Here at VYPER, we have witnessed brands instantaneously grow their audience, email lists, and social shares (by the thousands) with a single Instagram Giveaway.

Some brands even achieved thousands of app downloads with their Instagram giveaway (links to case studies below). That is the sheer power and force of Instagram giveaways.

Hosting an Instagram giveaway can help bring about much-needed exposure for your brand. However, the boost in leads and engagement that Instagram giveaways promise is Not guaranteed. You must carefully plan and structure your giveaway to achieve optimal results.

This guide has 11 Steps to Run a Successful Instagram Giveaway. Your giveaway plan starts here with our step-by-step guide!

Let’s go!

how to do a giveaway on instagram

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Think about how much content there is on a social media platform like Instagram. There are 95 million new posts added to the platform every single day. That’s a lot of competing content. 

So, you need to sweeten the deal and show Instagram’s 2 billion monthly active users why they should give you the time of day. 

An Instagram giveaway is one of the best ways to get their attention. 

These special event contests are also a great way to collect user-generated content. They’ll also increase your brand awareness and get new eyes on your products or services.

Wait, there’s more! Instagram giveaways are a great opportunity to boost leads in the form of followers and email contacts. Some brands achieve massive engagement from their campaigns with thousands of shares on Instagram.

Here are two case studies documenting the strategies used to gain excellent results from Instagram giveaways. Click on the images below for the full case study:

Testbook Case Study
Topaz Labs Case Study

We have learned from these case studies that If you want your Instagram giveaway to succeed and be fruitful, you need to run it the right way. 

In this guide, we’ll teach you a series of actionable secrets that will allow you to run successful giveaways on Instagram.

Why Should You Run Instagram Giveaways?

Instagram giveaways are a crucial part of a successful social media marketing strategy. They’re an incredible way to draw new eyes to your brand and generate effective brand awareness and growth. 

Why is that? 

Everyone loves the opportunity to get something for nothing. And if you properly target and incentivize your Instagram giveaways, you’ll be able to create useful and shareable content.

Love Books For Life Instagram Giveaway
Source: @love_booksforlife Instagram

If the deal is good enough, people will want to share it with friends and family, opening you up to an entirely new audience.

You could make sharing a post or hashtag an integral part of the entry process. That would guarantee compliance and extend your reach.

Then, of course, there’s user-generated content. A lot of Instagram giveaways make great use of this concept. When your customers create content as part of a contest, you have a virtual truckload of freely generated content to use at your leisure.

Not only is user-generated content more affordable, but it’s also more trustworthy. Potential customers are willing to give more credence to content generated by a peer over something rolled out by a corporate marketing team.

What is User Generated Content

We have a complete guide on User-Generated Content and its many benefits for brands.

Click here to learn more about user-generated content.

What Makes an Instagram Giveaway Successful?

You determine the success or failure of an Instagram giveaway promotion by comparing the results to your original goals.

Like any marketing campaign, your Instagram giveaway seeks a positive result from your target audience. The easy go-to would be monetary conversions or sales. That’s always the endgame for businesses of all sizes.

gillieandmarcart Instagram Giveaway
Source: @gillieandmarcart Instagram

But your Instagram giveaway might not be the final step before closing a sale. It could be one of the many steps in the customer journey leading to an inevitable conversion. Many Instagram giveaways are for lead generation. In other words, you’re using the giveaway to gather Vital Information about your audience, such as their names, email addresses, phone numbers, and more.

This would be a reasonably early step in the initial customer journey. It’s the information gathering phase, wherein you gather information for future marketing efforts.

Giveaway Entry Form
An example of a giveaway entry form that requires only a lead’s name and email.

In that case, if you generate a ton of interest and gather many leads, you can consider your Instagram giveaway a rousing success, right?

Of course, you then have to consider the quality of those leads. Imagine gathering 500 leads from an Instagram giveaway and closing only ten of them.

You’ve generated low-value leads with a low likelihood of closing. You’d then have to go back and consider the way you targeted the giveaway. Were you looking at the right people? What were your targeting parameters? What can you do differently in the future?

