neon sign with likes icon
Promotions Mobile Image
Back to all insights
Trends + Insights

A guide to social media promotions

Emily Vickerson
Jul, 2022
7 mins

So you want to run an Instagram contest – or raffle, or giveaway. We’ve rounded up the need-to-know basics of running a social media promotion – along with some handy tips and tricks to make the most of it. So whether you’re trying to grow your audience, boost engagement, or build brand awareness, we’ve got you covered. Let’s dig in, shall we?

Instagram promotions can help you hit a few different Instagram KPI's. Here are the
top reasons you should consider including Instagram promotions in your strategy:

  • Grow Your Following
  • Engage Your Audience
  • Build Brand Awareness
  • Build An E-mail List
  • Collect User-Generated Content
  • Boost E-Commerce Sales

How often?

Accounts that run quarterly Instagram promotions see the best results with all the
reasons featured above. During the holidays you will see an influx of Instagram
promotions, it's recommended to choose dates and milestones that are specific to
your business so you create more of a buzz around your account and aren't
overshadowed by mass accounts doing giveaways during the same dates.

Social media promotion process

Do's and don't's for running a successful Instagram promotion:

DO: Make your prize worth it!
Your promotion will not be successful if you're not willing to have a great prize. With so many giveaways and contests happening, you will reach wider audiences if you're able to give something people want to share about to increase their chances of winning.

DO: Partner with other brands
Think about like-minded brands that would want to team up with you. This helps you increase your audience reach, finding more of your target clientele.

DO: Have an Ad Spend Budget
Although not necessary, it's good to throw some ad spend to help increase your E.R.

DO: Have clear rules of entry
Outline exactly what you want a user to do and have clear C.T.A.'s. (Like this post, tag a friend, follow all affiliated businesses, share this to your story for extra entry etc)

DO: Have a promotional strategy
Your following will likely see a significant increase after your promotion. Give these new followers a reason to stick around. Have a strategy in place after the winner is announced. (perhaps a post re-introducing the brand, what you do/sell etc.)

DO: Follow The Rules
Adhere to Instagram guidelines and the promotional laws in your specific state, province and/or country.

DON'T: Partnering with over 3x brands
E.R. decreases when you ask users to follow multiple brands to enter the giveaway. This tactic tends to back-fire as well, after gaining followers you don't want to get a mass un-following once the giveaway ends.

DON'T: "Running long giveaways is better"
It's actually quite the opposite! Recommended length: one week. Users need urgency and feel like if they don't enter now they will miss out.

DON'T: Not outlining instructions
How old does a user need to be to win? If it's over 18+, you need to follow Instagram guidelines and outline that in your caption. Does a user need to live in a certain location to win? Make it clear.


Example on how to write your promo captions

Using the correct terms

Before running your promotion, it's important that you are using the correct terminology. It may not mean anything to your audience, but there are specific terms for each type of promotion with different government laws. Whether you're running quick and easy giveaways directly on Instagram, community photo contests, or more elaborate and powerful opt-in giveaways you'll need to ensure that you're utilizing the right language.

Giveaways & Sweepstakes

These involve prizes (of money or value) being randomly given away to users who enter by completing designated actions that don't require a purchase or other forms of consideration.

Rules + regulations: The main laws and regulations you need to consider when running a giveaway or sweepstakes in the U.S. are: No Purchase Necessary laws. The crux of these laws is that you cannot ask users to make a purchase or provide other forms of consideration in order to enter your giveaway/sweepstakes.


A contest may require entrants to submit a photo, answer a question, respond to short writing prompts, or complete any other action or task that can be judged on performance.

Rules + regulations: Colorado, Maryland, Nebraska, North Dakota and Vermont all prohibit purchase requirements, even in contests where winners are chosen based on merit such as a photo contest. Other states fall under 'No Purchase Necessary' laws.

Raffle + Lottery

A lottery is a form of gambling. As opposed to sweepstakes, lotteries require consideration from the participant, chance and a prize. In the U.S. raffles are limited to non-profit organizations. Sometimes exceptions are made for charitable events run by private organizations, but as a general rule raffles are off-limits to all for-profit businesses.

Rules + regulations: Purchase, payment or other consideration as a requirement to enter games of skill or chance is generally prohibited.

Types of promotions

Partnership requirements:

When your social media team is looking to partner with brands for a promotion, it's important to outline the rules within a partnership. There are two ways this can be addressed:

  • A brand is willing to gift you product for your promotion, but doesn't meet participation requirements. Example: you're hosting a giveaway for reaching 10K, Smartwool is donating 2 pairs of socks but they are not going to post about the giveaway on their page. This is defined as a 'donation' and not 'partnership'. When outlining giveaway rules in your caption - users do not have to follow Smartwool. This is great for bundle giveaways and businesses do not require any leg work on their end, just donation of product.
  • A brand is willing to partner with you and in return, get in on the promotion benefits. They will have to feature the promotion on their instagram page as well, and direct users to your page to enter. Users will be asked to follow all participating accounts to enter. This is a win-win for all brands, but involves more work from YOU to deliver the correct information and guidelines to participating businesses.


Let’s Work Together!

As a digitally driven outdoor marketing company, MMGY Origin can help you with your social marketing promotions.

To learn more, please reach out to us through our online Contact Form or check out these social media posts.

For the most current marketing articles and “Insights on The Outdoors,” subscribe to our monthly newsletter at

Emily 1

Emily Vickerson

Social Media Manager