Do Instagram giveaways really work?
But when it hits, it hits hard.
Like hundreds (or even thousands) of entries and a cult following, hard.
So what separates the accounts who enjoy the viral benefits of Instagram contests from those who aren’t so fortunate?
Well, in addition to a juicy prize, a creative giveaway idea that excites your audience.
This post covers 16 of the best Instagram giveaways ideas that you can steal and start incorporating into your marketing strategy.
These ideas are supported by real-life examples of brands who regularly use Instagram contests to grow their following, capture leads, and make sales.
The best ideas for Instagram giveaways
Most giveaways require participants to take multiple actions, e.g., follow, tag and comment, to enter the competition.
This guide will focus on individual actions and themes which make up part of a broader campaign.
1. Tag a friend – @mobkitchen
MOB Kitchen is an online cooking and content platform that routinely runs giveaways to grow its social media following.
MOB Kitchen requires users to tag a friend to win a prize, and each additional tag counts as a new entry method.
Tagging is the referral communication of social media.
By encouraging users to tag as many friends as possible, you tap into new audiences or reinforce your brand to existing followers.
Also, note how they use slang, “tag a mate,” to add personality to the contest instructions.
2. Follower milestone – @steinwayhalluk
Steinway & Sons crafts pianos of the greatest quality while providing piano events, education, and services.
They recently ran a giveaway to help them reach 10k followers on Instagram, which unlocks valuable features like sharing external links in your stories.
Milestones are a convenient reason to celebrate with your followers with a fun competition.
Furthermore, a giveaway could be the catalyst that helps you reach significant goals.
You may have noticed that Steinway promoted their Instagram giveaway on their website. This is a practical approach to turn your website visitors into Instagram followers.
Take it a step further and host your Instagram contest on your website using a tool like SweepWidget.
With SweepWidget, you can easily add entry methods from other social media channels to encourage cross-promotion.
And you’ll save a ton of time trying to manually track entries and award a winner with its automated randomized winner selection feature.
3. Caption contest – @kimpton
Kimpton Harper is a boutique hotel that runs weekly Instagram caption giveaways to boost engagement.
The idea is simple. The best caption wins the prize.
A caption contest challenges and stimulates your followers to get creative and pause and think about your brand.
More importantly, you get way more comments on your posts, which is crucial to increasing organic reach on Instagram.
4. Photo contest – @stylecuratorau
Style Curator is an Australian interior design and lifestyle blog.
Once a month, they host a photo and video challenge across all social media channels, including Instagram.
To enter, participants need to take a picture or video showing off their self-care routine—then tag and follow @stylecuratorau.
Additionally, they need to add the branded hashtag in the caption of the submission—which is powerful for community building. More on that later.
Photo contests present a unique opportunity to curate user-generated content that you can showcase to increase your social proof and brand awareness.
5. Selfie contest – @ohuhuart
Ohuhu is an online art supplies store that runs an Instagram selfie contest to celebrate reaching 100k followers.
Participants must take a selfie with Ohuhu’s art supplies, tag @ohuhu, and use the branded company hashtag to enter the draw.
The picture with the most likes wins—which encourages users to take quality photos.
Ohuhu creatively showcases previous selfie contest images from past participants to build a sense of community and proof for future challenges.
6. Challenge contest – @livetorchlight
Torchlight Townhomes is a student housing community that loves to engage its Instagram followers with fun games regularly.
To win a $25 gift card, participants need to tag a friend. When Torchlight Townhouses comments “Freeze,” the last person who commented wins.
Freeze tag is one of many Instagram challenges you can run to keep your followers on their toes while also reaching new audiences through tag referrals.
7. Joint giveaway – @biome
Biome is a sustainable and cruelty-free online retail store and regularly partners with ethical brands to do joint Instagram giveaways.
In this example, Biome collaborated with a cloth nappy brand, Designer Bums—where both businesses offer a $250 gift voucher to the winner.
To enter the giveaway, participants need to tap on the link in Biome’s Instagram bio, which is a creative way to drive clicks to their online store.
Doing joint Instagram giveaways is an effective strategy for increasing your prize values and adding variety for your followers. We’ve seen examples with up to 5 partners, all offering unique prizes.
And in the case of Biome, a store gift voucher is attracting highly qualified leads with a strong buyer intent to the online shop.
8. Voting contest – @lovito_official
Lovito is a women’s online clothing brand and uses Instagram voting contests to test different fashion ranges and increase engagement.
To enter the competition, users need to follow and vote on their favorite pattern. Entries are limited to one comment for each participant.
Running regular “vote to win” contests are effective vehicles for getting feedback on your prototypes and concepts while also boosting the organic reach of your post.
9. Seasonal giveaway – @elise_della
Elise Della is a mom, model, and cake-maker who uses seasonal giveaways to grow her Instagram profile.
Elise gets into the fall theme with a photo of herself in nature and fall leaf emojis in the giveaway caption.
Participants can earn an extra 5 bonus points if they can guess which treat from the back will be the most popular.
Despite being a relatively small account, this is an excellent example of using multiple Instagram contest methods to maximize engagement.
10. Like to win – @rarebeauty
Rare Beauty is a beauty brand founded by famous singer Selena Gomez, and they run Instagram giveaways where participants need to like the post to enter.
