If you’re looking to jump-start your Instagram followers by a few hundred (at least!), then it’s worth looking into being the host of a loop giveaway on Instagram.
WHAT IS A LOOP GIVEAWAY?
- A group of small business owners/bloggers come together to combine forces and host a larger-than-average contest promotion.
- A group of bloggers pool their money (usually via Paypal to one person) and offer:
- a) a single grand prize (something larger than what they could giveaway on their own) like a $500 gift card or a ticket to an event.
- b) a small prize (that is relevant to their brand/company) from each shop/blogger that is combined into a single grand prize (like a gift basket of varying products items).
- One image is created and the shops/bloggers involved with the giveaway are required to post that image at the exact same time, as well as a copied + pasted “script” for the caption (grab the copy I have successfully used myself below!).
- The caption includes instructions to enter the contest. This can be as simple as following every business involved in the giveaway, and sometimes a “like” to their photos as well
- Directions include what a person has to do to get an entry. In a loop giveaway, they have to follow every person in the loop, and sometimes “like” all of the photos as well.
- Every participant in the giveaway has someone who tags them and then is given someone to tag in the photo. This means that people who want to enter to win can start on any Instagram account of any of the participants, click the tagged person in the photo, follow that next person, click the photo again and jump to the next tagged person, follow them, etc. etc.
- When you get back to the person you started on, you’ve completed the loop and are entered to win.
So now you know the ins and outs of what a loop giveaway is-- but how do you host one yourself?
1 | DECIDE ON A STRUCTURE
Normally, the set-up of a loop giveaway involves tagging one shop, then having that shop tag another shop, and on and on until the final shop makes the last tag and tags the first shop. It’s an okay method, and it works, but if you want to have THE MOST success with this giveaway, try the following:
In your caption for the loop giveaway photo, list ALL of the participants instead of just one. Include their hyperlinks (@shop1 instead of just “shop1”) so that entrants can easily click on their shop to follow. Then, all they have to do is swipe back to your shop and click down on the next business on the list.
This works better for a couple of reasons:
1) it brings people back “home.” Chances are that if you’re hosting a loop giveaway with a bunch of shops, they are markets that you haven’t tapped before and their followers probably aren’t aware of your company. By bringing the followers “home” after each entry, you build trust + reassure them why they are entering.
2) It’s SO much easier to see everything you have to do to enter a contest on one page instead of having to hop around to see what’s next.
2 | LIMIT THE PARTICIPANTS
When I see a loop giveaway with an awesome prize, I am definitely going to take a closer look at it, but when I follow up and realize that it’s a loop giveaway for 20 other shops as well, you can bet that I’m going to click out and not give it another thought. It’s just not worth it to me. The small chance of winning vs. the cost of time to follow ALL the companies is not a great ROI for me.
I guarantee you that there will be people in your audience that feel the exact same way (heck, you might even!) and will be MUCH more willing to enter a contest that has only 5-7 companies involved as opposed to 20. It’s so much easier + less daunting to follow a few shops (plus it makes these few shops all the more memorable to your audience!) than a huge group.
My recommendation is sticking with 5 or so for your first giveaway and seeing it goes. If you’re not seeing the growth + engagement you would like, increase the shop number the next time by a few more and see how that plays out.
3 | TARGET YOUR PERFECT AUDIENCE
One mistake I made back in the early days was that I was so frantic to be able to people to join in on a loop giveaway (or to even invite myself to be apart of a loop giveaway) that I didn’t care who I did it with-- as long as I got to do it.
Case in point-- I accepted an invitation to be involved in a loop giveaway hosted by one of my customers that ran a health + wellness business. She was super nice and I was flattered to even be invited at all, so I immediately said yes without even stopping to think about what other participants would be involved.
On the day of the giveaway, I was looped with 10 or so other companies and NOT ONE of them was baby-industry related. Here I was giving away store credit to my baby boutique, but the host was giving away supplement pills, and a variety of other mismatched companies were doing their own thing too (I think someone was even giving away baked goods, ha ha!). Nothing related to one another, and the audience I gained during the giveaway was a) minimal, and b) not my target market at all. Not only did this NOT help me grow my company, but it took a lot of energy up to get everything posted on their schedule with very little ROI. Not worth it.
If you’re hosting the giveaway, be awesome at it! Get 5-10 additional companies with products that compliment your brand (note-- NOT competitors. You want your company to be the go-to for your particular product, not just one of the options). It's not hard to find such companies-- you can even check on Etsy and search for complimentary products (ie- if I sell baby headbands, I might look for someone that sells baby swaddles), then pitch yourself to the shop owner (grab my EXACT script for free below:
Make it easy for the shop owners.
Make it easy for the entries.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen loop giveaways on Instagram where the host is asking for SO MUCH from the entrants. Following 20 shops + liking all of their photos is A TON of work for just a small chance at winning the contest.
If you want to make the most of your Instagram contest, ask as little as you can from your audience. Obviously, you will want them to follow all of the shops in the giveaway, but keep it at that, and keep the number of shops at a limited number (no more than 10. Ever.)
Immediately dissolve the links following the conclusion of the contest
You may initially view this as a sleazy-marketing technique, but I assure you it is not! One thing that happens more often than not is that if a person enters a loop giveaway and follows 10 different shops, immediately following the announcement of the winners, they will unfollow all of the shops by a simple click of the post. If they want to opt out, trust me, they will. But if they’re on the fence anyway, you may be able to make it just a touch harder for them to leave-- and if they stick around, they may just fall in love with your products.
