For most of my readers, this post probably won’t make sense, but after sensing much frustration in addition to some backlash from the blogger community I felt it extremely necessary to write a very informative post on the truth and facts regarding those pesky giveaways that continuously fill our Instagram feeds; also known as Loop Giveaways. Let me preface this by saying that this post is not an attack on anyone who chooses to do these giveaways, as we are all grown ups and can make our own decisions. This blog is specifically stating the facts from personal experience, Instagram/FB employees, fellow bloggers, and responses from specific Instagram followers of mine.
Let’s just jump right in. What happened to growing your following organically and authentically? I remember the first time I ever tried my first loop giveaway around when I had about 2,300 followers back in 2015. Loops were much different back then though. Yes, you still had to follow multiple accounts but the prizes were much smaller and it was normally all bloggers who were involved. We would gain a couple thousand followers if that and once the giveaway ended, the mass drop-off started. At this point you’re so sucked in to the thrill of easily getting thousands of followers in a short amount of time, this began to be the norm for a lot of us starting out. After doing about 6-7 and ending up a little over 10k followers I realized this wasn’t helping my account at all. Keep in mind, there is always a mass drop in followers so think of how long it would take for your account to level out after even doing 2-3 of these giveaways. It took me MONTHS to get my account back to a place where I was actually gaining followers on a daily basis.
After working extremely hard for over 2 years I finally reached my goal of hitting 100k followers organically. Around this time, loop giveaways started making another unfortunate comeback. Not the normal loop giveaways that a handful of us were a part of back in the day. These are full blown International Giveaways with insane prizes that cost an INSANE amount of money to join with some accounts that had millions of followers. After months of looking the other way my friend and I decided we were going to try to do another one just to test it out and see how these new loops effected our accounts at this stage of the game. We paid our $250 and were set up to do another loop. Talk about getting thousands of followers… I think we each gained about 7-8k in a couple of days and then the drop-offs immediately started once the winner was announced. For days and days I would lose thousands of followers. Any sane person that knows anything about Instagram shouldn’t be blind to the fact that these are ruining your account. It brought back memories of the depression that sets in when you’re losing mass amounts of followers at once. That is the exact reason people continue to do them… Because they never authentically gain followers for months after they do a loop.
Guys, open your eyes… This IS a form of cheating! I hear excuses all the time that the followers you get are REAL and that is 100% a lie. I have had multiple people admit to me that they make upwards of 100 fake accounts to enter these giveaways and then they forget about them. That means they don’t unfollow you, nor are they active… If ONE person is doing this, how many people do you assume could be doing the same thing… You are getting thousands of followers that are NOT interested in your content; they are interested in winning a prize that they really have no chance of winning.
An even bigger issue is that all of these mass follows and unfollows with inactive accounts are screwing with your ratio of active followers that will actually spend time liking your content. Not only are the accounts not active, but more importantly, your specific Instagram algorithm is going to get completely confused as to why you are gaining 10-15k followers in an hour span when you normally would gain a few and lose a few daily… Now you are gaining thousands, then losing thousands and then you are stagnant. How do you think that works with the algorithm? The algorithm most EVERYONE is complaining about?? Instagram will most likely flag your account for suspicious activity.
I’ve been watching countless amounts of bloggers start doing loops again over the past few months and I have to say, most of their interaction still sucks and it looks WORSE that they have no likes to go with that massive new following. On the other hand, some influencers have gotten even more creative as to buying likes to go with that loop following… or participating in a gazillion comment pods to get your likes/comments up. I’ve even noticed loop giveaways become an easy cover for bloggers to buy even more followers on top of the loop following gained.
A word of advice, grow slowly and genuinely. I’d rather grow at a snail’s pace than have inactive/fake followers. My Instagram interaction is WAY down, but honestly, I would rather have less followers that actually engage than almost 150k+ with even lower interaction. Most of us need to really understand that there are major changes happening with Instagram and most of our interaction has drastically plummeted. If your interaction has plummeted, loop giveaways is not going to help you whatsoever. Yes, you will get likes on your photos surrounding that giveaway but after that, they go back to being low until another loop comes along. Embrace this change and focus on other platforms instead of this form of cheating.
Quite a few companies are now wisening up to loops, thankfully. I’ve had specific companies tell me that after they read my post on The Dirty Truth About Buying Likes, they started religiously checking blogger’s Social Blade accounts and if they looked suspicious from doing too many loops, they would drop the influencer and move on to someone who has less followers with a more authentic account.
Now, I completely understand the groups of girls doing an occasional giveaway who already have a healthy following + engagement. It’s an easy way to boost their numbers but they aren’t going to have a major effect on their interaction because it was already high to begin with. What we’re seeing more of are accounts that have been stagnant for too long and they get impatient. This isn’t going to help you out the right way. Look for tips and tricks to get your account moving again OR just be patient because things will change.
