Instagram as a creator is a wonderful place to be; you can find like minded souls, chat to so many people that you wouldn’t have had a chance of meeting, and connect with your community.
On our KiddyCharts Instagram account we share photos of our travels, our printables, and the occasional parenting meme that makes us smile. Our kids feature too, but less so now as they are tweens and are much more protective of their online footprint (rightly so) than they used to be. We are revamping the account too, so watch this space, but I wanted to share something we have learn over the last year or so.
Our account, over the last couple of months, has taken a lot of hits in terms of engagement with the new Instagram algorithm updates, that rightly focus on genuine and authentic engagement.
As a result, we are both over-hauling what we share AND the account generally, including making sure we steer clear of one SPECIFIC tactic we employed in our much greener years as a creator to grow the account.
We firmly believe it is because when we started out on KiddyCharts we made a bit of a mistake; we ran giveaways on our feed.
There were a good deal of them too – roughly one a week for a period of time…..
*I know. Don’t 😂*
Giveaways work well for Brands…
Don’t get me wrong, giveaways are a wonderful tool for BRANDS on Instagram, and work in building awareness, and reaching new audiences. You can even partner with creators to run giveaways effectively to grow your instagram audience if you know what you are doing; using third party tools like Gleam (referral link) to help.
However, working on your feed on a giveaway as a creator, and relying on this medium to grow your account on its own, definitely won’t help you longer term.
Trust me. We speak from experience.
But why the difference I hear you ask?
…because they usually giveaway their own products
This is stunningly obvious isn’t it? However, it wasn’t to us, so perhaps it isn’t to the wider world….
If you are a creator who produces product, it makes total sense to give away that product on your Instagram. Red Ted Art, Superlucky Me, and Science Sparks are perfect examples where this type of giveaway would be fabulous on Instagram as they all have amazing books.
That product will appeal to YOUR TRIBE and you’ll reach the right people on Instagram as a creator, with the product as a result.
However, if you spread the net too wide and cover lots of different products within your giveaways, that are outside your creator niche, then that impacts the people that follow you. They might not be interested in your website at all; just that product. They may never visit you, or your instagram again after the competition finishes.
Choose wisely, and if it doesn’t fit.
Don’t. Do. It.
Instagram is more inspiration than information
Instagram is all about inspiration, it is looking to its creators to tell a story, and inspire its users to take on that project, do that craft, print that printable, or visit that country.
Giveaways aren’t always part of this, they are a means to grow your account, and we firmly believe that Instagram KNOW this, and because of their focus recently on authentic content, and engagement; unsuitable giveaways to grow your audience, will hurt your account in the longer term. This is speculation on our part, but it IS grounded in what has happened in the wider creator community and to us.
This focus on inspiration, alongside Instagram’s basic engagement principles means that giveaways don’t fulfil those needs:
- Since 2016, Instagram makes sure that users see posts from the accounts about moments that people care about in their feed. If you are building your account based on giveaways, it is only these posts the user cares about and interacts with NOT the account, so you aren’t being interacted with regularly enough, or authentically, and
- Instagram wants its community to share content that fosters meaningful and genuine interactions. Asking for likes and comments on a post doesn’t achieve this for the platform, and Instagram has consistently said that causing inauthentic interactions won’t benefit your account in the newsfeed.
If you are looking to build an audience focus running the giveaway on the assets as a creator that you have that ARE informational – perhaps your website, or Twitter. Facebook also downgrades giveaways as engagement bait too, so watch out there as well.
In fact, who owns Instagram? 🤪
Don’t you think it would be very surprising if the technology used to help Facebook search out authentic reactions isn’t being deployed in someway within Instagram too?
How can you run a giveaway on Instagram as a creator then?
It IS still possible to run a giveaway on Instagram as a creator and it work for you.
However, you have to be prepared that:
- It might give you a boost of followers initially. But then it’ll die away as they un-follow afterwards because your account isn’t interesting enough,
- You could get ghost accounts following you that have only joined instagram to enter competitions, and don’t post on their regularly or authentically,
- You must make sure what you are giving away is totally on brand. If your site is targeted to pre-schoolers that like craft, then make sure the giveaway is too. Even better, give away your own product targeted at the same audience, and
- Finally consider running the giveaway off your feed – using another app like Gleam (referral link); making sure your entry mechanisms comply with the promotional guidelines Instagram has. That way people are ON YOUR SITE before they go to your feed. They take a look at that feed, then decide if they want to follow based on what they find. This way you aren’t gaming the system for likes and comments on a specific post. And those following you are much more likely to be authentic and engaged. It isn’t foolproof, but it’ll help.
What do YOU think? Do you think giveaways have affected your account, and the engagement on your feed to? Is it just us? Let us know, we would love to hear from you.
If you like this article, you may like the others we have produced covering creators and influencers including:
- What are parent blog rankings all about – where we take a look at the rankings out there, and tell you like it is,
- A look at 15 parent blogger rankings; showing the difference between them all, and
- Finally, 12 fabulous resources for helping you as a blogger – we LOVE all of these.
Take care, and happy insta-ing and blogging too!