Thank you guys so much for all the emails and DM’s after I posted my last entry, I feel so fortunate to hear positive comments and thoughts about shining light on this potentially dark and mystic business and glad that I can offer mutual support for those who has done it and find it not worthwhile and frustrating. Being a blogger is a lonely business, the industry is saturated, cut-throat and often times more competitive that rivals an Olympic sport. Any support I can offer in order to build a better, healthier industry can make a small difference. So if you just got to my blog and want to read about all the different types and details of an Instagram Giveaway, you can find Part 1 HERE and let’s move on to Part 2 where I will talk about how a bad Giveaway can not only potentially scam you out of hundreds and thousands of dollars or ruin your Instagram reputation and even worse, be blacklisted from PR and Brands to not work with you again. And if you are a PR or Brand rep reading this post, I have a very good reason on why you should NOT blacklist an account simply because he/she has done giveaways in the past (granted their entire account is NOT built on giveaway audiences). So let’s move on to the main topic that is of everyone’s interest.
Not all giveaways are bad. I completely understand the appeal of doing an occasional giveaway for those who already have a healthy following + engagement. It’s an easy way to boost follower numbers as a result of bloggers who are seeing their accounts been stagnant for too long and get impatient as everyone else is growing one way or another. Mass Instagram Giveaways, however can turn into an addiction. The thrill of gaining followers instantly gets you on an adrenaline high just like drugs do and also get you sucked in deeper but in the end it could be damaging to your account and reputation. I feel regrettably that some of those mass International Loops I did hurt my account and if I had the opportunity to go back, I probably would have chosen to not do them. Reasons a massive International Giveaway can be BAD for your account:
- It inflates blogger’s numbers & can make them seem more appealing to brands when really, their following is unengaged and ultimately Fake.
- They don’t really grow your follower base but rather draws a giveaway crowd. The prizes is what draws them to you and if they’re not going to follow you for You and Your Content then they’re worthless because they will not bring traffic to your site, or engage with you or drive sales.
- The accounts that people use to enter into these Giveaways can be FAKE, or a made up on solely for the purpose of entering giveaways…and therefore a Lurking or Ghost account.
- These giveaways potentially drive a LOT of money and with large sums of monies are involved, bad people take this opportunity as a mean to take advantage of others. Though it has not happened to me personally, I have heard from fellow bloggers of certain Giveaway hosts scamming people of thousands and more and basically vanished.
- With the amount of followers coming from all over the world during a giveaway, a bad host can pocket the money that was supposed to pay sponsors and purchase cheap fake followers for everyone in the loop which cost a lot less. You end up with thousands upon thousands of fake accounts and ruining your reputation and skewing the algorithm to think that you are also one of the fake accounts and ban you.
- Your new “following” will consist of people from countries and demographics completely different from yours and adversely affect your media kit and potentially cost you that big sponsor. Keep in mind that the crowd that is interested in the Giveaways are usually in a country that cannot afford an iPhone or unable to buy Kylie Lip Kit and your new demographics will likely be less affluent and educated and much younger in age.
How does all of that negativity affect you and your relations with brands and fellow bloggers? With high numbers of IG Giveaways popping up everywhere, brands and PR companies are now starting to take notice and wise up. No longer purely drawn to just follower counts, they started religiously checking Social Blade for accounts that may seem suspicious from doing too many loops (i.e. Large amount of followers in a short span of time). Some accounts I have seen grew from 10K-100K within 2 month even though that account was barely a few month old. It took me over a year and a half to grow from 0 to 10K!! So an account that shot up to IG stardom in such short period of time is highly questionable especially given the current algorithm. How does this quick Insta-stardom seems to other bloggers, some of them will think of you as a sell out, one who cheats and take shortcuts. What about with brands? Brands are also starting to ask for engagement breakdowns, demographic breakdowns (country, city, age, gender %) to further verify whether an account has been overdosing on IG giveaways. They have even refused to work with influencers who has been participating in any Giveaways in the past.
To that, I actually have to defend some of the fellow influencers who has done giveaways in one form or another. One, many influencers have amazing content and aesthetics, but just because they are not “popular” with certain platforms that promote bloggers, doesn’t mean that they don’t deserve to be seen. I have mentioned above, an account that is over two years old with slow growth versus something that is 5 month already have over 100K followers is vastly different. Brands should not single out everyone that has ever done a giveaway. Secondly, I’ve once heard that there are THREE types of influencers: The Converter, The Promoter and The Creative! In deed and they are very different from each other!! The converter is someone like Christine Andrew from Hello Fashion, Jean Wang from Extra Petite, Arielle of Something Navy who can move clothes off the shelves in mere seconds when they post on their IG. They convert their platform into sales for the brands they partner with. The Promoter is someone who is very high on the fashion profile, like Aimee Song form Song of Style, Chriselle Lim of Chriselle Inc. and of course the queen Chiara Ferrani of The Blonde Salad. They open their mouth and talk about a brand and the fashion mavens in the world will listen. I think Aimee single-handedly launched Korean eyewear brand Gentle Monster’s fame and popularity in the U.S. which resulted in a collaboration of Song of Style x Gentle Monster that sold very well.
