How To Host Instagram Giveaways Effectively In 2023


Competitions and giveaways on Instagram provide the opportunity to increase followers’ engagement, reach new audience and increase brand awareness. 


However, before running the first activity it is necessary to review several important rules.

  • The Difference between Giveaway and Competition
  • How to Host Competition or Giveaway on Instagram
  • How to Host Giveaway through Instagram Comments
  • How to Do Instagram Giveaway in Stories
  • Creative Ideas for Competitions

The Difference between Giveaway and Competition

Before you decide to make an Instagram giveaway or competition, make sure you understand the difference between these two concepts correctly. They are not interchangeable words at all, they are completely different activities with a certain list of rules.

Giveaway is a free game of luck. Participants perform simple actions, for example: write comments, leave tags/reposts in stories, subscribe and like. There is one person who gets a prize randomly selected among all of them.

Competition is a prize share where participants perform actions or tasks that can be valued. Here you do not have to show your skills and expertise. Unlike free giveaways, there can be different conditions to participate in a competition: paid enter, buying of a product, a review about you or your service, participant’s photo with a product, some creative task etc.

Pros and Cons of Instagram Giveaways

Before you learn how to do giveaways on Instagram, it is better to consider their advantages and disadvantages.

In order for giveaway results to be clear and with no doubts unmistakable, they can be sum up via live broadcast and saved. The pros of random winner selection are clear as day: simplicity in performing, increasing of the followers’ number or activity growth.

But there are also cons, for example, not always followers tag in comments the real people, it can be random users not interested in the brand; also increasing of the followers’ number does not guarantee activity growth as simple giveaways on Instagram are loved by people who adore freeloading.

The goal of any giveaway is to increase engagement, to search for the right audience. As soon as the giveaway starts, engagement should be tracked in dynamics. Then it becomes clear whether the giveaway has worked or, unfortunately, not.

The following information will help you understand your audience better, learn some tricks and the ways of how to do a giveaway on Instagram to gain followers.

Why Users Participate in Instagram Contests

Contests are fun. The audience gets only digital content from bloggers, which is why the material gift helps reaching a new level of communication – a friendly one. Prizes make people feel like they won a small victory, besides, getting them is always a pleasure.

Contests are hosted not only by people, but also by shops on their pages: in this case, clients get a chance to receive products for free. It will be very pleasant for a follower to win something material from someone they like, for example, a bag from a favorite designer.

It is much more interesting to participate when the prize is an exclusive object. Things contain history, and it is the history that makes them desired and interesting. This is an auction principle – when people are running not so much for a prize as for the idea that no one else will have it. For example, the x-rays of Marilyn Monroe went under the hammer for 45 thousand dollars.

The advantage of Instagram account giveaways is mutual benefit. Someone from the followers wins a prize, while bloggers get an increase of activity and additional promotion for a minimum investment.

However, it is better not to overdo the contests. Giveaway with no doubts is able to improve your statistics but it is always a temporary measure. If you do not have good indicators without encouraging your subscribers to win free products, consider it a personal brand crisis. In this case, people are likely to stop following you and showing high activity right after the contest.

Hosting a giveaway to increase the statistics is only a bonus. It will achieve all the goals in that blog where the idea, style and general concept are developed, and comments below the publications regularly appear. If the audience is interested in you and your personal brand is great, then be confident, the contest will definitely succeed.

Concept and Budget

Define the results you want to reach after a contest. Make a definite goal: for example, to attract 500 new followers, increase the audience reach by 20%, raise the activity of three last publications by 15%. Think of what these numbers will give you. For example, it is the exact number of indicators to make an advertisement in your blog more expensive.

If Instagram giveaway is hosted by a shop, then its main goal is to increase awareness and attract as many new potential clients as possible. Or to make the target audience a little bigger.

Take into consideration that if you created an account less than 6 months ago, Instagram can block you because of too high activity. Hosting giveaways is better by using those pages that exist for more than half a year.

Start with what exactly your subscribers would like to win. A valuable and desired prize is the one that meets your audience’s interests. This way the contestants will have a higher motivation to win it and fulfill the conditions: make repost, leave comment or tag a friend.

