My First Instagram Giveaway: 6 Lessons Learned

We were talking about the pros and cons of having an Instagram giveaway in my private Facebook group for creatives last week. Danielle Guttman shared that she was getting ready to have her first contest. I asked her to write a tell-all afterwards to share her experience.  Danielle is owner + maker at Miss Balader and just started using Instagram for her business. The thing I like the most about Danielle is that she is super gutsy. She decided to hold her first contest after reaching 100 followers. Most people feel they need to have 500 or even 1,000 followers before they do this.  Follow her on Instagram and watch her journey unfold. Thank you for being so honest, Danielle! I included my own comments in italics. XO, Caitlin

by Danielle Guttman

I have been making jewelry since my little hands could bead, always creating new pieces for myself and friends. Only three months ago did I start selling and promoting my handmade jewelry business, Miss Balader (balader in French means to wander). I have been slowly growing my social media following, but wanted a boost in followers and a way to help spread the word about my new company. The holidays remind me of how much I love giving gifts, so I thought a New Year's giveaway would be a great way to start the year.

6 Lessons learned

1. I had users re-post their favorite picture for a chance to win that item and felt it was a great way for me to run the contest. It gave me feedback that showed which pieces my followers gravitate towards. Plus, it gave my users the option to pick something that they wanted and that they felt would fit with their feed. They have an image to keep up, too.

Little Farm Media: Asking someone to post an image always eliminates a good portion of participants. Instead, ask them to post an image with a certain theme: a prized collection, a favorite book, etc. This will increase the number of people who will participate and adds a little fun and creativity.

2. Timing does matter. Since I don't have very many followers, I wanted to keep the contest short. I knew  I wouldn't get hundreds of entries. I posted mid-week and had it finish on Friday evening. My next round I might shorten the contest to 48 hours to get a rush of entries and then move on.

Little Farm Media: Use Iconosquare or something like it to determine when your audience is most engaged. Hold the contest during this 48 hour time frame.

3. The goal is to gain followers...or the right kind of followers? I gained about 30 new followers and can safely say I know 1/3 are engaged and interested in my work, 1/3 will unfollow me tomorrow and 1/3 I am unsure of. For me that's a win. A few new additions who are engaged in what I post and a believer in my brand are worth it.

4. I wouldn't make a habit of hosting a contest. Once a year or when the feeling strikes, I would give it a try. It's fun to engage with your audience and I don't think it hurt my brand image.

5. If I were to host a giveaway again, I would use hashtags that reflect my brand, like #smallbiz and #handmadejewelry. I would refrain from using those that have anything to do with a #contest of #giveaway. Those hashtags bring the wrong crowd and I think I couldn't have avoided the 1/3 who will unfollow me tomorrow.

Little Farm Media: Think about the hashtags your customers regularly use. If your target market regularly searches #smallbiz, then that is a good one to use. If not, then use something else. Choose hashtags based on who your customer is, not who you are.

6. I would also encourage your friends and family to participate. I had to remind my friends it was okay to participate and that I actually needed their help to spread the word about my new business.

Good luck if you plan to host one and have fun!