A successful Instagram giveaway, contest, or sweepstakes is a terrific way to raise brand recognition and boost sales for your ecommerce business. Instagram contests receive, on average, 3.5 times as many likes and 64 times as many comments as standard Instagram posts, according to a TailWind analysis from 2020.
However, a giveaway needs more than just a social media post and a prize to be successful. Many business owners run their Instagram giveaway promotions poorly, wasting resources and stock.
Over the years, we've observed hundreds of Shopify store owners conduct sweepstakes, and many of them have experienced the same typical mistakes. Here are 11 Instagram giveaway blunders to avoid and some advice on how to make your giveaway campaigns more successful.
1. Make your entry instructions clear
Remember that because you created your giveaway campaign, you are the one who will be familiar with its mechanics and entry requirements. However, this does not automatically imply that your Instagram followers will grasp your Instagram promotion requirements. There will be fewer entries if individuals don't know how to participate, which will result in subpar outcomes overall.
Here’s an example of a confusing giveaway post:
What's wrong with this picture?
- Long intro. This Instagram poster introduces a contest, then delves into many lines of the tale before getting to the specifics of the gift at the very bottom. A post like this is likely to lose viewers before they enter the prize.
- Vague instructions. The ad asks viewers to determine how many guitar clamps there are in the image, but it doesn't specify how or where. Do they need to respond? Direct message sent?
- Vague prize. The poster acknowledges that they are unaware of who the winners will be. Few Instagram users will be compelled to go through the hassle of entering a promotion, much less counting clamps, in the absence of a clear reward. More about rewards will be covered below.
Now, let’s look at an Instagram giveaway post whose instructions are clear:
Observe how this poster, which has a lighthearted, upbeat corporate language, jumps directly into the Instagram giveaway guidelines without any further content. Each entry step has its line and is given a number.
To avoid overwhelming followers, less crucial information like official guidelines and hashtags are supplied below.
Create a draught of your post with your planned graphics and text and show it to a few trusted friends or coworkers before publishing it to avoid releasing a confused giveaway that turns away prospective buyers. Before the promotion goes live, you'll be able to tell whether there are any queries or complaints from the public.
2. Make it simple to enter your giveaway
Instagram contests are easier to run than multiplatform campaigns because there aren't any external links and no lengthy entry forms to complete. But many companies continue to make it too tough to enter their contests, which makes them unpopular. You might want to pause before inviting participants to record videos if your contest is giving away a cheap prize.
Here’s a real-world example of a giveaway that’s probably asking too much:
This company is requesting two different account followers, two friends who have been tagged, and two friends who must also follow those accounts. That's a lot to ask for a gift that costs no more than $50. Keep it straightforward instead: Request a like, a follow, and a remark from a buddy who could be interested in your products.
Consider including optional activities that give participants additional opportunities to win the reward if you still want greater participation from your Instagram contest audience. By providing extra value in the form of “bonus entries,” you'll increase engagement.
3. Choose the right giveaway prize
Your reward may have a significant influence on the success of your Instagram giveaway campaign, whether you're giving away one of your own products, a gift card, or a costly offer like a trip. Your promotion won't succeed if the reward doesn't fit your target market appropriately.
Consider if the reward you select offers a compelling value proposition for your target client. The best Instagram gift item would be:
- Valuable. Keep in mind that value does not always equate to pricey! If a reward is something your target customer wants or needs, it has value. Even something as straightforward as a phone cover or sticker set might inspire your followers to take action with the appropriate contest.
- Relevant. I always choose a giveaway reward on Instagram that is directly relevant to your brand and target market. Running an Instagram giveaway campaign to gain new followers that won't remain around long-term is pointless.
- Exclusive. Giving away something your followers won't find anywhere else is a fantastic approach to increase the excitement of your Instagram contest. Your audience will be more motivated to go through the extra effort required to obtain your prize if it is something they cannot purchase at a local store.
4. Focus on your target audience
Reaching a sizable audience of prospective consumers is one advantage of Instagram marketing, but when it comes to a giveaway, that wide audience may also work against you. The last thing you want to do is compile a list of more than 1,000 leads only to discover that they are all freebie hunters who have no interest in your company or its offerings.
You may still promote your Instagram giveaway to the correct audience even if you won't be able to utilize the demographic targeting features in Instagram's ad platform.
- Limit your eligibility. Establish the terms of your Instagram contest to only accept participants from the nation or countries in which you conduct business to exclude individuals who do not have access to your store.
- Choose hashtags carefully. While it may be tempting to advertise your post using general Instagram hashtags like #contest or #giveaway, you'll probably attract viewers who are more interested in free goods than they are in your shop. Instead, pick hashtags with a limited following that are relevant to your products and sector.
- Use your entry criteria. Asking participants to provide proof as part of the submission procedure can help you focus your content on participants who could be interested in your items. For instance, if your business offers culinary utensils, you may invite contestants to tag you in their Instagram Stories featuring cooking or to comment on your contest post with their favorite kitchen gear.