I had a great blogger friend of mine tell me an perfect analogy for loops –
Loop giveaways are to bloggers like steroids are to body builders.
Is this not amazing?? I mean, 100% hits the nail on the head. Loop giveaways ARE an addiction and not a good one. The thrill of gaining followers is easy to get sucked into but in the end it’s incredibly damaging to your account and reputation. I still feel, to this day, those loops early on hurt my account and if I had the opportunity to go back, I would have chosen to not do them.
When I asked my fellow Instagram followers what they thought about loop giveaways, I wasn’t really surprised by any of their comments. Out of about 100 comments there was not ONE single person that stated they enjoy loop giveaways. Obviously, I don’t have the time to write out each response, but here are quite a few from people who are active followers of mine and I value each and every one of their opinions.
- The most popular response in regards to my survey was “PRAISE YOU for speaking out.”
- “I hate that 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 grow your fan base. Any type of giveaway typically draws a giveaway crowd. It’s never going to grow your audience with genuine followers. If they’re not going to follow you for you, they’re worthless because they wont ever bring traffic to your site OR engage with you.”
- “If I follow you it’s because I choose to. Making me follow others that I don’t care about is annoying and if it’s 20 new people I have to follow, its not worth the annoyance.”
- “They make it annoying to enter them. I’ve tried and it feels like I have to go through an endless loop of following accounts that I don’t want to. I usually stop on the 5th account and never get to the end of the loop.”
- “These are not organic followers, no transparency about how the winner is chosen, people using multiple accounts to enter. For example, someone used their 2 year old child’s IG to enter and won. They don’t randomly choose real people to win.”
- “I just don’t have the time to enter and I want to follow people/businesses who appeal to me everyday.”
- “I hate these giveaways! There is nothing personal about them, no connective quality.”
- “I don’t know anything about the new people I’m told to follow. I’ve never done one because I don’t like the idea of it.”
- “It is more or less like paying for your followers still. They range from $350-$500 to join and some people are doing these every single week.”
- “I don’t like having to follow a ton of people unnecessarily”
Are we seeing a trend here?? People hate seeing these loops fill their feeds so why piss off the engaged following you actually have because they will unfollow! I’ve even started unfollowing bloggers that I have followed for years because I am tired of seeing the loop madness.
If you’re that adamant about doing giveaways try some of the suggestions below –
- If you HAVE to do a loop try them maybe once or twice a year; not bi-weekly, or monthly.
- Get a group of 10 bloggers that all have similar interests and run a small loop. This way, the followers are more likely to stick around for the long-haul since you all have similar Instagram accounts.
- 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 where you have to follow everyone for an entry which looks more like a bought follower.
- These loops can cost upwards of $250 to $500. Take that money and invest in SEO, Pinterest help, more genuine giveaways, etc. It is more authentic and you’re more likely to gain engaging followers.
I’m sorry if this has rubbed anyone the wrong way, but in the end, something needs to be said. Overall, I’m not blogging for other bloggers to like me. I blog for my loyal followers, fans and staying true to myself and what I enjoy in fashion.
Thank you for sharing- it’s so interesting to hear comments from followers! What a great idea to poll!
Yesssss babe! Take that money and invest in growing another platform. Instagram on the fall.
Good article. I always learn a lot reading them.
Love love this post Ashley! I totally agree. I used to do them once/month when I started out. They were a good confidence booster in the beginning, but after a while they just ruined my engagement and I was disappointed every time!
Girl, this post was SO well written! I completely agree with everything you said. I too did some loops back on 2015 when they first surfaced, but I haven’t done one since. Organic growth is the only way to go!!!
This is such a great post Ashley! I used to do them all the time! I haven’t done one in quite sometime. Totally agree that growing organically is the only way to go!
Such a great post! I have never entered a loop giveaway. I don’t want to spend a jillion minutes clicking, following, clicking, following, nor do I want to follow people I have no true interest in following. There are a few bloggers that I followed that started doing way too many loop giveaways. I would go to their page & like 6 of the photos you see at one time without scrolling were for loop giveaways. That’s not the type of content I want to follow & so I sometimes end up unfollowing because of that. Rock on with your authenticity girl!
Hi! I enjoyed your reading your post! Well, I am guilty of joining those loop giveaways on Instagram, because who knows, I might win (haha). However, I am starting to lose interest (and trust) in them because today one IG user won in one of the giveaways I joined in, but she has already won another giveaway just two days ago (her total winnings are more than $1000 – if this is to be believed). I know I sound bitter and envious (haha!) but my point is, if this is an honest raffle/draw, she definitely has an insane amount of good luck. Even if she did a lot of options to increase her entries, it is still highly improbable that she wins the next giveaway. I am certain there are thousands of entries to be processed since this is a loop giveaway.
