instagram tips

How to run an Engaging Instagram Giveaway in 10 Steps

by Alena

Every blogger and brand owner dreams of expanding their content reach and growing the audience. We understand how it’s painful to keep up with the fast-paced changes and timely adopt new Instagram trends for your promo campaigns. However, while trying to implement cutting-edge approaches, you shouldn’t ignore the time-proven methods that still effectively work. And an Instagram giveaway is definitely one of them.

Below we’ll share a step-by-step guide on how to run engaging contests that hit the target and provide you with creative Instagram giveaway ideas, examples and tips.

Ready? Let’s get the ball rolling!

Why run giveaways?

Just because they perfectly do the job! Despite tons of innovative features and marketing tricks splashed to our faces every day, giveaways keep working (and working perfectly indeed). That’s why a wisely-run Instagram contest can generate thousands of new interactions.

According to, Instagram accounts that host contests and giveaways grow +70% faster. Apart from that, the research also shows that 91% of Instagram posts with 1k+ comments are contests.

We bet the numbers speak for themselves. And if you’re still in two minds whether to organize a giveaway or think it’s too time and resource consuming, just keep on reading.

How to do a giveaway on Instagram?

Although a thorough preparation for an Insta contest requires time and specific knowledge, the results are worth the effort. Just carefully study your target audience, plan your budget and follow the instructions we offer.

Step 1. Identify your campaign goal

Be it a paid ad campaign or a content marketing strategy, it won’t bring you measurable results without a strictly defined goal. And, of course, Instagram giveaways are not an exception.

To better understand what you want to achieve, let’s categorize possible goal types to help you come up with your own ones. Depending on your brand and audience specifics, you may want to:

  • Increase the number of followers. Ask users to tag their friends in the comments or make a report in their stories. But be ready with a long-term strategy for newcomers engagement. Otherwise, you risk losing them right after the giveaway is finished.
  • Improve user engagement. This is a fertile ground for user-generated content and depends only on your imagination. Photo contest, best idea or story contest – everything that aligns with your brand values.
  • Increase brand recognition. Pick up the prize that draws attention to your brand and think over the Instagram giveaway rules that encourage users to spread the word about it.
  • Generate leads. Ask users to sign up for your newsletter or register on your website.

Step 2. Pick up the irresistible prize

At first sight, everything is as easy as it could be. No prize – no giveaway. Indeed, if the prize is free, users will be happy to get anything you offer. But the reality is more complicated, and to make your Instagram giveaway a win-win combination pay attention to the following aspects:

  • Choose the gift that obviously corresponds to your audience’s interests, lifestyle, and values.
  • Pick up your own specific product or team up with other brands and bloggers depending on your marketing goal.
  • Remember about the prize-effort ratio. The more expensive your prize is, the more challenging the Instagram giveaway rules can be. And vice versa, small prizes presuppose easy contest rules.
  • The prize should strictly fit within your budget. And you don’t have to break the bank to please your fans as small prices also do their job. It’s all about prize-effort ratio and relevance.

The @zippybuildz‘s post is a great example of the prize picked up basing on the up-to-date pop-culture context.

Step 3. Elaborate on the criteria for the contest participation

As we’ve mentioned above, the steps the participants should take to enter your contest fully depend on your marketing objectives. Anyway, the criteria shouldn’t be too strict for better reach. The most common set of steps may look like that:

  • Like the post;
  • Subscribe to the particular account or a number of accounts;
  • Tag friends in the comments section above the giveaway post. The more friends are tagged, the more chances to win;
  • Make a repost of the giveaway announcement to Stories and mention the account that launces the giveaway.
  • Any activities that populate UGC.

Step 4. Clearly articulate the giveaway terms and conditions

Important! To avoid any possible legal issues, we highly recommend consulting a local lawyer before establishing the rules.

When it comes to legal issues, it’s always better to be on the safe side. Therefore, accurately place all necessary giveaway details together and make them available to all participants.

