Instagram Giveaway Guide


Best Practice Instagram Giveaway Guide

Brands and bloggers love to host giveaways because it’s a great promotional tool. If executed correctly, it engages your current follower base and reaches new accounts that may decide they want to follow and engage with you. However, for many brands, it’s seen as something to throw together at the last minute to score a bump in followers or even web traffic for an upcoming promotion. Therein lies the problem that most contests are not following a core strategy.

Make sure your account is putting it’s best visual look forward.

In the excitement of putting together a contest, a brand needs to ask itself, is my feed in the best visual state it can be in for new prospective followers? Would you invite strangers over to your house without it being presentable to offer a good first impression? Gaining new eyeballs on your account does no good if it doesn’t prompt a reaction. This is your chance at gaining not just a new follower, but a new soon-to-be loyal consumer. Tip: Delete old irrelevant posts that are detracting from a cohesive feed.

Create visually stimulating imagery or video specifically for the giveaway.

Even if restrictions to your creative time and budget make it difficult to always have the highest quality content, do not skimp on a giveaway post for two reasons. First, you want to make your current followers stop their scroll when they get to your giveaway. If it looks like just another regular promotional post, they could scroll right on by. That’s also why it’s essential to make it very clear it’s a giveaway in the caption immediately.

Second, this could be your first impression for potential new followers, and if they see a blurry, ill-composed image they get tagged in, coupled by a messy feed they barely glance at, they certainly may choose not to engage or follow.

Use tested and proven time-frames for posting to reach the optimum amount of followers.

You may think the giveaway will attract enough excitement that it doesn’t matter when you post, but that’s not how the current Instagram algorithm works. Without the proper engagement sending the right signals to Instagram, fewer people will see the giveaway and less will be aware that it even exists.


Don’t host a boring Instagram giveaway.

You can’t open the Instagram app without seeing a contest nowadays. It’s becoming a promotional crutch for slow periods, or if a brand feels like they need a boost. Often, the prizes are basic and not rich enough to offset the work involved in some contest rules. Is your giveaway so relevant and valuable that it is immediately share-worthy? Take time to brainstorm an enticing giveaway, whether that involves setting aside a generous portion of the marketing budget or finding creative ways to attract followers with something unique.

Don’t make the barrier for entry too high.

I personally don't like to hold a contest where I force someone to follow any accounts, tag accounts, or re-post content. The more rules there are to a contest, the more annoying they become to your audience. You have to remember, unless your post goes viral in the explore page, it’s your audience seeing these rules, and they already follow you. Your chance at growth is based on your followers sharing with people or making it to the explore page. This won’t happen if core best practice criteria isn’t met.

Make the barrier of entry low enough so that people feel no pressure from it, and will share it because it’s rich, and not out of force. If you feel like several rules are necessary, do your best to make them clear, easy to follow, and a benefit to the core metric that will prove your giveaway successful.

If you use “influencers” to help spread the word about your giveaway vet their following and audience first.

Influencers can help spread the word about your giveaway. However, without doing your homework on their accounts beforehand, you may select the wrong partners and not get the results you were hoping to later celebrate.

First, confirm their following is real using tools like and If they look legitimate, ask for a screenshot of their demographics to make sure their audience aligns with the demographic with whom you are targeting. At first glance, it may appear their target audience would align, but confirming their analytics is crucial so there are no surprises. For example: some accounts have large followings out-of-state, which would be pertinent information to a local brand.

Other best practice tips:

  • For you to get the most out of your giveaway, you need to define clear goals and metrics to measure.

  • Don’t run giveaways for too long, people will forget about them, and you will lose traction and excitement

  • Keep all digital real estate you own on the same brand message. No matter where someone interacts with your brand, they should be reminded of your giveaway.

  • If you decide to have a rich, rule-intensive giveaway, you may consider creating a landing page with the full rules and terms and conditions.

  • Always comply with Instagram and FTC guidelines.

If you are interested in more in-depth information as it relates to marketing campaigns, strategies, best practices, or an overall consultation on your current state of digital affairs in the restaurant or retail world, feel free to reach out.