Instagram Giveaway Do's and Don'ts


A few years ago participating in what’s called a loop giveaway was an impactful way to grow your audience. Loop giveaways are when the directions to enter are some such as, “like this photo, then follow @_____ and like her post and follow the girl she tagged” and on and on. Usually these giveaways would have between 8-12 accounts. By using the audience of each of the other participants these accounts would be getting a ton of exposure. And while the results were clear, the consequences were not always so great. More on that below.

Only one of us is in love..

Only one of us is in love..

Different Types of Instagram Giveaways

Giveaways can be a really lovely way to give back to your audience. They should be viewed as a way to truly thank them for their support and not just as a tool to get your more followers. If you aren’t familiar with the giveaway scene here are some different styles of giveaways we see on Instagram:

  1. A single account is giving away something they bought or they were gifted from a brand with no sponsorship included. Because they are only announcing the giveaway to an audience they already have they will most likely encourage entrants to tag a friend or 3 in the hopes of a bit more exposure to their page.

  2. A single account is giving away something that is provided by/sponsored by a brand. The brand will send the blogger product to shoot and advertise the giveaway but when the winner is drawn the prize will come directly from the brand who sponsored the giveaway. Chances are the Influencer is making money from running this giveaway.

  3. Multiple accounts have joined up and purchased something together to giveaway, leveraging each others audience to grow their followings.

  4. Multiple accounts have bought in but only 1 very big account posts the giveaway with directions that look something like “Go to @_____ and follow the 5, 10, 15, or 20 people that account is following”. This is a super discreet way to be involved in a loop giveaway since you never have to post it on your own account. Generally the person with the super large account is getting paid by the other accounts to be part of the giveaway.

Whew, okay! Maybe you didn’t even know all of those styles of giveaways existed. Well sister, now you’re educated.


The Cons of Giveaways

While giveaways are an effective way to grow our audience they are not necessarily an effective way to grow an audience of engaged, loyal followers who turn into clients. If you are a food blogger and you join a loop giveaway where the prize is a $700 Chanel bag then your following will grow, but are you attracting people that even want to see your content? Or are they people that are more into fashion..or just want a $700 Chanel bag? Not to mention the people that enter with 100% intent on selling it if they win it..Not ideal.

If your audience grows by 200 but only 10 of those people actually start liking and engaging with your content then your engagement rate will ultimately go down.

(ie. If you started with 1000 followers and you were getting 100 likes per photo your engagement rate is 10%, if you grow to 1200 and now you’re getting 110 likes your engagement rate is now 9.2%). Make sense?

If you are a blogger or Influencer with no product or service giveaways like this miight be a safer choice for you but make sure that both WHAT you are giving away and WHO you are joining up with is on brand. It can be tempting to join loop giveaways when the offer comes up but if you are a fashion blogger and the other 6 girls have interior design focused accounts then they might not be exposing you to your ideal audience.

Running A Successful Giveaway

Giveaways should be done with the intention of serving your audience, just like everything else on Instagram we want to give give give. If you have a product or service it probably makes the most sense to give that away because you are then you are getting your product into the hands of a new customer, who will surely have a wonderful experience and continue to refer you through word of mouth.

But as much as giveaways are an act of generosity you still want to make sure you are getting a little bit of bang for your buck. For example, if you are giving away a copy of your online course, you would ask for extensive feedback upon completing the course.

You could also use a giveaway to require people to sign up for your email list. This is perfect for running a giveaway to your own audience. Since you know they already follow you and enjoy your content they should like your newsletter as it is just an extension of your content!

While we can’t really ask the giveaway winner to post on their stories after winning we can inch them in that direction by making the gift itself ‘Instagrammable’. Wrap it up in a super cute bag and pair it with a hand written note. This shows the participant you really valued them taking the time to enter and if you’re lucky they’ll shout you out to their followers on their story.


How Often Should I Do A Giveaway?

This question totally depends on your brand, marketing budget etc. If you wanted to spend $1000 and buy into 10 huge loop giveaways you’d probably end up with a ton of followers real quick. BUT if your content isn’t good enough to keep them around, or they just aren’t your target audience they will trickle out almost as fast as they came in.

Many brands plan a quarterly giveaway at the start of the new year. Especially if it involves working with Influencers etc.

If your page is for your personal brand or small business I would shoot for a giveaway every 3-6 months. IF you are interested in doing them. Keep it mind, it’s totally not necessarily. Make sure you’re being smart about it, give away a product that’s on brand and make sure the ‘ask’ is bringing you true value. If you are doing a loop giveaway make sure you are working with other accounts who have a similar audience to yours or at least in the same niche. Ie. all fashion, all food, all fitness, all interior design, all beauty etc.

Giveaway Checklist

I can already see the giveaway ideas swirling in your mind! I’ve created a free giveaway checklist so that you can set up and run a super successful giveaway that makes both you and your audience happy! Download below for a checklist which covers setting the rules, picking a winner and other tips.

Bonus Tip: Can you giveaway something that generates income? For example// “Comment below with a blog post topic for me and I’ll send 10 winners a 20% off discount for my ebook”. Hopefully those 10 winners turn into 10 sales!

Alrighty friend, have fun!


Chat soon,