Now, imagine you generated 250 leads. However, you closed 150 of them and turned them into paying customers. While your Instagram giveaway has generated fewer actual leads, they’re of higher quality. That leads to more marketing dollars at the end of the day. It also means the second hypothetical Instagram giveaway was the more successful campaign.

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How To Run an Instagram Giveaway Successfully

We’ve discussed why you should run an Instagram giveaway and gone through in detail how to tell if one is successful. Let’s dive into what you can do to ensure your Instagram giveaway is a major success for your brand.

1. Research Your Target Audience

Remember how we mentioned that target audience of yours in previous sections? Figuring out who they are and, more importantly, who they are not will be a huge step in crafting your plan for an Instagram giveaway. It’ll also inform your entire marketing plan company-wide. 

This step takes a lot of research. There’s no getting around that. You need to know everything about these people, up to and including their:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Geographic location
  • Interests
  • Preferred social channels
  • Multimedia preferences
  • Average salary
  • Average occupation
  • Marital status
  • And any other relevant information

Of course, any business rarely has a target audience that fits neatly into one little pile. Typically, separating your target audience into specific buyer personas would be best. These are mock profiles detailing demographic data on segmented audience groups.

Buyer Persona Canvas
Source: @DaveDaniels LinkedIn

We mainly do this as marketers because one buyer persona might have different marketing preferences than another. That means specific marketing campaigns can aim at one buyer persona over another.

It’s common in social media marketing to have multiple campaigns running simultaneously, all aimed at different segments of your audience.

But to do that and do it right, you first need to understand who these people are and what they want.

2. Outline Your Giveaway Goals

The success or failure of your Instagram giveaway depends on the marketing goals you outline at the beginning of your campaign. What are you trying to accomplish? Who are you trying to reach? 

All of this should coincide with your copious demographic research on your target audience. You understand who these people are, how they like to shop, where they like to go online, and how they like interacting with content.

That means you can design an Instagram giveaway perfect for this audience.

What are conversions

What’s more, you’ll know whether the goals you’ve laid out are achievable.

So, what’s your end goal? Are you trying to generate cash directly from your Instagram giveaway? Are you just trying to get your brand name out there? Or are you trying to develop leads you can follow up with later?

Compile this information with a clear mission statement at the top of your Instagram marketing plan. Reference this goal data when measuring the overall status of your giveaway. Routinely checking on your progress will help you see whether the goals you’ve set are realistic or not.

If your eyes are a little too big for your stomach, it’s simple to reassess what you want to accomplish. Determine what’s achievable for your audience and return to the table with a fresh mindset.

3. Choose an Instagram Prize 

Coming up with personalized giveaway ideas can help you stand out from competitors. The contest prize you select will help you reach your goals fast while providing value to the target audience.

This third step considers steps one and two. When offering a contest prize on Instagram, you must understand your target audience and their wants. You also have to keep your goals for the campaign in mind.

Obviously, regarding your target audience, you’ll need to know what kind of giveaway item will push them to action. 

It should be something that appeals to them and their pain points. For example, let’s say you’re selling a health plan. Offering to give away a protein shaker cup can be a huge selling point that will get the attention of that target audience.

Gaming brands that sell hardware like keyboards and mice can use specific prizes to draw a core audience made up specifically of gamers. Such a prize can be a gaming console, like a PS5.

Fortnite Giveaway PS5 prize

This next stage is where your goals come into play. Think about what you’re trying to accomplish and the value it brings in. The giveaway prize you offer shouldn’t eat into your profits. That means you must identify an acceptable percentage to lose per conversion to pay for and ship your giveaway items. 

If you’re giving away something that costs you nothing, like an ebook or a free trial membership to your services, you won’t need to worry about this. Your giveaway item has the added benefit of appealing to your target audience while not eating into your profits at all. 

You must factor production and shipping costs into your plans when giving away a physical item. If what you’re giving away is a coupon for a percentage off your services, it stands to reason that you’ll need to factor in that loss and adjust your profit margin accordingly. 

