Running an Instagram Giveaway: A How to Guide

By: Brittany Bozik

Instagram is a very popular social media platform. We know this because we’ve spent the last year on this platform growing and connecting with our followers. In 2017, we started with a total of 3,836 followers total across our 3 profiles and, by the end of 2017 we had 11,128 followers. That’s a 190% increase! At the beginning of this year, we wanted to keep building on that momentum and figure out how we could quickly increase our following. What we didn’t realize was that we would also get a huge spike in engagement. So, here’s how we did it and the benefits that came with it.

Step 1: Find Your Prize

To do this, we polled our followers to see what they’re interested in. After finding that out, our followers were pretty even in wanting swag or specialty course. We chose to put together a swag bag valued at $210. We chose to do this because we wanted our TDI account to get more involved with our #flagfriday campaign the way SDI is. Our prize consisted of:


International Training Dry Bag


TDI UV Shirt


TDI Trucker Hat


TDI Polo


TDI Flag


TDI Neck Gaiter


TDI T-Shirt


TDI Patch


TDI Sticker

Step 2: Build Excitement

This is the step where you’ll build up excitement with your followers based on an easily met short-term goal. This will give them a sense of pride that they helped you reach a goal and now you are rewarding them for that help. Think about it, everyone likes being apart of a team and working together to reach a goal. We told our followers once we hit a certain number (7,500) of followers we would host a giveaway. Note: we did not tell them what we were giving away at this point.

Day 1

Our initial giveaway announcement.We also gauged interest again with this story by asking our followers to direct message (DM) us an emoji to tell us they’re excited. This resulted in around 50+ messages.

Day 2

We continued to DM our followers, however, this time instead of just leaving it to DMs we put out a call to action for our followers to help us reach the goal by tagging friends.

Day 3

Again here we were updating our followers on our progress.

Day 4

By the next day, we came into the office to find that we had reached 7,500 followers! Now, we can begin our planning stage.

Step 3: Figure Out Your Timeline and Terms & Conditions

Now, that you’ve met the goal number, it’s time to initiate your giveaway! First things first, you need to figure out your terms and conditions. Instagram has their own set of terms and conditions surrounding giveaways/contests. You can find the official terms and conditions from Instagram here. Next, you need to figure out your own set of terms and conditions to weave into Instagram’s. With this, you’re thinking about all the rules you want giveaway entrants to follow. You are welcome to use our terms and conditions as a guide or take a look at  another website that breaks down Instagram’s set of terms and conditions. We’ve included these in ours but it’s worth reading through to make sure you’re covered.

The next thing you’ll need to decide is dates/times: what day will your giveaway begin and what day and time will it end? For this, we chose to start our giveaway on a Thursday and end it on a Sunday at 11:59:59. Notice how we got VERY specific with the time that it ended? You need to do this to make things black and white; the last thing you want to do is have ANY grey area.

24 Hour Notice:
We wanted our followers to know where we were in the planning stage of our giveaway so we gave them 24 hours notice of when our giveaway would start.

Step 4: How Will People Enter?

For this step, you’ll need to figure out what you want to gain from this giveaway. For us, we wanted to gain followers.  So, for our giveaway, we chose 3 steps to enter:

  1. Follow Your page: ALWAYS DO THIS ONE
  2. Like the image.
  3. Tag friends in the comments: this helps more people to find out about the giveaway and widens your reach.

If you’re looking for more ideas on ways to get people to enter your giveaway, below are some others we did not use in this giveaway but we might consider for the future.

  1. Use a hashtag: for this type of entry people would post their own photos using a specific hashtag to enter. You could choose a winner based on the photo with the most likes or at random
  2. Post in their story: this is a little bit harder to track because stories disappear after 24 hours so make sure if you choose this way of entry you ask people to @ you so it comes into your DMs
  3. Repost your image: have people @ or tag you in the caption so their followers know where to go to enter and you can track entries
  4. Choose your prize: this could be done with a specialty course. You would post your main giveaway image then have people enter by commenting which specialty course they would choose if they win.

Step 5: Prepare Your Media and Copy

Now, one of the fun parts begins. You’ll need to create a main giveaway image or video – use your creative juices here. You’ll want to make this post’s media and copy as eye-catching as possible because this is the post you’re sending all of your entrants to. During this step, you should start thinking about what you’ll post throughout the giveaway to remind followers or potential new followers to enter. Some features to consider:

  • Live Video – Real-time video sharing with your followers, similar to if you were facetiming directly with all of your followers at once. The only difference is they can see you and, you can’t see them.
  • Boomerang – These are mini videos that loop, similar to GIFs.
  • Superzoom – This is a video that zooms in on an object of your choice with a dramatic sound effect.
  • Rewind – This plays videos in reverse
  • Stop Motion – This feature allows you to take a series of photos which Instagram then strings together into a video/GIF. We used this feature for our giveaway video.
  • Hashtags – You can now use hashtags in your story posts. They will show up when someone is searching for that hashtag for the 24 hours it lives in your story or for however long that video lives in your highlights.
  • Location Tags – If your giveaway is specific to a location you can tag your posts in stories and in your feed with a location and it will show up when people search that location.
  • GIFs – You can now add GIFs to your Instagram stories. This is just another way for you to spice up your stories and videos.

We have included our pre-planned posts below to give you an idea of the prep work we did.

It’s time, with your help we hit 7,500 followers! To say THANK YOU we want to give one lucky winner a TDI Swag Package valued at $210. Here’s what you need to do to enter:⠀
1. Follow @tdidivers ⠀
2. Like THIS photo⠀
3. Tag 3 friends in the comments⠀

Good luck and thank you again for all of your continued support!⠀

*Open to public and private accounts. ⠀
*Ends 1/21 at 11:59 pm EST⠀
*Winner must complete all steps to win! ⠀
*This contest is in no way sponsored, administered, or associated with Instagram, Inc.⠀
*By entering, entrants confirm they are at least 18 years of age, release Instagram of responsibility, and agree to Instagram’s terms of use.⠀

Step 6: Launch

You’ve met your goal, prepped your audience, and prepared your media. Now it’s time to launch your giveaway! This part might be self-explanatory but for this step, you’ll post your main giveaway image where people will like and comment to enter. On top of posting your main image you’ll need to do something every day to keep the momentum moving and to remind new followers and entrants to enter your giveaway.

Day 1
We gained 76 followers.

Day 2
We gained 181 new followers.

Day 3 (Last Day to Enter)
We gained 380 new followers.

Picking a winner
We used this website to randomly select.