There’s a never-ending debate regarding the Instagram loop giveaway. Should you offer rewards to users in exchange for following your account? Is this how you should build your audience? Are giveaways good for your account in the long-run? In this guide, we’ll give you everything you need to know about the Instagram loop giveaway and how you can use Sked (formerly Schedurgam) to ensure they run smoothly. We’ll talk about their pros and cons, how to join a loop, as well as how to host one. But let’s begin with the question: What’s an Instagram Loop Giveaway? For starters, an Instagram loop giveaway is a giveaway with more steps than your typical giveaway. It consists of a “loop” of Instagram influencers who collaborate on a giveaway with the goal of increasing their followers. Let’s say, a typical giveaway consists of tagging a friend in the comments section. In an Instagram loop giveaway, the host of the giveaway provides a graphic that participating accounts will post at the same time. Next, users are asked to follow everyone on the loop (anywhere from 5 to 30) to enter and get a chance to win the prize. In the two images below, you’ll see an example of how an Instagram loop giveaway is posted in different accounts: If there are a lot of people participating in the loop, hosts create a separate Instagram account dedicated to the giveaway. Then, users are asked to “follow their following.” While it’s great to host your own loop, it’s recommended that you try to participate in an Instagram loop giveaway first, before hosting your own. The reason being that there’s a lot of effort and coordination necessary to make the loop work. You can find loop giveaways by searching for #loopgiveaways on Instagram. Accounts that have previously hosted a loop are most likely going to be hosting one again in the future, so connect with these accounts. But what if you want to start hosting an Instagram loop (with no prior experience)? No worries! In this article, we’ll tell you everything that you need to know. Instagram for Business 101 Grab our ebook Instagram for Business to take your Instagram game up a notch! Step 1: Choose a Theme for the Giveaway The first thing that you need to do is to choose a theme. A theme can be a type of product, like beauty products. It can be a niche or a business type like baby products, bakery businesses or décor shops. Let’s say you’re selling skincare products. Your theme would revolve around skincare and beauty, not food or furniture. The reason being that food and furniture have no connection with your brand, so it wouldn’t make sense. In short, the theme that you choose should be relevant to your brand. Step 2: Find Accounts to Invite to the Instagram Loop Giveaway Next, is to find accounts that would participate in the loop. There’s no rule regarding the number of accounts that you should invite. We’ve seen loops with only 4 accounts. We’ve also seen loops as big as 50! There’s no specific range or number that you should stick to. But how do you choose who to invite? Choose Accounts in Your Niche You can’t partner with direct competitors, but you can partner with influencers in your niche. Let’s say, you’re a fashion brand. It’s a great idea to invite fashion Instagrammers to your loop. The reason being that their audience consists of people who will most likely be interested in your fashion brand. Chances are at the end of the giveaway, some participants will end up unfollowing accounts. You want to avoid this scenario as much as possible because the point of the loop was to get more followers who would stick around. So only loop with accounts who are interested in the niche you’re into. Choose Accounts With a Similar Number of Followers Loop giveaways are great when participants receive similar benefits. It isn’t fair to invite a person with 50,000 followers, while another has 1,000 only. This isn’t fair to the account with more followers. Step 3: Get in Touch With Loop Participants Invite accounts you’ve chosen to participate in the loop. You can choose participants yourself or you can create a post. Ask people who want to join your loop giveaway, and choose from the people who responded. Here’s an example of a post inviting participants: Since you’ll be collaborating with people in the loop, everyone should at least be acquainted with each other. You’ll need to have group conversations regarding the details of the contest and the prizes, so its best to start a group DM. You should also follow the accounts of everyone in your loop. Step 4: Determine the Rules and Guidelines It’s important to be clear about the guidelines of the contest. Should participants be located in a certain country? Should they be part of a certain age range? Be sure to establish the guidelines for eligibility. For instance, you could say something like “Giveaway open to U.S. citizens age 18 and above.” You should also set the rules and instructions for the giveaway and discuss it with people in the loop. Are you going to create a separate account where you’ll publish the rules of the contest? What are the steps required to enter the loop? Look at the caption of previous loop giveaways to ensure that you’ve have decided on all the relevant information. Here’s an example of giveaway instructions and guidelines from @themiajanel: Don’t forget to follow the FTC guidelines. One of its rules is to put a concise disclosure in the caption. Violation of this rule could result in suspensions or fines. You can add this disclosure at the bottom of the caption like @themiajanel: Step 5: Decide on the Prize You also need to decide the rewards for the Instagram loop giveaway. If your loop has a lot of steps required to enter, then be sure that the prize is worth it. Otherwise, people won’t be motivated enough to join. Some loop giveaways ship prizes separately. For example brand 1 would provide a gift card, brand 2 would provide a gift set and brand 3 would provide their own products. Something to keep in mind is to offer prizes that contestants will love. If the prizes are too common or can be easily bought, then people won’t be encouraged to participate. Choose a limited edition item, something that’s truly valuable or a set of items that are a bit pricey. For example, @bookstorefinds’ prizes included the MacMillan Collector’s Library Edition or Pride and Prejudice, alongside mugs, planners and a Malin + Goetz votive. Since their audience consists of book lovers, these prizes were considered valuable. Another option is to require people in the loop to pay-up. Some hosts require participants to pay $25 to $200 to become a part of the loop. A monetary contribution is required, so that the host can purchase the prizes. This is a great idea if influencers on the loop can’t provide their own products, or if you want an expensive reward for the giveaway. Step 6: Create the Image and Caption for the Post Every single person on the loop should have the same image and caption. This avoids misunderstanding and makes it easy to promote accurate information. The giveaway