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What I Learned From Running A $200 Giveaway On Instagram

Hey there! Today, I want to talk to you about what I learned after running a contest on Instagram to
Living My Legend
What I Learned From Running A $200 Giveaway On Instagram
By Nico Atienza • Issue #3 • View online
Hey there! Today, I want to talk to you about what I learned after running a contest on Instagram to acquire more followers by giving away $200 worth of gift cards.

Earlier this year, I decided to turn the photos side of my Instagram account into a photo diary with snaps from my 13-month trip around the world. To build hype and pick up some more followers, I decided to run a promotion where users would pick up entries into a random drawing by completing certain tasks.
I had a pair of $100 American Airlines gift cards (for a total of $200) that I had received as gifts, good towards any American Airlines flight, that I had no use for thus making them great giveaway items with no impact on my bottom line.
On January 12, 2018, my giveaway went live with the contest rules embedded in the image description:
I was looking to boost my Youtube, Twitter, Instagram and email newsletter subscribers and each sign-up would get someone an entry into the raffle draw.
“This is too easy” I thought to myself as I expected the wave of sign-ups to head my way. 
Within the first 48 hours of the contest going live, my Instagram picture was picking up some steam with likes and comments. Hooray! I decided to run the campaign until the end of the month and announced the winners on February 1 on Instagram stories
In the end, the results were pretty dismal. After everything was all said an done, I picked up:
- 16 Instagram followers
- 9 Twitter followers
- 5 email subscribers
- 3 YouTube subscribers
😓
What did I learn from this?
- Never ever sink any real money or anything you can’t afford to lose as a giveaway. You could renege on your contest but you risk your credibility on Instagram.
- Get your offline friends to give you a boost: chances are that your post will get lost in the millions of images that are uploaded on Instagram every day. Instagram pros recommend getting your friends to like and comment on your post within 10 minutes of it going live to get it in front of more eyeballs.
- Don’t make it too complicated: even though my contest rules seemed pretty easy to me, most users don’t want the inconvenience of leaving the Instagram app to enter a contest. Reposting, liking, and commenting on a post will make someone more likely to participate.
- Make it short: time is of the essence on Instagram and having users take action immediately will drive your post up faster and hopefully get more response. In hindsight, I should have made it a 2-day promotion instead of 2 weeks.

Even though the contest didn’t work out in my favor, I really learned a lot from this experience and tip my hat at the brands and accounts that are really killing it on Instagram. The social network has now become a marketing machine so you better have a game plan if you want to grow your account.
What other tricks do you have for growing your Instagram following? 📈
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Nico Atienza

A third culture kid discussing expat life in Sri Lanka, technology, travel, and food.

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