How to Rock Your Etsy Instagram Contest
Have you ever entered an Instagram contest? Perhaps you’ve even won some sweet wares. In case you haven’t noticed, Instagram is all about the giveaways. Tagging friends, liking photos and even posting your own content, Instagrammers are willing to do a fair amount if the prize is sweet enough.
Right now you may be wondering why giving stuff away for free creates a good marketing strategy. After all, our goal is to give you the best strategies to sell more products on Etsy. Instagram contests fuel massive account growth when executed well. From more exposure to increased followers to colossal engagement, popular contents have helped catapult small to mid-sized Instagram accounts.
When I first got into Instagram, a close friend responded that if I wanted to gain followers, “You need to do giveaways.” While great advice, I had no idea how to go about it at the time. After a lot of time researching, and checking out Etsy sellers who are blowing up Instagram with their contests, I now have concrete strategies to make sure your contest boosts your account (and helps increase sales).
To help get you started on your first Instagram contest, and maximize it for serious account growth, here is the guide to rocking your Etsy Instagram contests.
Quick Tips: How to Make it Big
Curious how to help amplify your contest? Before we dive into the eight examples from Etsy sellers killing it, I wanted to run down a list of a few basics to consider. These guidelines will help set the tone for your Instagram contest and work to ensure that your efforts make a splash. Preferably a splash leading to a big uptick in new followers.
1) Make it Obvious
Let’s start with the obvious one, make it obvious. Include “Giveaway” in your image to make casual scrollers stop and interact with your image. You could have the best giveaway and photo in the feed, but if you don’t do something to distinguish your contest from a regular post, your efforts will fall flat.
2) Don’t Over Complicate It
We both want as much bang for our buck as possible. The more followers and engagement the better, but it doesn’t come without a price. Increasing the steps to enter deters people. The more steps, the less engagement.
You need to strike a balance between making the content beneficial without deterring entrants due to unreasonable entrance requests. The majority of the examples I have below required people to follow their account, follow any other participating accounts, like the post and possibly comment. Some leveraged tagging a friend.
3) Set a Timeframe
Your contest can’t go on forever. Establish a set timeframe for the contest to run, preferably a semi short period of time. This could range between a one to several days. Most of the bigger accounts edit their caption on the original post to announce when the contest ends.
4) Collaborate for Increased Reach
Going solo can do the trick, but to really double down look for another account to partner with. Ideally, you will find a brand that targets the same audience without being direct competition. When you both promote the contest, you are hitting two different audiences (giving you both direct benefits from cross promotion) as well as sharing two posts into the world of Instagram. That gives potential new audiences double the chances to find you.
Hashtags on Instagram fuel your search. This calls to mind that overused joke about, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” If you post on Instagram without hashtags, is anyone going to see it? If you have a large audience, you can get momentum with slim to none hashtags. For those of us working to increase following, we need those hashtags. While the best ones for you will be tied to your store (i.e. if you have a store selling chic clothing, tags like #glam #fashionblog #etsy #etsyshop will be clutch), it’s good to include a few of the contest related hashtags. To help, here’s a snapshot of what tags Hashtagify.me pulls up when I type in “Giveaway.”
Etsy Sellers Creating Amazing Instagram Contests
I need to see things in context to fully grasp how to implement best practices. From devising the best entering process to what to giveaway to how to celebrate the winners, these Etsy sellers knock throwing contests out of the park.
Shop Credit: Glitter Ever After
Glitter Ever After takes a different approach to entering, but one I’m a big fan of. They reach out to their audience for honest feedback on the website, products, and offering. No one can give you more valuable feedback than your audience, particularly when trying to figure out what they want. This requires a little more from contestants, as they need to scope out either their feed or browse the website. That being said, avid fans or current customers can easily share opinions without spending much time looking through the catalog.
Additionally, a $50 gift certificate is a pretty sweet giveaway! I’m willing to make a few clicks for that Instagram contest.
Incorporate Video: Letters By Shells
This may be perhaps one of the more underutilized areas: video. Here Letters By Shells creates a video showing everyone the high-quality pastels they are giving away. It’s short, fun, and gets KILLER engagement (check out those 57k+ views!). To help ramp up the momentum, they partnered with Prima Marketing Inc. This common trend is an easy way to increase your reach and cross promote with a brand catering to a similar audience.
Another big trend in the giveaway space hinges on Instagram stories or through Instagram Live (Instagram’s live video streaming function). Right now, live video is the way to “beat” the algorithm on social media, helping your content get to the front of the line. Facebook, which owns Instagram, wants to compete with YouTube and Periscope as a leading video provider. Let’s not forget Instagram’s blatant attempt to go head to head with Snapchat through Stories.
This means Instagram is bumping live video and stories to the top of the feed. (Literally, the stories are right there when you open up the app). All those profile photos in a cricle are stories from different stores I follow on Instagram.
