6 Secrets to a Successful Instagram Giveaway

Illustration by Gustavo Zambelli via Dribbble

Instagram giveaways can be an effective way to increase your brand awareness — if you do them right. People might love a chance to win something for minimal effort (building your audience in the process), but failing to execute a contest or giveaway correctly will waste your time and not pan out the way you hope it will.

So, what is the secret to a successful giveaway? There are multiple things you need to do to incentivize people to participate.

#1. Decide what your goals are

First, decide what your goals for the giveaway will be. Do you want more followers? Are you hoping to drive website traffic? To start a partnership? Do increase follower engagement? Whatever your objectives are will influence the way you shape your giveaway campaign, so make sure you have a goal to orient your efforts around.

#2. Give a prize people actually want

Your prize needs to be something people are actually interested in winning. Don’t say you’re giving away your old pair of shoes because it’s something you don’t care if you lose, or something else that no one cares about. If you want engagement, then people need to believe it’s worth their time.

Many businesses give away free products, but is the value of the product properly motivating? If not, then you might need to create a whole package to encourage participation. Even if all you are asking people to do is take a selfie and tag it with your campaign hashtag, you probably won’t see many entries if the prize isn’t good enough.

If your Instagram account is for a personal brand instead of a business, then you don’t exactly have products to give away. Instead, give out cash, gift cards, trips, and other opportunities that people would not be able to obtain otherwise.

#3. Don’t make the requirements too difficult

People won’t participate if you ask too much of them and the prize isn’t worth their time. So, unless you are giving away prizes each worth a substantial amount, don’t ask people to do or make anything too elaborate.

Instead, ask people to do simple things. If all it takes to enter the giveaway is a picture of a particular subject tagged with your campaign’s hashtag, then people are more likely to think, “All right, I can do that.” You can even ask people to do something as simple as follow you or like your photos, in which case the winner will be truly randomized.

#4. Create a branded hashtag

A branded Instagram hashtags go a long way in maximizing your giveaway’s exposure. The hashtag #giveaway or #contest is not enough, though, because countless other brands and businesses are attempting to do the same thing. You need a hashtag that differentiates your particular giveaway from the crowd and makes it easy for people —especially Instagram users who are unfamiliar with your brand and hear about it from their friends — to search for it.

Your hashtag may even play a vital role in the contest itself. Asking people to post a photo or Story with your branded hashtag is a convenient way to accept entries and keep track of participants. Something catchy will also incentivize engagement; no one wants to put a boring or unexplainable hashtag on their profile.

#5. Don’t make people wait too long

Don’t make the giveaway drag on. Give it a few days to attract as many entries as possible, but don’t tell yourself that waiting three weeks will result in even more participants. It might, but everyone who entered within the first few days will grow frustrated, and they’re unlikely to join in on any future giveaways. Plus, it’s unlikely that people will want to wait too long to receive their prize.

Short giveaways, such as 24 hours, also create a sense of urgency. People may feel more motivated to jump on board if they don’t have long before the contest closes.

#6. Work with other brands and businesses

Other brands and businesses may be interested in hosting a giveaway as well, so why not create a joint contest? This way, you raise awareness for both brands, and combining prizes results in a unique package people may be interested in because of its extra value.

Don’t partner with competitors, of course, but find a brand that compliments yours. Influencers can be strategic partners, too, so build relationships with individuals who have substantial follower bases and tap into their existing audiences.


Giveaways can be fun and beneficial for your brand, but they can be a waste of time or even rub people the wrong way if you don’t put the right amount of effort into them. How will you approach your next Instagram giveaway?

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