Host an Instagram Giveaway: Increase Engagement With Promotional Contests

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Karen Lin

Instagram 101 | May 24, 2024

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If you are a frequent social media user, you are probably familiar with the rise of Instagram giveaways and contests. This trend popped up overnight and is taking your feed by storm. Brands, businesses, and influencers everywhere are hosting these promotional contests. In fact, you’ve probably even entered a few of them yourself. And if you are lucky, you even win something.

From a business standpoint, it may interest you to host one of your own. If so, you may wonder how exactly an Instagram giveaway works. The format and rules can change, but the overall concept and general idea will remain the same.

That said, we are here to fill you in on all the details, from why you should host a giveaway to the steps needed to create your own. Read on and get ready to expand your reach with this proven social media marketing tool.

Two friends celebrating after winning an Instagram giveaway.

What Is an Instagram Giveaway?

So, what exactly is an Instagram giveaway? It’s just as it sounds – a contest that takes place through the social media app. Basically, these giveaways are time-sensitive social promotions that encourage participants to enter for a chance to win a product or service. There can be one or many winners, and the prizes can range in value and size.

Instagram giveaway posts are used mostly as a marketing tool for brands, businesses, and influencers. They offer the host a way to connect with hundreds of people and increase their engagement rate and overall reach. While the entry rules can vary, most require participation with their Instagram content. This helps to create a buzz around the product or brand in question, giving the brand or influencer better visibility and free promotion.

It’s important to know that most of these giveaways are not endorsed, sponsored, or promoted by Instagram. In fact, you should always include this terminology in the giveaway details. This absolves the social media app of any involvement. So, remember to research the company or individual hosting the giveaway – along with all rules and requirements. This way, you have peace of mind while hopefully scoring great prizes.

A person using their smartphone to enter an Instagram giveaway.

Benefits of a Giveaway Instagram Post

You may wonder why brands and businesses would take to social media to run an Instagram giveaway. Do they prove that useful in terms of engagement and reach? The answer is yes – if done correctly. There are many benefits of this type of marketing promotion. Let’s take a look at a couple.

One of the main reasons to run an Instagram giveaway is obviously for brand recognition and visibility. This can be especially helpful if you are a new brand or even introducing a new product to your lineup. Highlighting the benefits of a new product is a great way to entice your followers to enter to win. It can even lead to increased product purchases if they don’t win.

Another benefit of a social media contest is to boost your Instagram engagement rate. As we mentioned before, these contests require some sort of participation for entry. This means that people who wish to enter need to engage with your account somehow.

This can include liking a giveaway Instagram post or answering a question in the comments section. A higher engagement rate will help ensure your content will be seen at the top of your follower’s algorithm.

Hosting an Instagram giveaway can also help you gain new followers. To do this, consider requiring entrants to share your post or tag a certain number of friends in the comments. In turn, you get new eyes on your Instagram profile and business. This is free promotion done on behalf of the person entering the contest.

Man using his computer to enter an Instagram giveaway.

Instagram Giveaway Ideas: 3 Ways to Run a Contest

Now that we’ve covered the what and why let’s get into the how. Are you a brand, business, or influencer interested in hosting your Instagram giveaway? If so, you may find yourself quickly overwhelmed.

After all, there are so many giveaway ideas, and it’s tricky to narrow them down. Allow us to help. Keep reading as we cover three Instagram giveaway ideas and common contest recommendations. These are all easy to run and can be incorporated into your business marketing plans.

1. Instagram Giveaway Idea: Photo Contest

Our first idea for an Instagram giveaway is to host a product photo contest. The rules for this are simple. You require your followers to create, post and share their own user-generated content for entry. The topic of submissions can vary. For example, you can ask them to photograph their favorite nature shot or an artistic selfie.

To incorporate your brand, consider requiring a piece of your merchandise in the shot. This works well for established brands that already have a large customer base. You should also think about adding a disclaimer that your social media accounts can repost all submitted entries. This way, you will have plenty of content to use in the future.

Hosting a photo contest will involve more time and effort on your end when awarding the prize. You’ll need to take the time to review each submission to thoughtfully choose a winner.

2. Instagram Giveaway Idea: The Follow Loop

Another popular Instagram giveaway is a concept referred to as a loop. Influencers frequently use this promotion strategy method on social media apps. Wondering what it entails? With the loop concept, groups of influencers will partner together to create the giveaway. Typically, they pool their money together to offer the prize or simply do a cash value winning.

Next, they will create the loop. Each influencer will share the same content to their Instagram feed. In the post, they will each tag one other influencer involved in the giveaway. The entry rules are simple. You must click through to each tagged influencer’s profile and follow their account. Typically, once you get back to the original account where you found the giveaway, you’ll need to comment or like the post.

This Instagram giveaway method has many benefits, one of which is follower growth. You are increasing your audience and reach by requiring a person to follow all accounts involved for entry. Of course, some followers may fall off once the giveaway is complete. However, the remaining ones will typically be long-term followers that align with your identified target audience.

3. Instagram Giveaway Idea: Require Content Engagement

Perhaps the most common type of Instagram giveaway requires entrants to engage with the host’s Instagram account. By this, we mean liking, sharing, or commenting on the giveaway post. As the contest host, you can require one method of engagement for entry – or even all three.

When it comes to commenting, there are a number of options you have. For example, you can require people to tag a certain number of friends in the comments. You can also ask them to answer a certain question or leave a comment related to a topic. These will all be requirements for eligibility to win.

