What I Learned from Gaining 3,000 Instagram Followers in One Day

A couple months ago I partnered with some business ladies in similar industries for an Instagram loop giveaway. The goal of the partnership was to pool our followers and have them follow along with all of our accounts in order to enter for a chance to win $500 to J.Crew. An increase in followers on any social media platform give you a greater opportunity to increase sales and attract new clients, so the $170 investment was well worth it on my end; I knew that if I was able to gain one new client because of the giveaway, I would gain a great return on my investment.

I think it's always good to step back and evaluate decisions you make in blogging and business so that you can learn from them and become even more intentional in the future, so today I'm giving you an inside look at the experience. I'm sharing my honest thoughts about it all so that you might be encouraged to step outside the box when it comes to expanding your reach. I also hope that you walk away with a more intentional mindset on why you're doing what you're doing instead of just following along with the trends.

What I Learned from Gaining 3000 Instagram Followers in One Day - Elle & Company

How a loop giveaway works

In a loop giveaway, all of the hosts post the same promotional image to Instagram at the same time, tagging the next person in the loop and leaving detailed instructions for how to participate within the image caption. In order to enter the giveaway, participants must like the image, follow along with the account, tap the photo to see who is tagged, and click on the tag to find the same image on the next account. Participants have to repeat that same "like and follow" pattern until they complete the loop and end up on the account they started with. The winner is chosen at random at the end of the giveaway period.

Our strategy

We followed the normal loop giveaway format, but we tried to be strategic and purposeful about how we carried out the event. Here are some things we considered and emphasized:

We partnered with creatives with large followings who use their accounts for business.

We knew that in order for the giveaway to be a success and benefit our businesses, we needed to partner with other business ladies who take their account seriously, post professional images, and have a sizable following. I looked at this giveaway as a business investment; partnering with other successful women would allow me to gain a larger return.

We kept it small. 

People are less likely to participate in a loop giveaway if they're required to follow along with several new accounts. We kept our giveaway to 8 people to increase the likelihood that our followers would participate.

Share it on other social media outlets to attract more people.

It was important to create as much excitement and gain as much exposure as possible, and the ladies I partnered with did a great job of posting about the giveaway on their other social media accounts. This meant that we were not only pooling our Instagram followers, but in a sense we were pooling our followers across all social media platforms.

We upped the ante to up the excitement.

We wanted to maintain the momentum of the giveaway, so we decided to up the prize to $1000 a day after the giveaway began. This helped us create even more buzz around the event and increased the original number of participants.

We untagged each other after the giveaway winner was announced.

One the winner of the giveaway is announced, it's easy for new followers to run through the loop and unfollow each host. In order to keep as many followers as possible, we "broke" the loop by untagging each other from the posts and editing the image caption to reveal the winner and announce the giveaway had closed.


1. The loop giveaway was a great way to reach a new audience.

Many of the ladies I partnered with are a part of a different industry, so the giveaway allowed me to reach a new audience that I hadn't tapped into before. The businesswomen I partnered with are also leaders in their field, so there are many other entrepreneurs in their industry that are following along with them. Since my ideal audience is made up of bloggers and creative entrepreneurs, this new giveaway audience allowed me to pick up some new followers who could eventually turn into clients down the road.

2. The loop giveaway was an effective way to gain followers.

At the end of the giveaway, I gained over 3,000 new followers (not including those who stopped following along with me after the winner was announced). I attribute this increase to a few of the ladies we partnered with who each had an audience of 50k people. I also think that giving away a gift card to J.Crew appealed to all of our followers and fit our niche well.

3. There was a sharp drop-off once the loop giveaway was over.

While I was able to gain thousands of new followers, I also lost close to 900 new followers when the giveaway ended (even despite our efforts to break the loop). And that was to be expected; most of the people who participate in these giveaways aren't looking for new people to follow as much as they're looking to win the final prize.

4. There was no way to track the success of conversions.

At the end of the giveaway, there are no way to track the number of people who visited my site from Instagram during the giveaway period. Instagram isn't counted as a separate referrer in Google Analytics (unlike Pinterest, Bloglovin', Facebook, and Twitter); it appears as a direct link. And the fact that Instagram only allows you to include a direct link in your profile also makes the conversion rate lower. So while the loop giveaway was beneficial for gaining followers, there isn't any hard and fast data to tell me how beneficial those new followers have been to my business. There was no sharp increase in Library sales and the client bookings that I received last month made no mention of finding me through the giveaway (and I make it a point to ask!). 

In the end, the giveaway was beneficial for gaining followers, but I'm still not sure exactly how beneficial it's been for making a return on my investment. However, the experience has me thinking of new creative ways to utilize social media to reach new audiences, partner with other business owners, and grow my business.

Have you participated in a loop giveaway? If so, what are your takeaways?