Perhaps you’re curious about joining a loop giveaway but want to get some more information first. Or…maybe you’re thinking about hosting your own giveaway but don’t know where to start. I’ve had first-hand experience in both scenarios and today I’m answering all of your questions about loop giveaways!
LOOP, SCHMOOP. WHAT THE HELL IS A LOOP GIVEAWAY?
A Loop Giveaway is a contest of sorts, usually held on Instagram and hosted by a number of bloggers, brands and/or stores. If you are one of the giveaway hosts, you will be required to either chip in a monetary amount to purchase the item(s) being featured or donate an item you already own. Typically, bloggers chip in to buy a gift package or a gift card, while brands and stores may chip in an actual item from their stock.
One person typically runs a loop giveaway and this involves quite a lot of work. This person is responsible for choosing a prize, finding a number of hosts to participate, collecting money and/or items, obtaining the prize, putting together a graphic, organizing the order of the loop, picking the winner, shipping the prize, and lastly keeping all of the hosts up-to-date on progress throughout the process. If you’re thinking about hosting your own loop giveaway, continue reading for some tips and what to expect.
On the day of the giveaway, every host posts the same photo (usually a collage or a graphic) and information about the giveaway. Participants will need to follow the host whose page they are on (sometimes leave a comment, depending on the loop), then head to the next host that is tagged. They continue this ‘looping’ process until they have followed every host and make it back to where they started – that process is considered their entry.
Once the giveaway has ended, the host will randomly choose a winner who has followed the contest rules, privately obtain their information and ship the prize to them.
OKAY, SO WHAT’S THE POINT OF A LOOP GIVEAWAY?
The point of a loop giveaway is simple: exposure. No one gives away free shit for fun (If you do – I’d love to be your friend). Bloggers, brands and stores host loop giveaways to gain social media followers, gain exposure for their blog and drive traffic to their website.
I WANT TO HOST A GIVEAWAY. WHERE DO I START?
1. CHOOSE YOUR THEME & YOUR ITEM(S)
Before you can start asking people to co-host your giveaway, you have to have an idea of how it’s going to play out. Some hosts choose to pick a theme, while others just present a random mix of different items. My advice is to pick a theme. I find that this way it’s easier to pick your items and more appealing to participants.
It’s important to pick a varietal mix of items. One of my giveaways was themed “Getaway Giveaway” and I chose a few brand name items and some smaller items. All together, the items represented what you would take with you on your next vacation – a pair of sunglasses, a hat, a beachbag, sunscreen, sea salt spray and a camera. Some hosts choose to do one big item, like a DSLR camera or a gift card, which works too! Know that if you choose to buy multiple items, it’s going to mean a bit more work in terms of ordering them. But hey – if you’ve chosen to take on the task of hosting in the first place, you might as well go for it right?
Once you’ve chosen your item(s), you need to calculate a price. Take the time to research the best prices, and don’t forget to take tax and shipping into account! Once you have a total, think about how you could reasonably divide it between co-hosts. If you have a total of $500 and want only 10 co-hosts, chances are people are not going to want to shell out $50. Alternatively, if you have a total of $500 and want people to pay a small amount (say $10), you’ll end up needing 50 co-hosts, which is WAY too many. My advice is to keep your co-hosts from 5-15 and to keep your buy-ins from $15-30. Even 15 can sometimes be overwhelming! Always keep your participants in mind and think about if you would want to be clicking through 25 Instagram accounts or if you would give up half way through (I’ve done that plenty of times).
2. FIND YOUR CO-HOSTS
Good luck girl. Just kidding (kind of). When I hosted my first giveaway, I went at it the hard way – Contacting bloggers through social media and through their websites who had a visually similar aesthetic to my blog and who I thought would be a good fit for the giveaway. This yielded a lot of wasted time, with mostly no responses, some “no thank you’s”, a few “sure I’m interested’s” which never amounted to anything and a very small handful of “yes’”
My best advice is to join a blogging group and start there. I reached out to my IHC girls and got triple the responses in one day than I had gotten in two weeks. Major time-saver there.
3. SEND OUT YOUR INITIAL E-MAIL
It’s Purpose: Confirmation & Payment
Once you have all of your hosts (which took around 2-3 weeks – it will take way less if you’re smart about it), you need to send out a group e-mail with a few basic details. No point in overwhelming your co-hosts with an essay of information in the beginning stages. My initial e-mail looked like this:
So excited to share that we are finally all set with 10 wonderful co-hosts for our loop giveaway via Instagram! All of the information contained in this e-mail is extremely important, so please be sure to read it thoroughly (extra-thoroughly if you have never co-hosted a giveaway before!)
WHAT I NEED FROM YOU:
1. Confirmation – Please reply to this e-mail to confirm that you have (a) received it and (b) are still available to participate as a co-host (I will confirm date a little later down the road once all payments are received, I have purchased the items, and I have a better idea of when they will all be arriving!)
2. Payment – The buy in for this giveaway is $30 USD via Paypal. Please send money to ______ VIA PAYPAL FRIENDS & FAMILY! If you are sending your currency from outside the US, please use this currency converter to find out the exact amount you should send!
I ask that you please send your payment within 5 days of this e-mail, so that I can order all items and we can get this giveaway rolling as soon as possible!
CONNECT WITH YOUR CO-HOSTS!:
Here’s a complete list of our co-hosts. Follow them on Instagram, check out their blog, get to know them! We’re all in this together 🙂
(list omitted – see below for example of what info. included)
1. Danielle of Pineapple & Prosecco | IG: Pineappleandprosecco
Can’t wait to hear from you all!
