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Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Running An Instagram Giveaway - A Comprehensive Guide + FREE GIVEAWAY PLANNER!

Running An Instagram Giveaway - A Comprehensive Guide + FREE GIVEAWAY PLANNER!So you know that giveaway I ran this month? I didn't realise it at the time of making it, but there is SO much planning that goes into creating a giveaway, setting the rules, choosing prizes and entry options, picking a method for choosing winners....And it's taken me three tries to truly perfect my giveaway game!

Today, I'm showing you exactly how you can run your own giveaway on Instagram, without making the mistakes I made the first couple of times!

Here is:

Running An Instagram Giveaway - A Comprehensive Guide + FREE GIVEAWAY PLANNER!

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Why run a giveaway on Instagram?

There are a few reasons, the most obvious one of which is to gain more followers and engagement. Obviously, you can leverage your giveaway by asking people to Follow your account as one of the entry rules. But personally, I prefer running giveaways to really get the word out about my new launches, as well as to give thanks to my followers for their continued love and support!

But why Instagram?

I know you've tired of hearing me say this, but Instagram is a visual platform: you can attract people to your giveaway by using really pretty images of the prizes! 

The other great thing about running a giveaway on Instagram is the 3-column grid layout of your Instagram page. It makes it so easy for people to find the original giveaway post without having to scroll endlessly.

Study your audience.

Alright I can't stress this enough, and a lot of first-time giveaway hosts totally overlook this step.

When you create a giveaway, you need to know for sure that your audience will actually participate! It doesn't matter how many people enter, but it does matter that every one of your followers has the opportunity to enter. 

Here are some things to note when you're studying your Instagram analytics before planning out your giveaway:

  • How long does it take for your posts to really reach your audience?

    Because of the weird algorithm that Instagram uses, some posts may appear on your followers' feeds days after you've actually published it!

    The other annoying thing is that some of your posts may never show up in yours followers' home feed at all, and they might only find your giveaway post if they manually open your bio.

  • What is the most common way your audience engages with you?

    Is it through likes, comments, reposts, comments where they tag their friends, DMs? This will become relevant when you think of ways they can enter your giveaway, so make sure you write it down somewhere!

What you need:

1. The Prizes (obviously!)

When choosing prizes that your audience can win, here are a few things to consider:
  • How many winners will you pick?

    You probably have a higher chance of engagement if there are multiple winners. People will only take the effort to enter the giveaway if they stand a real chance to win!

    Personally, I choose the number of winners based on the size of my account at the time. Here's a rule of thumb: if your follower count is less than 1,000 stick to one winner. If it's bigger than that add an extra winner for every thousand followers.

    Of course, the other determining factor for choosing the number of winners is the cost you incur from the giveaway (especially if you're running it alone). If the prizes are far too expensive for you to pick multiple winners, emphasize the value of the prizes, as opposed to the number of winners!

  • Is your giveaway open to only a certain location?

    I get it, shipping can be expensive. But I'm going to be completely honest (and probably ruffle a few feathers) and say that I hate giveaways that are only open to certain countries.

    As someone who lives in India, I see a lot of US only giveaways on my Home feed, and it is annoying and disappointing that I don't even get a chance to enter! Sure, you'll still get engagement from your location-specific followers, but I can almost guarantee that you'll grossly put off the rest of your crowd!

    If shipping is a huge cost, then you might consider giving international winners a gift-card of equal value to a store that delivers the prize products internationally. I can not stress this enough, your followers need to feel included

2. A Timeline

Alright so you know how we noted down the actual amount of time it takes for your audience to really respond to your posts? Take that magic number of days and double it. That's at least how long you want your giveaway to be open. 

With my first couple of giveaways, it took somewhere between three to five days for my posts to reach maximum engagement, so my giveaways would only be open for about a week or ten days at most. Now, since my audience has grown so much bigger, it takes about a week for my posts to reach maximum engagement (which is, of course, a much higher amount of engagement than there used to be) - I estimate this number to be about a week. 

So, with my last giveaway, I kept it open to entries for a little over two weeks, so all of my followers had a definite chance to enter!

However, simply having a timeframe is not enough. You need to consider how many times you will share reminders for your giveaway.

Like I said before, some of your posts just don't show up in your followers' feeds! So, you need to make sure you're posting multiple giveaway reminders through the timeframe you chose, to increase the chance that the giveaway reaches your followers! Now don't go spamming their feeds with constant reminders every single day. Instead, create specific reminder posts to share every few days. A good interval between giveaway reminders is three to five posts. That way, you're still providing content to followers who might not be interested in the giveaway, but you're also reminding them that the giveaway is still open!

Finally, you need the consider when and how you will close the giveaway!

I normally prefer to do this at midday on a Saturday. It gives people more than enough time on the weekend itself to get in any last minute or extra entries, and it also means that I'm not losing sleep trying to close off entries at midnight or something ridiculous like that! (I'm an early sleeper, ya know?)

Pick a time and day that you know you'll be completely awake (as will your audience) and ready to turn off commenting, or close the entry form.

Considering Entry Options

This is the part where we go back to how your audience best engages with your posts.

First things first, there need to be multiple ways your audience enters - i.e. you need to have some way for your audience to grab extra (non-compulsory) entries. This helps them better their chance at winning, and gets them super excited about your giveaway!

However, think about what you want to achieve out of this giveaway. Is it a bigger follower-count? Or do you want to get the word out through high engagement? Or, like me, you want to drive more traffic to your e-mail list! 

Decide what you want to achieve from this giveaway, and make that a compulsory criterion for entry. For instance, you can say that your giveaway is only open to your followers, so to be eligible to win, they must be following you. Or you could say that you need them to like and comment on the post, which is a great way to boost engagement and get more eyeballs on your post. 

