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It’s not just people who enjoy “extreme couponing.” Almost everyone enjoys the opportunity to obtain some free stuff, whether it’s a buy-one-get-one deal on coffee at the local supermarket or the chance to win a year’s supply of free oil changes.
Marketers dislike using words like “manipulate” to describe what they do, but when it comes to pressing your audience’s buttons, one of the most potent strategies at your disposal is manipulating – sorry, leveraging – people’s desire to obtain something for nothing.
Today, we’ll look at how you can utilize Instagram giveaways to gain followers and reach new potential consumers. We’ll go through the marketing fundamentals you’ll need to consider before launching a giveaway, as well as real-world instances of how this technique might affect your Instagram growth, as well as some warning signs to avoid.
What Are Instagram Giveaways?
Instagram giveaways are time-limited contests in which marketers promise to give away a product or service to one (or more) lucky contestants based on a set of criteria.
If you spend any amount of time on Instagram, you’ve most likely witnessed a giveaway in action. Running Instagram giveaways to gain followers is a common practice used by both household-name brands and small businesses to generate excitement about new product lines, reach new followers, and increase their social followings.
Sometimes the awards are fantastic, while other times they may be… a touch disappointing. Whatever you’re giving away (or attempting to win giveaways), Instagram giveaways may be a wonderful way to generate buzz and attract new fans.
Why Should I Consider Running an Instagram Giveaway?
Although you can host an Instagram giveaway for almost any purpose you can think of, there are two main reasons you should consider this type of promotion:
- To promote social sharing of a specific Instagram post
- To use Instagram giveaways to gain followers
A successful Instagram giveaway post should ideally achieve both of these objectives. A highly shareable post will generate social shares on its own, resulting in increased exposure and impression share, while the giveaway entry conditions should help you achieve your secondary goal of using giveaways to gain followers.
The more individuals that join, the further your content will be spread, which means more entries, more followers, and more shares… You get the picture.
Why Would I Give Something Away for Free on Instagram?
If you’ve never done something like this before, you might be wondering if running an Instagram giveaway to gain followers is a little paradoxical. This is an excellent point, but it deserves further consideration.
“You’ve got to spend money to make money,” you’ve probably heard. This is true for both the greatest enterprises and the smallest mom-and-pop shops. There are few genuinely free ways to promote your project (though there are several), and no matter how you look at it, you’ll have to spend money to expand your audience.
This includes time expenditures (if you want to focus on naturally developing your Instagram following), budget for paid social campaigns if you want to advertise on Instagram, and inventory if you want to run a contest.
Only you can determine the worth of a giveaway. However, viewing the experience as an investment rather than a loss may make it simpler to accept.
How to Run an Instagram Giveaway
Step 1: Choose the Reward for the Instagram Giveaway Post
Before you begin organizing an Instagram contest to gain followers, you must first settle on an appropriate prize for the lucky winner(s).
Nicky, recently held her first Instagram giveaway to gain followers for her Instagram page of design studio CATPARTY.
Before doing anything else, she decided on a product bundle known as the Party Pack as the prize for her giveaway. A limited-edition one-inch enamel pin, a one-inch button, and a vinyl sticker featuring CATPARTY’s loving brand ambassador, Party Cat, are included in the Party Pack.
The Party Pack’s separate pieces have a total worth of roughly $14, while the pack itself costs slightly more than $12. To Nicky, this was the ideal product for an Instagram giveaway post; it was pricey enough to tempt people to enter the competition (more on that later), but not so expensive that it would harm sales income.
Choosing an appropriate award is a balancing act. You must ensure that individuals have sufficient motivation to enter your contest by offering something sufficiently appealing without incurring a significant loss on the product you pick to give away.
Step 2: Decide the Entry Criteria for Your Instagram Giveaway
- Follow CATPARTY on Instagram
- Tag two people when sharing the original post
Everyone who met both of these requirements was included in the drawing. As an added bonus, Nicky determined that for each additional person an entrant tagged when sharing the Instagram giveaway post, the entrant would receive an additional entry.
The major goal of Nicky’s gift was to get publicity and gain followers using Instagram giveaways, not to increase sales. As a result, the key admission criteria was CATPARTY. She had thought that by combining this with the two-person tag criteria, she would significantly boost her following. Each additional person tagged by an entrant represented a new prospective follower.
Choosing the entry conditions for your Instagram giveaway post is similar to choosing an appropriate prize to give away. You must guarantee that anything you ask of potential entrants will assist you in achieving your primary goal, but you must also avoid asking too much of people or you risk reducing the size of your entry pool.
