When Instagram was launched by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger in October 2010, it took the social media world by storm. Since then, the popular photo-sharing app has grown by leaps and bounds to surpass 1 billion monthly active users.
It is only natural that marketers and brands are dedicating more time and resources to using Instagram to build their brands. This means that your target audience on Instagram is flooded with pictures and videos on a regular basis.
So it can be difficult for you to grab the attention of your followers and connect with them effectively. One way of increasing audience engagement and growing your followers is to use Instagram giveaways. Giveaways are a great way to start online conversations about your brand without being overly promotional.
Before we discuss some of the best Instagram giveaway ideas, let’s take a deeper look at the concept. And the various benefits that you can get by hosting an Instagram giveaway.
Decoding Instagram Giveaways
Typically, when you host an Instagram giveaway, you offer freebies to your audience, and ask them to do one or more of the following things:
- Like and/or share your post
- Use your branded hashtag
- Tag their friends in the comments section
- Follow your account on Instagram
You can also make your giveaway more engaging by introducing a competitive element to it. For instance, you could ask participants to upload a selfie featuring your product. Or participants could be required to take part in a poll in order to be eligible to win.
Let’s take a look at one of the Instagram giveaway ideas that was used by Birchbox to promote their new product range.
Image via Instagram
The New York-based monthly subscription service gave their followers a chance to win an exclusive set of products before its launch. All they needed to do was choose the products they wanted to see in the set. The post received 2700+ likes and many comments, proving that it was successful at increasing the brand’s visibility and engagement on social media.
Depending on your goals, you can explore a wide range of Instagram giveaway ideas. However, before we discuss those, let’s delve deeper into the benefits of hosting an Instagram giveaway.
Why You Should Host Instagram Giveaways
The biggest advantage of Instagram giveaways and contests is that they allow you to build brand awareness. In fact, according to Tailwind, Instagram accounts that run regular contests grow 70 times faster than those that don’t.
There are people who might be keeping track of your Instagram account without actually hitting the “follow” button. When you encourage them to hit that button in exchange for certain incentives, you can grow your audience effectively.
Also, if people can get freebies just by tagging their friends, they are more likely to do so. And people who get tagged on your post immediately receive a notification.
This, in turn, widens your reach by helping your brand connect with a new audience that may have been previously unaware of your existence. These people might further be motivated to participate in the giveaway by tagging their friends. Which enhances brand visibility and gets more people talking about your brand.
Another major advantage of contests and giveaways is that they improve audience engagement. The study by Tailwind also indicated that Instagram contests get roughly 64X more comments and 3.5X more likes compared to other content.
Also, the use of a branded hashtag improves brand visibility by showcasing your brand name to your audience. Thus, giveaways and contests can give you a chance to establish a connection with your audience and improve brand awareness.
Giveaways also provide access to a treasure trove of user-generated content. For instance, when you run a selfie contest, you can easily repurpose these contest entries on your own Instagram page. People who win a contest or giveaway and get featured on your page feel valued. This, in turn, reinforces loyalty by encouraging them to become genuine advocates of your brand.
In the long run, Instagram giveaways can also help generate leads for your business. When you reward the winner of a giveaway with free samples of your product, they are immediately drawn to your brand. If they enjoy using your products, they might even consider purchasing them. They are also likely to recommend your brand to others, thus encouraging more people to purchase your products.
How to Execute Effective Instagram Giveaways
While giveaways might seem quite simple and straightforward, executing a successful giveaway campaign isn’t easy. You need to ensure that your giveaway announcement actually reaches your target audience. Also, you need to be cautious so that the giveaway doesn’t land you in any kind of legal trouble.
Set Your Goals
There are different types of Instagram giveaway ideas that you can choose from. However, your selection will depend on the ultimate objective you want to achieve through your campaign. It will determine the rules and rewards of your giveaway.
Is your goal to see more engagement on your Instagram posts? Do you want to attract more followers and build brand awareness? Or would you like to generate leads for your business?
Your answers to these questions will determine which of the Instagram giveaways ideas you should use.
Draft a Detailed and Transparent Description
The first step for hosting a giveaway is to announce it on your Instagram profile.
This requires you to articulate a comprehensive description that outlines the following:
- Mode of entry – Clearly specify what a user must do in order to participate in the giveaway.
- Deadline – Set an end date to create a sense of urgency and encourage more people to participate in the giveaway.
- Eligibility criteria and rules – If you want to attract entries from a particular geographic location or to target a specific age group, make sure you specify that in your announcement.