  • Transparent Instagram giveaway rules for winner determination.
  • Strict giveaway time limits.
  • The name and contact details of the brand that hosts the contest.
  • Information about prize delivery.
  • Rules and restrictions for contest participants (e.g. age, geolocation).
  • Clear contest entry conditions.

@nyxcosmetics demonstrates the spotlessly clean and transparent contest rules and conditions placed in the announcement post.

Step 5. Remember about Instagram hashtags

It’s hard to overestimate the power of hashtags when it comes to an Instagram giveaway. To equip your campaign with real brilliants and get to the “top posts” in the feed with a specific hashtag, you’ll have to conduct thorough hashtag research.

Although it takes time, but it pays back twice in the end. And here you can clearly observe mutual dependence – the better your post performs, the more chances it to get to the top with the necessary hashtag it has, thus improving your post performance even more!

According to the statistics, Insta posts with relevant hashtags generate more likes and comments. Sounds obvious? But did you know that posts powered by 9 hashtags work 2.5x as well as posts with just 1 hashtag?

Important! When planning hashtags for such a high-level event as a giveaway, double-check each and every word. By picking up inappropriate ones, you risk finding your sweepstakes showing up in the feeds of irrelevant topics.

Step 6. Tell a story in the announcement

We’ve already emphasized the importance of a relevant prize. But the contest should also provide users with additional value. As today we offer not the product itself, but a story behind the brand.

The followers who’ve been staying with you for a long time probably know everything about you and your brand, while newcomers, who will follow you just because of the giveaway, should “feel your magic vibes” to stay with your after the contest if finished.

For example, tell your audience about the eco principles your company follows, like biodegradable package, zero-waste production, or something else that will become an emotional hook. In other words, if you want to increase the retention of new subscribers and convert them into your clients or fans, show them your unique selling proposition, wrapped in a good story.

Step 7. Set up the time limit

The clear time limit for your Instagram giveaway kills two birds with one stone.

  • It motivates users to instantly take the necessary decision (to participate in your case);
  • It prevents any possible issues when it comes to winner selection.

Hint. For better engagement, use final countdowns in posts, stories, or emails. To “warm-up” your audience, plan scheduled posts displaying how many days are left.

Step 8. Promote your Instagram giveaway

Carefully plan the way you will spread the word about your contest. Choose the channels depending on each specific target audience segment.

The promotion plan may include the following steps:

  • Prepare all promo materials in advance;
  • Choose social media platforms where you want to promote the giveaway and schedule posts;
  • Contact influencers and partners to ask for additional promotion.

Step 9. Choose the Instagram giveaway generator

Depending on the type of giveaway you host, select the way you are going to pick up the winner.

  • Random selection. There are dozens of random name picker tools that help to choose a winner in seconds. If you don’t organize giveaways regularly and don’t want any specific options, try Google’s random number generator. All you need to do is to create a Google Sheets, Microsoft Excel, or Apple’s numbers document with a list of your participants’ names with numbers.

To build trust, and make the contest results transparent, we recommend choosing the contest winner on air.

  • For giveaways that populate UGC choose the “most likes, views, or votes” method.

For this method, make a screenshot with numbers at the announced time. This will prevent you from any possible complaints about who has more likes before your Instagram contest ends.

Step 10. Congratulate the winner

And finally, after the lucky user or users are determined, tag their accounts in Stories, create a separate post, and notify them in DM. It’s also great to create a special congrats post where you announce the winner and say a couple of thank you words to all the participants.


Despite hundreds of new promo tools and approaches sprouting like mushrooms after the summer rains, an Instagram giveaway remains one of the most rapid ways to grow the audience and draw users’ attention to specific products or services. Apart from that, Insta contests are a great source of UGC that nowadays has become a must for any successful content strategy.

Written by Alena
As a digital marketer and a copywriter, Alena is passionate about wrapping difficult things in simple words.