Giveaway Prize Ideas

Do you need inspiration for choosing your giveaway prize?

Click here for the complete guide on Giveaway Prize Ideas.

4. Come Up With Entry Criteria

Now it’s time for the fun part. You get to develop your campaign’s entry criteria, giveaway rules, and a killer contest announcement post.

Social media giveaways, both on and off Instagram, fall into one of several different categories.

byhasanat Barbie Instagram Giveaway
Source: @byhasanat Instagram

Here are some of the more popular options: 

  • Like, Comment, and Subscribe campaigns are when participants enter your giveaway by liking or commenting on a post. Alternatively, they could subscribe to or follow a page to increase follower count.
  • A tag campaign is a type of giveaway in which you must tag other people in a post to win the prize. It can be a great way to generate more brand awareness and reach new people.
  • Participants enter a sharing campaign by sharing your giveaway post or some other piece of content that you want to get out there.
  • You can run a photo caption contest by supplying a photo your audience would then write creative captions for. Choose finalists and have the rest of your audience vote for the winner!
  • A user-generated content campaign is when you challenge your audience to develop creative content and share it with your page. This content could be a photo of them using your products creatively or a piece of artwork that has something to do with your business.

Just make sure that you’re very clear about the contest rules to avoid any negative publicity. 


5. Determine Giveaway Duration

Coming up with the duration of your giveaway can take time and effort. If you choose a giveaway period that’s too short, you risk limiting your reach. You should allow your giveaway time to grow if you want to go viral. 

On the other hand, if you let the contest go for a short time, it starts to lose steam. People might forget about it entirely. It’s always best to strike while the iron is hot and excitement is at its zenith. 

This step calls back to our first step. You need to take your target audience into account. What’s their attention span like? 

You can determine the perfect contest length by knowing who these people are inside and out. It should generate the most interest while also moving on new potential leads before they forget about you entirely. 

Countdown Timers and Popups

Countdown timers encourage users to act fast in fear of missing out (FOMO). A countdown timer on a giveaway will push entrants to take action faster and fill out the giveaway entry form.

You can install a countdown timer on your website for your Instagram giveaway. Then drive users from your Instagram giveaway post to your site to enter. These Instagram users will notice the timer and will act fast.

Click here for our guide on countdown timers and FOMO.

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⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ — Download all the guides, checklists, and outlines we use to build and market viral contests. See our case studies for examples of brands using these to collecting 50k emails and social followers in 3 weeks.

6. Develop Imagery for the Post

You don’t have to be a designer to create a catchy image that goes with your post. Whether you’re a creator, marketer, influencer, or designer, you can create imagery with templates to publish compelling and catchy photos on Instagram.

Remember, Instagram is a visual platform. It’s unlike Facebook or Twitter, where you have a heavy text component. The text descriptions you create to accompany your visual content will be important (see our next step). But it’s the visual element that’s going to bring people in. 

Unfortunately, graphic designers can come at a very high price nowadays. But thankfully, it has al’ways been challenging to create professional quality imagery and video content using templates. 

With an app or template software, you can create professional quality videos and stunning optimized images to post on your page. 

Envato Elements Instagram Templates

Remember, you’re trying to reach people scrolling on their phones. That means you must provide something that stands out and makes them stop before they get to their next cat video. However, you can get bonus points if you throw a cat video into your Instagram giveaway…

7. Write Compelling Copy

Instagram is a visual platform designed to share photos and videos. But your descriptions can still go a long way in convincing people that your Instagram giveaway is worth a shot. 

But if you genuinely want to capture your audience’s attention, you can’t rush out a description and a list of giveaway rules that are dull or uninspiring. You need to craft a compelling narrative and use the power of storytelling in your descriptions. That will convince your target audience that this is worth their time and effort.

If you have someone with writing skills on staff, that’s great. You can also outsource your writing to freelancers or use an AI program like ChatGPT. It generates high-quality content at the push of a button. Just ensure you optimize the content with specific keywords that will appeal to your target audience. 

Use hashtags that are popular within your industry for even more reach.

