Back to School Giveaway Ideas

From giveaway ideas to prize inspiration, we'll guide you through the best ways to run a back to school giveaway.

Back-to-school season is a prime opportunity for businesses to connect with customers who are gearing up for the new academic year.

It's an ideal time to launch giveaways, not only as a gesture of goodwill to support parents and students with their essential school purchases, but also as a strategic move to boost engagement and extend your reach. 

These giveaways tap into the excitement of preparing for school and can be a really great way to enhance your brand's visibility and customer loyalty during this busy shopping period.

We'll guide you through the best giveaway strategies, plus some examples of how to tailor them to the back to school theme. Then we will go through some promotional strategies and extra prize ideas!

A follow-to-win contest helps increase your follower count, broadening your base of potential customers and making future marketing more effective. You simply have to make following your page a part of the entry requirements. 

Increase your follower base by asking participants to follow your Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter page as a condition for entry for a chance to win a back to school prize. This can be combined with other actions like liking the giveaway post or sharing it on their story for additional entries.

By requiring following as part of the entry process, you ensure that your future content reaches a wider audience, enhancing the impact of your marketing efforts. When you next post, it will be prioritised in the feeds of your new followers.

The Tag a Friend giveaway is another viral marketing strategy that expands your reach by having participants tag their friends in the comments of the giveaway post. 

This strategy taps into the networks of your followers and can exponentially increase the visibility of your post, as each tag introduces your brand to potential new followers.

Create a post asking followers to tag a friend who would also be interested in your giveaway, with each tag counting as a separate entry to encourage multiple tags. 

To boost engagement further, encourage participants to share why they think their tagged friend deserves to win. 

It's also a great idea to offer a gift set that both the commenter and the tagged friend can enjoy, strengthening the incentive for the tagged friend to tag even more friends. 

  • Back-to-School Set Giveaway - Tag a friend who would like to win a back-to-school setup, including stylish backpacks, lunch sets, and school supplies.

  • Study Buddy Supplies - Ask followers to tag a friend they study with, offering both participants a chance to win a set of study essentials.

Tag a Friend

A Repost to Win giveaway takes advantage of the network effect by encouraging followers to share your content on their own social media profiles, which in turn is a great way of increasing your content's reach and visibility. 

This strategy helps to expose your brand to a broader audience as participants share your post with their followers, who may not be familiar with your brand.


Participants must repost the giveaway image on their Instagram or Facebook timeline, so use a unique campaign hashtag and ask them to tag your brand in the post. 

Encourage them to tag friends in their repost to increase their chances of winning.

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The Comment to Win giveaway strategy is designed to enhance engagement directly on your social media posts by inviting followers to comment in order to enter the giveaway. 

Check this out

We have a comprehensive list of The Best Comment to Win Ideas & Tools

This method is highly effective for increasing interactions, as comments boost the post's visibility in feeds due to social media algorithms favouring active engagement. 

It also provides valuable insights as comments can reveal preferences and opinions from your audience.

Comment to Win Giveaway

  • Homework Space Makeover - Ask followers to comment on how they would use your products to improve their homework space.

  • Favorite School Memory - Followers share their favorite school memories for a chance to win.

Top tip

Choose the winner at random with Gleam quick draws or you can take a look through manually and pick your favourite answer.

Try running a classic Back to School Sweepstakes. It is a tried and tested engaging campaign that's designed to promote your brand through various actions.

By running a sweepstakes, you encourage participants to interact with your brand in multiple ways, boosting your visibility and brand loyalty.

All you have to do is use the below template to create a campaign with different actions that participants can complete to enter for a chance to win.

You can even offer bonus entries for completing all the entry steps. This gives participants extra incentive to complete more than one meaningful action, making it a really powerful giveaway.

  View Template

Photo contests are excellent for gathering user-generated content, enhancing your brand's visibility, and deepening customer engagement. 

A photo contest is where participants submit their own photos under a given theme. You can either select these randomly or choose the winner based on merit.

Using Gleam to manage a photo contest is the most effective way to do it because participants can upload an image from their social media feed into your competition submission box. 

This means you have all of your entries automatically stored in one easy to access place, and they also have to post the photo on their own social channels. This is awesome as your brand gains exposure, tapping into the extended networks of each participant.

Announce the contest on your social media, and make sure the rules are clear such as using a specific hashtag, tagging your brand, and the contest deadline. 

Insider tip

After you pick the winner, use the photos however you like, for example an embeddable gallery on your website

photo contest school

  • What's in Your Backpack? - A back-to-school themed photo competition where students showcase the contents of their backpacks.

  • Homework Station Setup - Ask participants to share photos of their organised and decorated homework spaces.

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Creative writing contests are excellent for driving deep engagement, increasing brand exposure, and encouraging community involvement. 

Simply ask users to submit their writings based on a specific theme. In return, your brand gains access to high quality user-generated content that you can reuse for marketing purposes. 

Plus, your brand can benefit from the amplified visibility if you ask that participants share their submissions to gather votes or support.

Launch the contest on your social media, clearly outlining the rules, such as word limit, using a designated hashtag, tagging your brand, and the submission deadline. 

  • My Summer Memories - Participants write about their most memorable summer experiences.

  • Back-to-School Excitement - Participants share their thoughts and feelings about returning to school.

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Recipe contests are excellent for encouraging engagement and collecting a high quality selection of user-generated content. 