- Prize – Don’t surround the reward in an air of mystery. Instead, you feature it prominently in your giveaway announcement to attract more submissions. Without a tempting reward, your audience may not feel sufficiently motivated to participate.
- Winner announcement – In addition to the deadline, you should also specify the date and time when you will announce the winner(s) of your giveaways. This keeps your audience glued to your Instagram profile, thus strengthening engagement even further.
You should also ensure that your giveaway announcement abides by Instagram’s promotion guidelines.
As a rule, you should make it clear that Instagram has no direct involvement in the campaign. Also, you shouldn’t encourage inaccurate tagging just for the sake of brand building. For instance, you can ask participants to tag their friends in the comments section and not on the picture used for the giveaway announcement.
Take a look at the following description CATPARTY used for one of their Instagram giveaway ideas.
Image via Instagram
The design studio and enamel pin company celebrated the milestone of gaining 1000 followers by offering Instagram users a chance to get their products for free. Notice how the rules, reward, and deadline are clearly specified in the image caption.
It is also worth noting how the brand has used an attractive and quirky image to accompany the giveaway announcement.
Select the Right Reward
Offering an expensive prize that is unrelated to your brand might attract freeloaders who will unfollow you once the giveaway is over. Such users are not the ones you want to target, right?
The only way to keep such irrelevant entries at bay is by offering a prize that is related to your brand. It could be in the form of an exclusive gift basket containing your products, loyalty points, or free membership.
Such rewards give the winners a taste of your products or services. If they like what they win, they might be willing to make a purchase from you. They can even turn into loyal brand advocates who recommend your products or services to their friends and family. Clearly, this is a great way to drive conversions and increase sales.
You should also ensure that the reward is proportional to the amount of effort required from a participant. A few product samples are enough to encourage people to like your post or follow your page. However, if you want them to upload pictures with a branded hashtag, you will need a more compelling prize.
Craft Your Own Hashtag
One thing that most popular Instagram giveaway ideas have in common is the use of a unique branded hashtag. In addition to increasing brand visibility, it also simplifies the entry process for participants.
Branded hashtags also make it easy for you to keep track of the entries. Make sure your hashtag is simple, concise, and easy to read. It should also showcase your brand name for maximum impact.
Announce the Winner
Make sure you actually announce the winner of your giveaway on the stipulated date and time. By delivering on your promise, you can create the image of a brand that is transparent and true to your potential customers. This can help reinforce the credibility and trustworthiness of your brand.
You can make the winners feel more special by highlighting their names and Instagram profiles on your own page. This special gesture can position your brand as one that truly values your audience. It can also help you build an army of brand evangelists.
Once you have announced the winner, make sure you edit any posts that announced the content and add a line such as “Giveaway Closed.”
Promote Your Giveaway
Merely coming up with a bunch of fancy Instagram giveaway ideas won’t guarantee results. In fact, even the best Instagram giveaway ideas might fail to achieve the desired reach and engagement in the absence of adequate promotion.
So you need to ensure that your giveaway announcement grabs the attention of your target audience.
In order to solicit maximum participation, you should promote your Instagram giveaway on all social media platforms. Use popular hashtags such a #contestalert, #giveaway, etc. in your giveaway description. This is extremely useful to increase the visibility of your post. You can also use other relevant and trending hashtags in order to maximize reach.
In addition, you can collaborate with a relevant influencer to promote your content. Ask them to post your giveaway announcement on their own Instagram profile. This will help you tap into the loyal and engaged fan base of the influencer which, in turn, expands your reach even further.
For instance, HoMedics partnered with mom blogger, Joceline Raad, to announce a giveaway on Instagram. Her post received more than 1000 likes within a day of posting and was flooded with comments from ardent fans of Joceline.
Image via Instagram
In order to achieve the final objectives of your Instagram giveaway ideas, it is crucial to have a proper promotion plan.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the most popular Instagram giveaway ideas.
Best Instagram Giveaway Ideas
Instagram giveaway ideas can range from something as simple as asking the participants to like a post to encouraging the creation of user-generated content. It depends on the end goals you want to achieve through the campaign. And it also depends on the budget you have for the reward of the giveaway.
1. Like and Share to Win
One of the simplest Instagram giveaway ideas is to encourage participants to like your post and share it on their own profiles. You can even ask them to use your unique branded hashtag while reposting the announcement. By getting your content shared, you will be able to increase brand awareness and attract more people to your Instagram profile.
Here’s an example of this kind of giveaway from Gardenscapes, a mobile game.