8. Create Instagram Reels and Reminder Posts

Instagram Reels are short-form videos that are easily digestible and incredibly popular. Running off a model popularized by TikTok, Instagram Reels have proven to be a major player in the social media marketing game.

Instagram Reels Homepage

You can spread the word about your giveaway by using Reels. Just make sure the video content is catchy, quick, and effective. Creating quality reels is an art form that takes practice to get right. But if your target audience includes younger generations like Gen Z, they can be one of the most effective weapons in your arsenal.

To be effective, Reels need to come out at the opportune moment. Different demographic groups access Instagram at various times during the day. This is one of those vital pieces of information you must gather before launching any marketing campaign.

But thankfully, you don’t have to sit around watching the clock waiting for it to strike that perfect moment to post your Reel. You can use a social media automation platform to schedule Instagram Reels automatically at a specific time. 

9. Boost Posts

Social media juggernauts like Instagram and its sister site, Facebook, run on an ad revenue-reliant business model. 

In other words, most of their profits come from selling ad revenue to companies like yours looking to reach larger markets. 

Because of that, the Instagram algorithm tends to be unforgiving regarding corporate content like an Instagram giveaway. Because of this, if you want to reach the most profitable audience and increase your reach, you’ll need to boost your posts.

Boost Instagram Post

A boosted post is like placing an ad on Instagram. You take your giveaway post and select an audience you want to reach. You can then optimize targeting parameters for the contest post so that it matches perfectly with the ideal segment of your audience. Then you’re able to set your own ad spend budget.

Determine how much money you will spend daily, and set that as your cap. Then decide whether to pay per click, conversion, or impression. For an Instagram giveaway, paying per impression might be your best bet. That means you get charged every time your post appears in front of a member of your target audience.

But since these campaigns aim for someone to see your post and then enter your giveaway through it, impressions can go a very long way.

VYPER Free Account Signup Fortnite

10. Choose the Winner(s), Post, and Share

When your giveaway has ended, it’s time to choose your lucky winners. This should happen out loud in front of your entire audience. Make a big deal about it and celebrate the victory. This tactic can be especially useful in user-generated content giveaways. 

Post your users’ content for all to see and applaud. Make sure to choose your winners shortly after the giveaway period has ended. People might wonder if you’re trying to back out if you wait too long.

Your giveaway is an opportunity to show your customers that you follow through on promises. It represents a chance to build trust with the audience. That’s not something you want to waste.

11. Follow Through on Your Prizes As Advertised

Throughout your giveaway campaign on Instagram, you should be very clear about what you’re giving away. There should be no confusion in the minds of your audience. You need to uphold your end just as you hold them to the promotion guidelines in your initial contest post.  

Share a quote or post from your winners when you follow through and give out your prizes as advertised. Doing this creates a form of social proof in the hearts and minds of your target audience. They’ve now witnessed the success of a winner. That means they’ll be more likely to come back for future giveaways. 

TL;DR: How To Do a Giveaway on Instagram

When trying to expand the reach of your business and generate increased brand awareness, Instagram giveaways are the way to go.

By following the 11 steps listed above, you should be able to craft an Instagram giveaway that’s targeted, goal-oriented, and effective.

If you found this content compelling, please consider sharing it. Additionally, if you have any questions or want to share stories of your past Instagram giveaways, post in the comments below.

Joanne Camarce

About The Author

Joanne Camarce grows and strategizes B2B marketing and PR efforts. She loves slaying outreach campaigns and connecting with brands like G2, Wordstream, Process Street, and others.

When she’s not wearing her marketing hat, you’ll find Joanne admiring Japanese music and art or just being a dog mom.

Connect with Joanne on LinkedIn and Twitter



Jack Paxton
Jack Paxton

Jack Paxton is the co-founder of VYPER, a marketing tool that helps brands build email lists, social followings, and revenue using viral giveaways, referral, and reward programs. After millions of dollars spent testing different marketing strategies at his marketing agency. He then also co-founded Hyax a fast, conversion & design-focused course and funnel builder for creators.

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