Late last December, I decided to join a large Instagram giveaway to learn the ropes before I host my own giveaway. I discovered some very interesting things that I want to share. Here’s 5 things to know to before you join an Instagram giveaway.
If you’re not familiar with Instagram giveaways, they are contests independent of Instagram where several accounts pool together money to buy prizes such as makeup, gift cards, clothing, electronics, or even vacations.
In exchange, hopeful winners follow all accounts attached to the giveaway, resulting in a greater following. Big name and/or verified accounts may be attached to increase exposure or to give legitimacy.
1. Giveaway Signups Are (Somewhat) Secretive
Well, for the most part. Often, invitations and behind-the-scenes operations are conducted via email or apps like Telegram or Whatsapp. Or, you may see a post on Instagram asking for participants or hosts. I’ve also seen some giveaways signups done via a website, which looks “official” and gives an air of legitimacy and transparency.
The official list of sponsors often isn’t disclosed until after payment. And even then, you’re left waiting a few days before launch to keep competitors from stealing details, enticing sponsors with better offers, and/or using the details to scam others.
2. Giveaways Are (Relatively) Affordable
If your niche is luxury or travel, you can expect to spend upwards of 200-400 USD. But, for the most part, giveaways are around 50 to 70 USD to participate. You pay extra for ghost posting (participation without posting a graphic to your feed or IG Story.)
There certainly is an appeal to increase your and get your name out there in Instagram Land. To many, 30, 50, even 100 USD is a nominal fee when it comes to advertising and interacting with real accounts.
3. Prepare for Skewered Demographics
Any content creator on Instagram will tell you, demographics are key to attracting more clients and sponsors. Prior to joining the giveaway, my stats were:
(These top 3 are largely mutuals from mom blogger follow loops.)
Afterwards, my demographics didn’t change much, thankfully. My top three countries and female:male follower ratio remained the same, but I gained an increase of followers in Brazil and the UK.
Which leads me to my next point…
4. Giveaways = Buying Followers?
I’m on the fence with this one, but I’d say the biggest difference is that you can expect to gain “real” followers. But, in order to make it look like you’re not “buying” followers, you’d have to stick to ghost spots (see Tip # 2)
Giveaways are a great way to reward current followers, increase brand awareness, and gain followers. But, if you join any and every giveaway that comes your way, your new followers may not stick around solely because your content doesn’t match their interests.
The trick is to participate in giveaways in similar to your niche. So, even when the giveaway is over your content blends into their feed so well that they don’t unfollow you.
Of course, you can’t predict how people will react. One girl straight up DMed me to say, “LOL I’m unfollowing all y’all when this is done.”
5. Giveaways Are Scams?
“Scam” is a word thrown around a lot with giveaways. In the huge world of the internet and with fake profiles abound, how do you really know that the winner was picked fairly? How do you know if your money to buy prizes isn’t going in the pockets of organizers and your new followers are actually all bots?
There’s no real way to answer this unless you yourself host a giveaway or team up with people you know (which I will be doing in the near future.)
For the past 6 months(!) I’ve joined plenty of Telegram chat rooms, emailed lots of giveaways hosts. All ask participants to send money by PayPal using the “Family and Friends” (AKA a gift) option.
Furthermore, participants are always advised to leave their IG username only. Write anything referring to giveaway, and your payment is immediately refunded. This is done to skirt the “Services and Goods” fees from PayPal.
However, when you send money as Friends and Family, you acknowledge that you are sending a “gift” and therefore you are not eligible for PayPal’s Purchase Protection as no goods or services have been exchanged.
I got lucky, but catching up on Telegram chat rooms, plenty of people have been scammed out of money. Be careful!
I really believe that giveaways can the be great for a temporary boost in visitors, engagements, and followers. But, in order to keep up the pace and replace unfollowers, you’d have to join more giveaways.
Whether it’s “worth it” is completely up to the individual but to recap, here’s 5 things to know to before you join an Instagram contest:
- Giveaway information is spread via an email list or apps like Telegram and WhatsApp.
- Giveaways are an affordable way to advertise and boost engagement
- Watch out for a shift in demographics after the giveaway
- In a way, giveaways are like buying followers. It all depends on your perspective.
- Some giveaways might be a scam, so be careful!
In the end I’ve decided I’ll invest my money and time hosting my own giveaways. I am also open to working with clients and/or with a group of Japan/mommy bloggers.
Have you ever joined an Instagram giveaway? I’d love to hear from you!