For my most recent giveaway, I also added an extra compulsory entry, where people had to fill up a little form and join my e-mail list to be eligible. We'll talk all about e-mail lists later on the blog, but this giveaway single-handedly helped me cross 100 e-mail subscribers in a week! 

Next, think about how people can get additional entries.

My favourite way to do this is by asking people to tag friends who might also enjoy this giveaway. I usually ask people to tag one friend per comment (we'll see why very soon). Not only does this help bring more people to see your giveaway because they've been tagged, it also increases the total engagement on your giveaway post which, again, gets more eyes on the post! That's a win-win-win!

Another great way for extra entries is to ask people to re-post the original giveaway post with a certain hashtag and to tag you in it. So simple, but it opens up your audience so much!

And the final method of entry I've used (and that worked really well when I was launching my e-book, A Winner's Mind) is to use a specific giveaway web-app.

I used , where you can literally customize everything. The biggest advantage to this method of entries is that you can drive traffic to any of your other social media sites as forms of extra entries, and the website itself does all the counting for you! Plus, Gleam helps you pick winners at random, which is absolutely fantastic! 

[FULL DISCLOSURE: If you click one of these Gleam links, I might get some referral credit. It will make no difference to your experience!]

The only drawback to Gleam was that, with their free plan, you don't get entry details of all the entrants, only those of the winners. If you're only looking to increase your Facebook or Twitter page, or increase views on a certain blog post - basically things that don't really depend on you knowing someone's entry details, it doesn't make much of a difference. However, I've committed to really growing my e-mail list for 2018, and if I were to use Gleam for my SGP Giveaway, I would only end up with three sets of e-mails at the end. 

So consider your ideal outcomes before you think of ways people can enter!

The Reaping

Okay, so your giveaway is all done and closed, and it's time to pick the winners. And you've realised, minutes before the deadline, that you don't really know how to pick a random winner!

If you're using Gleam (or a similar giveaway app), you don't need to worry about this stage.

However, if you're completely self-hosting the giveaway, here are a couple of things to try out:

  • Make sure that comments are a compulsory entry channel.

    Once the giveaway is closed, open the post on your computer, select all of the comments, and paste them into Excel. Boom! They will arrange themselves in a column for you, with row numbers and everything!

    Another great advantage to using comments is that when you ask people to tag their friends in the comments, and you say '1 comment = 1 entry,' you don't have to go fishing for how many people have extra entries! The simple copy-paste includes the extra entries too!
  • If you're also using a mailing list, make sure to copy these details on to the spread sheet.
  • Finally, use a simple Random Number Generator (literally just Google this, it will show up), pick three random numbers, and find the corresponding rows in your Excel sheet. Because we've already laid out the entries separately, all you have to do is find whose entry lies on the winning rows, and contact them. Easy peasy!

The Afterglow

So you got hundreds of entries, and people were really into your giveaway. However, not everyone can win it, and you'd invariably end up with people who really needed the prizes but didn't get them.

This is where you swoop in to be the people's champion.

The aftermath of a giveaway is the most profitable time for you! People are still super excited for your prizes, and still really want them. This is when you jump in with great offers, discounts, collaboration opportunities, etc! 

A lot of accounts (my past self included) completely move on after the giveaway is finished, creating this weird animosity with the non-winners. You can't pretend they didn't lose, because they did. This is when you want to show your audience that you really love them (as I know you do!). Give out some form of consolation prize, be it a freebie, or a discount for your products/services, or even simply personalized e-mails letting them know that they aren't forgotten. Perhaps you could even give them a headstart on a future giveaway by promising them a few entries by default. Just some kind of gesture that you're still here, that the end of this giveaway does not lead to the end of your relationship with them. 

The afterglow is just as important as the sex, because this is where you make a connection with your (often new-found) audience - don't waste it with a hit-and-run!

In Summary:

Here are the things you need to consider when it comes to running an Instagram giveaway:

  1. Define your ideal outcomes from this giveaway - traffic, followers, e-mail sign-ups, etc. Then make these goals into compulsory entry criteria.
  2. How long does it take for your daily posts to reach their maximum engagement? Double this time to find the ideal length to keep your giveaway open for.
  3. How does your audience best engage with you? Use this as ways for them to enter!
  4. Is your giveaway open only to local residents? Create an option for international entries, too. Don't go discriminating, yo!
  5. Create a reminder schedule.
  6. Make sure you have a reaping method in place before your giveaway closes.

The Freebie:

To help you run your best giveaway, I've put together a super easy printable worksheet that covers all of the above points. I suggest using this while planning your next giveaway, I promise it will help!

Click the banner below and grab yours now!

This planner will help you get into the swing of running your first (or thirtieth) giveaway. If you do find it useful, please could you take a moment to share it with someone who might, too?

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Running An Instagram Giveaway - A Comprehensive Guide + FREE GIVEAWAY PLANNER!

And finally, I will be making a MASSIVE announcement on Friday's post, so keep an eye on this space! (If you're on my e-mail list, you probably already know what I'm talking about.) Just to make sure you don't miss out on the announcement, join my e-mail list and I'll make sure you know! (Plus, there's a FREE 15-day content plan coming your way the second you join in, so that's cool, eh?)

Got a request for a post? Drop me a line on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or e-mail, and I'll note it down!

As always, thank you ever so much for reading, and if you'd like to work 1:1 with me, and get much more personalized Instagram advice, please click the banner below and get in touch. It costs you nothing to leave an inquiry! ;)

And if you're new here, stick around to check out all the other freebies you can grab on this website, because I promise there are a ton of those. Start with one of the links at the end of the post!

Thank you so much for sharing your Wednesday with me, and I'll see you again with a HUGE announcement!

All my love,

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