Best Practices for Instagram Promotions


Instagram contests and promotions are a great way to interact with your audience. Also, depending on the type of you host, promotions are a great way to boost engagement and receive user-generated content.

Types of Promotions

To start, let’s break down the different types of promotions and how to accurately describe them. We’re using promotions as an umbrella term that includes: sweepstakes, contests, and lotteries.

Sweepstakes, more commonly called giveaways, are where followers who enter can win a prize based on chance. No payment, purchase, or other consideration is needed. Typically with sweepstakes, like giveaways, the brands hosting them sometimes offer additional entries for performing various activities like tagging a friend, re-posting the photo, or following participating brands.

Contests are another form of promotion where effort, skill or merit is required to enter and win. Typically voting or other criteria determine the winner. Some contests allow for multiple entries, but that is not always the norm.

Lastly, lotteries are also a form of promotion. The U.S. has strict laws barring private lotteries making them illegal. To be a lottery by law a promotion must have three components:

  1. The promotion is offering prizes with a value

  2. Winners of the promotion are chosen by chance

  3. The promotion must have some element of consideration*

*Consideration is loosely termed as some form of monetary value paid to the company offering the promotion.  

Sweepstakes and contests usually eliminate one of the three elements to avoid being classified as an illegal private lottery. Due to the fact that sweepstakes and contests usually include prizes and that their winners are selected by chance, most eliminate the element of consideration to differentiate themselves.

Instagram’s official guidelines

Now that we know what type of promotion to host, it’s time to sort out Instagram’s rules for promotions and how to follow them for a successful contest or sweepstakes

To start, if you use instagram to communicate or administer a promotion (host a giveaway) you are responsible for the lawful operation of that promotion:

Meaning you have to:

  1. State official rules

  2. Offer terms and eligibility requirements

  3. Be in compliance with official rules and regulations governing that promotion and all prizes offered.

It doesn’t end there, each promotion must include:

  1. A complete release of instagram by each participant

  2. An acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Instagram

Lastly, Instagram has a specific clause about tagging that states you must not inaccurately tag (or encourage participants to inaccurately tag) content. For example don’t encourage people to tag themselves in posts their not in.

As a final note: make sure all participants can find the rules of your promotion. Create a place on your website for them as well as clearly state them in the promotion post.

Now that you know all about sweepstakes, contests, and Instagram’s guidelines for them what will you be creating or giving away?  

Story By: Tabita Strimbu