How to Run an Instagram Contest Successfully: Tips and Tricks for Successful Giveaways

By: Val Razo

Last Updated on July 9, 2024 by Val Razo

Running an Instagram contest or giveaway is a fantastic way to boost your Instagram engagement and gain new followers. A well-planned contest on Instagram can drive traffic to your Instagram account, enhance your brand’s presence, and create excitement among your audience. Whether you aim to promote a product launch, increase Instagram followers, or simply enhance your Instagram marketing strategy, an Instagram giveaway can be the perfect tool. This guide will take you through the essential steps to run an Instagram contest successfully, ensuring you create a memorable and successful Instagram experience for your followers.

How to run instagram contests

Steps to Run a Successful Instagram Contest

Running a successful contest involves careful planning and execution. Here are the key steps to ensure your contest or giveaway achieves your goals:

Define Your Goals for the Instagram Contest

Before you start planning your Instagram contest, it’s crucial to define your objectives. Are you looking to gain new followers, increase Instagram engagement, promote a new product, or boost your Instagram marketing efforts? Clear goals will guide the entire process and help you measure the success of your contest.

Choose the Perfect Instagram Contest Prize

Selecting the right contest prize is essential for attracting participants. The prize should be relevant to your audience and valuable enough to encourage them to enter the contest. Consider offering your products, exclusive discounts, or a special experience related to your brand. A compelling prize will drive more engagement and make your contest more appealing.

Create Your Instagram Contest Rules

Clearly defined contest rules are vital for a smooth-running contest. Outline how participants can enter the contest, any eligibility requirements, and the selection criteria for winners. Make sure to include details like the contest duration, entry methods (e.g., tagging friends, using a specific Instagram hashtag), and any legal disclaimers. Transparency in your rules helps build trust with your audience.

Promote Your Instagram Contest

To ensure your contest reaches a wide audience, leverage various promotion strategies. Share eye-catching Instagram posts and stories, utilize your Instagram feed and bio, and encourage your followers to spread the word. Collaborate with influencers or partner brands to extend your reach. Additionally, you can use other social media platforms and your website to promote your Instagram contest.

Engage with Participants

Engaging with participants throughout the contest period can enhance their experience and encourage more entries. Respond to comments, share user-generated content, and keep the excitement alive with regular updates. Engaging with your audience not only boosts participation but also fosters a sense of community around your brand’s Instagram.

I once decided to run an Instagram giveaway to celebrate reaching 10,000 followers. I chose a popular product from my online store as the prize and asked participants to follow my account, like the contest post, and tag three friends in the comments. The response was overwhelming, with my post receiving three times more comments and likes than usual. This giveaway not only boosted my engagement but also increased my follower count by 15% in just one week.

Types of Instagram Contests

There are various types of Instagram contests you can run, each with its unique advantages. Here are some popular options to consider:

Giveaway Contests

A giveaway on Instagram is one of the simplest and most effective types of contests. Participants typically need to follow your Instagram page, like the contest post, and tag friends in the comments to enter your contest. This giveaway type is great for increasing Instagram following and boosting engagement quickly. Hosting an Instagram giveaway can also drive more traffic to your landing page and help grow your Instagram audience.

To keep the excitement high during my giveaways, I started using Instagram Stories for regular updates and reminders. During one particular giveaway, I noticed that posting Stories about the contest progress and sharing user entries kept my audience engaged throughout the contest period. This approach also made the giveaway feel more dynamic and interactive.

Photo Contests

An Instagram photo contest requires participants to submit their own photos, usually related to a theme or using a specific Instagram hashtag. This type of giveaway not only drives engagement but also generates user-generated content that you can repost on your Instagram feed. Encourage creativity and originality to make the contest more exciting. Reviewing Instagram contest examples can provide inspiration for your next contest.

Instagram photo contest

Tag-a-Friend Contests

In a tag-a-friend contest, participants need to tag one or more friends in the comments of the contest post to enter the contest. This type of contest helps expand your reach and introduces your brand to potential new followers through personal recommendations. Sharing your contest this way can significantly increase visibility among Instagram users.

Hashtag Contests

A hashtag contest involves participants posting photos or videos on their own Instagram accounts using a designated Instagram hashtag. This method increases the visibility of your contest and allows you to track entries easily. It’s an excellent way to encourage creativity and engagement among your followers. You can publish your contest details and encourage participants to get involved directly on Instagram.

Video Contests

Another engaging giveaway type is a video contest, where participants create and submit videos related to your brand or a specific theme. This contest can generate dynamic and highly shareable content, increasing your reach and visibility on the platform. Incorporating video content can align with the Instagram algorithm and enhance your overall Instagram marketing efforts.

By understanding these different types of contests, you can choose the one that best aligns with your goal for your Instagram strategy and goals. Whether you decide to run a contest on Instagram or host a giveaway, selecting the right format is essential for a successful campaign.

Tips for Running a Successful Instagram Contest

Executing a successful Insta contest requires attention to detail and strategic planning. Here are some tips to ensure your contest runs smoothly and achieves your objectives:

Engaging with Participants

Engagement is crucial for a thriving contest on Instagram. Actively interact with participants by responding to comments, liking their posts, and sharing user-generated content. This not only fosters a sense of community but also encourages more users to enter your contest. The more engaged you are, the more likely participants will feel valued and enthusiastic about your brand.

Using Instagram Stories and Reels

Leverage Instagram Stories and Reels to keep the momentum of your contest going. Share updates, announce milestones, and highlight entries through these features. They provide a dynamic way to reach your audience and maintain their interest throughout the contest duration. Instagram Stories and Reels can significantly increase your contest’s visibility and engagement.