It does not have to be just one prize and one winner – raffle the sets and select several winners.

What can be raffled on Instagram:

  • products from limited collection, merchandize or your brand’s popular products if you keep a shop or retail chain account
  • a discount or promo code – they can be raffled as “second level prizes” for those who did not win the main trophy
  • an exclusive item or something with a unique history
  • yearly subscription to a digital service – suggest a collaboration to online movie theatre or podcast studio
  • a certificate for the experiences – romantic dinner, a trip to the far corners of Russia and anything you can come up with using your imagination in general.

The next step is a budget. Start with a result you want to achieve and think how much you are ready to spend on it. Let us say your goal is to attract 1000 new followers. Then count how much time and money it will be necessary to spend on the promotion of a contest post to reach enough number of accounts.

Do not forget to save the money for buying the prizes or simply consider their market value if it is your products. Count also the expenses for an illustrator if you are going to create a proper cover for a contest. Include little operational expenses into the budget – for example, for delivery of prize to a winner.

The next thing you need to do is to try understanding when and how often you want to host contests on Instagram. Do not do this too often: users will get used to plenty of giveaways and lose their interest, the effect of surprise will disappear. People are always more interested in rare and unique events than in the average ones.

The perfect occasion for giveaway hosting is holidays. They are made for giving and taking gifts. But, if you are sure you are ready for a contest, do not make your followers wait until Christmas or New Year.

What Steps Should Be Taken – Conditions to Host a Giveaway

The next requirements will be considered when hosting giveaway. It is better to keep them in mind when you are going to host a giveaway on Instagram.

  • The Giveaway Should Last for 1-4 Weeks the Same Time as Usual Activity in Profile

In other words, it should not be a one-time event but a regular activity during a certain period of time.

Plus, the content plan stays almost the same. It is only complemented by giveaway to engage an audience more in learning those materials that have been planned from the start.

  • A Win Should Not be Random but Deserved

In a random giveaway, the winner is selected through the service based on a principle of random selection or on generating a random number of winner.

Even if subscriber increase their chances to win with activity (for example, leaves more comments than everyone else does), the win is still random.

The win based on the activity level depends more on the actions of participants. In this case, participants are awarded with scores for different types of actions, the ones with the greatest number is a winner – the most active person or the one completed the most meaningful actions for a profile.

  • Selecting the TOP Winners and Giving a Chance to Win Prizes for Participation

When the absence of chances to take first places becomes obvious, part of the audience may lose a desire to participate in a giveaway. That is why checkpoints are added, to give everyone an opportunity to get a prize by showing activity.

In this way, more participants will be engaged in a giveaway, which will enhance the effect for account from the whole contest.

  • Using Only Official Instagram Tools

Alternative options work through profile parsing, which Instagram does not like, although an account cannot get any sanctions (theoretically) as any person could have parsed an account.

As for mechanics providing login and password to the account, and also sending messages (for a subscription, for example) – these are the arguments for blocking the account.

There can be done almost everything that cannot be done unofficially, and even more (tracking tags in stories, reactions on them, safely sending direct messages reacting on actions or messages) with the help of official Instagram chat-bots.

  • Giveaways Can Be Hosted One-Time During an Event or Regularly During Some Period

For example, you are hosting some marathon or running an event during 1-3 weeks. A giveaway runs once during this event to make it more effective. However, the events can be run again as many times as you like altogether with a giveaway made for them.

In the second case, for example, you can announce that you do giveaway every month. The person, taking the most scores, gets a bonus at the end of the month: something from your products or services for free. This way you have a regular giveaway during the month.

The same way you can run giveaways every first or last week of the month.

Contests and Giveaways on Instagram

  • Liking a Post

The most popular mechanics of hosting a contest on Instagram is to suggest users to perform a minimum set of actions – just to like an image, subscribe, tag friends or leave a comment below the publication.

The prizes are, of course, products or company service. It is important that the prizes for giveaway are relevant, attractive and necessary for users. You can select a random winner who liked your post through the service Target Cultivator.

