Giveaway Ideas To Spark Your Fanbase’s Competitive Spirit

Profile photo of Karen Lin, author

Karen Lin

Instagram 101 | May 21, 2024

Want More Real Instagram Followers?

Instagram giveaways are among the best audience engagement strategies any brand can execute to engage relevant audiences. People’s ears perk up when they hear about free stuff, discounts, and fun prizes. Plus, plenty of loyal brand fans might have a competitive spirit, so they’ll likely be up for a fun contest. But to run a successful giveaway, you must come up with engaging giveaway ideas to lure audiences in first.

A giveaway is an awesome way to promote your brand in a fun way. It’s a way to reward loyal fans and attract new potential customers. But while giveaways are lighthearted and fun, you still need to plan them according to your brand’s objectives. You can’t just run with the first fun contest you can think of. They need to have an end goal in mind.

Not sure how to plan the right type of giveaway for your brand? Don’t worry, we’ve got you. Keep scrolling to see ideas to draw inspiration from for your promotional giveaway, depending on your goals. We’ll even throw in tips on how to mount a giveaway!

A pink gift box tied using a gold ribbon with gold confetti around it.

What Is a Giveaway on Instagram?

Everybody who has spent at least some time on Instagram knows what a giveaway is. It’s a promotional contest run by a brand that encourages participants to do a specific action. It could be anything from liking the post to publishing their content promoting the brand’s offerings. In return, these participants stand to win a special prize, whether it’s free products or discounts from the brand.

But aside from engaging relevant audiences and giving out prizes to loyal fans, what is a giveaway really for?

A successful giveaway can boost a brand’s reach and visibility. Participants typically share, comment, and tag friends in these types of posts, spreading the message by word-of-mouth. This can lead to high engagement rates, better brand awareness, and an increase in followers.

Plus, a brand can gain tons of positive sentiment from its target audience after running a giveaway. People appreciate when a brand is generous enough to give out prizes to customers through their social channels. It also shows potential customers that your brand doesn’t take itself too seriously and knows how to have fun.

So, you see, the main point of a giveaway is to let loose and reward loyal customers. However, that’s not all that there is to it. Giveaways are also amazing marketing tools that help put your brand on the map and bring attention to your brand.

Three happy male athletes wearing gold medals with confetti around them.

How To Run Your Promotional Giveaway in 6 Easy Steps

The thought of executing your brand’s first promotional giveaway can be kind of overwhelming. There’s so much to think about. What prizes should you give out? How should you announce your contest? Will anyone join the giveaway after they read the mechanics, or will people think it’s too much of a hassle?

Take a deep breath and relax. An Instagram giveaway should be fun, even for the brand owners running it. To make things easier for you, we’ve laid out every step you need to take to run a successful giveaway. Here’s how to do it in six easy steps.

1. Define the Objective of Your Giveaway

The first thing you want to do is have a clear idea of what your giveaway’s purpose is. What exactly do you want this promotional giveaway to do for your brand? What are your goals? Setting goals allows you to craft the mechanics of your giveaway so that the whole project aligns with your goals.

For example, let’s say that your main goal on Instagram right now is to get more followers. That tells you that your giveaway should have some sort of “follow to join the giveaway” mechanic. If you’d like to improve your engagement rates, then your giveaway call-to-action should be to comment on your brand’s posts. It’s all about knowing your key objectives and developing a fun giveaway that allows you to meet those goals.

Plus, knowing your objectives is the only way to measure whether your giveaway efforts were successful. If you meet those goals at the end of the contest, it means the project was fruitful. It’s a good sign that you should consider doing it again in the future.

2. Pin Down Your Giveaway Mechanics

Next, you have to decide on your giveaway mechanics—a.k.a. what participants must do to enter the giveaway. The mechanics should clearly state the action points participants need to do to stand a chance at winning the prize.

Your mechanics should drive engagement on your post and achieve your brand’s main goals. It can be anywhere from liking a certain post to sharing their photos or videos and tagging your brand. That said, it’s better to keep your mechanics simple. The easier it is to follow your mechanics, the more participants will be interested in joining the giveaway.

Here are some examples of Instagram giveaway mechanics. Choose one (or craft your own) that lines up with the overall goal you wish to achieve with the giveaway.

