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How to Run a Giveaway on Instagram


Holding Instagram giveaways (or contests) are a fun and relatively easy way to grow your following and engage with users. I mean, who doesn’t love free things? There are several ways to go about hosting a contest on Instagram and choosing the lucky winners. It’s important to lay out the rules and regulations from the start.

Here, we’ve assembled a how-to guide on how to hold your next (or first) Instagram contest:

Define Your Goals

Before you start your contest, it’s important to define the goals you hope to accomplish. Are you trying to gain followers? Increase engagement? Create brand awareness? The nitty gritty details and rules of your contest must also be addressed. How long will the contest be? What are the age requirements? Are there going to be shipping fees? Do they have to follow you? Familiarize yourself with legal issues pertaining to contests in your region and hosting them on Instagram here.

Pick the Prize

Picking a prize that your followers would actually want is the most important thing to remember. Users won’t feel inclined to participate if it’s not an enticing enough prize.  If you want contest entries, you want to make sure it’s something worth trying to win. Keep in mind that quirky, unofficial holidays such as “National Popcorn Day” can provide the perfect opportunity to host contests with themed prizes like gourmet popcorn.

Also remember that if you are a brand, and you giveaway a generic prize, like a giftcard, then you are going to get a bunch of people engaging that want a gift card. This is why it is a good idea to giveaway your product, or something that your specific target audience will appreciate. For example, if you are a vegan skincare company, you may want to give away your product plus a set of vegan makeup. This will attract the right target audience.

Determine a Contest Hashtag

This hashtag should be unique to your contest and your contest alone. It will make tracking and choosing winners at the end of the contest all the more easier if you can see only the posts that have used your contest’s hashtag - this is especially important if you are running a "re-post" or "pick your own" contest (see all contest types below). Avoiding a generic hashtag and keeping it original means that unrelated posts won’t be mixed in. Check out our post on how to find the right campaign hashtag for more info. 

Choose Your Contest Type

Now that you’ve sorted out the kinks, it’s time for the fun part. There are many different types and themes of Instagram contests you can choose to host. Refer to your goals before deciding your contest type because each one can accomplish different or multiple things.  

  • Like to win—This is a very basic contest to start with if you’ve never hosted a giveaway before. Followers simply like your contest picture and they’re in the running. Not only is it easy to keep track of, but picking a random winner will be a breeze using random name pickers.  

  • Tag a friend—This giveaway requires participants to tag their friends in the comment section of the post to be entered into the contest. These tagged users are fresh eyes and potential new followers that can turn into participants of your contest. You can also combine “tag a friend” and “like to win,” so to enter they must do both.

  • Repost + hashtag—In this contest, participants repost the original giveaway on their accounts with the unique hashtag. Now your contest is reaching your followers’ followers and can increase social shares. Make sure to specify if you want to be tagged in the post in the contest rules.

  • Post your own + hashtag—If you hope to yield high buzz and participation, “posting your own” contests are great for this. This encourages participants to post their own photo relating to your brand or giveaway and use the unique contest hashtag. This contest type means that picking the winner will take more time because it requires a more subjective eye. Share the winning post and thank all participants!

Monitoring your entries and making sure that all contest regulations were met is very important. Remind followers throughout the duration of your contest to repost, like or tag friends, and when the winner will be announced. Instagram giveaways are easy to replicate with different prizes and will keep your followers engaged with your account. If done correctly, contests allow you to earn followers while having fun!


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