Participants just have to submit their favourite recipes under a given theme either into your comment section, via DM, or even better, onto your Gleam competition landing page. 

You can also require that they share their entries to their feed or stories as bonus entries so that your brand gains exposure by again tapping into the extended networks of each participant.

Recipe Contests

Announce the contest on your social media, specifying the rules such as submitting a recipe along with a photo, using a specific hashtag, tagging your brand, and the contest deadline. Promote actively across your platforms to maximise entries. 

Reward winners with attractive prizes like kitchen appliances, grocery vouchers, or cooking class passes, aligning the rewards with the contest theme to maintain relevance and appeal

  • Healthy Lunch Box Challenge - Launch a back-to-school themed contest where students and parents can showcase their best healthy lunch recipes.

  • Favorite Family Recipe - Participants share their favorite family recipes along with photos for a chance to win kitchen gadgets.

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Quizzes are a dynamic way to engage your audience by challenging them with trivia.

This type of interactive content can significantly boost user engagement, as participants are likely to share quizzes with friends or discuss answers, which enhances the visibility of your posts. 

Post daily or weekly trivia questions on social media. Participants can answer to win either in a Gleam competition landing page question box or in the comment section, and correct answers go into a draw for daily or weekly prizes.

  • Back-to-School Quiz - Ask educational questions related to school subjects, with daily or weekly winners receiving small educational games, e-book downloads, or a grand prize like a tablet.

  • History of School Trivia - Post questions about the history and fun facts about schools and education, rewarding participants who answer correctly.


Virtual scavenger hunts are excellent for increasing user engagement and time spent on your digital platforms. They drive traffic to specific online locations, such as your website or social media profiles, which can boost SEO and increase brand exposure.

Create a sequence of clues that relate to your products, guiding participants through your website and social media. They can then write the code or the submit the hidden product through the Gleam landing page for verification. This is the best way as if you run it in the comment section it ruins it for everyone else. 

Offer daily prizes for quick challenges, with a larger reward for completing the entire hunt.

Scavenger Hunt

  • Back-to-School Supply Hunt - Clues involve finding hidden school supplies on product pages or social media posts, encouraging participants to explore your offerings.

  • Classroom Clue Hunt - Participants search for clues related to classroom essentials across your digital platforms, with prizes for those who find all the items.

  View Template

Video contests are powerful for generating user-generated content that can be shared widely, enhancing your brand's reach and visibility. 

They also encourage participants to promote why they love your products, which can be used to boost word of mouth marketing.

This format is particularly suited to platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, where visual content thrives. 

Reward the most creative or popular videos with a valuable prize as this is a high effort contest. 

School Contests

  • Back-to-School Shopping Haul - Participants create videos showing off their back-to-school shopping hauls, highlighting their favorite items.

  • Creative School Projects - Encourage students to share videos of their most creative school projects or assignments for a chance to win.

  View Template

Challenges are fun and dynamic way to create viral content. They're best to run on Instagram Reels or TikTok.

This type of contest can quickly spread across social media platforms, increasing brand recognition and attracting new followers.

Come up with something like a fun dance routine to a trending sound. Post yourself doing it on your social platforms and then instruct participants to do the same, tagging your brand and using a specific hashtag, for a chance to win an awesome prize.

This type of challenge not only drives engagement but also promotes your products in a fun and interactive way.

  • Pack Your Bag Challenge - For a back-to-school theme, initiate a "Pack Your Bag" challenge where participants must pack their school bag with all necessary items as quickly as possible.

  • Back-to-School Outfit Challenge - Participants showcase their best back-to-school outfits in a timed challenge, tagging your brand for a chance to win.

Countdown giveaways are timed contests that build anticipation and maintain daily engagement. By counting down to a significant event (like the start of the school year), you can keep your audience returning to your page each day to participate. 

Plan a series of posts leading up to the first day of school, each featuring a daily question or challenge related to school preparation. 

Participants enter by responding to each day's post, and daily winners can be chosen randomly or based on the best answer. 

This format not only ensures repeated engagement but also builds a routine with your audience checking your social media daily.

Offer small daily prizes to keep engagement high throughout the campaign and end the countdown with a grand prize draw on the last day, such as a new laptop or tablet, to reward one lucky participant for their involvement. 

Promote each day's giveaway to ensure maximum participation and visibility for your campaign.


Once you've set up your giveaway, the most important part is promoting it effectively so that people enter. Here are the best ways:

Utilise all your social media channels to create buzz around the giveaway. Regular updates, interactive posts, and using stories on platforms like Instagram and Facebook keep the audience engaged.

Invest in social media advertising to target specific demographics. Use Facebook's or Instagram's targeted ad features to reach potential participants who have interests aligned with your giveaway.


Send out a compelling email blast to your subscribers announcing the giveaway. Make sure to include a clear call-to-action and direct links to the giveaway entry page.


If you need some more prize ideas to make these giveaways unique to your brand, have a look at these ideas:

For those parents who enjoy tackling home improvement projects on weekends. 

Collections of age-appropriate classic and modern books. 

Assorted games and puzzles

Now you know everything on how to run a back to school giveaway to boost engagement, drive sales, generate leads, and gather some fresh new content for your social channels!


Charlotte Czarnota

Charlotte is a Growth Intern at Gleam. Share this post if you got something out of it ☺