8 Tips for Hosting a Successful Instagram Giveaway or Contest - Instagram Courses, Tutorials & Tips by Alex Tooby

Alex Tooby

6 min read

Instagram Giveaways - 8 Tips for Hosting a Giveaway that Boosts Followers & Engagement

Hosted an Instagram Giveaway but it was a total flop? Chances are you didn't follow these tips! Read to learn how to run a successful Instagram giveaway!

Have you ever thought about hosting an Instagram giveaway? Maybe to celebrate hitting your first 1,000 followers or in attempts to grow your following? Both are perfect reasons to host an Instagram giveaway, but you have to make sure you do it right!

As with any new tactic, you need a solid strategy in place to make it worthwhile for you and your audience. If you’ve held an Instagram giveaway before but didn’t see the results you anticipated, it’s likely that you weren’t attracting the right audience or providing lasting value with your giveaway prize. To make sure you get it right next time, I created an easy-to-follow outline for hosting a successful Instagram giveaway below.

Prefer to watch the video version of this tutorial? Check out my YouTube video!

1. Decide on a goal for the giveaway

Hosting an Instagram giveaway is not only awesome for your followers, it can also be a huge benefit to you if you plan it right! By choosing a goal for your giveaway you can quickly and easily increase your:

  Instagram / Facebook / YouTube / Twitter Followers
  Likes & comments
  Email subscribers
  Blog readers
  Website visitors, etc

The goal you choose is totally up to you depending on what your current focus is. For me, I typically focus on growing my email subscribers because they’re the most valuable (once I have someone’s email I can send them value-packed messages that eventually lead them to paid products & services) but pick what makes sense for you!

This time around my goal is to grow my YouTube subscribers so that’s why I’ve asked you to subscribe to enter my giveaway!

2. Pick a relevant prize

What’s a giveaway without a prize?! Make sure the prize you choose is something your target market (or current audience) needs. The idea is that by choosing a prize that appeals to your target market, the more of those people you will attract.

Some people will go all out and give away a lavish prize (like a pair of Louboutin shoes!) and while that does attract people, it won’t necessarily attract your target market, and it certainly won’t create any customers (unless you’re selling something complimentary to Louboutin). So don’t go crazy – pick something reasonable and interesting to your ideal audience.


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3. Keep it simple

Next we’ll need to decide on the rules for our giveaway. This can really impact the amount of people who end up entering. Too many variables may cause your audience to avoid entering the contest at all! Instead, we want to make sure your giveaway instructions are short and simple to follow.

A common Instagram giveaway structure is to require all participants to follow you, like the giveaway post, & tag a friend in the comments. I suggest sticking with something similar. If you’d like to add extra criteria such as reposting the image or mentioning the giveaway in your story, you should make them optional and count as bonus entry. Instagram users are very particular about their feeds so most people won’t enter a contest if the rules include reposting an image. 

How to host an Instagram Giveaway

After deciding your rules, type them out clearly underneath your giveaway post so people know exactly what they have to do to win. Following that, you are required by Instagram to include a disclaimer stating that your contest is in no way affiliated with or sponsored by Instagram (read Instagram’s promotion guidelines here).  

4. Don’t make it last too long

When deciding on a length for your Instagram giveaway, don’t assume the longer it lasts the more people will enter. Limited time offers are still widely used for a reason because they give your audience a sense of urgency. So, to capitalize on that,  I suggest sticking to 3-7 days. Or, if you have a larger account with a highly engaged audience, a 24 hour contest can be great, too!  

5. Promote, promote, promote!

Simply creating a post for your Instagram giveaway may attract some entrants but if you really want it to reach the widest range of people you have to get serious about promotion! Here’s a few things to consider:

  Make mention of your giveaway before it happens. Let your audience know something big is coming their way to build anticipation, excitement and have them watching your feed for new posts!
  Utilize Stories before, during, and after the contest to keep your audience aware and interested. 
  Send an email to your list to tell them about the giveaway and encourage even more entries. 
  Share the giveaway to any other social platforms you’re active on, such as your Facebook page or Twitter!

6. Choose a winner fair & square

Once your Instagram giveaway has ended, you’ll need to pick a winner. Collect all the entrants (copy & paste usernames, tally the total likes, export your newest subscribers, etc) then put them into a random generator like this to find your winner. 

Once a winner is selected, verify that they’ve followed all the rules and contact them to arrange delivery of their prize! Then you should announce the winner – if you fail to do this people may think that no one actually won and that can reflect poorly on you, so don’t forget this step!



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7. Be careful with the hashtags you choose

Just like with regular Instagram posts, you want to carefully consider the hashtags you’re choosing for your Instagram giveaway. Don’t ditch your hashtag strategy when running a giveaway. Using hashtags like #giveaway or #contest are a bad idea because they attract people who are entering any giveaway they can find. These people are not likely to be your target market and probably won’t stick around for the long run. 

Instagram giveaway hashtags

Not sure which hashtags will get you the best results? Follow these steps to learn. 

8. Stay away from loop giveaways

Loops giveaways are a popular method for quickly gaining followers on Instagram… but I don’t suggest you use them! While they can gain you followers, the rate of unfollowing immediately after the giveaway ends, is VERY high!

So what are loop giveaways? Loop giveaways typically consist of several accounts (I’ve seen giveaways with 30+!) that team up to purchase a lavish prize (like a drone or designer purse). They then lead the giveaway entrants through a “loop” by having them follow each user, one after the other. This method is very time consuming and often the user doesn’t even know how many accounts are in the loop, making it feel never-ending. In fact, plenty of users will actually quit part-way through the loop.

Once the giveaway commences, users find themselves following so many accounts that they don’t actually have interest in, and end up unfollowing. So, like I said, it’s a method to avoid if you value the time and sanity of your followers! The idea can be replicated on a much smaller scale if you wish, just make sure to stick to no more than three accounts to keep things simple for your audience. 

There you go! 8 tips for hosting a successful Instagram Giveaway! I hope you feel better equipped and ready to tackle your next contest!

Have you ever hosted an Instagram giveaway? How did it turn out?
Let me know in the comments!


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These are some great suggestions! I’d love to do a giveaway for a thousand followers. I’ll be sure to follow this when I get there!

Thank you so much for the tips. I am an Instagram novice. This helped

You can save / export / download comments from your facebook, instagram or twitter post using this website https://exportcomments.com/ . I hope it helps.

Thanks, I’ve been trying to figure out what kind of giveaway I want to do and this was so helpful!

These were great tips… I’m guilty of giving up on a loop giveaway half way through following people!!

Super tips Alex. I reckon tags are huge for freebies because hashing is so key for any update on IG.

Awesome, thank you for the tips. 🙂

Thanks for the tips!

Loving your hashtag instructions post! This is a great resource!

Great article! I am always worried when organizing a giveaway that I’ll gather only people who expect to get stuff for free which kinda ruins the algorithm and strategy for future account development. Not sure if it’s a viable long-term strategy..

Amazing Suggestions brother I like the way you write.