announcement is usually done with an illustration or a photo of the prizes. Some giveaways don’t want to put too much information on the caption. Instead, they provide a link to a separate account with a series of posts that have information on contest details, rules for eligibility, theme and bonus entry options. For example, @lcb_gifts created a separate account with three posts about their giveaway’s details: You can also prepare a “Now Closed” image to announce the end of the giveaway and avoid future entries. Another option is to simply delete the giveaway post once the contest is over. Be sure to add the right hashtags to the post. Consider hashtags like #loopgiveaway , #giveaway and #instagramgiveaway so that interested contestants will find it. If you have a branded hashtag, then don’t forget to include that too. If you’re looking for a convenient way to organize your hashtags, try using Sked’s hashtag manager. You can store all the hashtags for your giveaway as a group and then add them to your posts with just a couple of clicks. Step 7: Use an Instagram Scheduler The next step is to determine the date and time you’ll announce the giveaway. It’s important for everyone in the loop to post at the same time. If people don’t follow the set schedule, then they’ll break the loop. This leads to complaints from early participants because they felt cheated. You want to avoid this as much as possible. Again, if the instructions for your giveaway are “follow who we follow” and you have an exclusive account for the giveaway, then a late post might not lead to a disaster. But if the giveaway is set up like a chain (like in the image below), then you’ll get complaints, if people don’t post at the same time. It’s important to figure out the order of the loop beforehand. For example: Account 1 tags Account 2 Account 2 tags Account 3 Step 8: Promote Your Loop Giveaway Once you’ve launched your giveaway, it’s time to encourage people to enter your contest. You can promote your giveaway on other social media sites, like Twitter or Facebook. Encourage people in the loop to do the same as well. When creating a separate post be sure to add a link to the initial giveaway post on Instagram. Another way you can get your people’s attention is to leverage email marketing. Send a simple email to subscribers to let them know. But be sure to come up with an irresistible subject line that can attract clicks. If you want to reach a wider audience, with the least amount of time and effort, you can create social media ads. As we’ve mentioned in our previous guide, “How to Use Instagram For Businesses,” there are four types of ads you can create: • Photo ads: Share your story through a beautiful photo. • Video ads: Tell your story with a 60 second promotional videos. • Carousel ads: People can swipe through a series of photos or videos in a single ad. • Stories ads: Helps ads connect with 300M+ Instagrammers using stories daily. Ads aren’t for free, but they do get the word out. You can also announce the loop via a page on your website like allforsmall.com: You can choose any method to promote your loop campaign, as long as it gets the job done. The popularity of your Instagram loop giveaway is associated with the participants in the loop. Obviously, if you’ve got influencers with an average of 50,000 followers, you’ll get more publicity than if you’re partnering with influencers that have 10,000 followers. Although getting in touch with more influential Instagrammers, might cost you. Step 9: Announce the Winner Once your giveaway ends, it’s time to announce the winner on Instagram. You should also encourage participants in the loop to share the announcement in their own accounts. Most loop giveaways announce winners via an image of the prizes with the winners in the caption, or an illustration that contains the winners. Here’s an example: Step 10: Reward Participants Once the giveaway ends, your job is to keep your new followers. An effective way to keep people interested is to reward them. Of course, this is optional but the reward doesn’t have to be expensive. You can email participants a discount coupon or offer deals. You should also send a simple thank you message to let entrants know that you appreciated their effort. Here’s an example of a thank you message from @kathylnceleste. She included the caption on her post when she announced the winner. It’s also best to get participants in your email list, so that they’ll know about your next giveaway. Step 11: Get Feedback and Assess Results Don’t forget to ask for feedback. Ask participants in the loop about how you can improve the process. Should you make use of social media ads? How should the posts be scheduled? How could you increase your reach in future giveaways? Build relationships with the participants you want to work with in the future. Once you’ve gotten the feedback, then assess your results. How many participants entered the contest? How many followers did you gain? What’s the total reach of your giveaway? Were you able to maintain your number of followers one week after the giveaway ended? You can use Instagram Insights to determine the impact of your campaign. You can also determine your reach in other social media accounts where you promoted the giveaway, like Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to measure your results not just at the end of the giveaway, but while its ongoing. This way, you can determine whether or not you should increase your promotional efforts. Instagram for Business 101 Grab our ebook Instagram for Business to take your Instagram game up a notch! Is Running an Instagram Loop Giveaway Worth It? To recap, there’s a lot of effort required to create an Instagram loop giveaway. You should build relationships with various accounts, coordinate participants and create promotions. Some social media specialists argue that loop giveaways aren’t effective to create a loyal following. After all, users follow accounts because they’re interested in them, as opposed to getting a chance to win a prize. There’s also the possibility that your engagement will decline after the giveaway ends, which won’t work well with the Instagram algorithm. So are loop giveaways worth the effort? Yup! They’re definitely worth it. With a great giveaway, you can get discovered by thousands of new people. Of this number, you can get tons of new interested followers. There’s always a risk that people will unfollow you, whether their reason for following was your account or your giveaway. It’s always your job to create posts that will attract new followers, and keep the ones that you already have. In short, loop giveaways aren’t perfect. It’s not always a win-win scenario, but it’s definitely worth it. If you’re looking to carve out hours in your social media workflow, sign up for Sked’s 7-day trial. Our all-in-one Instagram scheduler allows you to automatically post images, carousels, Stories, videos and more. Tag locations, users and products and manage all your hashtags in one place to save 5+ hours every week.