Now to answer the “how” of a live video or story Instagram contest. First, you need to create build up. Use your regular posts to tease your contest. Also, start regularly using Stories to gain momentum with your audience. If you go the live video route, stream at the same time every day so your followers know when to watch. Once you’re ready for the contest to go live, use your post descriptions to drive people to your story or to tune into your live feed. You can do the same for announcing the winner.
Cross Promote: Evelyn and Peter
To quickly ramp up the engagement, cross promotion or partnering up with other sellers is the name of the game. Here we have Evelyn and Peter shouting out Sierra’s Crochet Craft’s contest. From this post, you can’t tell if Evelyn and Peter have any skin in the game (aka – a product as part of the giveaway), but you can be sure the makers have some sort of cross promotion deal in the works.
The more common Instagram contest will have two or more makers combining prizes in a big giveaway. Here both Etsy maker Theresa’s Crochet Shop is giving away an adorable crocheted giraffe combined with the gift card from Kbirkeland.
(Kailey is actually a blogger working to increase her Instagram follows, which is why the Instagram contest has a gift card rather than another product. Since she has just over 3,000 followers and Theresa has over 17,000, I imagine that friend Theresa is helping her boost her followers through the contest. While not always true, most contests feature accounts with semi-similar followings.)
Here you see the basic entering instructions with a sweet twist. The typical part is entrants need to follow both accounts, like the post and tag a friend. Things get interesting when Theresa gives an additional entry for each separate post tagging a friend. This crafty little step doesn’t inhibit people from entering (sometimes asking people to tag too many friends creates a barrier for entry), yet gives the ambitious a way to increase exposure for the contest.
Ramp Up Followers: Chris and Creations
Chris and Creations uses the momentum from a contest to help reach a milestone in followers. He has a very dedicated following (as you can see from the comments) since I think the ask is pretty big. Not only is he shooting for 50k followers (tipping my hat to reaching a huge milestone), he requires entrants to actually repost his image. While great exposure, I personally strive to keep a certain look for my feed. Random reposts rock the boat.
But hey! It worked out really well for him since not only did he reach 50k followers, he did give the Manticore to one devoted fan. If this works for your audience, that is awesome. Major increase in contest (and profile) exposure through reposts. Many large brands will use this same strategy. Excited to see Chis and Creations rock it.
Celebrate the Win: Croochet Shop
I absolutely adore the way the way Croochet Shop not only creates cute branded images to announce the contest but totally goes above and beyond with announcing the winner. How adorable is that? I mean seriously. I have a little Instagram envy going on right now. Similar to Theresa’s Crochet, she gives options for additional entry. She carefully spells out different options, one of which includes the repost. Sine the caption runs out, here is rest of the description:
4) tag 3 friends (worth 1 additional entries)
5) repost your favorite photo from my Instagram and TAG me IN the photo! (Worth 3 additional entries).
Another thing to take notice of, something most the examples did, Croochet Shop edits the original contest description to announce the giveaway is closed.
Pattern Giveaway: Storyland Amis
Giveaways aren’t just for physical products! Here Storyland Amis uses a pattern giveaway to drive followers for her account as well as three additional accounts. Since the product doesn’t cost her anything (the beauty of creating a digital product), she can have more winners. In this contest, she is declaring two winners. Much like Croochet Shop, she skillfully creates two separate branded posts to announce the contest and the winners.
Even though all the posts are branded, both accounts ensure they include text announcing both the Instagram contest and the winners. It helps distinguish their posts from the regular ones in the feed, which is crucial for a successful Instagram contest.
Blow it Out of the Park: Little Sapling Toys Collaboration
Just in case you really wanted to knock your Instagram contest out of the ballpark, put all your chips in. Little Sapling Toys hosts giveaways with other brands all throughout the year. Without going back and seeing who all participated, I’m almost tempted to say that they are running a grand finale with everyone from throughout the year! Look at all those partnering businesses. Also, dang, what a rock star prize. Somebody seriously lucky (and dedicated to follow all those accounts) walked away with the ultimate package.
Now that’s one way to totally blow out a contest.
Did I mention that Little Sapling Toys rocks Instagram as a major promotion outlet for their store? Yes, they are selling oodles of toys through their top notch Instagram account. When I interviewed owner Kimber Christensen on how she and her husband turned their Etsy store into both their full-time job (and more – they have employees too!), she said Instagram was their go to marketing outlet (for now). While they are rocking it with their Instagram contests, turns out that success is limited to Instagram contests. Last year’s Etsy giveaway turned out to be a big ole bust.
See the full interview here. (And trust me, you’re going to love the photos from their Instagram feed I have included in the post! So cute.)
Hosting Your Instagram Contest
Have you hosted an Instagram Contest before? Are you waiting to start? Let me know in the comments about your Instgram contest and success in using it to boost your followers (and sell more products on Etsy).