This is similar to optimizing an online form; include too many fields and you’ll likely turn off a substantial proportion of people who might otherwise have entered the contest (or, to use the online form analogy once more, clicked through from your landing page). Include too few fields, and you risk falling short of your goal of increasing your following (or capturing too little data about your prospects).
Step 3: Choose the Duration of Your Instagram Giveaway
The next decision you must make is how much time you will offer your Instagram followers to enter your Instagram giveaway.
Nicky chose to conduct her Instagram contest for seven days. She had planned to open the contest on a Monday, which would have meant it would have concluded on Sunday night, but owing to an unexpected last-minute difficulty, she needed to postpone it for a couple of days. She eventually conducted the giveaway from Tuesday morning until Wednesday evening, giving entrants a total of seven days to enter.
Several things may influence the length of your Instagram giveaway.
For starters, consider the size of your current following. If you have thousands of followers, it may make more sense to conduct a shorter giveaway. A full week seemed appropriate for Nicky, who has a far smaller following. It’s also worth noting that your giveaway may run out of steam or meet a wall of declining returns the longer it goes, so consider this carefully before making any public announcements.
Consider time zones and overseas audiences as well. Because not all of your contestants will be in the same time zone, make it crystal clear when your event closes. You might also post reminders to remind people that the contest is coming to an end – another technique to boost last-minute entries!
Because of the extra shipping costs compared to the overall value of the prize, Nicky had to evaluate whether overseas entries would be accepted at all. Finally, she agreed to accept worldwide entries, but she had to include a small disclaimer about shipping charges to avoid unpleasant shocks if, for instance, someone from Australia won the prize.
Step 4: Create the Perfect Instagram Giveaway Post
So you’ve completed all of the necessary preparations and are now ready to launch your Instagram giveaway to gain followers. You’ll need an actual Instagram giveaway post to use before you can do this.
The “ideal” Instagram giveaway post will differ greatly from one account to the next. However, there are a few aspects that should be included in every Instagram giveaway post. They are as follows:
- A bold color photograph to serve as the foundation for the post
- Effective use of text to announce the giveaway
Nicky used the following image for her Instagram giveaway:
As you can see, the contest announcement is displayed alongside a strong, colorful image in the post’s main image. Nicky sensibly decided to use the caption part of the post rather than adding more words to the image, even though she could have done so. This way, visitors can find out how to enter.
There are no hard-and-fast guidelines for writing Instagram giveaway posts, but it’s important to think about your post from the audience’s point of view. It makes sense to include a photograph of the object you’re giving away in your announcement post if that’s what you’re giving away; for instance, it would be misleading to include an image of an Audi car in an Instagram giveaway post for a weekend aerobic retreat.
Start the clock after you’re satisfied with your post and publish it.
Step 5: During your Instagram Giveaway, Make “Reminder” Posts to Share
The sheer number of posts you can view at any given time on an Instagram timeline is significant, especially if you follow a lot of people. Instagram posts might not be near as “disposable” as tweets.
As a result, Instagram giveaway posts can’t really be “set it and forget it,” so be ready to give frequent updates on how much time is left to enter your giveaway in order to maintain a consistent flow of participants throughout the competition.
How frequently “reminder” posts are published is entirely up to you. On the third day of the competition, Nicky decided to only post one reminder. She made the early decision that one reminder in the middle of the week worked well because her giveaway ran for seven days and numerous updates per day were just too much, according to her study.
The reminder postings themselves ought to be visually appealing in order to attract people’s attention as they go through their timelines. The captions should restate the giveaway’s restrictions, but depending on how frequently you post reminders, it can be worthwhile to experiment with the length of your captions. In Nicky’s instance, a straightforward variation of the original post with a condensed caption sufficed, but depending on your requirements, you could wish to produce more intricate postings.
Step 6: Tally the Results of the Giveaway
Now that your giveaway has been over for a week (or however long it lasted), you have a list of Instagram followers who participated. Picking the lucky winner is now all that’s left to do!
Depending on your participation requirements and the number of contestants, tallying up the participants in your Instagram offer can be simple or a logistical headache.
Nicky looked through her Instagram feed after her offer was over and entered all the names of participants who had followed the criteria into a spreadsheet. The names of the participants were written in separate rows. In order to reflect the number of entries, those who participated just once—by following CATPARTY and tagging two other people—were included in a single row, while those who participated more often—by tagging more individuals—were entered into numerous rows.
Nicky chose a winner from the list of entrants using a straightforward online name-picking method to determine the recipient of her Instagram contest. Unfortunately, none of the software tools we found offered CSV upload functionality, thus each participant’s name had to be manually input, with multiple-entry participants having their names entered the appropriate number of times.
Choose a mechanism that enables you to choose a giveaway winner as quickly and fairly as possible since, no matter how you look at it, actually choosing the winner of your Instagram contest will probably take some work.