  • “Follow our account and like this post to enter the giveaway!”
  • “Tag three friends in the comments section for a chance to win a prize!”
  • “Like and share this post on your Instagram Story and tell us what you love about our brand.”
  • “Comment your favorite emoji down below to join!”
  • “Post a photo with your favorite [brand] products and use our hashtag for a chance to win.”

3. Decide on What Prize You’d Like To Give Away

The prize is the biggest pull an Instagram giveaway has. If you have an interesting, exciting prize up for grabs, more people will want to join your giveaway. Make sure you select prizes that will resonate with potential participants and motivate them to enter the contest.

Remember, the giveaway prize is kind of like a reward for loyal customers who engage with your content. Make sure it’s something they will love and that they’ll find useful. Here are some prize options you might want to give to your contest’s winners:

  • A gift card or voucher for the next time they shop at your brand’s website.
  • Free samples of your products for them to try out.
  • A bundle of your bestselling products—all full-size. This is a terrific jackpot prize for major giveaways and campaigns.
  • A special discount code just for them. According to 2 Visions, people are two times more likely to buy a product if it has a 20% discount. This will be awesome for boosting sales.
  • Tickets to special events or shows.
  • Digital products and resources, such as service subscriptions and e-books.

An Adidas gift card lying on a table.

4. Publish Your Giveaway Post on Instagram and Promote It Like Crazy

Next, you want to create your official giveaway post. Make sure to have eye-catching, exciting visuals and captions that will pique people’s interest and get them to join.

Put all the information potential participants need to know about the giveaway in the caption. That includes the mechanics, duration of the giveaway, geographic restrictions for participants when the winner will be announced, and more. And of course, don’t forget to mention the prize. Cleaning outlining every detail of the giveaway prevents any kind of potential confusion among participants.

Then, when the giveaway post is up, it’s time to promote it as much as you can. Share your post on Instagram Stories to ensure every single one of your followers doesn’t miss it. Tap influencers that your target audience loves to make noise about the giveaway on their social channels. Send out an email to your brand’s mailing list or run Instagram ads.

Do everything you can to reach as many people as possible. After putting in the leg work, all that’s left to do is sit back and watch those entries roll in.

A female influencer taking a selfie.

5. Use an Instagram Giveaway Picker To Draw the Winner

When you’ve received enough entries—or when the contest’s end date is drawing nearer—it’s time to select a winner. There are two ways to go about this.

First, for more subjective contests based on creative user-generated content and active participation, you’ll need to choose a winner yourself. Pick a winner based on the quality and effort they put into their entries.

Meanwhile, for giveaways where the entry is the same for everyone, you must draw a winner at random. This includes giveaways with simple like, share, tag, and follow mechanics.

Use an Instagram giveaway picker (there are plenty to choose from online) to give everyone a fair shot at winning. Not only is this fair, but it makes it easier to pick a winner from a larger pool of participants. You can even record the process of drawing the random winner to post it for transparency during the official announcement.

A gold medal on a yellow surface next to gold confetti and letter beads that spell the word “WINNER.”

6. Announce the Winner and Contact Them So They Can Claim Their Prize

Now for the final step—announcing the winner and closing the giveaway. You can announce the winner however you want, whether on a separate feed post or Instagram Stories. The important thing is that you make a public announcement about it. That way, there’s full transparency about the giveaway process, assuring participants that it was a fair contest.

Then, reach out to the winner through a private direct message. Congratulate them on the win first, then ask for the necessary information you need to deliver their prize to them.

For digital prizes and discount codes, this could mean just their email address. For physical products, you’ll need their name, address, and contact number for shipping. After sending out their prize, follow up with them to ensure they receive the items at the right time.

A man wearing a tuxedo smiling while holding a trophy.

Small Business Giveaway Ideas To Boost Brand Awareness and Follower Growth

Small businesses that are new to the social media scene are probably keen on boosting brand awareness. If their social media accounts are still new, they might also want to get more followers on Instagram.

Aside from typical marketing strategies, hosting a giveaway is an awesome way to get your young business on the map. It can spread the word about your brand and what it stands for. When people come across your page through the giveaway, they might follow your page, giving you a higher follower count.

