Want to learn how to run a successful giveaway for your brand?
Instagram giveaways are wildly popular, with seemingly every business brand running them nowadays. And why not? They have huge potential: increased followers, increased engagement, increased sales. Who doesn’t want that?
But when it comes to running a giveaway, you need to make sure you’re following all the right steps to set your giveaway up for success. There’s nothing worse than running a giveaway, only to discover that only a handful of people entered.
To prevent that, this guide walks you through all the best practices and steps you need to do to run a succesful Instagram giveaway from start to finish.
How to Run A Successful Instagram Giveaway
1. Establish giveaway goal
The most important step to make sure your giveaway is a success is to establish what your goal is from the giveaway.
Do you want more followers?
Do you want more engagement on your Instagram account?
Do you want more people to subscribe to your email list?
Do you want more sales?
If you start with your goal in mind, you will better be able to structure your giveaway so that, in the end, the giveaway gives you the result you’re looking for.
2. Identify the prize
Identifying the prize is one of the most important steps in establishing a successful giveaway on Instagram.
Having a lucrative prize will make or break a giveaway. A prize that is too small (ex. pair of socks) and you may not garner enough interest; a prize that is too big (ex. all-expenses paid trip to Fiji) may be enticing to consumers, but may not be in your budget.
Types of Prizes
The types of prizes can really be anything you want, but generally fall into the following categories:
- Products or services related to your brand
- Promotional products
- Products not related to your brand
- Products from sponsor
Whatever prize you end up deciding on, make sure that in your giveaway post you are very clear in detailing exactly what the winner will receive. The more details the better, as this will avoid confusion.
Please note that based on your country, there may be laws and stipulations regarding prizes. For example in the US, tobacco, alcohol, and firearms are off limits. The IRS also requires the giveaway sponsor to file a 1099 form for for “prizes and awards that are not for services, such as winnings on TV or radio shows” for prizes totaling more than $600. It’s best practice to consult a lawyer before running a giveaway.
3. Identify who can enter
This next step is pretty straightforward but you need to identify who can enter your giveaway.
Typically it’s best to always exclude minors, but this is where you will want to establish if your giveaway is available only to local residents, US residents, or worldwide.
Laying this out clearly in your initial giveaway post and official rules will prevent excluded people from entering, so that are aren’t bummed out later if they win when they discover they were actually ineligible.
4. Establish duration
Is your giveaway a flash giveaway and only runs for the next 24 hours? Or will it run for a week? Or maybe even a month? It’s up to you to establish the giveaway duration and to clearly detail that in your post (can you sense a theme here about transparency?).
Typically, best practice is to run a giveaway that is 3-7 days long. Yes, you may want to keep the giveaway period open as long as possible in order to increase entries, but anything longer than a week may result in people forgetting about the giveaway and decreased overall interest.
5. How the winner is chosen
But before you decide on entry criteria, you need to establish whether your giveaway is a sweepstakes or contest.
Simply, a sweepstakes randomly selects a winner and a contest selects a winner based on merit. For a more in-depth explanation, I break down the differences in this YouTube video.
6. How to enter
This step is the meat and potatoes of the giveaway, where you tell people exactly what they need to do to enter. If they do it, they’re in; if they don’t, they’re out.
Sweepstakes Entry Criteria
If you’re running a giveaway, your entry criteria can range from something as simple as following your account to as complicated as having to do multiple steps (like the post, follow your accounts, tag a friend, and share the post to their story).
Best practice for sweepstakes in order to increase the number of people who enter are to have a basic step or two to enter (ex. follow your account and tag a friend in the comments) and then to have bonus methods of entry such as sharing the giveaway post to their stories.
Contest Entry Criteria
If you’re running a contest, the entry criteria may be a a caption contest, write the best poem, or post a photo of them using your product with your #ContestHashtag. Whatever it is, remember that you will subjectively select a winner based on merit, based on whatever criteria you as the contest host choose.
Personally I think the bonus “share to story” entry is a must for every giveaway. Not only do incentivize the most eager to win to enter more, but you also get extra visibility to your giveaway to a new audience, which in turn can lead to even more giveaway entries. It’s a win-win!
Whatever you do, be aware that the more steps you have, the more complicated you’re making it for people (i.e. higher barriers to entry), so you may have less overall entries. That being said, if the prize is lucrative enough (ex. 4-pack of tickets to Walt Disney World), you may be OK with this and it may not hinder people at all from entering because they really want that juicy prize!
I break down all a bunch of different entry criteria and ways to structure your giveaway in this video here.
7. Technical issues
The world’s not perfect, so it’s important to detail out what happens in case there are problems in running the giveaway. This can range from how you’ll handle duplicate entries to what happens if Instagram crashes. Just make it clear your procedure for these things.
A great place to put these are in your official rules, which leads to the next point….
8. Official Rules
Ah, the official rules. The fun, legal catch all for all things relating to your giveaway and helps keep you safe.
Having official rules posted on your website may seem like a pain, but they are actually are important for full transparency (if you can’t tell by now, I’m a big fan). This will help keep you out of hot water in case anything goes awry during the giveaway.
Best practice is to detail out all of the following clauses your official rules:
- “No Purchase Necessary”
- “Purchase does not enhance chance of winning”
- “Void where prohibited”
- Details regarding non-monetary consideration
- The identity of the host/promoter
- Entry procedures and start/end date, including time and time zone
- Eligibility requirements
- An explanation of all methods of entry including bonus entries
- A clear description of the prize(s); certain states have stricter regulations
- Date winner(s) will be chosen and notified
- Method of selecting a winner
- Publicity rights regarding use of winner’s information
- Liability limitations
- Odds of winning
- Physical address, not a PO Box
In your actual Instagram post, it is important to include brief versions of these clauses and direct the person to your official rules by including a link in the post or by having the link easily accessible in your bio.
You will also want to include in your Instagram post that:
The giveaway hosted by [your company name] is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Instagram.
If you’re giving away prizes that are another company’s product (ex. iPad, $100 Target gift card), be sure to also mention that those parent companies are not associated with the giveaway as well.
As you can see, when it comes to running an Instagram giveaway, transparency, transparency, transparency is key!
By doing the steps above for your next giveaway, you’ll assure that your giveaway is a success because everyone will know the rules before they enter. There will be no grey areas or room for shadiness , which will hopefully keep your giveaway fun and drama free.
For a full breakdown of how to run a successful Instagram giveaway, check out this video: