Welcome to the first post in our series of common Instagram questions! At this point in your Instagram career, you’ve surely scrolled past at least one giveaway. You may have even felt inclined to enter one, but have you ever wondered how you could host one yourself? We are frequently asked how to set one up, and today we are sharing our advice for hosting a giveaway! Read through the following steps as we hope to help you in a successful first giveaway.
STEP 1: DECIDE WHAT YOU WILL GIVE AWAY
This is the first and most important step. The idea is to give away something that you think your followers will be excited about and therefore be more enticed to enter to win. Think through the items that your pet really enjoys or even what you as a pet parent enjoy. We have found that one of the most frequently entered giveaways usually consist of bandannas, bow ties, or something that your pet can wear. Creative giveaways are fun for everyone as well! Maybe you have a friend who makes incredible pet portraits, customized signs, or clothes for dog parents. There really is no right or wrong answer here, but you can get a sense from what your followers enjoy based on what you feature constantly on your account.
STEP 2: DETERMINE WHO IS HOSTING THE GIVEAWAY
There are really three options for how you can host the giveaway: you can buy item(s) yourself, you can buy items along with several other accounts, or you can ask a company if they would be willing to contribute an item. There are a couple of trade-offs to consider when making this decision.
If you decide to buy items yourself, you can create a large prize pack that will be more desirable to entrants for the contest. Additionally, if you are the one who purchased the items, the rules to enter only need to include following you. Sometimes people will decline from entering contests simply because they don’t want to follow additional accounts. The downside for you to consider with this option is simply that you will be paying for the items and shipping for everything, so it is up to you and your budget if this is a good option for you.
The next option is purchase item(s) as part of a group and host the giveaway with several accounts. These typically bring together 10+ accounts to giveaway large, expensive items like a nice camera. The downside to this option is something I alluded to above, entrants are typically put off by having to follow several accounts in order to enter; however, the idea is to give away an item/prize pack so awesome that people will want to enter anyway.
The final option is approaching a company to ask if they would be willing to contribute an item. This is a delicate matter, and I encourage you to be extremely considerate of these small businesses. Most of the pet companies that are on Instagram are small, independently-run companies, who are often approached by people asking if they’ll give something away. I cannot stress enough how important it is that you only ask companies to participate who you support and purchase items from yourself. An added bonus is that you own their items and can attest to how awesome they are to encourage everyone to enter! Companies are interested in participating in these giveaways to get more exposure and followers, so limiting the giveaway to just one company and item is usually in their best interest. Another added bonus for you is that once the winner has been selected, the company can ship the prize directly to them.
You do have the option to approach several companies to co-host a giveaway with you and give away lots of prizes. Again, I recommend that they all be companies you love and support. I typically don’t encourage this type of contest because I haven’t seen as much success with them. That’s not to say they can’t be successful if you put together an awesome prize pack!
STEP 3: CREATE YOUR CONTEST POST & RULES
I highly recommend that your post for the giveaway is a picture including your pet and the item(s) that are being given away. For example, if you partnered with a bandanna company, take a picture of your pet wearing one of the company’s bandannas. If you are giving away something that you don’t tangibly have, I would still recommend taking a picture of something as close as possible, and including a second picture of the item to swipe to in your post. This brings me to my other recommendation of not posting a banner or image with text on it. You don’t want the post to throw off the style of your feed and why your followers are drawn to you.
The caption is where you will draw attention to the giveaway and the rules on how to enter. Starting off with something as simple as “GIVEAWAY!” makes it very clear. Make sure you incorporate what you are giving away, the rules to enter, and when you will choose a winner.
As far as rules, asking people to simply tag an account in the comments is the easiest and most effective method. I always include that for an additional 25 entries, you can share this post to your story and tag me to make sure I see it. This brings A TON of exposure to your account and the contest (if 100 accounts each with 5,000 unique followers share to their stories, that’s up to 500,000 people who have now seen your account and the contest). Keep in mind that if you include this, you now have the added challenge of keeping a running list as accounts tag you in your stories.
You can write your post caption in a text editor on your phone or computer to make sure you have line breaks.
Here is an example caption:
“Starting the week off with a fun GIVEAWAY! Here’s your chance to win any customized bandanna from @cliveandbacon !
RULES TO ENTER:
- Follow me and @cliveandbacon
- Tag a friend in the comments (one tag = one entry)
- Share to your story for an additional 25 entries!
- The winner will be randomly selected and announced on Friday at 12 PM EST”
STEP 4: COLLECT ENTRIES
Now that you’ve determined what you are giving away, the method, and the rules, it’s time to post and start the contest! Arguably the least fun part of the giveaway is keeping track of all of the entries. I recommend doing this on a rolling basis so you aren’t stuck trying to collect hundreds (or thousands) of entries at the last minute. To collect entries from your comments, go to your post on a computer, load the comments, and copy and paste into an excel sheet. This is nice because it easily separates them into lines for you! To collect entries from your stories, keep a running list in a text document. At the end, copy all and paste 25 time to give everyone their extra 25 entries!
STEP 5: CHOOSE & ANNOUNCE YOUR WINNER
There are a few websites out there to randomly select your winner. The one that I’ve found and like the best is: https://www.miniwebtool.com/random-name-picker/
All you have to do is paste your entries in there, click pick a random name, and voila! Select your winner, tag them in your story to let them know they’ve won, and you’ve completed your giveaway!
I hope this guide leads you to host your first giveaway and has helped lay out all of the considerations that you need to make. Giveaways are fun for the people trying to win the prize and for you to gain more exposure to your account! Thanks for reading the first installment of our Instagram series, and I look forward to posting more advice soon!
Have you done an Instagram giveaway? Give us your tips in the comments!
I’m Kelly and I am the human that pretends to be my golden doodle on instagram all day (@minidoodlebentley)! I’m a math nerd and CrossFit enthusiast who has recently married the man of my dreams. My love for travel, dogs, and prosecco is unmatched and it would be a life dream to travel the world with Bentley!