Image via Instagram
Users are given the option to earn coins by reposting the announcement with the hashtag #gardenscapecontest. This is an effortless way to reach a new audience without bombarding them with overly promotional content.
2. Follow to Win
Another one of the best Instagram giveaway ideas, this one requires participants to follow your Instagram profile to enter to win the prize. Needless to say, this is a great way to grow your follower count and build brand awareness. It is often used in combination with other Instagram giveaway ideas.
Found Wild Project, a photography collective, frequently hosts such Instagram giveaways. For instance, in the example below, users need to follow FWP on Instagram and tag at least three of their friends to enter to win a pair of polarized shades. Such campaigns have helped the collective garner a loyal community of 31,000+ Instagram followers.
Image via Instagram
You can grow your audience further by encouraging users to like and follow your profile on other social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
3. Tag a Friend
This is one of the most effective Instagram giveaway ideas to grow your audience. The concept is fairly self-explanatory – participants need to tag one or more of their friends in the comments section to be eligible to win the prize.
The users who have been tagged can further tag their friends to participate in the giveaway. This is an effective way of expanding your reach in a fast yet subtle manner.
When people get tagged in your post, they will take notice of your giveaway announcement and your Instagram profile. This enables you to reach an audience that may not have been accessed via other modes of communication. That is why tag-a-friend is one of the most popular Instagram giveaway ideas.
Atlanta Bucket List (ATL Bucket List), one of Atlanta’s most popular food-based Instagram accounts, often collaborates with restaurants and brands to announce such giveaways. In this particular example, they have partnered with Honeysuckle Gelato to give away free servings of their desserts.
Image via Instagram
The first rule of the giveaways asks participants to follow both ATL Bucket List and Honeysuckle Gelato on Instagram. This helps both the brands grow their audiences in an effective and speedy manner.
A slight variation of the tag-a-friend giveaway is to ask participants to nominate their friends for a prize. Instead of winning the prize for themselves, participants can indirectly reward their friends with your freebies. This strategy offers the same benefits as other Instagram giveaway ideas.
4. Photo Contest
This is one of the most popular and prevalent Instagram giveaway ideas. Your audience uploads content (pictures, selfies, and videos) on Instagram regularly. You can incentivize this behavior for your own benefit by encouraging them to upload a picture showcasing your product/brand. You should also encourage the use of your branded hashtag in order to ensure maximum brand visibility.
This is one of the best Instagram giveaway ideas for boosting brand awareness and engagement.
When participants upload pictures with your branded hashtag on their Instagram profiles, their network of followers and friends becomes aware of your brand. With the right incentive, you can even encourage some people from this extended network to take part in the giveaway.
Another reason why this is one of the most popular Instagram giveaways ideas is that it presents you with an endless pool of user-generated content.
This content can be repurposed at a later stage when you are running short of creative ideas for Instagram posts. Such a giveaway becomes even more effective when your audience includes photography enthusiasts. In addition to presenting them with material rewards, you can also give them a chance to get featured on your Instagram page.
For instance, take a look at the photo contest that was announced by a Boston news channel.
Image via Instagram
The description clearly outlines eligibility criteria and rewards, leaving no room for ambiguity.
5. Create a Caption
One of the most common and simplest Instagram giveaways ideas is to post a picture without a proper caption. The trick is to encourage users to post their own captions in the comments section.
The winner, in turn, is rewarded with freebies. In addition, you can also edit the posts to showcase the winning caption.
Image via Instagram
6. Scheduled Giveaways
One way to create buzz about your Instagram giveaways is to announce them at regular intervals. For instance, you could start a weekly or monthly giveaway series. This gives your audience something to look forward to. Such anticipation is extremely beneficial for boosting engagement and reinforcing loyalty through your Instagram giveaway ideas.
A variety of Instagram giveaway ideas are gaining immense popularity among brands and digital marketers. They are great tools for reaching new audiences and engaging with them. In addition, long-term Instagram giveaway ideas help you generate leads and drive conversions. This is crucial for building an army of loyal brand advocates.
You can choose from a variety of Instagram giveaway ideas such as like-and-share-to-win, tag-a-friend, follow-to-win, etc. You can even combine one or more of these Instagram giveaway ideas to ensure maximum participation. Include a challenge such a caption creation, photo publishing, etc. further boosts engagement and visibility. Regardless of the Instagram giveaway ideas that you choose, make sure to promote the campaign on different platforms.
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in sales funnels, targeted traffic, and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.