**Note-- this ONLY works if all shops involved in the giveaway unlink at the same time-- so make sure you communicate the benefits of this to other shops + get them on board! They’ll need to all unlink within 1-2 minutes of one another, so make sure they understand the urgency of this action step***
4 | UTILIZE YOUR GROUP'S FOLLOWERS (INSTANTLY ADD TO YOURS!)
Want to know something awesome about loop giveaways? You don’t have to have thousands of followers to make them worthwhile! While some contests are much better with a large, engaged audience, loop giveaways thrive with or without it-- so they’re an AWESOME start for a newer shop trying to gain traction!
You’re going to want to look for people to participate in the contest that have MORE followers than you (if you’re just starting out, especially). As you will be doing the grunt work of getting the design + coordination of details, it’s completely realistic to ask these larger companies!
As a general rule, I don’t recommend going for companies that have 10,000 + more followers than you. You absolutely can (and feel free to do so if you already have established a relationship with them!), but you’ll find it a heck of a lot less discouraging to pitch the loop giveaway to someone with a moderate amount of followers-- chances are they’re also in the market to gain more followers, and they are also more likely to be actively participating in new marketing efforts as a way to increase awareness of their brand.
For example, if you have around 1K followers, pitch the loop giveaway to people with 3,000 - 11,000 followers. You want to have varying quantities of followers to that each company involved can see that it’s worth it for them to invest in the giveaway-- that they have a lot to gain from being a part of it, even if your particular follower number is small.
5 | PROMOTE YOUR CONTEST VIA OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS
Want more involvement? Then spread the word! You’ll be targeting your Instagram audiences of course, but guess what? A whole different audience hangs out on Facebook and Twitter! Use these platforms to your advantage and funnel those audiences over to your Instagram. By doing this with the other participants, you’re not only pooling your Instagram followers, but you’re essentially pooling all of your social media accounts together. It’s a big win for everyone involved!
**Bonus tip-- Create your initial Instagram graphic and then tweak it to be optimized for FB and Twitter, too. Send these graphics out to the participants to make it RIDICULOUSLY easy for them to share them on their different social media platforms. Take it a step further and create some sample text for the promotions-- they’ll love you all the more for it!
6 | KICK IT UP A NOTCH
When you first post about the loop giveaway to your fans on Instagram, you’re immediately going to get a rush of entries. And then, within the next hour, they are going to start trickling in slower and slower.
Hosting a 24-hour giveaway and want to keep the entries coming in? Up the ante.
There are two ways to do this:
- Increase the prize offering substantially. If the giveaway is $25 to each shop, coordinate with the shop owners beforehand (so you’re not scrambling last minute!) to raise the prize money up to $50 shop credit later evening. First off, you’re going to get a new crowd of followers-- the people that get on Instagram more in the evening than in the morning, and second off, you’re going to convince any on-the-fencers that it’s WORTH IT for them to enter. Boom.
- Increase the number of winners-- Instead of just 1 grand prize winner, offer 5-10 smaller prizes for runners-up. I know I am MUCH more interested and motivated to enter a contest when I have 10 chances of winning as opposed to just 1-- even if it means I win a smaller prize.
7 | ORGANIZATION, ORGANIZATION, ORGANIZATION
Be organized! If you want amazing amounts of success (and I promise you it is possible!), then you’ll need to put in the work. Sending out a chain of emails to the participants will ensure that everyone is on board + your reliability.
Getting started writing those emails is the hard part (getting started on ANYTHING is always the hardest part! #amiright), so I've provided my personal templates that I have used to host successful instagram giveaways. Just click the button below and instantly download PDF fill-in-the-blank (but seriously) swipe copy-- easy-peasy and super professional.
8 | FOLLOW UP WITH A SALE
If you take away nothing else from this blog post, listen to this advice: FOLLOW UP YOUR LOOP GIVEAWAY WITH A PROMOTION.
This is one of my all-time FAVORITE tips because it's something that a lot of shop owners don't think about-- but once they do, it just makes sense!
Everyone that entered your loop giveaway obviously wanted a chance at winning the grand prize, but since the overwhelming majority of the entrants won’t win the contest, offering a follow-up (and after you’ve un-linked from the other shops so you can get your promotion in front of the most people) is sort of like a consolation prize-- you know that they didn’t win, but you still appreciate that they were proactive and entered your contest, and you are rewarding them for that.
- Offer a discount on your products (at least 10%, but up to 25%-- my “secret sauce” number is around 15%). You want it to be enough to entice the people that might be on the fence about purchasing the product, but it’s not too much that you’re discounting the value of your products (thus leading them to purchase more of your product in the future at the list price)
- Offer a bonus item with each item purchased. For example, I sell baby hat trios, and if I wanted to do a promotion to include a bonus item, I could throw in a free newborn headband. The item you include doesn’t have to be super expensive (it shouldn’t!)--but it should be something that will complement the purchase (ie-- don’t send a free bar of soap if you sell knitted scarves-- it totally doesn’t work!) The important thing? It’s free! People seriously love free stuff-- even if it’s not something they would have thought about purchasing on it’s own.
It is CRITICAL to do one of these promos immediately following the announcement of the contest winners. Your audience will be engaged at this moment, as they are hoping to see who won the contest, so you have a rare chance at undivided attention. Be deliberate about it and act! Post an awesome follow-up post on Instagram within 5-15 minutes following and include the promotion. Then watch the sales start flooding in ;)
Have you ever hosted a Instagram loop giveaway? What worked for you? Any tips you'd recommend for those just getting started? Jot them down below and let's see what you've got! xoxo