Oh well, if there are honest ones (true giveaways) out there, I’m sure there are scammers as well – those who take advantage of the fact that people cannot resist free items. That’s just mean and evil.
Girl, they DO NOT honestly pick people… If thousands of people enter there is no way people are going to go through all of those entries. Most times the bloggers would just randomly pick someone or the “host” would do the picking… which to me, doesn’t seem fair at all. That girl probably knows someone running the giveaway so she’s winning everything. I always suspect the money and prizes stay in the group that put the giveaway on so they are just banking. They are all over dishonest and I am starting to unfollow everyone who does them. I can’t take it anymore!!
I agree with you, these dishonest people are annoying. Better unfollow them. And I’d like to add something to what you have just said about their M.O. – sometimes the host is the sole scammer in their group – this host collects the money/giveaways from participating loopers but never awards them to the actual winner (disappears?). Or the host will pick a friend so they can split the prize with them. The challenge for them is how to check if their host is honest and trustworthy.
I think other IG stores are really honest with their giveaways (I applaud them for it), so it is unfair that they are also getting the bad rep because of these dishonest people. I think this trend will eventually die down because a lot of people are getting annoyed with giveaway posts.
I have nothing against the people who do honest giveaways (thank you and more power to all of you!). I just hate the others who dupe people into thinking that they have a chance winning, when actually there is already a predetermined winner. Ugh.
I loved reading this. I recently moved from London to Austin and I have to say that the blogging sphere is WAY different here. It seems like connecting with people and creating authentic content comes second to the stats. I was wondering if something is wrong with me as a blogger as I’ve never done a loop and honestly was tempted to since so many the bloggers on my feed seem to be active with them! And talk about how many here buy engagement *shrieks* it is literally a daily battle of integrity in the sphere these days. But like you said, it’s not about the short term game, or showing brands inflated numbers. It’s about creating great content for our followers and those who love our site. End rant haha. Thanks again for the info lady.
Thank you so much for this post! It’s so insightful, had long been wondering how giveaways might effect followers.
Yes girl. Just yes!
Thank you for this. And your bloggers response I totally agree with them. I just bailed out of one. Just wasn’t a good feeling. If I do one it would Be with one blogger friend of mine. I know her ..it’s a real friendship.
My followers would Not have to go through hurdles to complete a task.. As soon as I bailed out the person who was in the loop with me unfollowed me.
One blogger put it best “I teamed up with a few of my blogger friends” it’s a lie for most don’t know one another.
I entered a loop giveaway once and will never do it again! They don’t tell you how many accounts are participating so you keep going to the next account, liking the photo and following them. After what I swear was 40 accounts I felt like I was so invested already so I had to finish. I got sucked in and spent almost an hour doing this! Then the next week and the next week and the next week all of the same accounts did another giveaway loop together so my entire feed was the same photo advertising the giveaway. It took forever to unfollow all of them and get back to my normal feed. All that work for a pretend chance at winning a $250 Target gift card!
So glad you are speaking out on this!
Thank you for writing this post! I have a hard time getting followers, maybe because of my age bracket, but I will not buy my following! I don’t want to say yes to a brand and present them with a un-authentic following. I agree it’s cheating and fraud! I wish brands would wake up and realize this.
Thank you so much for calling it what it is! Wishing you the best this year, my dear!!!
P.S. Will be coming to Austin soon. Would love to meet up!
Definitely let me know when you plan on coming to Austin!!
Good to know. I had a feeling that was the case. It just occurred to me that it probably doesn’t bring in genuine followers… which means they might leave in a few days. Just like the follow for follow scam. In the end, everyone unfollows.
Still at a loss how people really make their #s grow though. More so with the new algorithm. The studio I work for was late to join the social media game and the numbers are at 200 while their students and peers are well over 2000. Some over 10k.
I use hashtags, I try to be mindful of times to post… I tried to reach out to others to collab, in some way, via email even snail mail but no one will respond.
I love this post! I’ve tried a lot of loop giveaways and I just got annoyed, the fact that you have to follow everyone and even like/comment on their last 2 posts, little by little I got really tired of joining. it’s not healthy posting on someone’s IG without any knowledge of that person.
Exactly!! I find the giveaways with people that are actually in your niche work the best. That way people are actually following similar accounts to what they already follow.
Great post. I saw that you just did a giveaway on your instagram account. What type of giveaways do you suggest if not loop giveaways?
I do giveaways that include Instagram accounts in your niche. The giveaways I have been participating in lately have a range of 10-20 (sometime’s more) fashion bloggers who have similar accounts or are members of rewardStyle/LTK so we are gaining followers who love women’s fashion and who shop with LTK. There are also Rafflecopter giveaways that you run on your blog. They don’t gain as many followers but they are beneficial for other platforms you want to grow. 🙂 Hope that helps!
Thank you for sharing this.