INSTAGRAM TIPS

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

September 6, 2018 by Alex Tooby
128 comments 

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!

Want to gain email subscribers in your next giveaway as well? Try KingSumo!

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.

I personally love to giveaway memberships to my course, or useful templates from Creative Market.

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).  

8 Ways to Increase Your Instagram Following

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!

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.

* Related Post: Instagram Hashtags – My Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts For Getting Quality Engagement & Attracting Followers

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.

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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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I think that it is also advisable to create a brand generated hashtag - your customers/fans can share their pictures with it, and your brand gets popular. In that case it would be easier to launch a giveaway. I guess using trending hashtags among them is also very important, there are a lot of services to help you do that, like bigbangram.com/hashtag-generator. They use popular hashtags based on your picture and target group, what makes it a good alternative to various bots (you sure won’t be banned by using it). I also recommend their blog bigbangram.com/blog, you can find more useful tips… Read more »

I followed your steps for a giveaway but… I find that people don’t know how to comment and tag a friend, step 3 of the giveaway. How do you school the followers on this without looking like you are helping one person to win.

Hey Alex, it’s my understanding that the US has really strict rules regarding promotions like this one. How do you make sure that your giveaway falls under the rules of a legal contest or sweepstakes, and not an illegal lottery?

Hey! Great post, I’m struggling with my own social media so this helped!

Hi Alax, Im enjoying the course and just entered your IG giveaway. Just statted my IG last week!
Thnk you for your tips

G. Tal artist

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