The Ultimate Guide to Your First Instagram Giveaway: Tips and Tricks

Have you considered running a contest on Instagram? Are you new to giveaways and in need of a few easy to follow ideas? Then you have come to the right place. 

This article is the ultimate guide to doing your first Instagram competition. The tips and tricks found in this article will boost your marketing efforts and help you exceed your monthly goals. Read on to learn more about Instagram contest giveaways. 

The rundown on the Rules for Instagram Contests

The rules are pretty straightforward, and they are not super restrictive. In fact, when compared directly to Facebook Instagram’s rules and restrictions are hardly an issue at all. 

There is one major guideline that is an absolute requirement on the Instagram platform in order to run a contest. This is referred to as the “Statement of release.”  According to Instagram, this statement has to be placed on every contest that has a post shared on the Instagram Platform. 

Essentially, you must write a statement that clearly informs participants that Instagram is not associated with, sponsoring, or administering your contest. Your contest entrants must certify that they are at least 13 years old, and it must be made clear that all entries will not hold Instagram responsible for any liabilities. Further, entrants agree and abide by the terms of use as laid out on Instagram. 

It is necessary that whatever statement you write is included at the very last part of your description on your Instagram post. 

Expert Trick: Those who routinely host competitions on Instagram may want to save their written statement for easy copy and paste access. This way, any time you decide to host a contest, you can simply copy and paste your statement at the end of your contest description. 

This might seem like an obvious note, but you cannot do anything illegal during your Instagram contest. You must abide by local, state, and federal laws. Further, you must write regulations and qualification requirements in an official statement according to Instagram. 

Another obscure Instagram rule that affects Instagram contests is that in order to tag someone in a picture, they must actually appear in the picture. This means that randomly tagging Instagram users is not an effective advertising method for your Instagram contest. However, Instagram users are allowed to mention their friends within the comment section of your contest post. This can be a great way to get the word out about your contest. 

You are allowed to post a link to your web address in the details of your caption. This is especially helpful to you if you plan to include contest information on your website. Visit the help section on Instagram to see a full and current list of rules and regulations for Instagram from the officials. 

So, you are up to speed on the rules and regulations that go with throwing an Instagram competition. Now, we will review the how-to section for throwing an amazing contest on Instagram. 

Plan Your Outcomes for This Competition

In order to accomplish the desired outcomes for your competition, you need to have a clear goal in mind. You may want to:

  • Increase user engagement with your feed
  • Generate more followers on Instagram
  • Grow your list of emails for weekly send-outs
  • Encourage follower interaction.

Competitions are an excellent way to achieve these goals. They are a proven method for increasing audience on Instagram. One of the major benefits to using Instagram as a platform for your contest is that you can have your existing followers do all of the advertising work for you. When you require participants to mention a friend in comments, you are generating free advertisement. Some of those friends who are tagged in your comments will decide to join the contest as well, effectively tagging even more people. Further, this is generating new followers that you may not have gotten otherwise. 

For entrepreneurs who are building a brand, introducing new products, or even offering a service to a particular area, contests that offer a giveaway to build a new level of interest surrounding your new business. Having users push the business forward helps build your brand authentically and gives others insight into the business. 

As you probably already know, Instagram relies on an algorithm to decide which posts are viewed and which ones are shown to new users. The more engagement you achieve on your posts and content, the more likely others are to be shown your content. This includes when people search for hashtags. Further, the engagement on a competition post will likely boost the other content you have posted on Instagram as well. This will rank you higher and boost your overall popularity on Instagram. 

Creating a Vision for Your Competition

As soon as you have a clear end-goal in mind for this competition, you are ready to dig in to the fun part. It is time to make a plan for your contest. 

Pick Your Prize

First, you need to decide what the prize is for your Instagram contest. Ideally, you want the winning item or service to be relevant to the brand you are building or the product you are selling. Giving away a popular item might win you more traffic, but your goal should not be to earn just any traffic, you should be earning traffic that will help your brand in the long-term. 

The bigger the prize, the more excitement you will build with your Instagram contest. The more excitement that is built, the more traffic you win overall. Be careful with your requirements, though. If you are asking people to do a large task, you had better have a big reward. 

Following your page, double tapping a post, and tagging a friend in comments are all easy for users to do. These tasks would be easy to get a bunch of people to do even if the winning prize is a fairly small one. However, taking a picture, making a video, or writing a poem are all huge requests. Less people are likely to participate and the reward should be much bigger. 

