a prize your target audience will like. Your prize should be something you know will entice your followers and potential customers to join the contest. For example, if you’re a fitness brand, put some dumbbells or a gym membership up for grabs. 

2. Set your giveaway rules and mechanics. Decide what exactly you want others to do to snag a spot in your participant pool. Should they like the post, share it, follow it, comment on it, or do something else entirely? 

3. Create your giveaway post. Use high-quality photos to make your content look visually enticing. In the post caption, clearly explain the details of your promotion guidelines and mechanics. Highlight the prize to generate buzz and excitement about it!

4. Promote your giveaway. Consider cross-promoting it on your other social media platforms or partnering with Instagram influencers who can promote it on their pages.

5. Choose your winner and announce it. Select a winner using a third-party randomizer or by choosing the best entry yourself (if your mechanics call for it!). Then, announce your winner publicly for transparency. Contact them about how you can give them the prize.

How Do You Choose a Winner for Your Giveaway?

Choosing a winner for your giveaway is a sensitive task. A lot is riding on this decision, especially since many people are crossing their fingers to win your prize. So, it’s important to do it fairly and justly.

Some brands compile a list of usernames who participated in the giveaway in a spreadsheet. Then, they choose a winner at random from there.

However, many issues can arise from this method. There could be human error, like missing out on some names or adding ones that didn’t follow the mechanics properly. The method of choosing a winner at random from a list can also be questionable. Is it really random if you scroll through the spreadsheet and select a name where your cursor lands?

So, a better way to choose a giveaway winner is by using a random giveaway winner picker tool. These third-party tools automate winner selection at the touch of a button. You tell the tool your mechanics, and they pool all eligible participants for you. Then, they generate a winner at random.

There are many online winner-picker tools, including You to Gift and Simpliers. On both sites, you give your giveaway post link. Then, you choose whether the tool should pick a winner from the post’s likes and comments or your brand’s followers. The tool then chooses the winner for you.

Of course, some giveaways have more objective mechanics, like those that require content submission or writing the funniest comment. For these giveaways, it’s important to have clear criteria for judging. Collect all the entries and review them fairly. As you evaluate and score them, pick out the best ones and put them on a shortlist. From there, choose the entry you think deserves the prize the most.

A happy man holding up a trophy with one hand and doing a thumbs-up sign with the other.

How To Do a Giveaway on Instagram and Facebook at the Same Time

Is your brand active on both Instagram and Facebook? If it is, you may be wondering how to do a giveaway on Instagram and Facebook simultaneously.

Running a giveaway on these two platforms is a terrific way to engage your entire community without leaving anyone out. It’s a smart way to streamline your promotion efforts while scaling your giveaway and making it as big as possible.

If you want to know how to do an Instagram giveaway that is linked with Facebook, we’re here to tell you it is super easy. You can follow the same steps above when crafting this giveaway. However, the key is to cross-post your giveaway content to Facebook when you’re posting it on Instagram. To do that, turn on the Share to Facebook toggle right before publishing your Instagram post. That way, it automatically posts the same content on Facebook.

The only tricky part about running a giveaway on both platforms is selecting your winner. Third-party winner selector tools typically only ask for an Instagram link to automate winner selection.

So, if you run a contest on both platforms, you’ll need to choose your winner manually. That means having to create a spreadsheet of participants and manually verifying if they fit the criteria to win.

How To Do a Free Giveaway on Instagram

A handful of people don’t get as excited when they see brand-run giveaways with a purchase component. This includes user-generated content that requires you to showcase a brand’s product, which means you’ll have to purchase it.

So, it’s important to host “free” giveaways that strongly communicate that there is no purchase required to join. Here are some of our tips on how to do a free giveaway on Instagram to entice everyone to join:

  • Highlight in both your giveaway image post and the caption that joining the contest is absolutely free. There’s no need to pay for or buy anything to stand a chance at winning.
  • Use the term “free giveaway” instead of just “giveaway” to drive the point home. This reiterates to any interested participant that there are no hidden costs to joining the contest.
  • Emphasize the super easy mechanics of joining your giveaway, like liking or commenting on a post. Include phrases like “No purchase necessary!” in your caption at the end of your mechanics, too.

3 Instagram Contest Ideas According To Your Niche

Now that you know how to do a giveaway, it’s time to get creative with the promos you run. Ensure your giveaways align with your niche to grab your target audience’s attention. That way, they’ll be super excited to join!

Are you not sure what kind of giveaway or contest to host for your brand? Here are some fun, creative, meaningful Instagram contest ideas for some popular niches from which you can draw inspiration.

1. For Fashion and Beauty: Best GRWM or OOTD Post Contest

Beauty or fashion influencers and brands can host giveaways for followers willing to post their own content. Then, they can offer prizes like gift cards for skincare stores, trending makeup, and clothes that make up full, head-to-toe outfits.

If you’re in the fashion space, consider hosting an “outfit of the day” or OOTD contest. Encourage your followers to post their best fits and use your brand hashtag in the caption. The post with the prettiest outfit wins the prize!

Makeup challenges also work well for beauty brands and influencers. Set a clear brief for a makeup look, with a key color palette or specific theme. Then, ask people to post their makeup looks related to that brief for a chance to win.

A young woman taking photos of herself on her phone while holding up some clothes.

2. For Travel Pages: Share Your Fave Travel Memories and Tips To Win

If you have a travel brand, consider running a giveaway to offer someone a chance to travel. You can include a jaw-dropping prize like some plane tickets or an all-expense-paid stay at your favorite resort. Prizes like that are guaranteed to attract the attention of your target audience while boosting engagement for your page!

Then, have fun with your mechanics. In your post, ask people to comment on what country they want to travel to most. You could also ask them to share their favorite travel memory or most helpful travel tips for other jetsetters. Then, pick the best answer (or use an online winner picker tool) to choose your winner.

A woman looking out into a lake and mountains while wearing a hat and the Canadian flag around her shoulders.

3. For Book Accounts: How To Do a Book Giveaway on Instagram

When thinking of how to do a book giveaway on Instagram, first think of what books people are interested in. Are your followers inclined to read romance? History? Murder mysteries? Non-fiction? Then, choose a trending book under those genres.

Hold a contest that allows people to share stories about their reading journey. Ask people to comment on their favorite book quotes or monthly book recs for a chance to win. A bookshelf photo challenge also sounds exciting, especially for avid readers and book collectors.

If you’re an author, consider hosting a book review contest. The best review of your old books will win advanced copies of your upcoming books!

A woman sitting on the floor and reading a book next to a bookshelf.

Host a Successful Giveaway To Grow Your IG Page Today!

Giveaways are fantastic for offering small gifts and prizes to your loyal fans and new potential customers. They also boost your engagement rates and could potentially increase your follower count. If you’re trying to strengthen your social media presence while having fun with it, consider running your first giveaway today.

Now that you know how to do a giveaway on Instagram, the next step is to promote your giveaway post. That way, it can reach more people, meaning more post interactions and new followers for your brand.

We at Path Social help your content reach the right people, including fun posts like these. Here’s how it works. You tell us about your target audience, and we push your content to reach their feeds. This boost in visibility leads to more followers, likes, comments, and even participants in your giveaway. Work with Path Social to promote your engaging content and gain more followers today!