Artist Olly Howe on running giveaways on Instagram

Remember the days when every business was giving away an iPad if you entered their competition?  Or a trip to paradise? Those days are over, at least for businesses who want to create actual ROI on their giveaway efforts.

That doesn’t mean competitions are dead, far from it. But what you offer as a prize is important. By offering a generally desirable prize, like an iPad, you will get endless entries, but the chances that these people are actually interested in what you sell is fairly low.

In fact, you’re likely to build a big list of email address that just cost you money to host, but never convert into customers.

When you choose a prize, choose something that links with your products or services (in fact why not offer your own product or service). That way people who want to win, may also want to buy.

If you’re going to run contests on Instagram or elsewhere, be sure to understand the platforms' rules.

You can find Instagram’s promotion guidelines here:

And Facebooks guidelines here:

We caught up with artist Olly Howe about running competitions on Instagram.


Olly, What percentage of your business comes from Instagram, approximately?

Olly: “ A very high percentage, I would say around 90%”

You run Instagram competitions - How often do you run them?

Olly: “Every 3-4 months”

What results do you get? More followers, more sales, more web traffic, more awareness?

Olly: “I run 2 styles of competitions:

“Giveaways where the user has to tag 2 people in a comment to enter.

"Also, giveaways where the user has to enter their email address on a dedicated competition landing page (created in MailChimp).

“The latter I use to build my mailing list and the former is more about gaining followers and interest on Instagram. Both work very effectively for me.”

In your last competition, how many new followers did you attract?

Olly: ”I usually gain around 80 - 100 new followers”

Would you recommend running comps?

Olly: “Absolutely, in the short term they create a lot of engagement which the Instagram algorithm likes, in the long term they create new & lasting relationships with users that have been newly introduced to your account via the competition.”


Thanks Olly, that was really insightful. 

You can find Olly Howe on Instagram at @ollyhowe


May 24, 2019 — Michele Ferron