Instagram Giveaway 101: How Can I Do a Free Giveaway?

About 40% of Americans use Instagram. It’s the platform that people turn to for entertainment, inspiration, and engagement.

Businesses hopped on the IG bandwagon because there are opportunities to get website traffic and sales from Instagram. Some entrepreneurs even go on to become Instagram influencers and celebrities.

You can use Instagram in a number of ways to build your business. One of the best ways to grow your brand and your following is to do an Instagram giveaway.

People love free stuff and they’re more than willing to engage with your content. An Instagram contest gives people something in exchange for something they do anyway.

You want to make sure that the Instagram contest goes off without a hitch. Read on to learn the steps to run an Instagram giveaway.

1. Know the Contest Rules

Instagram has very strict terms and conditions. The platform does allow you to run contests and giveaways. They have a specific set of rules around them. You can find their promotions guidelines here.

This is what you really need to know.

The first thing is that you release Instagram from any liability to run a contest. In other words, it’s your contest and your risk. If someone decides to file a lawsuit against you, it’s not Instagram’s fault or responsibility.

The next thing you need to know is that your contest posts have to include verbiage to release Instagram of responsibility. You also have to say that Instagram has nothing to do with your contest.

There are also rules about tagging people to participate in the Instagram giveaway without them appearing in the post’s image.

2. Plan Your Contest Giveaway

You want to give yourself plenty of lead time before you launch the contest. That’s because it takes time to plan and launch your giveaway.

Start by figuring out the goals of your contest. There are three primary goals that companies have for giveaways. One is to increase brand awareness. Another is to increase the number of followers you have. Some companies use Instagram contests to increase follower engagement.

Whichever goal you choose, you have to measure it. That’s easy to do if you want to increase followers. You’ll check the number of followers before and after the Instagram contest.

Once you have your goal, you’ll choose your giveaway. There are many Instagram contest ideas to choose from.

You can have your followers tag their friends in a post to follow your account and win something. You can have your followers take pictures of them already using your product.

That’s great to build brand awareness and show people how your products get used.

3. Decide How People Will Participate

Your contest idea largely determines how people will participate in the giveaway. You’ll need to hash out the process to participate from the user’s perspective.

A poorly run giveaway could actually do more harm than good. You’re trying to build goodwill among your followers. You don’t want to ruin that by poor planning.

Think through all of the steps to participate. You also need to know how to pick a winner on IG. There are some tools available that help you choose random winners for your Instagram contest.

4. The Legal Stuff

Not only do you have to abide by Instagram’s promotion rules, but federal and state laws as well. This is where it can get a little complicated, but there are ways to keep it simple.

First off, learn the federal and state laws around giveaways. Some states have limits on the value of contest prizes. Other states may limit alcohol giveaways or have an age requirement to participate.

There are some basic things you should have in your contest rules. You need to specify if there are age restrictions, like 18 and over only.

Geographic restrictions need to be taken into consideration as well. Remember, IG is a global platform. Should the contest be open to US residents only or does it not matter?

Your contest rules need a start and end date to participate. You also need to specify how people can participate in the contest.

You can draw up the contest rules yourself and have an attorney review them to be on the safe side. You can post the rules directly in the contest post. Another option is to have contest rules on your website with a link to the rules in your bio.

5. Research Campaign Hashtags

Hashtags are everything on Instagram. That’s how people find your posts and you increase your brand awareness.

You have to make sure that you use the right hashtags for your giveaway. Instagram allows you to use 30 hashtags for your posts.

It’s ideal to have a mix of general hashtags and narrow hashtags. Be sure to include your own branded hashtag that followers can use.

General hashtags are widely popular hashtags like #fitness. They’re so competitive, your post might appear for a short period of time. Balance that out with something specific, such as #kettlebellfitness.

6. Promote the Contest

It’s finally time to promote your contest. Look at your analytics to determine the best day and time to launch your contest.

You want your post to stand out, so it’s essential to have a strong headline. Write out what the person can win if they enter your contest. Use a strong image that is relevant and engaging.

Don’t forget to include the participation rules and the contest rules. You might have multiple posts for your contest or just one. Keep in mind that a single post isn’t likely to generate successful results.

7. End the Contest

You don’t want contest posts hanging out for eternity. People can still see old posts through hashtag searches or by scrolling through your profile page.

There are a couple of ways to officially end the contest. You can delete your contest posts, archive them, or keep them. If you do choose to keep them live, then edit them.

Add verbiage at the beginning of the posts to say clearly that the contest is over. This way, people will still see your posts and they missed the opportunity. It might make them want to follow your account with the hopes of there being another Instagram contest.

8. Debrief and Plan More Instagram Contest Giveaways

The debrief is a review of your contest. It’s an opportunity to see what went well and what you can do differently moving forward.

You’ll want to review your results. Analyze if you and your team met the contest goals or not.

If you did, then a celebration is in order. If not, then it’s a chance to evaluate the contest and take lessons into your next giveaway.

Yes, you can and should run more than one giveaway. You can run Instagram contests on a quarterly basis or twice a year.

That schedule makes them fresh and your followers won’t get burned out by participating in contests all of the time.

Once you review your results, you can move on and plan your next giveaway.

9. Keep Engaging Your New Fans

If your contest was a success, then you just earned a lot more new followers. How you interact with them determines if they stick with your account or move on.

You need to keep your new fans engaged. Fortunately, Instagram has a few features that you can utilize to do so.

One of them is Instagram Stories. Stories are short clips that are available for only 24 hours. You can engage followers with quizzes or polls. You can ask questions or show a behind-the-scenes look at your business.

Stories need to be a part of your engagement strategy if you target younger followers. About 59% of Millennials watch stories while 70% or Generation Z watch them.

There are other creative ways to engage your followers, too. Keep posting content that’s relevant to your brand. You can also host Instagram Live shows on a regular basis as well.

The worst thing to do is to run your contest and go silent for a month. Instagram success depends on consistency. If you stop posting right after your giveaway, you lose momentum and positive brand feelings among your new followers.

The Art of the Instagram Giveaway

An Instagram giveaway is a powerful tool to increase brand awareness, the number of followers you have, and follower engagement.

There are a number of ways to run a giveaway and pick a winner. You need to have contest goals, a plan, and consistent action. You can run giveaways on a regular basis and continue to grow your brand’s online presence.

Just make sure you understand Instagram’s rules and protect yourself legally.

For more great IG and other social media ideas, check out the other articles on the blog today!