According to research, Instagram accounts that hold giveaways can achieve 70% faster follower growth compared to those that don’t hold contests. If you want to boost the following of your business Instagram account, running well-thought out contests is a great strategy.

Firstly, decide what your business’ primary goal is in creating a giveaway contest. Are you aiming to boost engagement, increase brand awareness or to create a buzz about a new product? Perhaps you want to source brand advocates to talk favorably about your products and spread word-of-mouth messages. Or maybe you want to gather reviews and testimonials from your existing customer base. Your primary objective will have a significant impact on what kind of giveaway you run. Below, Mediterranean ingredient company Belazu released a giveaway of a product to promote its success at the annual Great Taste Awards. This is a great way to raise awareness of a company’s achievements and encourage customers to try new products. Often companies like to coincide giveaways with company milestones, such as reaching 200k followers or receiving awards.

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Giveaway Ideas

While a lot of Instagram contests operate on a similar basis, you can combine and mix up the requirements to maximise engagement. Remember to be specific and include entry instructions in simple bullet points. This makes it easy for page visitors to enter and by emphasizing important information (like the entry hashtag) you can ensure that skim-readers won't have trouble understanding how they can enter.

Like to Win

Users are required to like the giveaway post and your business page for a chance to win. This will boost the visibility of your post on Instagram’s platform as Instagram’s algorithm favours posts that receive a greater number of total likes.

Comment to Win

Users are required to comment on the post with their favourite product, encouraging your customer base to discuss your products and will give you an insight into why certain products are popular and how you can improve.

Tag a friend

Users are required to tag their friends in the contest to enter. This will increase your business’ social engagement and the number of people exposed to the contest and consequently, your business’ brand and products.

Post a picture or selfie along with a contest-specific hashtag. There are several different options in terms of what kind of image you ask for from users.

It can be an image related to your business. Millie's Wolfheart pet food brand asked users to post pictures of their canine friends as #milliesdogofthemonth contest, the company would choose the best image and award the user with a dog food product. Significantly, this contest allows users who aren’t already existing customers and who haven’t yet purchased your products to take part, meaning you will receive a wider degree of engagement. This contest offers a low-cost incentive  but has still proved to be effective having been run monthly as a recurring giveaway. Recurring campaigns are an awesome way to keep people interested as it allows you to consistently generate leads and entrants.

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You don’t need to be constantly running contests to reap the brand awareness benefits that Instagram can offer. That’s because you’ll notice a trickle-down effect on the rest of your normal content as a result of running contests. People will feel a greater affinity toward your brand due to the goodwill you’ve generated with your contests.

An alternative option for this type of giveaway, would be to encourage users to post an image of them using your product. A good example of this would be Glossier, the US cosmetic company that packages its products in an iconic pink pouch. Although not part of a giveaway, Glossier encouraged users to take their own images of the pouches filled with makeup and skincare items under the hashtag #pinkpouchchallenge. This is an excellent piece of branding as it created an air of exclusivity surrounding the pouch and Glossier products. This kind of strategy is great for collecting ideas for new products and new ways to use existing products, but primarily relies on your business having a solid base of existing customers, who have already purchased the product and that are active and vocal on Instagram.


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The major benefit of running an Instagram giveaway requiring users to post their own images is that you can extract the advantages of UGC, user generated content. According to a survey, 90 percent of consumers reported that UGC influences their decisions to make a purchase, outranking all other forms of marketing. Furthermore, if you receive lots of engagement from your Instagram contest, you can collect hundreds of photos that your business could then utilise on their social channels, on their website and even in print ads. However, make sure to contact the producer of the image and get their permission to use it on your company’s social channels.


If you want to give away a high-value prize but you don’t have the funds to invest in one, consider arranging a partnership deal with another brand. Provided that you have a large enough follower count, there will be brands that are willing to provide a prize for your contest in exchange for some promotion. It is beneficial for both businesses to partner up on a giveaway, as it will allow them to populate their followings with each other’s existing follower bases.

Alternatively, if your objective is targeting a particular audience, it is a good idea to establish a partnership with a company that also sells products to your audience, not necessarily a competitor. Frank And Oak Women (a clothing brand) and DAVIDsTEA ( a beverage company) joined forces to run a promotion to their target market of young adult females and offered multiple prize packages consisting of products from each brand.

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Fill in a Form

You can also easily add a form to your giveaway, making it possible for you to collect email addresses from potential customers which can later be re-targeted with direct email marketing, notifying them on new promotions or inviting them to subscribe to the latest news from your business.


Your incentive needs to be product-centric. Giving away a "big" prize, like an iPad or cash, might bring you lots of entries and followers, and even engagement - at least in the short term. But if your goal is to build a solid customer base, you should be designing your Instagram giveaway around a prize that's relevant to your business, preferably your own products.

Moreover, if you’re asking your followers to jump through several hoops, make sure the prize is worth it. The prize will depend on the type of products your business sells. A small company that sells expensive products may not have the budget to offer their own products as a prize. For example, Oris the Swiss men’s watch-maker circumvents this problem by giving away stylish men’s accessories.

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The giveaway that you decide to run on your Instagram business account greatly depends on your objectives and budget. These factors will impact on what you ask of users and what incentive you give them. Bear in mind however that frequent promotions and contests can cause your audience to stop viewing them as special and valuable. Furthermore, you run the risk of alienating your existing customers so be cautious and strategic. We hope you found this guide useful and click here if would like to know more about Social Media Marketing


Written by Lydia Daniels September of 2018