Step 7: Spread the Word About Your Instagram Giveaway Winner
I guess that’s all. You’ve chosen a lucky winner from the sea of applicants for your first Instagram giveaway. Notifying the lucky winner is now all that needs to be done!
You could certainly just DM the winner, but that would be a squandered chance. Why not make the winner’s announcement as spectacular as the rest of the competition?
Giving the lucky winner a heads-up that they’ve won your Instagram contest is another chance to achieve visibility and gain more followers using Instagram giveaways. It provides you the opportunity to thank the unfortunate participants and inform your audience about pertinent upcoming sales or future competitions while also letting the winner know they’ve won in a fun and exciting method.
Using Your Instagram Giveaway Data in Future Campaigns
Instagram giveaways are a goldmine of data that are just waiting to be uncovered, not only a terrific method to increase your following and generate discussion about your store.
You undoubtedly already know that if your account is a Business account, you may receive analytics information for your Instagram feed. After an Instagram giveaway is the ideal moment to start if you’ve never looked at this data.
After Nicky’s Instagram contest was over, she looked into her analytics data to find out more about her followers.
After her contest, Nicky discovered a wealth of interesting facts. For instance, she discovered that despite being located on the East Coast of the United States, she had a devoted (and expanding) following in London. This is largely because of how closely connected and fashionable the enamel pin scene is in the British capital. This pattern may also be explained by the fact that Nicky has sold to consumers in London on several occasions.
Nicky then examined some additional audience demographic information. She discovered that the bulk of her audience members is women between the ages of 25 and 34, which is a highly lucrative and coveted demographic.
Demographic data may not be as much impacted by Instagram freebies as other analytics data is. If you’re not giving one group a noticeably disproportionate (or unjust) advantage over another, such as giving women twice as many opportunities to win as males, you may probably have confidence in the accuracy of your demographic information before or after your contest.
While Instagram analytics data can be quite helpful, it’s crucial to note that you should view this data with caution if you’re looking at it after a giveaway. As seen in the screenshot above, many of Nicky’s fans began following CATPARTY’s Instagram page on Thursday afternoons. However, this follower data might have easily been affected by the contest given that her Instagram giveaway ran from a Tuesday morning through a Wednesday night.
Having said that, this data might also show a lot of interest in entries on Day Two of the competition, which could be helpful information for later contests.
How Did CATPARTY’s Instagram Giveaway Go?
You may be wondering at this point how successful CATPARTY’s first Instagram giveaway was.
The major goal of CATPARTY’s offer, as I indicated earlier in the essay, was to gain followers using Instagram giveaways; while raising sales would have been nice, it wasn’t the main goal.
CATPARTY had about 200 Instagram followers prior to the contest. Following that, it gained 340 followers, a 70% increase!
We can determine the cost-per-acquisition of each new Instagram follower if we use conventional marketing indicators as a yardstick of success. To achieve this, divide the total number of followers Nicky got during the contest by the approximate $12 value of the item she offered in her Instagram giveaway.
CATPARTY gained approximately 140 new followers during the competition, which means that each new follower cost only eight cents to acquire – not bad at all, especially when you consider that each of these followers is genuine and authentic (unlike followers Instagram profiles can pay to acquire), and has the potential to become a paying customer in the future. Even if the data themselves are low, the ROI is quite impressive.
Using Third-Party Instagram Analytics Tools
I was curious, so I dug a little more into Nicky’s Instagram analytics data to see how the giveaway had affected other areas of CATPARTY’s Instagram presence.
CATPARTY posted 10 times on Instagram during the contest week. CATPARTY’s Instagram postings garnered the following reactions within this time period:
- There are 536 total likes
- On average, each post receives 54 likes
- There are 111 total comments
- On average, each post receives 12 comments.
Surprisingly, the top three most popular posts performed similarly in terms of Likes. However, as you can see, the initial post received a lot of attention, while the reminder post received only one remark six days later. (The second-most powerful post was part of a month-long “Meet the Maker” series in which CATPARTY took part.)
The Instagram hashtags Nicky chose for her giveaway that were most associated with Likes are shown in the figure above. The hashtags #pinstagram and #pingiveaway, as well as the third hashtag, #pingame, were tied for second place among enamel pin enthusiasts. #pinstagram is a very popular and widely used hashtag in this group. You can use this additional information to improve your posts.
Give It Away, Give It Away Now
Using Instagram giveaways is a great way to gain more followers, engage with your fans, and attract new potential customers no matter what kind of business you’re in. This essay should have given you some giveaway ideas for what to do during your next – or first – Instagram giveaway. Obviously, some types of businesses will be better suited to Instagram giveaways and promotions than others.