The Legal Way to Do an Instagram Giveaway

The Legal Way to Do an Instagram Giveaway

If used strategically, giveaways on Instagram are an amazing way to target new communities and get increased engagement on your account. When giveaways are done properly and with a powerful prize, you’re likely to see your intended results come to life.

However, as someone who is responsible for managing social media on behalf of clients, you’ll want to be careful to avoid unintended results, like getting your client’s account banned due to not following Instagram’s rules on promotions. GASP!

With some help from our friend Amber at The Boutique Lawyer, we’re sharing tips on the legal way to do an Instagram giveaway…

PS: The Boutique Lawyer has a Free Guide to Help You Plan All Your Instagram Giveaways, The Legal Way! Click Here to Sign Up & Get the Free Download! 

1 | Read up on Instagram’s Promotion Guidelines

When in doubt, always check the Instagram Terms of Service + Community Guidelines. As someone who is providing a paid social media service, it’s imperative that you understand what is or isn’t allowed on the various platforms you’re managing. 

Here’s what Instagram’s Promotion Guidelines say:

  1. If you use Instagram to communicate or administer a promotion (example: a contest or sweepstakes), you are responsible for the lawful operation of that promotion, including:

    • The official rules;

    • Offer terms and eligibility requirements (example: age and residency restrictions); and

    • Compliance with applicable rules and regulations governing the promotion and all prizes offered (example: registration and obtaining necessary regulatory approvals)

  2. You must not inaccurately tag content or encourage users to inaccurately tag content (example: don’t encourage people to tag themselves in photos if they aren’t in the photo).

  3. Promotions on Instagram must include the following:

    • A complete release of Instagram by each entrant or participant.

    • Acknowledgment that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram.

  4. We will not assist you in the administration of your promotion and cannot advise you on whether consent is required for use of user content or on how to obtain any necessary consent.

  5. You agree that if you use our service to administer your promotion, you do so at your own risk.

2 | Know the Difference Between a Giveaway, a Contest & a Lottery

If your giveaway requires a paid entry, it’s actually classified as a lottery, which is illegal. Paid entries can look like people purchasing a product or service & automatically being entered into a giveaway – but you didn’t allow for another way that someone can enter without purchase. 

Amber says, “a good example of this is the classic McDonald’s Monopoly game. Customers are entered to win a million bucks upon buying their meal, but McDonald’s has always allowed a free entry method as well. They list all of this out in the fine print on their giveaway terms on their website. If you don’t allow for a free method of entry, it’s most likely going to be considered a lottery and therefore illegal.”

She goes on to say, “there’s a strong argument that if you require an entrant to basically jump through hoops (i.e. follow 5 accounts, tag 5 accounts in comments and share the post to stories) just for an entry – that may even be seen as “consideration” – which may be the legal equivalent of a paid entry.”  

Want to hear more of Amber’s Instagram Legal Giveaway Hot Takes? Click here to download the FREE Guide to Hosting Instagram Giveaways the Legal Way! 

3 | Add Value to Your Giveaway, Beyond the Prize Itself 

If your only goal for hosting an Instagram giveaway is to “gain followers, fast” – you might want to rethink your long-term KPIs on social media! Attracting new followers is awesome, but you want to ensure you’ve got a plan to nurture an audience beyond the announcement of a winner. 

Social media is constantly evolving and it’s definitely gotten more challenging to get folks to participate in social media giveaways. So when you do succeed at getting followers to engage, you certainly want those new followers to stick around for more than the prize! 

Consider your goals for using Instagram in general & try to craft a giveaway that isn’t attracting people who are just looking to enter and bail. Your giveaway content should be about more than just winning something cool, but also a way to share value & introduce what you’re all about with a potentially new audience. 

For example, when we partnered with The Boutique Lawyer on a Giveaway for a Trademark Package, we wanted to educate our followers on why trademarks are so important. While the post itself was fun & followed a trend, we focused on using the content as a vehicle to share information that was relevant to both of our audiences. 

At the end of the day, Instagram is happy to have you do a promotion on their platform as long as you follow the rules and take all responsibility for everything that happens as a result of your promotion! 

If you want to ensure you are keeping all of your Instagram Giveaways 100% legal, make sure you head over to The Boutique Lawyer to download your FREE GUIDE! 


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