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How to Run a Successful Instagram Giveaway in 9 Easy Steps

Last Updated on September 25, 2020 by Stacey Corrin

Are you looking for a shortcut to get more Instagram followers and boost engagement with your target audience?

Instagram giveaways are a great way to achieve those goals. It makes sense with Instagram’s growing popularity that you want to take advantage of this to increase your business’s reach.

But there’s lots of competition on Instagram which makes it difficult to make headway. Luckily there are a few marketing strategies you can use, learning how to run a successful Instagram giveaway or contest is one of them.

Today we explore how to run an Instagram giveaway in a few easy steps.

First, let’s look at the steps we’ll cover:

  1. Decide the goal of your contest
  2. Set the entry criteria
  3. Choose a prize for your giveaway
  4. Pick a good Instagram hashtag
  5. Set your Instagram giveaway rules
  6. Put a time limit on your giveaway
  7. Launch and promote your contest
  8. Announce the winner
  9. Track your results

Shall we get started?

Step 1: Decide The Goal of Your Contest

The goal of your Instagram contest helps you tailor your strategy during the planning stages. It also helps you measure your results when the contest is finished to see if the outcome aligns with your main aims.

Take a moment to think about what you want to achieve from your giveaway. You might have one or multiple goals. 

Here are some examples of what those goals might look like:

  • Run an Instagram competition to increase your follower count.
  • Get more newsletter subscribers.
  • Increase traffic to a particular webpage to grow your audience
  • Raise awareness about new products or services.

The key thing to remember about your goals is you need to be able to easily measure the results.

Don’t worry if you can’t think of how to measure your results right now. The entry criteria you set plays a big part in this and we’ll cover that next.

Step 2: Set Your Contest’s Entry Criteria

A giveaways’ entry criteria are what actions you want people to take in return for entries. Entry methods can vary and depend on the goal you’re aiming for.

Here are some popular criteria for entering a giveaway with examples of the goals you might want to achieve:

  • Ask people to share your giveaway if you want to increase brand awareness.
  • Build your email list by asking people to sign up for your newsletter.
  • Get people to follow your social profiles to grow your social media following.
  • Ask people to leave a comment to increase blog engagement and traffic.
  • Create a UGC photo contest where users have to upload a photo and tag friends in the comments section for bonus entries

Whether your goal is to drive traffic to your site, or to get more Instagram followers, choosing the right entry criteria can make all the difference to the outcome you get.

Let’s face it, there’s not much point asking people to sign up to your newsletter if your goal is to get more Instagram followers.

Carmex Instagram competition to gain followers

This Instagram giveaway example from Carmex is a good example of clearly stating how people can enter. Their criteria are in caps to help it stand out from the rest of the content.

With your goal and criteria set, the fun part is choosing an exciting giveaway prize.

Step 3: Choose a Prize for Your Instagram Giveaway

One of the most important steps when learning how to run an Instagram giveaway is choosing a great prize. What you choose largely depends on your goal.

Do you want to raise awareness about your product? In that case, giving away a copy of it would be a good prize. Is it to celebrate the season? Then, a seasonally themed prize or a gift card is a good choice.

Bomb Cosmetics Instagram giveaway

Bomb Cosmetics did a great job with this seasonally festive giveaway post. Even the clever use of emojis helps to convey the time of year.

Alternatively, you could offer the chance to win an experience or to meet a leader in your industry to the winner of your prize draw.

Whatever it is, make sure your prize aligns with what you want to achieve for your business.

For some proven prize ideas for your giveaway, take a look at this extensive list.

Step 4: Pick a Good Instagram Hashtag

You might already know that hashtags are an effective way to find things on your Instagram feed. Using a popular Instagram hashtag might even result in your giveaway showing up in the Explore channel. This would further help increase the visibility of your contest and make it easier for more Instagram users to find.

Consider using some of these widely used hashtags yourself:

  • #giveaway
  • #giveawaycontest
  • #giveawaytime
  • #giveawayalert
  • #win
  • #winitwednesday

You could also consider creating your own branded hashtag to associate the contest with your business.

Coca Cola share a coke hashtag campaign

Coca-Cola’s #shareacoke branded hashtag campaign proved to be wildly popular.

With your hashtags in place, it’s worth setting up some contest rules. Let’s look at that next.

Step 5: Set Your Instagram Giveaway Rules

Before running an Instagram giveaway, it’s important you have some clear rules in place. Without any rules or terms, your contest can get messy with entrants unclear of what’s expected of them.

More importantly, Instagram has its own set of rules for promotional activity.

You should include a comment similar to the one below in your giveaway so your follower’s know it’s not connected in any way to Instagram:

“This giveaway is in no way sponsored, associated with or administered by Instagram, Inc. By entering the contest you confirm you are over 13 years of age, agree to Instagram’s terms of use, and release Instagram of responsibility”.

Instagram giveaway rules

As you can see from the example above, they’ve followed Instagram’s promotional guidelines by clearly marking the rules of their giveaway and stating they’re not affiliated with Instagram.

