Running an Instagram contest is a great way to grow your following and generate leads, but it is important that you know and understand Instagram giveaway rules before getting started. Gaining new followers on Instagram can sometimes be difficult. It is not advised to try to cheat the system by buying followers, and while Instagram Ads work, they can get pricey fast. Luckily, running an Instagram contest is a proven way to gain new followers if done correctly-and people love giveaways!

In this article we will highlight the Instagram promotion guidelines that you should follow in order to be compliant with the rules and make the most out of your giveaway.

Instagram Giveaway Rules That Work

If you want to run a successful contest that nets you tons of new followers, you need to adhere to Instagram’s actual rules. These regulations are vital to follow because failure to do so could result in your account being suspended or shut down-which is the absolute opposite of what you are trying to achieve.

Instagram’s actual contest rules can be found here. The rule that is most often disregarded is the one that states that you cannot “inaccurately tag content or encourage users to inaccurately tag content.”

We all see Instagram contests on a daily basis that ask us to “tag a friend” in the comments as one of the stipulations for entry. This is a bit of a gray area in the Instagram rules, but best practice is to avoid doing this.

Make Sure Following Your Account is Mandatory

This is a sure fire way to gain more followers. This is often the first rule you will see in an Instagram contest; the host requires that you follow their account (and usually a few others who are collaborating) as part of the contest.

If people want a chance to win the prize you are offering, they will hit that follow button. It’s that simple.

Making this is the requirement for the giveaway is vital as most people will hit the follow button immediately before they even finish reading the contest rules. Some people may later decide that the contest rules are too long or annoying and decide not to participate, but at least you still got that person to follow you.

Hitting the follow button is easy, so having that as the first step makes people feel like entering the giveaway will be a breeze even though you may have several other rules that require a bit more leg work to follow through with.

Partner Up with Another Big Brand or Other Bloggers

The more businesses or people working together one giveaway, the bigger and better the prize pool usually is. If you are able to collaborate with another non-competing company or fellow blogger(s), you can not only make the prize pool bigger, but you can gain a lot more visibility since all parties involved will be promoting it.

This is a great situation for all who participate because you can require that participants follow all parties involved in the contest. So you can easily gain some of the other business’s followers while they are gaining some of yours.

Be careful not to include too many partners on the giveaway, though. Not many people want to have to follow seven or eight new accounts just to be eligible for a contest.

Be Strategic About When You Publish Your Post

The most successful Instagram contests are ones that are posted at a strategically planned time. Instagram’s algorithm gives priority to content that they feel will most benefit users and a big part of how the algorithm determines great content is by engagement.

Knowing this, you will want to schedule your giveaway post to go live at a peak posting time so that you can get a quick hit of engagement when it first goes up. This will help your post do well in the algorithm moving forward and make sure it gets maximum visibility.

Hashtags, Hashtags, Hashtags

Hashtags, while sometimes annoying and a bit excessive, are a great way for people to find content that they are interested in seeing. Using the right hashtags on your post has the potential to put you and your brand in from of lots of new users who are actively looking for the type of content you’re posting.

It is recommended that you use hashtags such as “#contest, #giveaway, #instagiveaway” etc.

along with the hashtags that you regularly use that are relevant to your target audience.

By combining contest hashtags with other relevant tags related to your brand and audience, you are able to reach people who are looking to enter giveaways as well as people looking for content like yours.

Tactfully Encourage Referrals

While asking people to tag friends in your contest post is frowned upon by Instagram as we mentioned previously, there is a way to get around that rule and still ask for referrals. You can use contest software to allow people extra entries If they share your giveaway with their friends.

A good way to do this is by asking for participants to share the email addresses of their friends that they think would also be interested in the contest. You can collect the email addressed by linking them over to a landing page in your bio.

By asking for referral in this manner, you are not in violation of Instagram’s rules and you won’t be penalized. As a bonus, you are collecting actual leads to reach out to and add to your mailing list.

Advertise in Your Stories

Instagram Stories are the new Snap Chat, and people love watching these stories. And since some of your posts may not be seen by all your followers in their feeds thanks to Instagram’s algorithm, use your stories as a way to advertise your giveaway.

Post in your stories that you are hosting a giveaway and tell them where to go to enter. This is a great way to capture the Instagram users who enjoy watching stories more than scrolling their feed. If they see in your story that you are hosting a giveaway and they are interested, they’ll head to your page and enter.

In Conclusion

If you are looking to gain more followers and increase engagement, running a contest is a great way to achieve that. By gaining new followers through contents, you are increasing the likelihood of them engaging with your posts early on which allows your posts to show up at the top of their feeds as time goes on.


As long as you are compliant with Instagram promotion guidelines and you follow our tips, you have the opportunity to run a successful contest that grows you following and brand awareness.

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