How to run a successful and effective giveaway on Instagram

Instagram giveaways are a great strategy for increasing your engagement and getting to know your audience in a fun, authentic way. If you’ve ever thought about creating an Instagram giveaway but hesitated because you were unsure about elements like picking a winner or dealing with potential legal issues, then you’ve come to the right place. 

In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about running a giveaway on Instagram. 

Instagram giveaway ground rules

Whether you want to celebrate a milestone or attract new followers, giveaways can grow your Instagram reach and take your profile to the next level. 

Of course, there are some ground rules to keep in mind: 

  • You are responsible for the lawful operation of the contest, including offering terms and eligibility requirements such as age and residency. 
  • You must not inaccurately tag content, or encourage other users to do so. 
  • You must state that the promotion is not associated with Instagram in any way. 
  • You must agree that if you host a promotion, you do so at your own risk, and Instagram is not responsible. 

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Am I allowed to do giveaways on Instagram?

The short answer is yes — as long as you do it legally. That means Instagram advises users to read up on their state’s laws and officially include all of the terms of eligibility and rules when announcing a promotion.

Avoiding miscommunication with your contestants is also important. The best way to do that is by making sure you understand the meaning behind the terms “contest,” “sweepstakes,” and “giveaway.” Using these terms improperly could result in some legal issues. 

Here are the definitions: 

  • A sweepstakes (also referred to as a giveaway) is a campaign where a winner is chosen purely based on chance. People don’t purchase to enter. 
  • A contest is a campaign that determines the winner based on criteria involving voting or judging. Sometimes people purchase to enter but not always. 

It’s good to avoid the word “contest” when promoting your giveaway, unless, of course, it really is a contest. 

How old do you have to be to enter a giveaway?

Typically, 13 is the minimum age to enter a giveaway unless the prize is meant for individuals 18 and older. However, it’s best to check with your state’s laws regarding giveaways to make sure you don’t get caught in any legal issues. 

When you do decide the minimum age required to enter, make sure it’s clearly stated in the terms of the giveaway. 

How do you pick a winner for an Instagram giveaway?

Probably one of the toughest obstacles people face when they host a giveaway is choosing a winner. Gone are the days of randomly selecting a name out of a hat. In these modern times, there are multiple services and platforms available to make sure your random winner is truly random. 

Google’s Random Number Generator is a free service that many people use to select giveaway winners. Here’s how to use it: 

  1. Assign each entry a number (the fairest and easiest way to do so is by assigning numbers based on the order in which the entries arrived). 
  2. Go to 
  3. Type “random number generator” in the search bar. 
  4. Enter the maximum and minimum numbers into the box. 
  5. Press Generate. 
How to pick a winner for an Instagram giveaway

If you use this feature, take a screenshot of the random number that was selected so you have documented proof of how the winner was chosen. 

Another option is using Easypromo's Instagram Sweepstakes App. The app sets up a giveaway and then randomly selects a winner for you. The first giveaway is free, but after that, you’ll need to purchase a subscription to continue to do any other giveaways. 

Do you have to pay taxes on giveaways?

Most social media giveaways are for prizes that have minimal monetary value. However, if the prize you’re giving away is valued at $600 or more, then the prize winner (if they are subjected to U.S. taxes) will have to pay taxes on it. 

So not only will you need to collect the winner’s name and address, but you’ll also have to document his or her social security number. 

Instagram giveaway best practices

Now that you’ve got a solid grasp of the rules and regulations, it’s time to turn our focus to the giveaways themselves. In this section, we’ll go over some of the best practices for Instagram giveaways, as well as what not to do. 

How long should an Instagram giveaway last?

There’s no definite answer for this, but according to social media expert Alex Tooby, limited-time offers are the way to go. Giving your followers a sense of urgency will make them more likely to enter than if they have an extended period of time. 

A good rule of thumb is to stick to a range of 3 to 7 days. However, quick 24-hour giveaways are great, too. 

Some good Instagram giveaway ideas

When it comes to Instagram giveaways, the sky is truly the limit. One popular giveaway is the “like and/or comment to win.” It’s simple for people to enter; all they have to do is either like or comment on a post. It’s also easy to keep track of. 

Some accounts also ask for participants to follow their account or tag a friend in a comment to enter to win the prize. Doing that can give your account more exposure. 

Examples of giveaways on Instagram

Another more creative option is to host a photo caption contest. To run this sort of contest, just post an interesting photo and ask your followers to submit a caption in the comments. You then select the best caption based on the criteria you’ve laid out. 

Outside of hosting a giveaway through a post, you can also host a giveaway through Instagram Stories. All you have to do is use the questions feature to collect entries. After 24 hours, the giveaway is automatically closed, and you get to select your winner. 

You can also post additional rules in your Stories, like tagging friends in a post or asking for a follow. 

Instagram giveaway ideas

If you want to get even more creative, you could host a scavenger hunt. This is a great way to get followers to interact and engage with your account. You either provide clues people follow to find a prize or give them a list of photo-based tasks to complete. They post certain photos on their own feeds and either tag you or a specified hashtag to enter to win the giveaway. 

Mistakes to avoid with an Instagram giveaway

While Instagram giveaways are fairly easy to accomplish, there are some common mistakes you should try to avoid. 

It’s best to stay away from overly complicated rules, as people tend to respond more positively to giveaways in which they only have to like or comment to enter. It’s also not a good idea to use hashtags in a haphazard way. Overdoing it on hashtags — especially when it comes to hashtags that aren’t relevant to your post, brand, or niche — is a quick way to lose legitimacy with your followers. 

You also want to make sure you promote your Instagram contest. Mention it on your Instagram Stories as well as on any other social media platforms you’re active on. And follow up! Announce the winner of the giveaway on your Stories and in the comments of the giveaway post. People will feel suspicious and maybe even uneasy if they go through all these steps to enter a giveaway only to never hear about it again. 

If you’re looking for new ways to interact with your followers, Instagram giveaways are a great tactic. Not only will you increase your engagement rating, but your account will also gain exposure among more potential followers, which is what Instagram is all about.

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