How to Run Your First Instagram Giveaway

There are many ways to incorporate social media into your marketing strategy; few of them allow you to excite potential customers, extend your reach beyond existing followers, garner testimonials, and endear yourself to one lucky winner in the ways that an Instagram giveaway does.

If you’re new to this type of campaign, here are a few tips to ensure that your first giveaway is a successful one.

The Instagram giveaway checklist

1. Planning

  • Giveaway vs. contest vs. sweepstakes: As the popular how-to site Dummies outlines, you should know the difference between a contest, a sweepstake, and a giveaway for legal reasons and promotional clarity. In this case, a giveaway refers to a promotion in which the winner is determined randomly from a pool of entrants.
  • Instagram’s giveaway rules: Familiarize yourself with Instagram’s giveaway rules to make sure you’re in compliance.
  • Goals: Define what your giveaway will achieve. What do you hope to get out of it? New followers, or perhaps brand awareness?
  • Partners: Consider teaming up with compatible brands to conduct a joint giveaway. You’ll get exposure to their followers and vice versa. Plus, a bigger giveaway prize yields more excitement and entries.
  • Inspiration and ideas: See what others are doing by browsing through Instagram and performing a tag search for “#giveaway.”

2. Conducting the giveaway

  • Terms: Clearly spell out the entry terms within your giveaway post. Address details like the entry deadline, eligibility (age requirements, location requirements), how to enter, and when the winner will be announced.
  • Type of giveaway: Decide on the type of giveaway you’d like to run. Keep in mind that the easier the entry process is, the more entries and engagement you’re likely to get. Types of giveaways include the following:
    • Reposts — Enter by reposting your giveaway post.
    • Like and follow — Enter by liking the giveaway post and following you.
    • Tag a friend — Enter by tagging a friend on your giveaway post.
  • Additional entries: Keep in mind that if an entrant has to navigate away from Instagram to enter your giveaway, it could drastically reduce participation numbers. However, if your goal is to get more newsletter subscribers, you can set up your giveaway so that someone can enter on Instagram but earn an extra entry opportunity by going to your website and subscribing to your email list as well.
  • Giveaway image: Make your giveaway image visually compelling. Use a vivid picture that makes people want to own whatever you’re giving away. Consider including text that says “Giveaway” on the image so people immediately know it’s a giveaway.
  • Giveaway caption: In the caption, make sure to include:
    • A description of what you’re giving away and why.
    • The terms of the giveaway.
    • Relevant hashtags that are both specific to your brand (#chocolate, #candy) and general (#giveaway).
  • Promoting the post: If you have the budget, consider promoting your giveaway post as an Instagram ad. That way, you’ll reach more — and new — people rather than relying purely on the organic reach of your post.

3. Picking and announcing the winner

  • Random selection: Copy and paste your entrants’ names into a numbered list, then use a free tool like to randomly pick a winner.
  • Contact the winner: Message the winner through Instagram to let them know they’ve won. If they don’t respond after multiple attempts, select another winner.
  • Winner announcement: Make the winner feel important. Ask if they can send you a quote and a picture (ideally using your product) that you can use in your winner announcement post. Finally, tag them so they know you’ve made the announcement.

After you’ve completed your Instagram giveaway, make notes for future reference. How many entries did you receive? What would you do differently next time? This way, each giveaway you run will be more successful than the next.


Aaron von Frank

Cofounder and CEO at, a USDA certified organic heirloom garden seed subscription service. Writer at, Edible Upcountry Magazine, and other media outlets.

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