- Partner with related brands or influencers. If you are aware of any influencers or businesses with audiences that share your interests, think about collaborating on a giveaway. You'll have access to their fans and make a Venn diagram of the users you want to target.
5. Promote your giveaway
It takes more than one post to promote your Instagram giveaway. Remember that not all of your target market's clients are Instagram users. In actuality, a user's daily Instagram feed reading time is 28 minutes. Give your audience many opportunities to enter your offer when you consider that over 1,100 photographs are posted to Instagram every second.
Plan on advertising your giveaway instead using the following posts:
- A coming soon post to tease the giveaway (see above for an example).
- An announcement post to officially launch.
- A reminder repost to nudge followers who haven’t taken action and bring in users who missed your earlier posts. (If your giveaway campaign is short, you might want to skip this one.)
- The last chance to post to create urgency just before your Instagram contest closes.
- A winner announcement congratulating the lucky recipient of your prize.
You have to use additional digital marketing platforms in addition to Instagram to advertise your offer. Post simultaneously on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms to increase traffic. You may also encourage people on your email list to participate in the Instagram contest and follow your Instagram account by sending them one or more messages.
6. Time your giveaway properly
Timing is essential on Instagram, just like it is in comedy. Even if your Instagram contest offers an alluring reward and a persuasive presentation, it won't be successful if no one is around to witness it.
Check the calendar before beginning your Instagram giveaway. Do any significant occasions or holidays, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, or the Super Bowl, when people could be away from their computers or on vacation, coincide with your promotion? Are you planning your offer to coincide with the height of your audience's interest if your product is seasonal?
Timing doesn't simply apply to the launch date; it also affects the start and finishes dates, which can have a significant influence on your outcomes. If you run an Instagram competition for too long, your audience may lose interest before the winner is revealed. On the other side, a brief contest means fewer individuals will have the opportunity to enter, reducing your visibility and reach.
The ideal period for Instagram, which moves swiftly and favors new material, is at least three days but no more than a week. Just long enough for all of your marketing to start working, but not too long that it starts to drag.
7. Set clear and realistic goals
Run an Instagram contest, but don't since everyone else is. Set specific, quantifiable goals for your campaign instead, then create a marketing plan to help you reach them. Here are some pointers for establishing objectives for your Instagram giveaway:
- Make them specific. Make sure your goal is linked to a particular product, outcome, or channel. For instance, instead of focusing on “expanding your audience,” try increasing the number of Instagram followers you have or the number of people who visit a specific landing page. Focus on growing sales of a new product or line in your store rather than “more transactions.”
- Make them measurable. Put a number or percentage next to your goals instead of just “more.” You'll be able to tell whether your giveaway performed as expected or better. Find out how much an Instagram giveaway may cost you in terms of time, effort, and product if sales are your aim. After that, utilize that figure as a baseline for the outcomes you want.
- Make them realistic. It's probably not a good idea to think that a single Instagram contest would get you 50,000 submissions and 10,000 likes if you operate a small business. While it never hurts to shoot for the moon, it is preferable to establish realistic objectives and achieve them as opposed to unattainable ones that would undoubtedly lead to disappointment. You can always learn from your first giveaway and set higher standards for subsequent ones.
8. Follow up with entrants
The value of a freebie lies not just in the list it generates, but also in the method you convert those who sign up for it. Even though you may have had submissions for your real Instagram contest, if you don't maintain a strong presence afterward, it may still fail.
In addition to expanding the audience, the objective is to create enduring connections that produce devoted patrons. This entails retaining their interest on Instagram while simultaneously directing them away from the app and into your sales funnel.
- Announce your winner. Make sure to wrap off your Instagram contest with a post announcing and congratulating the winner. Specify the reward and let your audience know that they may pick one up at your business (if applicable). By asking your recipient to share or upload a picture of them using their award, you may create even more content.
- Offer a consolation prize. Not everyone in your audience has to go empty-handed just because they didn't succeed. Consider offering a “consolation reward” in the form of a voucher or discount to all participants after your Instagram promotion.
- Point to a link in your bio. Your bio links to your website are the ideal strategy to encourage Instagram users to visit your e-commerce business if you aim to boost sales. Make sure to add a call to action encouraging people to visit the link in your profile in every subsequent Instagram post for your offer.
Your Instagram giveaway is just the beginning
An effective Instagram giveaway is only the beginning. When your Instagram contest is over, utilize everything you've learned as a springboard to develop a successful digital marketing strategy for expanding your Shopify store.
Instagram giveaway FAQ
It's simple to run an Instagram giveaway for your Shopify company. All you have to do is write your posts, pick a fantastic reward from your store's inventory, and then provide incentives to get your new audience to your Shopify store's website.
An Instagram giveaway may increase your following, promote product and brand recognition, and turn your followers into devoted customers.
1. No follow up
2. Poor timing
3. Poor targeting
4. Mediocre prizes
5. Lack of promotion
6. High barrier to entry
7. Unclear or unrealistic goals
8. Confusing entry instructions
A well-run Instagram giveaway boosts engagement by generating excitement and urgency around your products, as opposed to a careless or spammy offer that might reduce it.
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