7 Proven Giveaway Ideas for Businesses to Try On Social Media

Giveaways on social media can kickstart your following and drive sales—but you have to get them right. In this article, we'll show you how.

7 Proven Giveaway Ideas for Businesses to Try On Social Media

Running a giveaway for your business is a great way to boost social media engagement, entice people to try your products, and keep your business at the top of your followers' minds.

You'll need to run giveaway ideas that combine ease of entry for participants (so you can get as many eyeballs on it as possible) but with a prize compelling enough to enter but that actually ties into what you sell. People love free stuff and giveaways are a great way to help give people exactly what they want while promoting your business.

In this article, we'll share giveaway ideas for businesses and walk through how to run a giveaway on social media.

List of giveaway ideas

  1. Photo Contest
  2. Hashtag Contest
  3. Pin It to Win It Contest
  4. Tag a Friend Giveaways
  5. Essay Contest
  6. Captions Contest
  7. Follower Milestone Giveaway

Giveaway Ideas for Businesses

1. Photo contest

Giveaway ideas like a photo contest are a great way to generate more user-generated content for your brand. A photo contest is an easy Instagram giveaway you can run to build out your branded hashtag, have people promote your product, and showcase all the unique ways your product can be used. Photos can either be submitted by tagging your brand or having people use a specific hashtag for their photos.

You can also use photo contests if your goal is to attract more photographers. For example, if you run a digital publication, you could even use a photo contest as a way to recruit more photographers to your business to help you find talent. It's an easy way to find someone who shares your stylistic vision for photography.

Example: Below is an example of a post for a photo contest that photographers can enter. It has an entry fee but the winner can win a prize of $3,500 grant, features, and exposure.

2. Hashtag contest

Running a hashtag contest on your social media accounts can be a great way to build up a branded hashtag. You could do a social media giveaway where you encourage someone to use a custom hashtag you've created for your brand to help you build up your user-generated content.

When running your hashtag contest, you can also ask people to tag your business in the post to drive even more eyeballs to your social media accounts.

You could run a hashtag contest to get lifestyle photos with your product, get new design inspiration for a clothing line, get your customers to share their experience in your physical location such as gym photos or food pictures at a restaurant, and more.

Example: Below you’ll find an example of a hashtag contest with a specific branded hashtag people can use for a chance to win free coffee.

3. Pin It to Win It contest

While running an Instagram giveaway is often the most popular choice, don't count out Pinterest just yet. If you run an online store selling physical or digital products, a Pin It to Win It giveaway could be a great option for you.

You can use the #pinittowinit hashtag or add a caption to your post that says "Pin It to Win It" to have people easily find your giveaway.

Having the prize pack your participants will win on the Pin will be key so they know what kind of giveaway they're entering. Pinterest is a very visual platform so having an attractive Pin with all the cool stuff someone will get will help ensure people find your giveaway.

The only downside to this type of giveaway is that most Pins go viral over time rather than the day they go up as Pinterest is part search engine too. So, this type of giveaway works best for a contest or giveaway spanning several months rather than one that only lasts about a week or so.

Example: Below you’ll find a Pin It to Win It contest with various pictures of what can be won by pinning this specific post.

4. Tag-a-Friend giveaways

One of the best business giveaway ideas to boost your social media channels is to run a tag-a-friend giveaway. Encouraging people to tag at least three friends for a chance to win a prize can help generate some virality for your giveaway.

Most people have at least three friends on Instagram that they can share the giveaway with, making it a low barrier of entry. That way, you get a big ol' boost of engagement on your giveaway post so that more people discover your giveaway—and more importantly, your brand.

However, keep in mind that if you run giveaways often, it’s possible that people who follow you will always use the same tags in your posts exposing you to the same audience as before. Running paid ads for your giveaway or promoting your giveaway on different platforms every time can help you find new audiences for your giveaway.

Example: Below you’ll find a book giveaway that requires the tagging of at least three friends and a few other entry requirements for a chance to win.

5. Essay contest

One of the more elaborate giveaway ideas you can run is an essay contest. However, be warned that the number of entries will be much lower than anything else on this list due to the high barrier of entry.

