How to Host an Effective Instagram Giveaway

I've been meaning to write this post for sometime now after someone asked us how they could host a more effective giveaway on their Insta account. But it kind of fell off my radar until Morgan from October Ink brought it up at our last social studio shop. Side note: If you every have any specific question or topic you'd like us to cover — feel free to send us a note or a tweet! We would love to help you out in any way we can!

So back to effective giveaways....

I feel like more often then not, this is one of those social bandwagons that people are more then happy to hop on without giving it much thought. I get it! It's exciting to host a giveaway or contest. The thought of your follower and engagement rates skyrocketing all while rewarding your loyal audience is positively intoxicating! But hold it right there, you anxious little socialites! If we want to get the most from our efforts and offer the best value to our followers we NEED to be strategic about it! Keep reading to learn our top social do's and dont's for hosting Instagram giveaways and Instagram contests.

Do Ask "Why?"

Remember last month when I shared How to Host an Effective Instagram Takover? Well the first question we needed to ask ourselves then was "Why?". And guess what loves? It's the same starting place we'll work from when planning to host an Insta giveaway or contest.

Do ask yourself — why? What is my purpose?

Do you want to increase your followers? By how much? (Be realistic here!) Are you trying to raise awareness about a product or service? Do you want to show your appreciation to your loyal followers? Are you trying to pull from multiple audiences by cross-promoting someone or something? If so, why that person, why that brand?

Do record your numbers.

If you're goals revolve around numbers, make sure to record those before you get started. Use analytics sites like Iconosquare to jot down your follower count, engagement rate, average likes per post (which you can get by adding the likes from your past 10-15 posts then dividing by the amount of posts), and average comments.

Don't Offer the Wrong Prize

Although it may be convenient for you to re-gift that bottle of Moscato that's been collecting dust on your counter tops for weeks, but come on, if you don't want it — you think anyone else will? Probably not...

Don't offer prizes that are not relevant to your company, message, or mission.

Bad prizes equal bad engagement. Instead, offer something that is worth it to your audience. Something with enough value that gives them incentive to act and participate in the giveaway or contest. More over, keep in mind that your prize should be somehow relevant to you. For instance in the past we have given away free seats to our workshops, a clutch from a local SD maker Walter & George (because we know our audience enjoys fashion), and plan to be giving away some of our favorite photography tools (because our audience is trying to create better content for their channels) here very soon... stay tuned!

Do Include the Details... ALL of them!

Now that you have your purpose and your super rewarding and relevant prize, you need to determine how your audience will participate.

Do share all of the important details for participating.

If you've ran a contest or giveaway in the past and you felt frustrated because your audience didn't do what you asked them to, likely you just weren't clear enough in your instructions. Make sure you include all (yes, ALL) of the pertinent details your followers need to know for participating. Do they need to tag your company? Should they use a hashtag? What’s the deadline to enter? How will the winner be announced? Cover it all!

Don't get frustrated with your audience.

Even after you think you’ve spelled everything out, there’s always a chance for confusion. Don’t sweat it, and don’t penalize your audience. Take it as an opportunity for you to clear up any confusion.

Follow up and Give Reminders

This is especially important if you need to clear up any confusion from participants trying to enter.

Do follow up your original post with a friendly reminder and mention the rules AGAIN!

This is a step people often overlook. You may not have enough space to remind people of every little detail again, BUT you can go over what might have been previously overlooked.

Share it Everywhere!

Okay so this is an Instagram contest or giveaway, that mean's I don't have to share about it on my other channels right? WRONG!

Don't ignore your other platforms.

Remember, just because you posted about it once somewhere doesn't mean that everyone has seen it! Share about your contest or giveaway on your other social networks.

Give Thanks + Record Your Results

Another way you can ensure that you're hosting effectively is to interact with your entrants.

Do thank your followers for participating.

Although it's nice to win, your audience doesn't have to walk away with something to feel appreciated. Acknowledge their efforts by sharing your gratitude and in most instances, they will be just as thrilled to know they mattered to you enough to have had the opportunity.

Do record your results.

Check your numbers. How much did your follower count increase? Did you see an influx in the amount of likes and comments your received? How about your engagement rate, did it perform better then usual?

When you keep all these tips in mind you're sure to see more engagement from your followers and a greater return on your efforts. And who doesn't what that?!