Alongside this, you should make sure you don’t ask entrants to tag themselves in your content, or something that isn’t in the photo. If you do, it’s highly likely Instagram will penalize you for it.

Fur a full list of Instagram’s rules and regulations, take a look at their promotional guidelines here.

Step 6: Put a Time Limit on Your Giveaway

With the rules taken care of, telling people how long they’ve got to enter your giveaway can avoid unnecessary confusion.

You can do this by stating your time limit in your giveaway rules. Or, you can use RafflePress to cross-promote the giveaway on your website.

RafflePress is the best tool on the market for creating an Instagram giveaway because it has a wealth of options designed to create fantastic viral giveaways and supercharge your growth at the same time.

The easy-to-use giveaway widget in RafflePress lets you clearly set an end date and time. That way both you and your audience will know what’s happening at all times.

Set the start and end time of your giveaway in RafflePress

Another good thing about giving your giveaway a time limit is it creates a sense of urgency with your followers. Knowing they only have a certain amount of time to enter, makes them more eager to participate for fear of missing out on a great prize.

Even better, having people enter your giveaway more quickly, will keep your post at the top of your followers’ feeds.

So how about we look at how to launch your Instagram giveaway next?

Step 7: Launch and Promote Your Contest

Now it’s time to launch your Instagram giveaway and the process is pretty simple. Here’s a quick guide to get you started:

  • First, create your online contest with RafflePress using this beginner’s guide.
  • Then write the main content of your Instagram post explaining what people can win and when they have to enter by.
  • Clearly state the rules of your Instagram giveaway. Make sure to include a statement explaining Instagram isn’t involved in the contest.
  • Include the most important hashtags to help people discover your giveaway.
  • Publish on a day and time that your audience is usually active to ensure maximum visibility.
  • Schedule reminder posts throughout the duration of your giveaway.

At this point, it’s important to note your contest won’t go viral or generate a massive amount of interest all at once. This is especially true if your audience isn’t used to you hosting giveaways. It takes practice and repetition to get that kind of momentum for your business.

But using RafflePress’s built-in giveaway templates can get you on the right track to creating a truly viral giveaway.

The Refer-A-Friend Viral Giveaway template, for example, uses powerful word-of-mouth marketing to expand your reach and grow your brand.

Refer a friend viral giveaway option RafflePress helps you to keep track of instagram giveaway

The pre-set actions included in this template encourages visitors to share your giveaway with their own community. And, as we all know, when something is shared between friends online, it has the power to go viral in a matter of minutes.

Another action included in this template is the Join an Email Newsletter action, which helps grow your email list at the same time. Plus, you can track Instagram contest entries right within the widget.

So it makes sense to promote your giveaway this way because it increases the chance of getting far more eyes on your contest, and keep track of your giveaway easily. You might even attract the attention of a few influencers.

You can then pick a winner of your giveaway, which we’ll cover next.

Step 8: Announce the Winner of Your Instagram Giveaway

With your Instagram giveaway over, it’s now time to choose a winner and announce it to the people who entered.

A popular way of choosing a winner in an unbiased way is to use a random number generator. Searching for the term, random number generator in Google brings up its own tool for this.

Next, add all of the participants into a spreadsheet and assign them a number. Then add the number range between 1 to however many people entered successfully, into the generator and click Generate.

Google random number generator

Check the number you receive with the number on your spreadsheet to find the details of your winner.

Choose your giveaway winner

Users of RafflePress can take advantage of having the plugin automatically draw a winner for you, as well as display it live on the widget.

RafflePress choose and email the winner

You can also announce the winner of your Instagram giveaway in a new Instagram post.

Most businesses ask winners to contact them via Direct Message to arrange to deliver their prize. But, if one of the requirements for entering included having participants provide their email address, you can contact the winner via that method too.

Now, remember those goals you set? How are you going to find the results? We’ll learn that in our final step.

Step 9: Track Your Giveaway Results

Wondering how to keep track of Instagram giveaways? Finding the results isn’t too tricky.

If your goal was to drive more traffic to a product or web page via Instagram, MonsterInsights is the best analytics tracking plugin for WordPress websites.

See actionable analytics with MonsterInsights and how to track instagram contest entries


It gives you the ability to track traffic to your giveaway landing page, referral traffic from your Instagram account and other social platforms, product sales, and a lot more.

For goals related to growing your followers, you can easily compare how many new followers you gained over the competition’s duration. The same goes for growing your email list too. Just measure the difference in email subscribers between when you began and ended your giveaway and you’ll get your results.

Congratulations! You’ve now learned how to run a contest on Instagram.

Not only does this provide an excellent way to get to know the likes and dislikes of your followers, but it also helps you increase brand awareness and more traffic to your business.

If you’re interested in running a contest using RafflePress, take a look at this step-by-step guide.

And, don’t forget to check out our YouTube channel. You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter for even more great giveaway ideas.

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