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How To Grow Organically on Instagram [Giveaways + Promotions]

 

If you didn’t catch part 1 of this series, you can read it here.

Welcome back!  I’m so glad so many of you found part one so helpful, and that you are already beginning to see growth in your IG feed.  Today we’re digging in to methodology two:  Giveaways + Promotions.  First, let’s dig into giveaways.

Giveaways

Everybody loves free, right?  Especially #babyspammers!  While this terminology is specific to children’s apparel and goods, giveaway spam is something that many people participate in.  I know several friends who have separate accounts just for their spam posts, because hey, why not try to score some awesome goodies!

Here’s the thing:  Plan you giveaways and participation wisely!  You can not, should not, and will not be able to participate in every giveaway you are asked to be a part of.  Nor should you!  While giveaways are a great way to increase your followers, the instant boost is usually followed by a an instant decrease when the giveaway is over and all those new followers didn’t win.  However, the residual followers from the giveaway fall out are usually your target demographic, which is a huge plus.

I’m still on the fence when it comes to giveaways, in all honesty.  I’ve been part of some that have been fantastic, and I’ve been a part of some that have been a complete flop.  If you are asked to be a part of a giveaway, and you don’t think its a good fit for your business, then don’t be afraid to politely say no.  It’s just going to harm both parties involved.  So here’s a few helpful hints I’ve learned so far, and heard from others…

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Tips + Tricks for a Successful Giveaway

1.  Theme – While it can be polarizing for some, more followers are drawn into a giveaway when its somewhat cohesive.  A lifestyle they can identify with, a collection of curated items, etc.  It’s not worth the energy and effort if it doesn’t make the most impact.  And generally, when things are more cohesive you are likely to draw in participants who wouldn’t normally enter a giveaway–and these are the people that will ideally be customers (i.e. they aren’t just looking for the free stuff).

2.  Collaborate – Work with companies and brands that you believe in or that believe in you.  This goes back to my last sentence, about the most impact, it is pointless to giveaway your product when the targeted demographic is not your ideal customer.  Sure, you may get a handful of new followers, but if you’re giving away a couture style headband that’s geared towards moms of boys—see where I’m going there?

3.  Courtesy – Treat the participants of your giveaway as you would want to be treated.  Whether you solicited them, of they solicited you–keep in ming the IG community, just like your neighborhood is and can be very tight night place.  Burning bridges with one shop, can often impact your relationship with others.  So just be courteous, and if you have an issue, address it directly and with kindness.  If you are a blogger hosting a giveaway, remember the people running these shops are not machines.  Most shops, especially made to order shops, do not have a giant surplus of free goodies laying around to send out at their leisure.  And most of them are doing this to help their family, which, rightfully so, comes first.

4.  Timing – Decide how many of these giveaways your business can afford each month.  Everything has a cost and you need to make sure you are allocating these expenses correctly and not giving away all of your product.  At the same time, to really make the most out of the giveaway, make sure you aren’t part of multiple giveaways at the same time, unless your business and time can really handle it.  If you are consistently part of a giveaway, like, all day, every day–you will also be drawing in people that just want to win, and will potentially never buy your product.

5.  Captivate – Your image for posting needs to be captivating, clean and easy to understand!  Don’t put all the effort into collaborating a giveaway and not spend any time on the graphic.  The graphic is everything!  IG is a visually driven community, think about that.

 

Promotions

Promotions are two fold.  First there’s discounts, deals and sales that you offer your customer.  If you have not spent time properly pricing your product (tongue twister!), then you don’t know for sure how much wiggle room you can have with your product to offer discounts to your customers.  Basic formula:  [materials + time + operating expenses = wholesale price x 2 = retail].  This is the basic formula for any sellable good.  If you just guessed at pricing, then I suggest taking some time to fully analyze your shop’s costs.  Pricing is an entirely different discussion though, and deserves a post all on its own.  When it comes to promotions, a word to the wise:  If you are consistently offering a deal, your followers/customers will know to wait for that deal and therefore will never opt to purchase your products at full price.  Just keep that in mind.  If you are going to consistently offer a 10-15% discount, maybe you should re-evaluate your pricing structure so that you can just offer the lower price, make one big announcement and call it a day.  I personally like to help drive other small businesses by offering a discount to my shop, and my regular customers know this and usually snag the coupon every week.  This does not mean they buy.  When offering a promotion, you want to keep the overall integrity of your business in mind.  If you don’t feel like your product is worth the price point, and present it confidently, then neither will your customer.

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Secondly, there is promotional product that you barter/trade/give to other shops or IG influencers for cross promotion.  Most bloggers, especially those that have major pull on social media, are GIVEN FREE PRODUCT.  Let me make this clear—all those accounts that you are drooling over because everything is perfectly curated and dressed–most of it was free.  And believe me, I’m not slamming that.  I personally am grateful for some of the freebies I’ve been blessed with along the way.  I only say this so that you are aware of this awesome opportunity to get your product in front of some major exposure.  If your favorite blogger or celebrity has an IG account, get their PR/contact information and find out where to send your swag bag.  Most influencers are happy to give a shout out for their free swag, and sometimes even become loyal customers.  Just do your research and make sure its an influencer that really fits your shop’s vision.

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Trades/Barters/Swag. If you come across a company that you think your customer base would love, don’t be afraid to email them and ask if they’d like to swap product.  This type of cross marketing gets your product in front of your ideal demographic while helping to promote another company–to me this is the epitome of the IG community and organic networking.  I almost always have an immediate sale in the shop when another feed posts a photo with one of my items in it.

 

FYI:  The IG Algorithm

Having your account in a specific follow pool does helps!  So yes, the more followers you have the better exposure chance you have of landing on the explore tab.  Milestones in followers bumps up your exposure, ie. when you have 1000 followers, you will gain momentum in organically being discovered because you have more people exposed and interacting–and it continues to exponentially impact growth the higher your follow count gets.  Eventually, you will hit a momentum where you can post 1 image a day and still average 1k new followers weekly.  That’s just how the algorithm works.  Starting out though, you should definitely try posting more than once a day.  I also think its important to note that your follower count, no matter how high or low, does not instantly translate into $$.  From the research I’ve gathered, about 20-30% of a shop’s followers on IG are active customers.  Of course, there are other variables that come into play regarding this ratio as well:  product type and price point mainly.  But we will discuss more on this at a later time.

 

Speaking of giveaways, if you entered our #HONESTlyultimatesummer giveaway over on our IG feed, we announced the winner!  Go check it out, it could be you.

 

Next week I’ll dig into the third  methodology, the hashtag!  Want to see more on Instagram and how to utilize it for your business’ growth?  Leave your comments below and stay tuned.  There’s so much to share and discover together!

 

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57 Comments

  • Reply Kylie

    Ashely- This was great information! Thank you for your authentic tone and realistic spin…good stuff 🙂
    Blessings- Kylie Clayborne Wee-Rascals

    August 25, 2014 at 5:19 pm
    • Reply ashlee mello

      Thanks Kylie!
      All the best of luck with your shop! Love your shirts!

      August 28, 2014 at 9:10 pm
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