Matching the level of effort of the entry to the prize is crucial with an essay contest. You'll need to ensure that if you're asking someone to write a 2,000-word essay the prize is worth the level of effort of the time spent on it. Often, essay contests have cash prizes, which is what makes them more attractive since people entering are looking to earn money that way. So, a free sample of the product typically isn't the best match for this type of giveaway.

Typically, publications use essay contests. However, if you own a brand that centers itself around reading, like an audiobook software company, an e-reader brand, or something of that nature, an essay contest could be a great relevant giveaway idea for your business.

Example: Below you’ll find an essay contest for writers to submit a 2,000 word essay for a chance to win $1,000 and a publication in a magazine.

6. Caption contest

A caption contest is one of those giveaway ideas you can easily run if you're looking to get a ton of entries for your giveaway. Coming up with a caption is relatively easy for people to do so it's a low barrier to entry. Plus, people love showcasing their wit and creativity.

The picture you use will need to be carefully selected. A good photo is one that invites funny dialogue or lets people creatively explain an image that’s hard to explain out of context. Comics tend to be easy things for people to caption. Or something that requires a bit of dialogue.

You can write in your caption contest post that people can vote for their favorite entry by liking the caption they like best. That way, you're also building up the social media giveaways to get more engagement by having people read through the entries and asking their friends to like their comments so they could win.

Example: Below is a caption contest where you can submit caption ideas in the comment section of the post for a chance to be featured on the Mind Journal website.

7. Follower milestone giveaway

One of the most common giveaway ideas is the follower milestone giveaway. Typically, when your follower count hits a specific milestone you're proud of, you'll run a giveaway to thank your followers for their ongoing support (and attract some new ones).

The most common follower milestones for host giveaways are 1k, 10k, 50k, 100k0, 500k, and one million followers. When you reach a significant milestone, you can host a giveaway to show your appreciation to those who've followed along with your business.

Alternatively, if you’re looking to grow to a new milestone, you might run a giveaway to help you boost to the next level. For example, if you have 19.5k followers on Instagram, you might run a giveaway to give a prize pack to the person who becomes the coveted 20,000th follower.

Example: Below is a follower milestone giveaway for Arienti who recently hit 20,000 followers.

How to Run a Giveaway on Social Media

1. Choose a platform

You can run a YouTube giveaway, Twitter giveaway, or run one on Instagram—social media giveaways can be done on any platform. However, the platform you choose should have the highest concentration of your target audience.

For example, if you run a meditation app, you'll likely want to run your giveaway on YouTube as most meditations are longer than five minutes. As a result, most of the people watching meditation content are probably consuming that content on YouTube instead of Instagram or TikTok. YouTube is also a good platform to run giveaways on for niches that are centered around vlogs or long-form content, such as gaming.

However, if you're running a beauty products giveaway, most beauty brands are on Instagram and TikTok, so centering your giveaway would work best on those platforms.

When deciding the best platform for running your social media giveaway, consider a platform where your business already has some momentum. You probably wouldn’t run a giveaway on a social media account with zero followers, so pick the platform that your business is having the most success on.

2. Determine your goal

Keep your business top of mind

One of the goals of running a giveaway is to keep your business top of mind for your followers and potentially new customers. A giveaway is a great way to get a boost of activity on your social media platforms as it gets people to immediately engage with your brand for a chance to get a free gift or product. The more people see your product or brand name, the more likely they are to remember it when talking to friends or when planning to make a purchase in your niche.

Getting customers to try your product

If you run an online store or business, sometimes people want to try your product before paying for it. A giveaway is a great way to get people hooked on your amazing product. Think about the last time you ate at a restaurant. Did you try something new or did you eat the same meal you ate last time? Most people stick to the things they know they'll like. If you run a food company, all you need to do is get people to try your product to get them to order it. A giveaway is a great way to get people to try before they buy.

Increasing social media engagement

Social media contests and giveaways are a great way to boost your social media engagement and increase your overall metrics. If you're looking to hit a follower milestone, increase the number of comments on your posts, or increase user-generated content, a giveaway can give your social media numbers a quick boost.

3. Follow best practices

Ask for giveaway entries around social media metrics

On social media, the average giveaway entries include: liking and saving posts, tagging a friend, following your account, or reposting Stories, Reels, or posts. Centering your giveaway entries around social media metrics is a good way to inflate your social media performance. Plus, these tend to be some of the easiest ways to enter a contest or giveaway online. The second you ask people to create user-generated content or write an essay you create a high barrier of entry, which reduces the number of entries. The goal should be to maximize the number of people who enter your giveaway as it helps you expand your business' reach.