Do you want to run a contest to give your new business a leg up in the Instagram world? Here are some small business giveaway ideas you might want to incorporate in your first brand contest.

Follow and Tag Friends for a Chance at the Prize

To increase your follower count, consider hosting a follow-train giveaway. The mechanics of this type of giveaway are simple. Every participant needs to follow your account. Then, they’ll tag several friends in the comments. What this does is increase your follower count while simultaneously exposing you to new, potential followers and customers.

The magic in a giveaway like this lies in the tagging friends component of each entry. It’s straightforward and does the job of maximizing your post’s potential reach. You can ask participants to tag a sizable number of friends to get a higher reach on your post. Around three to five friends in one comment will do.

You could also position this component as a “the more tags, the more chances of winning!” thing. That means every person can do an unlimited number of tags. Not only does it spread awareness of your brand to more people, but it increases the number of comments on the post, too. This will do wonders for both your follower count and engagement rates.

Brand-Focused Trivia Challenges

As a small, new business, you want to introduce your brand to potential customers in the best way possible. A giveaway is your chance to get people to learn more about your company and what you have to offer. You can do that with a trivia challenge.

This type of giveaway is a Q&A contest that involves you posing questions about the brand. The giveaway participants try to answer the question in the comments. The first one to get it right (or one chosen by a random winner-picker) gets the prize!

While this giveaway might require more active participation from the audience, it’s amazing for brand awareness. You can use it as an opportunity to share all the awesome things about your brand. You can put your brand advocacy, products, and even history in the spotlight. It’s a fantastic way to boost brand awareness and get people to remember your business.

Here are some trivia questions you can draw inspiration from for a giveaway like this. Note that all these questions are very pointed and have the sole purpose of educating potential customers about your brand.

  • “What is the key ingredient in all our moisturizing hair products?”
  • “Our brand mascot is what animal?”
  • “What type of sustainable fabric are all of your clothing products made with?”
  • “A quarter of our profits go to a cause close to our heart. What foundation is this?”

Giveaway Ideas for Businesses That Want More User-Generated Content

User-generated content (or UGC) refers to social media posts featuring a brand’s products made by real customers, never paid endorsers. These posts can come in the form of product reviews, photos of customers using products, podcasts, and more.

Brands love getting UGC from their loyal customers for many reasons. For one thing, it’s way more authentic than polished, overly curated digital ads a brand makes. People will see it as more unbiased and genuine. It also shows them the brand’s products and services used by real people in their real everyday lives. It’s basically social proof that the brand is trustworthy.

Another reason brands love when customers create posts about their products is that it’s cost-effective content creation for them. Instead of spending big bucks on expensive photoshoots for their ads, they can simply repost authentic, visually appealing user-generated content.

But did you know that Instagram giveaways can help increase the number of UGCs a brand receives? Contests are a terrific way to inspire customers to tap into their creative side and post about your brand. So, here are some giveaway ideas for businesses that want to see more UGC from their loyal followers.

A Video or Photo Contest Featuring Your Products

Holding a video or photo contest for your giveaway is a super smart and fun way to earn user-generated content. Ask your followers to create stunning content featuring your brand’s products to enter the giveaway.

Position the contest as an Instagram challenge to awaken your followers’ competitive spirits. This allows them to go beyond passive participation and get their creative juices flowing to join your giveaway.

Be as clear as possible when you write your mechanics for your video or photo contest. Tell them if you want them to post stunning visuals of your product. Or maybe you care more about loyal customers sharing why they love your products in the photo caption. Let them know what you’re looking for. Then, select the best, most high-quality entry as the winner.

Regardless of who wins the giveaway, remember to thank every participant for joining the contest. Joining a photo contest is ten times harder than liking or sharing a post. Acknowledge their efforts and ask for permission to repost their beautiful social media post in the future. Then, keep it in your bank of UGCs you can pull out and post one day.

A woman taking an aesthetically pleasing flat-lay photo of fruits.

Hashtag Creation Contests

Every brand needs a signature hashtag. They can use that engaging, catchy tag on all their social media posts. Plus, they can encourage customers to use it when they post UGC, too.

But even the best marketers might find it challenging to craft the perfect hashtag for a brand. So, why not make a game out of it and crowdsource for possible branded hashtags with a giveaway?

