The Secret to Gaining Instagram Followers? Giveaways!

From a Wilson Estate Jewelry’s Insta-contest: an Edwardian ring

Let’s be blunt: The days of relying solely on content to significantly increase your Instagram following are over. High-quality content, posted consistently, is as important as ever; without it, your following will dwindle. But Instagram is used by 1 billion people globally—basically, it’s crowded. Which means even the most mind-blowing content can wallow in obscurity without an additional driver—an influencer partnership, a photo contest, or the king of follower boosters: the giveaway.

According to a recent study by social media marketing firm Tailwind, Instagram accounts that run regular contests (including giveaways) grow 70 times faster than those that don’t. Contests and giveaways on Instagram receive 3.5 times as many likes as and 64 times more comments than an average post. And 91% of posts with more than 1,000 comments “are related to a giveaway or contest,” said the study.

“Giveaways are a great way to start online conversations about your brand without being overly promotional,” says Shane Barker, an independent social media consultant. Execute a great giveaway, and watch your Instagram following swell. Here’s a basic guide to hosting a giveaway on the ’Gram.

Pick a Great Piece 

Jewelry retailers have the advantage of selling products whose value practically everyone recognizes—even a simple 14k gold pendant priced at $150 can whip an audience into a frenzy on Instagram. Just make sure the item you choose to give away appeals to a wide cross-section of your followers to maximize participation. And ensure you have a sharp, high-quality image of the piece to post to your feed.

Set the Timeline and Find Your Why

Figure out when to post your giveaway and—more important—why. Is there a trunk show or event you want to promote? Is your store debuting a brand or collection? Any social contest should tie in to your overall marketing strategy. When it does, you’re bringing the excitement you’ve built on Instagram into your store. Remember to include the dates the campaign will run in the post, along with any participation restrictions (i.e., age to enter, location parameters). 

Use a Recipe

To see a sharp follower spike, use a giveaway recipe the big consumer brands have perfected—known as like/tag/follow: To enter the giveaway, your audience will be required to like the giveaway post, tag a friend in the post’s comments, and follow your feed if they don’t already. The idea is to use the product to entice your current followers to enter, then let them do the work of bringing others into the contest (via tagging).

Choose a Winner the Right Way

Legally, giveaway winners on Instagram (or any social media platform) must be chosen at random, and your business has to be able to cite how you achieved this if asked. Fortunately, there are easy online tools that help you do this, including—which generates a certificate indicating the names of the winners and alternates. Once the winner’s been chosen, ask if you can take photos of him or her picking up and trying on the prize. Because snapshots of thrilled winners make for seriously charming social content!

Top: Wilson’s Estate Jewelry gave this Victorian opal and diamond ring to a lucky Instagram follower.

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