Follow-up with people who didn't win

If your goal for running a giveaway is to sell a specific product on your website or to generate more sales for your business, you'll want to follow up with people who enter your contest. If your giveaway requires an email opt-in, you can send an email to all the people who've lost to send them a coupon code after the giveaway has ended, so that they can purchase your product at a discounted rate. This will help generate more sales for your business to make running giveaways for your business profitable.

If you don't have access to their email address, you can run a retargeting ad to people who follow your account or the account the giveaway was hosted on, to offer a discount on your core product to people who entered the giveaway.

And don't forget to create a post for the winner announcement too.

Use relevant hashtags

Social media giveaways can always be maximized by using the right hashtags. You can find a list of giveaway hashtags by searching it under the Tags section of Instagram or other social media platforms. By using giveaway hashtags, you'll attract people looking to find new products and contests to enter.

Aside from giveaway hashtags, you'll want to include hashtags that are relevant to your prize to attract people who are interested in those products.

Without using hashtags, you'll limit the reach of your giveaway post.

What to avoid with giveaways

1. Having an underwhelming prize

Picking the right prize requires a delicate balance. On one hand, you can choose to give an Amazon gift card or a luxury vacation, something that most people like. However, the goal is still to elevate your business, so picking a relevant prize is a necessity. When choosing a prize, your business' core product offering needs to be tied into the prize package while still being an attractive choice for people who want to enter.

If you offer fitness coaching services, prize ideas might include one-on-one coaching from you, a one-year fitness subscription plan from their favorite fitness app, and some swag for their fitness journey, such as a water bottle, fitness tracker, or gym equipment. Picking a niche prize will also help better attract a relevant audience to your giveaway.

2. Making the process complicated

Your prize and entry requirements need to be balanced. You can't ask people to write a 10,000 word essay and only offer a $10 gift card. The easier you make it to enter your contest or giveaway, the more entries you'll receive. On social media, most entries will be as simple as liking or saving posts, tagging friends, or reposting content.

Keep your entry requirements simple to attract more engagement on your giveaway as it'll also keep your marketing costs down. Word of mouth marketing through tagging can be a great way to increase the reach of your giveaway and it tends to be simple enough for people to do. Hosting your giveaway requirements on the same platform they enter on is also key. For example, asking for people to write an essay online via Instagram requires people to leave Instagram to enter the contest which adds more friction to participants who want to enter your contest.

3. Under-promoting your giveaway

Hosting a giveaway or contest on social media is a marketing tactic. So, treat it like you would any marketing campaign. Your budget and investment planning for giveaways needs to include not just money spent on the prize, but also for promoting it so you can see an increase in the level of engagement your giveaway gets. You could also add your giveaway to giveaway websites to ensure that people who enter contests enter yours too.

Alternatively, you could send an email to your subscribers to let them know that you're hosting a giveaway on social media so they can enter it too. Facebook groups could also be a great place to promote your giveaways, but make sure you're in those groups before the giveaway launches so you can maximize your giveaway's success.

Give a little, get a little

The giveaway ideas you choose to use for your business need to help you achieve the goals you have for creating the giveaway in the first place. If your goal is to increase your user-generated content, you'll likely run a photo contest. If you're looking to boost engagement on social media and show appreciation to your followers, a followers milestone giveaway might work best. Invest the time and effort into your social media giveaway by treating it like you would any marketing campaign.

If you plan on creating a video for your giveaway post, you can use Kapwing's video editor for social media, so you can create more content in less time.

FAQs for Giveaways

How do you make a giveaway interesting?

You can make a giveaway interesting by having a low barrier of entry with a premium prize. The bigger the prize pack and the more relevant it is to your followers the more likely they are to actually enter the contest to win the prize.

What is a good giveaway item?

A good giveaway prize could include a luxury vacation, car, event tickets, physical products, gift cards, and more.

How do I promote my business with a giveaway?

You can promote your business with a giveaway by encouraging people to tag their friends in the post so your business gets more organic exposure. Plus, following up with people who entered but didn't win by offering them a discount could help you generate some sales after your giveaway is over.

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