You may want to consider placing restrictions on the prizes that you plan to give out. For example, if you promise a free product to everyone who likes your post you better be prepared for your post to go viral. Are you willing to go bankrupt to fund your prize? If your answer is no, then you would rather be safe than sorry and limit the number of prizes you are willing to shell out. 

Make a Plan for Participation

After you have laid out a plan for the grand prize is going to be, you need to decide what the criteria are for users to enter your contest. Many Instagram contests ask entrants to follow the Instagram account, give a heart to the post, and then tag at least one friend in the comment section. Further, some contests may require the use to make their own special post using a specific hashtag, visit a web address and fill out a form, and the possibilities are endless. Any combination of these ideas would be just fine and would do a good job generating interest in your contest. 

Whatever it is that you decide, the goal should be for users to enter in a few simple steps. Users will be overwhelmed by more than two or three requirements. Too many stipulations will deter some users from entering your contest and that will ultimately defeat the purpose of having a contest in the first place. 

One of the most well-recognized strategies during an Instagram contest is the requirement for participants to post something to their wall with a special hashtag. By using this method, contest hosts ensure that they are attracting participants who would be willing to continue to create content for the brand. Further, this user generated content requires absolutely no advertising work on your part. It is truly a win-win. Extra advertising that comes with no added expense to the brand. 

Writing Rules and Regulations for your Contest

As mentioned previously, Instagram requires contest hosts to have a written list of content rules and regulations. You want to make a clear plan for attacking this before you decide to post your contest. 

Is there an age that participants need to be to participate? Do Participants need to live in a certain area?

You also need to know how many days or weeks you plan to give for the contest to run. It needs a clear beginning and a clear end before it ever begins. According to research, bigger competitions tend to be most successful when run between 1 and 2 weeks of time. In the event that your requirements are more complicated, take that into account when deciding the time frame for your event. 

The Contest Hashtag

On Instagram, the hashtag is one of the most influential pieces of the contest puzzle. After all, a good portion of entries will come from hashtag sources. Further, hashtag data helps you understand how and why your brand is reaching different demographics of people. 

Your hashtag should relate back to your brand or business. Further, it should be a hashtag that you use exclusively for this one contest. Of course, you also want to ensure that no other brand is currently using that hashtag. 

It is okay to make a contest hashtag a little longer than hashtags for regular content. However, you want your hashtag to be easily understood and easy to re-write. 

Plan How to Choose a Winner

Most of the criteria we have mentioned before in this article would warrant the use of some kind of random number generator. However, some contests may require judges. You want to figure out who is judging and what the criteria is beforehand.  

Also, plan out how you are going to let the winners know that they have won. Do you need to have their email to contact them? Do you plan to send them a DM on Instagram? Let your entrants know up front so that they know to be on the lookout for your message. 

Time to Get It Started

Okay, now the fun is really going to begin. Once you have everything neatly planned out you can actually post the contest and watch the entries roll in. 

Make sure that in the announcement post you clearly lay out all the plans you made for the contest. You do not want to confuse your entrants. 

Also, make sure that the photo you choose to post with your contest is directly related to the contest itself. 

You will want to regularly promote your campaign, but it is up to you to decide how often and when you will post about your contest. You can look at your statistics to determine when would be best for you to post on your feed. 

It is extremely unlikely that your contest will make you an Instagram star in an instant. After all, going viral is extremely difficult and most contests simply do not get that kind of results. However, they absolutely do make a large difference in your interaction with Instagram users. You may have to host more than one contest to reach your goal, that is okay because you will learn a lot during your first Instagram contest. 

Make sure that you learn how to promote your contest across your social media. You should promote your contests on other platforms when appropriate and make sure that email followers are aware of it too. 

Expert Tip: Some Instagram accounts have multiple users who have access to the account. If this is the case for you, it is wise to designate one user to handle every inquiry and aspect of the Instagram contest. Otherwise, it may cause unwanted issues. 

Sit Back and Enjoy the Benefits

Once it is all said and done, evaluate the impact that your contest had on your goals. Were you able to succeed? What could have gone better? What went better than expected? Answering these questions will help you run successful contests in the future. 

I hope that you are excited to get started on your first Instagram contest. Following these simple tricks will make you a pro in no time.