How to Run an Effective Giveaway Campaign on Instagram

If you’re looking to increase your brand presence on Instagram, giveaways can be a good way to get your posts in front of more people and showcase both your products and your account. But there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about it – done right, Instagram giveaways can be effective, and providing lasting, tangible benefits. Done wrong, they can come across as spammy, and potentially hurt your business.

In this post, we’ll look at some of the keys to running a successful Instagram giveaway campaign, as well as some of the missteps that you need to avoid.

So first, to clarify a common Instagram giveaway question…

What’s an Instagram Follower Loop?

A follower ‘loop’ is a process which has been devised to maximize post reach, and counteract some of the limitations of Instagram’s feed algorithm.

A loop involves multiple businesses or users pooling together to offer a larger giveaway package, which they then all promote among their own followers, directing them to also follow the other loop participants. Each business posts the same update, tagging the next business in the loop in a sequence like this: 

  • The organizer creates the main post and tags business A
  • Business A posts the same photo and tags business B
  • Business B posts the same photo and tags business C

The ‘loop’ then goes on in this manner for as many businesses which are participating in the campaign.

Instagram loop example

Are Instagram Loops Worth it?


90% of the time the followers gained via loop giveaways are not high-quality followers who will stick around for your content and engage with your profile long term. There’s a generally large drop off rate, typically 50% or more, at the conclusion of a loop process.

If your only goal is to generate followers, then it might be a good mechanism, but for the far majority of businesses, loops won’t work well as a growth strategy.

How to Do a Giveaway on Instagram the Right Way?

Every Instagram giveaway should be part of a larger strategy, with defined target metrics and budget parameters.

Typically giveaways work to increase brand awareness, increase engagement, and grow your audience. You are unlikely to drive a ton of sales though giveaways.

That said running an Instagram giveaway is rather easy to do.

First you choose a prize

When choosing your giveaway prize, you have to look at two things: 

  • How large of a prize do you want to offer?
  • Who is your target audience?

Obviously, the larger the prize, the more entrants you’ll attract, but there is a downside to this in that very large prizes – like, say, cars, vacations, and the like – are going to attract a much broader audience who may not actually be interested in what your business has to offer.

That is where the second element comes in – who is your target audience and what sort of large prize would they love that the average consumer might not be so interested in?

For example, yoga enthusiasts would love a brand new yoga mat and/or a new Lululemon outfit, but generally, audiences could probably care less. Automotive fans would love tickets to a muscle car expo, which might attract a more relevant following than offering an actual car as a prize.

As with anything, broad reach is the best option for maximum awareness, but it may not be the best for connecting with specific audiences, which is an element you need to keep in mind.

The second thing to do is figure out contest rules

Typically, you would post these in the Instagram post description – you’ll want to say something like: 

“For a chance to win, you must:

  • Follow this page
  • Like the post
  • Tag a friend

Winner will be picked at random by XX date.”

To run a successful Instagram giveaway, you want to drive the “giveaway loop”. This is done through having people tag friends, driving new people to the giveaway and getting more people engaged.

How you pick a winner is as simple as an online dice roller, an online app, or grabbing a winner from the comments section. Appsoteos is a free Instagram giveaway picker up to 1000 comments, and is a pretty good solution for most giveaways.

Should You Run a Giveaway on Instagram?

The short answer is yes – so long as the giveaway is a part of a greater marketing campaign, as giving away products and services can be a great way to build your audience and increase brand loyalty and awareness.

Here’s a sample giveaway strategy that you can use:

  1. Pick a niche prize that your audience will love – As noted, targeting your specific target audience will attract a more focused audience subset
  2. Promote your giveaway across your social media following and email list – Getting more people interested will further boost exposure for your campaign
  3. Run Instagram advertisements for your giveaway – Retargeting your own audience will help to boost exposure among those already interested in your products, while utilizing Lookalike Audiences will help you gain new, like-minded followers
  4. Leverage micro-influencers with similar audience – Collaborate and do a mini-giveaway with each micro-influencer, so they help promote your larger giveaway, again among targeted, interested groups
  5. Utilize entrant data – After your giveaway ends, you can run a retargeting campaign offering a free gift to followers who sign-up to your email list

If you run this type of campaign over and over again, you’ll generate a ton of new followers and engagement on your Instagram page, and rather than connecting with a more generalized audience that will stop following, you’ll be reaching the people you really want to make aware of your business.

Do Instagram Giveaways Work?

Yes, but there will be a level of drop-off after every campaign, so don’t be discouraged to see a level of fluctuation, even if you’re being highly targeted in your approach.

If you really want to grow your following, ensure that you promote your giveaway on other social media platforms, through advertisements, and by leveraging your email list. If you’re trying to generate leads for your business make sure you have a dedicated landing page for your giveaway.

Ultimately, it comes down to strategy, and ensuring your giveaways fit into your overall approach and plan, rather than tagging onto another, larger campaign. Of course, some people will see a level of success through that approach also, but the more targeted you are, the more effective your campaigns will be, long-term, in building your brand. 

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