Instead of a simple liking contest, ask people to come up with the best hashtag they can for your brand. Then, tell them that the brand will use the winner’s hashtag for future campaigns. To make it even more attractive to them, offer up a giveaway prize they can’t refuse. The catchiest one that aligns with your brand personality wins!

Give them specific things you’re looking for. For example, hashtags should include the brand name, be short and sweet, and paint the business in a positive light. You can also require them to mention a brand product if you’re holding the contest for a specific campaign.

You can ask participants to comment on their hashtag entries on your giveaway post. Once the deadline for submissions has passed, go through the comments and find the most creative ones.

Announce the winners, send them their prizes, and thank them for your new branded hashtag. Now, you have tons of cool hashtags for various posts and a signature tag that’s sure to make waves online.

A mural with the hashtag #JustDidIt.

Cheap Giveaway Ideas That Won’t Break the Bank

Brand owners don’t need to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to run a successful giveaway on Instagram. There are plenty of ways to run affordable giveaways while still making it fun and worthwhile for the participants.

If you want to be more cost-conscious when you run your IG giveaway, cut down on your prize costs. Instead of giving away gift cards or expensive product bundles, think of affordable yet exciting prizes your audience will love.

Consider giving out coupons, digital products like e-books, exclusive access to new products, limited subscriptions to your services, and more. These won’t cost you an arm and a leg, but they’ll still be valuable to any appreciative customer.

That said, cutting down on your expenses for prizes isn’t the only way to run a cost-conscious giveaway. You can also save on big bucks by planning out an affordable, practical giveaway that won’t break the bank. Here are some cheap giveaway ideas you should consider if your business is on a tight marketing budget.

Low-Maintenance Flash Giveaways

The most expensive giveaways are probably those that last far too long. If you have a giveaway that lasts weeks to a full month, you’ll spend a lot of money on promotions. That means potentially blowing your budget on ads, influencer shout-outs, email marketing, and more.

So, instead of making it a huge, expensive project, why not do a quick flash giveaway? This type of giveaway is time-limited and only lasts for a short period. You can do one-day quickfire contests or even 60-minute Happy Hour giveaways.

The key is to have a super quick turnaround time to avoid having to spend so much money on marketing. They’re quick and cheap but still fun for loyal customers eyeing the prize.

An hourglass with red sand flowing down.

Feedback Contest With Cheap Prizes To Gain Insights From Loyal Customers

If you’re on a budget, you might be looking for ways to gain insights about customers without breaking the bank. Aside from cutting costs on your prizes, you can also use quick, affordable giveaways to extract feedback from potential customers. How? With a simple feedback contest.

The mechanics of a feedback giveaway is simple. Pose a question about your products in your giveaway post. Then, ask participants to share their answers in the comments. That way, you can gain insights into what people like or don’t like about your business.

For example, if you’re a clothing brand, ask your followers what their favorite designs are from your brand. The answers will give you an idea of what products are doing well and which ones need more marketing push. Then, simply use an Instagram giveaway picker to draw an official winner.

Remember, to cut down on your expense for this type of giveaway, offer up an enriching, useful, but affordable prize. That way, you’ll be saving money from your cost-conscious prizes while getting pertinent customer insights for free. It’s like hitting two birds with one stone!

Want More People To See Your Giveaway? Path Social Can Help!

Instagram giveaways are such a treat for a brand’s followers, both old and new. It can incentivize loyal customers, boost brand awareness and discoverability, and reach new heights for your IG page’s engagement.

If you want your giveaway to be as successful as possible, remember our tips above. Make your giveaway easy and interesting while keeping your brand at the forefront. Offer up a special prize that any of your followers would be happy to win. And most importantly, make sure your mechanics align with your brand’s overall Instagram goals.

Do you want more people to see and join your contests when you turn these Instagram giveaway ideas into a reality? Path Social can help with that by helping you grow your Instagram community.

With our in-house influencer database and targeting algorithm, we find your target audience and push out your content to them. That way, your posts reach the people they will most resonate with. As a result, you can expect stellar engagement rates and a significant uptick in your follower count. Enlist our help today and see how fast you can grow your online community!