The major bonus of using this type of Instagram giveaway idea is the obvious increase in engagement you will receive. The more people you can get to interact with your profile and feed posts, the better. Wondering why? As we previously mentioned, a higher engagement rate will help ensure your content will be seen at the top of your follower’s algorithm. It’s all about understanding how to correctly work the system.

Women using her phone to host an Instagram giveaway.

How to Do a Giveaway on Instagram

Now you are all caught up on what an Instagram giveaway is, along with a few ideas of contests you can host. Let’s move right along to the steps you need to take to actually create and run a giveaway on the social media app. With our help, you’ll be ready to manage your own in no time.

However, it may surprise you to learn that there is a lot involved in running these giveaways. You need to establish rules and create interesting content to support the contest, as well as track and select a winner. Don’t worry. We are here to walk you through the steps. Below, we will teach you all about how to do a giveaway on Instagram. Take notes, as you’ll want these on hand to incorporate into your future marketing goals.

Create Your Content With an Instagram Giveaway Template

First, you’ll want to create the announcement for your Instagram giveaway. To do this, we suggest using an Instagram giveaway template. Why? Well, for one, it makes your job a little easier. A template can also give off a more professional feel, which is a significant plus for up-and-coming brands and influencers.

If this idea interests you, do a quick internet search for available giveaway templates. You will find a variety to choose from, some that are free and some that may cost money. With a quick download, you’ll be able to customize it specifically to your liking.

You can often change up colors, text font, and design elements. You can create a few templates and add multiple photos to your Instagram story or post. Using a template makes it easy to say what you want and how you want.

Remember, the announcement post should include prize details, contest rules, and other important information about the Instagram giveaway. Don’t worry. We will dive more into those topics below. You will also want to include this information in the post’s caption. That way, there are no surprises or hidden details about your giveaway. The clearer you can be with your audience, the better.

Set Your Instagram Giveaway Rules

Next, you’ll want to establish the contest rules for your Instagram giveaway. This includes entry requirements, the duration of the contest running time, and prize details. Will the contest run for a week? A few days? How will you notify the winner?

Are they responsible for contacting you to claim the prize? You’ll want to be sure you clearly outline everything for your followers. No one wants to potentially miss out on the chance to enter.

Of course, the specific Instagram giveaway rules and requirements will vary based on the theme or idea of the contest. We’ve outlined many of them above. Another rule you should consider putting in place to help with engagement and visibility?

The use of a custom contest hashtag. You can require all participants to use this for entry, whether it is in a comment or on a post. Creating a custom hashtag relevant to your brand is easy and can help keep all entries in one place.

Women using her computer to select a winner for her Instagram giveaway.

Use an Instagram Giveaway Picker to Select a Winner

Congratulations, you’ve successfully created an Instagram giveaway and hopefully received lots of entries. So, what happens next? Simple. It’s time to officially close the contest and pick a lucky winner. Perhaps the easiest way to go about this is to use the help of an Instagram giveaway picker. This online automated generator will pick a random winner for you. Since most of these are free to use, it makes the decision much easier.

This method works best for contests where people have to leave comments on a post for entry. Many can support feed posts and Instagram reels, so you are covered no matter how you promote your contest. The giveaway picker will simply ask for the URL of the post as well as the criteria of the giveaway. From here, it will generate the name of a winner for you.

Announce and Notify the Giveaway Winner

After the Instagram giveaway winner has been selected, the final step is to alert them of their accomplishment. There are a couple of ways to go about this and a few things to keep in mind. Winning a giveaway can often be a major achievement, and you’ll want to celebrate the person accordingly. One way is to create a post highlighting the winner and tag them for visibility. This will also give your followers a chance to congratulate them.

However, some brands and businesses like to keep the online safety of the winner in mind. By this, we mean not publicly stating their name or Instagram handle – or asking permission before doing so. With this in mind, many people will notify the winner directly through Instagram messaging – instead of in a post or story.

Either way, you should update the original Instagram giveaway post to indicate that a winner has been notified. This way, you let all contest participants know you have selected a winner.

 A person teaching others how to run an Instagram giveaway.

Instagram Giveaway Host Websites

Now, for some people, the idea of having to host an Instagram giveaway may seem a little overwhelming. After all, you can see how much work it takes. Luckily, there are a variety of contest promotion websites that will host them for you. That’s right, these sites take on all the work and let you simply reap the benefits. Interested? Let’s learn more.

Often, they will require a person to submit their email address for entry. You can also set various other specifications, such as age or zip code. Some contests may even need verification of the country a person resides in, as the giveaway may only be available in certain areas. These requirements can also serve as a marketing strategy for you and the host website. It is a great way to compile customer email lists for future outreach and promotions.

For many of these host websites, you’ll need to set up a link in your Instagram bio. In your giveaway announcement, you can alert your followers that they must follow this link to enter.

Once they click through, they will arrive at a contest landing page. Here, they will find all Instagram giveaway information, including entry rules. When you use a contest promotion website, they will also handle your winner selection and notification.

At Path Social, we’ve built up an in-house platform of Instagram influencers and an AI-targeting algorithm over the past decade. That’s how we reach organic users who are targeted, interested, and engaged. And that’s why no one can replicate our results, which means you’ll build an Instagram community that lasts! Start growing and gaining Instagram followers today.