Leverage Instagram Stories and Reels

Measuring the Success of Your Contest

After the contest concludes, it’s essential to measure its success to understand its impact on your Instagram marketing efforts. Analyze metrics such as the number of new followers, engagement rates, and the amount of user-generated content. These insights will help you evaluate the effectiveness of your contest and identify areas for improvement in future campaigns.

Contests on Instagram receive 3.5 times as many likes and 64 times as many comments as regular posts, making them a highly effective strategy for increasing engagement​ (Inflact)​​ ( Online Form Builder)​.

Examples of Successful Instagram Contests

Studying examples of Instagram contests that have been successful can provide valuable insights and inspiration for your own contest. Look at contests run by similar brands or those that have gone viral. Analyze what made them successful, such as the prize, rules, engagement strategies, and promotion methods. Learning from these examples can help you refine your approach and create a successful contest.

Missy Empire, a popular apparel shop, has been running weekly giveaways on Instagram to engage their followers. They often collaborate with other brands to offer attractive prize bundles, such as vacation essentials or store vouchers. These contests not only boost engagement but also help Missy Empire reach new audiences through their partners’ followers. The brand’s strategic use of contests has contributed to its growing popularity on Instagram, with a follower count approaching 1.5 million​ (Inflact)​.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Even with the best intentions, running an Instagram contest can sometimes lead to pitfalls. Here are some common mistakes to avoid to ensure your contest is a success:

Not Defining Clear Rules

One of the biggest mistakes is not having well-defined giveaway rules. Ambiguity can lead to confusion and frustration among participants. Clearly outline how to enter your Instagram contest, eligibility criteria, the selection process, and any other important details. This transparency helps build trust and ensures a smooth-running contest.

Choosing Irrelevant Prizes

Offering a contest prize that doesn’t resonate with your audience can diminish interest and engagement. Make sure the prize is relevant and appealing to your target audience. It should be something that aligns with your brand and is valuable enough to motivate participants to enter your Instagram. A relevant and enticing prize is essential to the success of your Instagram competition.

Offering a contest prize

Ignoring Participant Engagement

Failing to engage with participants during the contest can lead to a lackluster response. Regularly interact with your audience by liking their posts, replying to comments, and sharing their entries. Active engagement keeps the excitement alive and encourages more people to participate.

Failing to Promote Your Contest

A common oversight is not adequately promoting your Instagram contest. Relying solely on a single Instagram contest post is insufficient. Utilize all available channels, including Instagram Stories, your Instagram bio, other social media platforms, email newsletters, and even your website, to maximize visibility and participation. Additionally, consider promoting your giveaway through marketing on Instagram to reach a broader audience.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure that your Instagram contest runs smoothly and achieves its intended goals, creating a positive experience for both your brand and your followers. Remember, the key to a successful social media contest is preparation, engagement, and effective promotion.

Instagram accounts that hold contests grow their followers 70% faster on average than those that don’t. This statistic highlights the significant impact contests can have on audience growth​ (Opinion Stage)​.


Running a successful Instagram contest can significantly boost your brand’s visibility, engagement, and follower count. By carefully planning each step, from defining your goals and choosing the right contest prize to engaging with participants and promoting your contest effectively, you can create an impactful and memorable experience for your audience. Avoid common mistakes such as unclear rules, irrelevant prizes, and insufficient promotion to ensure your contest runs smoothly. With these tips and strategies, you are well on your way to hosting a successful giveaway that not only meets your marketing objectives but also delights your followers. Remember, the key to a successful contest lies in preparation, engagement, and continuous improvement based on insights gained from each campaign.

Hosting a successful giveaway

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I measure the success of my Instagram contest?

To measure the success of your Instagram contest, track key metrics such as the number of new followers, engagement rates, and user-generated content. Analyze the performance of your contest posts, including likes, comments, and shares. Use tools like Instagram Insights to gain detailed analytics. Assess whether the contest met your predefined goals, such as increased brand awareness or higher Instagram traffic.

What are the best entry methods for an Instagram contest?

The best entry method for your contest depends on your goals. Common methods include requiring participants to like a post, tag friends, use a specific hashtag, or share their own content related to your brand. Each method has its advantages: likes and tags increase engagement and visibility, while user-generated content and hashtags can provide valuable content for your brand.

How can I use Instagram Stories to enhance my contest?

Instagram Stories can significantly enhance your contest by providing real-time updates, engaging content, and a sense of urgency. Use Stories to share reminders about the contest, highlight participant entries, and provide behind-the-scenes looks. Polls, questions, and countdowns in Stories can also increase interaction and excitement.

What should I include in a giveaway announcement?

A giveaway announcement should clearly outline the prize, entry methods, rules, and deadline. Include eye-catching visuals and a strong call to action. Make sure to communicate the benefits of participating and provide any necessary legal disclaimers. Announcing the giveaway across multiple channels ensures maximum visibility.

How do I keep the momentum going after the contest ends?

To keep the momentum going after the end of the contest, share a follow-up post announcing the winners and thanking all participants. Highlight some of the best entries to showcase the community’s creativity. Encourage new followers to stay engaged by promoting upcoming events, exclusive content, or another next contest. Maintaining engagement helps retain the followers gained during the contest and keeps your Instagram presence active.

Author Bio

Val Razo

Val Razo is a skilled professional in the field of Instagram Marketing. With over five years of experience as a freelance Social Media Marketing consultant, Val has assisted numerous small and medium-sized businesses in achieving their goals.