Then there are the Creative, and I think that is many of us. We are small accounts hoping to be discovered by brands. We may not be those top sellers for RStyle during #NSale, we may not even wear that super popular trend at the moment. We march at our own beat, showcasing our own unique looks. Those that create beautiful and innovative imagery, take photos from all kinds of angles to showcase the products. Those with amazing IG aesthetics but may only have 15K followers. For me personally, I think I am one of the creatives whether it is creating fashion, flatlays or travel content. I try to think outside the box when I land an opportunity to work with my dream brand even if it is for free. If by act of divine power a small account like mine got picked to work with an amazing conglomerate, I will use that chance as my one and only chance to impress the heck out of them and showcase my talent so that I get to work with them again. Not with just another uninspiring flatlay on a cheap sheet of marble vinyl and fake flowers. Not with some skincare review written with a full jar of products still in the box. Not with a Try On post loaded with Swipe Up options on Instagram when in fact not one single item tried on was purchased. We are the small guys hoping to get the brand’s attention by one of the most primitive way that works – the follower numbers, so please do not condemn all of us for wanting that one glance.
With everything said, Not All Giveaways are equal and bad. If you’re that adamant about doing giveaways as a mean for IG growth, try some of the suggestions:
- If you are really tired of the stagnant growth and really want to see what a loop can do for you, try maybe once or twice a year; not bi-weekly, or monthly to test out the water.
- Teaming up with accounts that closely aligns with your brand and general aesthetics then those people are more than likely to stick around after and eventually translate to a conversion.
- Try out Rafflecopters that are blog specific with a group of girls that have similar styles. They are probably the best alternative to loops giveaways right now. If you’re unsure of what a Rafflecopter is, here’s a little background info. First off, they don’t flood your feed with tacky images and participants are given the CHOICE to follow you or not, as part of an entry, unlike a loop it is mandated have to follow everyone for an entry which looks erroneous.
- These large loops can cost upwards of $350 to $1000. Take that money and invest in boosting your SEO, Pinterest, Social Media Manager or some other authentic growth specialists that builds followers via contents.
- Know that as the giveaway end, your account will look ugly, it will nose dive or even free fall into the Unfollowing abyss. Try to resist the temptation to buy into another just to keep up appearances. Brands are getting smarter!! Your demographics of 13-17 year old teenagers will not purchase that $300 jar of luxury anti-aging cream. Or those Latin American followers lining up for a free iPhone will not book that 5 star resort for their next vacation.
I have said it before and I’ll say it again, genuine IG growth is slow and painful but I’d rather not have inactive/fake followers. My Instagram interaction went WAY down after a giveaway and I am still lose hundreds of followers everyday, party from accounts falling off naturally and party because I have been actively and diligently cleaning out accounts that I think are ghosts, fake IG giveaway accounts, and lurkers who does not fit my niche and demographics. This “Cleaning Out” process takes time as IG only allows you to “unfollow” a certain number of people a day. But in all honesty, I would rather have less followers that actually engage than 170k+ with low interaction and I will continue to weed off these giveaway accounts and nurse my IG back to a healthier one.
Most of us need to really understand that major changes happening with Instagram and so many rumors circulating when the next Update will be and what more hoops we have to jump through to get our photos in front of the audience. Yes most of our interaction has drastically plummeted since Instagram is no longer showing photos in chronological order, but if your engagement has plummeted, mass loop giveaways is not the long term way to drive up the engagement. Yes, you will get likes on your photos surrounding that giveaway but after that, they go back to poor engagement until another loop comes along.
I apologize if this post has rubbed anyone the wrong way, or you feel like the honest truth is too much to bear but something has to be said and heard. I want to break this unspeakable stigma that everyone seems to know and is aware of but unable to bring to the open. After all, the whole point of my blog is for my loyal followers, fans who really support me for staying true to myself. Those who will wait patiently for months for me to crank out a skincare review after I have used them tried and true. Those who loves my fashion style even if it is not necessarily the most popular trend, or even a trend at all. Those who realizes that I am just another human being, capable of making mistakes, take shortcuts, but wants to make it right in the end. I blog for you not to like me, but to enjoy my content and I hope that I did that by clearing the air.