Tools You Need for a Successful Instagram Giveaway

Running a giveaway or promotion for your business can introduce a whole new audience and bring new traffic to your brand. It can also raise awareness for your favorite causes. But, they can be overwhelming to organize, promote and follow through on. While you can run a giveaway on a number of different platforms, today I’m sharing a bit about the world of Instagram giveaways. Read on for all the rules, tools, and tricks you need to know for running your own.

Here’s how to run an Instagram giveaway without all the overwhelm! Click To Tweet

The first thing to do is decide which type of giveaway is right for you.

You can use Instagram to host a giveaway all by yourself or you can go big and team up with others to create a loop giveaway.

A regular giveaway works best if the prize is a product or service from your own business or you’re highlighting another business by giving away something of theirs. You could also give away a product related to your business if you only offer services that aren’t suitable as prizes for whatever reason. These promos are easy to organize and allow you to get familiar with the giveaway world. However, it’s hard to reach new folks — unless you make it a rule that they have to share the post in order to enter.

With a loop giveaway, you’d team up with multiple business owners to give something away. Everyone involved with the giveaway posts the same image at the same time. Typically each person tags another person in this image… this series of tags is what makes the loop. In your post caption, you instruct anyone who wants to enter to “follow” all of the accounts in the loop. These promos take a lot of organization and can come off a bit spammy. However, they can lead to many new followers.

General tips for running a successful giveaway:

  • Giveaways can quickly begin to feel like spam. While they can be a great growth tool, make sure to have plenty of space between giveaways.
  • Always focus on the emotion. You’re passionate about a cause and you support it wholeheartedly. Make sure to let that passion come through.
  • You’ll get a lot of new followers, but you’ll lose them just as fast. Ignore those who were just in it for the giveaway and leave. In the end, you’ll have a select few who really dig what you’re doing and will stick around and interact — these are the folks you did this for!

Tips for loop giveaways:

  • Loops can be messy. There should be one main person organizing the whole thing. Too many people trying to lead can end up being one big disaster.
  • Find others who are interested in the same causes and efforts you are. Audiences can tell when someone’s heart isn’t in it.
  • Everyone involved MUST post at the same time — this is the most important thing. Be aware of time zones and other little details that could cause the whole thing to go awry.
  • If you’re asked to participate in a loop, be sure to think about the following — Do the other people in the loop align with your values, goals, and aesthetics? Would your followers like them? Would their followers like you? Is the prize something you feel good about offering?
  • If you’re the one organizing the group, think about the questions above when putting together of list of people you’d want to join.

Next, decide on the prize.

What you’re giving away should make sense for your brand and the people you want to attract to it. It should also (obviously) have a connection to the cause you’re supporting.

What you’re giving away on Instagram should make sense for your brand & who you want to attract. Click To Tweet

As a brand strategist, it wouldn’t make much sense for me to give away a gift card to Sephora. However, it would totally make sense to give away my favorite books for small business owners.

Since several players are involved in a loop, a much bigger prize is usually expected. Folks aren’t going to take the extra time to follow everyone in a loop if there’s nothing in it for them.

Then decide on how folks will enter the contest.

There are lots of different ways for people to interact with your giveaway. How you want them to do that is up to you.

In order to enter the giveaway…

– Do they just have to comment?
– Do they have to follow you?
– Do they have to tag a friend or two?
– Do they have to share the post on their personal feed?
– Or do they have to share a personal photo using your hashtag?

You can have your followers do one of these tasks or several. Keep in mind that the more complicated it gets, the less likely it is that someone will take the time to enter. It also gets more complicated for you to track entries.

Make sure YOU’RE following the rules too!

Here’s a link to Instagram’s promotion guidelines. I’m not sure what happens if you break any of them, but I also know that I don’t want to find out.

Other than that, you set the rules! Make sure you’re clear on how long the giveaway will run, how people can enter, and how the winner will be chosen and notified.

If you’ve decided to host a simple Instagram contest that doesn’t require a lot of rules, then I’d include them directly in the Instagram post. However, if the giveaway is pretty heavy on the guidelines, you may want to create a landing page on your website to house the rules and link to it via the Instagram post. This way your Instagram caption won’t be crazy long.

Now, it’s time to get organized.

A successful giveaway starts with you being well organized. Once you’ve decided everything above it’s time to get ready to post giveaway.

Create the image for the post.

  • For solo giveaways — the image should be on brand, while putting focus on the prize. If you want, you can prepare a few other images to post throughout the giveaway to remind people that you have one going on, but make sure that it refers them back to the original post.
  • For loop giveaways — the image used for the giveaway should be the same across all accounts so that folks know their in the right spot.

Write your comment ahead of time and copy and paste it into the post. This will allow you to easily check and double check that every detail is correct.

If you’re organizing a loop giveaway, do the same thing for emails. You’ll need to write the following emails:

  • Asking people to join you in the loop. Provide as much detail as you know at the time so that it will be easy for them to decide if they want to participate.
  • Sharing all the details for the giveaway. Once you have the final list of participants, send an email with the time the post should go live, the image for the post, and the script for the post.
A successful giveaway starts with you being well organized. Click To Tweet

You’re ready to share!

Promote your giveaway everywhere, not just on Instagram. Take advantage of your newsletter list, blog and other social channels.

Use hashtags to help get attention of people outside of your audience. Here’s a quick list: #Instagramcontest #Instagramgiveaway #contest #giveaway #instagood

Heck, tell everyone who loves you and is connected to folks you’d like to reach about the giveaway so that they can support you and share it too!

Finally, it’s time to pick a winner.

Figuring out your winner will depend on the rules you decided were best for your giveaway.

Iconosquare can help get some metrics that aren’t available directly in the Instagram app.

If entrants needed to comment or use your hashtag, find the total number of entries and then use a random number generator to find a winning number. Using Iconoquare, click the contest photo and view all comments. Starting at the top of the list, count down until you reach the number that the random generator gave you. That’s your winner!

For more complicated giveaways, you may need the help of a paid service like Wishpond.

To reach the winner, you can either connect via Instagram’s direct message feature or post an image announcing the winner and ask them to get in touch with you.

When packaging the prize (especially if you ran a solo giveaway) take care to notice all the little details. Write a personal note, add touches of your brand, anything to help show off who you are as a business.

When packaging your giveaway prize take care to notice all the little details! Click To Tweet

To sum everything up…

  1. Decide if you want to go solo or team up.
  2. Pick the prize.
  3. Determine how people will enter.
  4. Set the rules.
  5. Get organized.
  6. Share, share, share.
  7. Choose a winner.

After the giveaway is over, try and keep momentum high. Be extra strategic about what you post because you have a load of new followers!