  • Giveaway Based on Comments

Instagram Giveaway based on comments is the most popular contest for supermarkets and chains of stores we see. Every person willing to participate has to subscribe to an account, write something in comments and tag a friend. And they can leave comments with a tag as many times as they wish.

Summing up is posted under a contest publication. Besides, subscribers are able to watch the voting process. Prizes should be attractive for users.

  • Hosting a Giveaway on Instagram Stories

The rules of stories giveaway are based on the same principles. The difference is that participants have only 24 hours to complete all the tasks. Such giveaways are also not completely convenient, as you have to look through every tag by hand and give every participant a serial number.

By standard requirements, participants should repost a giveaway publication or screen it and post in their stories tagging the sponsor. After that, the sponsor gets a notification via direct messages where gives participant a serial number and sends it as an answer. Next, the winner is selected with the help of a randomizer.

  • How to Do an Instagram Giveaway with Celebrity

Everybody has participated in a giveaway with a celebrity. Entry threshold for participation was 10-50000 rubles (depending on celebrity and the number of participants). There has been a good occasion to give away big gifts – New Year, then such giveaways disappeared. They will maybe return on 8 March.

How to Host a Celebrity Giveaway

Organizer invites sponsors (usually, no more than 10).

Sponsors contribute to celebrity for gift and promotion, pick an expensive gift (iphone, baby carriage, fur coat etc.). A separate account with publications about all the sponsors is created, only sponsors who have contributed are followed by this account.

You buy a promotion from a star.

Giveaway publication is posted on account of celebrity and every sponsor.

Carefully select an organizer. It often happens that scammers collect gifts and contributions, and then disappear.

Even if you know the organizer personally, it is not a guarantee that you will not be deceived.

Celebrity Giveaway Requirements

Tag 2-5 friends in comments below the giveaway publication.

Go to a special account of the contest.

Subscribe to all the followings of this account.

Wait until the day of the prize draw.

Pros of Celebrity Giveaway

Unlike traditional one, celebrity giveaway will give you a way bigger reach of participants. It means the price for one follower will be much cheaper. At the very beginning, when the first celebrity giveaways appeared, everybody participated in them and wanted to win a prize. From one giveaway, people could get 10-50000 followers. Later, when there were too many of them, everybody understood that the chance to win was very little. Then the scammers appeared, they collected contributions to a gift fund and disappeared.

Cons of Celebrity Giveaway

Not targeted audience at all. Up to 50-70% of new followers will unsubscribe almost right after the giveaway ends. There are a bigger number of freeloaders and accounts created just to participate in giveaways and contests among the participants. They are “dead” subscribers. Even if they will stay subscribed, it is just because they are lazy to unsubscribe. They will not be looking at their feed and definitely will not like/comment/buy your product.

How to Hold New Subscribers during Instagram Giveaway and After That

There are several strategies:

Post publications-acquaintances for new followers (but write a post your old followers would like, add new information)

Actively create new content – publications, stories, live broadcasts, surveys.

Or, on the contrary, do not create new content until the giveaway ends. In order for you not to annoy new followers and they will remain your subscribers.

Close your account at all (temporarily block it) for the first time after giveaway so that nobody can unsubscribe. This is a radical method as you forcibly keep the followers unsubscribing from every sponsor right after giveaway.

Giveaway is an efficient way to get a promotion. However, to organize and host a giveaway on Instagram is not that easy, as it may seem. You always face difficulties in practice. Maybe your first giveaway will be unsuccessful. Wait for a month and try again.

Do not get sad, learn from your mistakes. Maybe there should be another gift, another publication timing, promotion from another blogger (with a different audience). One of the strategies – carefully pick accounts for sponsoring (with similar subject), so that other followers will be interested and will not mass unfollow you.

There is no one unique recipe for how to host a giveaway on Instagram. However, you can understand what will work perfectly for you and find the best way to do Instagram giveaway in practice, then contests will become an effective way to gain “alive” and active followers into your Instagram account.