According to the Instagram scheduling tool, Later, a like on Instagram is one of 5 engagement factors to boost the organic reach of your posts.
A like is also one of the easiest actions a user can take, which is why it’s often grouped with other entry methods.
Rare Beauty includes a link in the caption to a giveaway landing page using the SweepWidget contest tool.
In addition to Instagram engagement, a centralized contest landing page allows Rare Beauty to grow its audience on TikTok and grow its email list at the same time.
11. Choose your prize – @_sixthreezero_
Sixthreezero, a bike shop in California, is known for doing epic Instagram giveaways.
You can submit an entry by downloading the sixthreezero peddling app and logging 2 miles. If you win, you can choose a bike of your choice from 6 options.
By giving participants control over what prize they can win, you increase the desire and engagement around your contest campaign.
In this example, sixthreezero uses Instagram galleries to showcase 6 different bikes you could win. Very enticing!
12. Instagram stories contest – @deadstock.app
500 million people use Instagram Stories every day — making it a perfect target for creative competitions.
An IG stories contest is fantastic for increasing engagement, specifically through shares.
Deadstock is a sneaker marketplace mobile app and leverages Instagram contests to drive user activity.
In this example, Deadstock’s 3rd entry method is to share the giveaway post on your story and tag @deadstock.app.
Private users are required to take a screenshot and direct message Deadstock for their entry.
Instagram users are particular about what they share on their IG stories. By getting that real estate, you’re ensuring your brand is in front of a highly intimate audience that’s likely to convert.
13. Multiple winners – @lukeaashley
Luke A Ashley is a tattoo artist in the UK who taps into Instagram giveaways to keep his followers on their toes.
Luke does a great job of increasing the stakes of his contests by offering multiple prizes to his followers.
In this example, Luke has a different prize for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, improving the participant’s odds of winning something.
To enter, users need to do is follow Luke’s account and tag three friends. There’s no limit to how many times you can enter tapping into the viral referral engine of tagging.
14. Comment to win – @vego_garden
Vego Garden sells raised garden beds online and likes to use Instagram giveaways to expand its reach.
Participants need to leave a comment finishing the sentence, “FALLING in love with,” to enter the competition. The best comment wins—making users reflect on what they want to say.
Getting more comments on your posts is an effective way to improve organic reach on Instagram.
This is also another excellent example of a themed seasonal giveaway.
15. Branded hashtag challenge – @fabfitfun
FabFitFun is a subscription for quarterly wellness products and loves using Instagram contests to build their community of fans.
One of the entry methods for the giveaway includes added branded hashtag #fabfitfun in the comments. This helps to get followers familiar with the hashtag, and this is the result:
A community of happy customers now regularly use the FabFitFun hashtag.
You can replicate this model by creating a hashtag for your brand or at least related to your brand.
Then make your hashtag a necessary action to enter your competitions.
You can also use your hashtag in Instagram photo contests to keep track of submissions.
16. Rebrand – @above.the.loop
A rebrand is a critical moment in your business journey, and a giveaway is a fantastic method to give your transition an extra push.
ABOVE THE LOOP is an online sneaker retailer in the UK. They recently went through a rebrand and took the opportunity to run an Instagram giveaway to celebrate with followers.
As you’d expect from a sneaker brand, the winner becomes the owner of a brand new pair of shoes.
However, to celebrate the special occasion, friends tagged by the winner are eligible to receive a mystery prize. This sweet addition raises the stakes of the competition resulting in more engagement.
Instagram giveaways FAQs
Q: What can I giveaway on Instagram?
According to Facebook’s policies, as long as you avoid promoting drug and alcohol treatment and gambling, you can choose just about any prize for your Instagram giveaway.
Keep in mind that contests and sweepstakes fall under state gaming laws which means you may need to register with your local council if your prize exceeds a certain value. It’s always best to be on the safe side and consult legal advice in your jurisdiction.
Q: How do you pick a winner for an Instagram giveaway?
If you’re running a contest based on skill, for example, choosing the most creative comment or best photo, then selecting a winner is at your discretion.
But if you’re running a sweepstake where the competition is based on chance, then you’d need to select a winner at random. You can export your Instagram comments into a spreadsheet using GetCombot. Or, you could use a social media contest tool like SweepWidget, which can randomize your entries and choose a winner with one click of a button.
Q: How do you do a giveaway on Instagram?
Running a successful Instagram contest comes down to 4 steps:
- Set a goal: what metric do you wish to increase as a result of this competition? Is it likes, follows, email subscribers, sales?
- Choose a prize: select a prize that’s ideally relevant to your brand and enticing to your audience.
- Develop a plan: set your entry methods, giveaway deadlines, rules, and promotion schedule.
- Select a winner: choose your winner by skill or chance and announce the results to your followers.
- Follow the rules! You must be compliant to avoid any possible policy violations. Here’s a definitive guide to Instagram’s contest rules and promotion guidelines.
Ideas for giveaways on Instagram
Instagram giveaway ideas are abundant for just about any business in any niche.
Now you need to determine what gets your followers excited. Do they like photo contests? A challenge? Multiple prizes?
Play around with different combinations to see which approach resonates.
And don’t be afraid to change up your format to re-engage your audience.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means we may make a small commission if you make a purchase.