By Mojca Zove
With over 1 billion active users on Instagram, it only makes sense to utilize this social media platform to promote your brand. There are tons of ways to do this, and one of the best of them is to create a giveaway campaign and spread the word through Insta.
Running a viral giveaway is an effective strategy to boost brand awareness, and it’s especially useful for small businesses and brand new startups. But even major corporations are giving away products for free, and it’s all because giveaways just work.
It’s not always easy though, especially when it comes to making your contest viral. The good news is that with 1 billion users and counting, using Instagram can definitely get you there. In fact, you’d be doing your giveaway a disservice by not using the “Gram” to get you to that viral status you’re hoping for. Here’s how to do it.
The concept of an Instagram giveaway is simple: offer something for free to contestants in exchange for a like, a comment, a share, a tag, etc. So the winner gets something for free, and you get lots of free marketing. What could be better?
Because you’re essentially getting free online marketing, it’s no surprise that giveaway promotion is a major movement on Instagram right now. You’ve probably noticed that brands are filling their stories with giveaway info, and maybe you’ve even joined a few yourself.
Although the concept is simple, running the giveaway can get complicated. Following these steps can help you along the way.
First things first, get all the logistics straightened out before you make the giveaway live on Insta. By logistics, we mean all the details that are needed to make your contest a runaway success - everything from the prize you’ll be offering to the criteria required for entering.
You probably already have a good idea of the prize. Maybe it’s a 1-month free membership to your yoga studio or a $50 gift card to shop in your online store. Whatever it is, just make sure it’s relevant to your brand and that it’s something that your Instagram followers will actually be interested in.
For entry criteria, try to go with something that’s easy for contestants but also effective for spreading brand awareness. Something like “Follow** us and tag a friend in the comments below to enter” works really well. It’s a simple request, but it also encourages social sharing and grows your following.
To hashtag or not to hashtag, that is the question… A lot of contest organizers lose sleep over this question, but in our opinion, the answer is always yes. You don’t need to go overboard with your hashtags, but a simple one is a great resource for bringing your contest to the surface and boosting its visibility.
It’s a smart idea to use one or two generic hashtags, like #giveaway or #contest. You’ll also want to incorporate a unique one that’s specific to your campaign. This could be something like #[yourcompany]giveaway or #[yourbrand]contest. The key is to keep it simple so that people will share it.
Before anything else, Instagram is a visual platform. So without quality visual content, you can’t expect to get very far. Of course, it’s not all about looks, but appealing visuals will definitely help to get your giveaway off the ground running.
Since the average Instagram user quickly scrolls through posts - some research suggests that you have a mere 2.5 seconds to catch someone’s eye - yours needs to stand out and instantly grab their attention.
Always start with a high-quality image. From there, play around with filters and colors to invoke certain emotions and feelings within your audience. A helpful hint on image coloring is that cool colors tend to calm people while warm colors energize them.
Here are a few more helpful tips for selecting the right visuals:
One of the most common mistakes we see with Instagram contests isn’t a lack of promotion. It’s promoting too late in the game.
You need to start spreading the word early to generate interest before the contest itself even happens. If you start early enough, you might even be able to focus on influencer marketing and lock down some Insta influencers to promote your giveaway.
At least a week before it happens, mention to your audience that something big is coming. This will build anticipation and excitement, and it will definitely encourage followers to stay connected to your page and watch your stories for updates.
How long should the actual contest last?
Some people argue that the longer the giveaway, the more contestants will be able to sign up. This seems logical, but it’s not necessarily true.
If you decide to run a month-long contest, it will lack that sense of urgency that motivates Insta users to enter. The exact runtime is up to you; while some contests only run for 24 hours, the giveaway sweet spot seems to be anywhere from 3 to 7 days.
No matter how long the giveaway runs, it’s important that you make the contest end date and time known throughout the entire giveaway period. For the duration of the contest, keep giving updates on how much time is left.
Who says that Instagram has to be the only platform you utilize? Even if your main following is on Insta, branch out to as many social media platforms as possible. You’ll absolutely want to promote on Facebook since it’s easy to automatically synchronize all your Insta posts with FB.
You should be utilizing the Story feature of Instagram before, during, and even after the giveaway. This will not just help to create interest in the giveaway, but also to keep it strong until the very end. Because stories just flash on the screen for a few seconds, yours needs to be quick, catchy, and engaging. You could potentially run the entire giveaway through stories, which is beyond smart since stories are one of the most influential sources of traffic for any online promotion.
Here are a few things you should include in the stories that promote your giveaway:
Once the giveaway is officially closed, the final step is to announce the winner. The selection process has to be fair and square - it will definitely look suspicious if a close friend or family member wins.
To keep things fair, there are a few different tools to help out. You can use a random number generator if the contestants have been numbered or a random name picker, which randomly picks a name from a list. And you can’t get more fair than that.
Aside from making someone’s day by giving them something for free, your main giveaway goal is probably to promote brand awareness. There are a few ways to do this, and they all involve asking contestants to perform a small action, like hit the “Like” button or tag a friend.
These actions have been proven to work for many types of business that run online contests:
There are over 2 million active advertisers promoting themselves on Insta every single month, and a big reason for this has to do with engagement. The average user engagement rate is about 70% more than on Facebook, so it makes sense that Insta is currently the main giveaway platform.
Now that you know how to promote your giveaway on Instagram and get your followers engaged, let us help make it a complete success. We’ve helped our customers collect over 33 million new leads, and many of these have been through viral contests via Instagram.