A few notes about your initial e-mail:
It’s important to ask for confirmation from your co-hosts. This will weed out who is serious and who is not. If you don’t receive confirmation within a few days, send a follow up e-mail. If you still don’t hear from the person, don’t wait more than a week. Start looking for a new host.
Set a deadline for payment, and don’t drag it out. The quicker you can get the ball rolling, the better. You’ll find that most people will send in payment right away. If you don’t receive payment from someone within the deadline, send a follow up e-mail (life happens, people forget). Again, don’t wait too long though.
4. ORDER YOUR ITEMS
Do not, I repeat, DO NOT order your items before you have received all of your money. For example, during my latest giveaway, I had found 15 co-hosts and calculated a total cost of $450, leaving each person to chip in $30. Last minute, and I mean really last minute, 6 bloggers totally flaked (you’ll hear every excuse in the book – but it is what it is). I ended up opting to stick with my remaining 8 hosts rather than find new ones, having to re-organize items with $180 less in our budget.
If you order your items and people drop out – that’s unfortunately on you. So be smart!
5. CREATE YOUR PHOTO/GRAPHIC
To digitize or to flat lay? That’s totally up to you! Create a clean graphic that’s colorful, bright and eye-catching. Make sure to put text on your graphic so that others know it’s a giveaway and not just a post at first glance. Here are 2 examples of a digitized graphic and a flat lay that I made for my giveaway:
If you choose to create a graphic, programs like Photoshop (for advanced users) or PowerPoint (for everyone else) are my go-to’s. PhotoScissors is another one of my favrotie programs that allows me to create a transparent background for virtually any image.
6. CREATE YOUR TEXT:
Think about making your text as participant-friendly as possible. See my example below. Note that I started with where to go next in the loop. I highly recommend doing this because most people who choose to participate know the drill and are eager to get to the next account. Don’t make your participants read through dense text before they find where to go next. Be clear & concise, and don’t forget your disclaimer!
Next Stop > @handle you are responsible for tagging
Kick off the spring season with these must-have essentials for your next getaway! I’ve teamed up with 8 lovely bloggers to give ONE follower a getaway gift box featuring ___________! If you’re new to loop giveaways, it’s super easy to enter! Simply follow ALL the steps below
1. FOLLOW ME @your IG handle
2. LIKE THIS POST
3. HEAD OVER TO, @handle you are responsible for tagging and repeat all three steps
When you’ve returned here, you have completed the loop. Please remember you must follow ALL bloggers sponsoring this giveaway in order to be eligible to win. We always verify!
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
7. GET THE DAY-OF DETAILS OUT TO YOUR CO-HOSTS
Once you have your item(s) ready to go, you’re ready to pick a date and a time. Think about optimal posting times (weekends, evenings) and how long you want to run your giveaway for. I recommend keeping it running anywhere from 2-5 days.
You will need to send a detailed e-mail to your co-hosts outlining all day-of information. My e-mail looked like this:
We are all set to iron out the final details of our loop. Please read all information thoroughly and carefully. Can’t wait to work with you all!
Our loop will be held this Friday, _________ starting at 7pm ET. Please use this time converter to see that time you will need to post if you are not running on ET (especially if you are out of the country!).
2. TAG LIST
Person 1 tags Person 2
Person 2 tags Person 3
Person 3 tags Person 4
Person 4 tags Person 5
Person 5 tags Person 1
3. GRAPHIC (see attached)
4. POST CONTENT (please copy and paste the black text below exactly)
Don’t forget to fill in the correct handles where you see pink highlighted text!
(omitted – same as in “Create Your Text”)
It is super important that you confirm receipt of this e-mail! If even one blogger is unaware of the details and does not post on time, our entire loop gets thrown off!
Lastly, please let me know if you have any final questions. I so appreciate all of your patience throughout this process!
I can’t say enough regarding how important it is to emphasize that everyone is aware of posting time and how important it is to actually be ON TIME. If just ONE person forgets to post (which is a nightmare, by the way), your entire loop is thrown off.
It’s also a good idea to send out some recommended hashtags to your co-hosts, to maximize the chances of it being seen. Some popular ones are:
#giveaway #giveaways #instagiveaway #instagramgiveaway #loopgiveaway #fashiongiveaway #winitwednesday #enrtertowin #winit #freebies #enternow
8. POST YOUR LOOP AND MONITOR
It is so important to check your loop once it launches to make sure everyone has done their job. Just when you think nothing can go wrong, something will. Be pro-active. If you see that someone has forgotten to post, get in contact with them right away. Don’t wait more than ten minutes – if they haven’t responded, change some things around to fix the break in the loop.
Promote your giveaway on all of your social media channels! Send out an e-mail blast to your website subscribers. Post a reminder image a day or two into the giveaway to encourage new people to participate! Maximize your exposure!
9. PICK & ANNOUNCE THE WINNER
Randomly choosing a winner can be a bit time consuming. Unfortunately, there isn’t yet an app out there that makes this process easier. Typically there will be one winner. Sometimes, each brand will choose a winner, which in that case, picking someone at random will be fairly easy.
For loops that have one winner, you will have to first randomly choose a winner from your likes, then check to see if they are following all co-hosts by having them double check for you.
Announce the winner by tagging them in a fun graphic or sending a message. Have them e-mail you their shipping information and give them an estimated ship date.
Once you ship your items, it’s nice to send the tracking information out to your co-hosts as a courtesy to let them know that you are following up with your end of the bargain. Usually, the host pays for shipping costs. However, you can certainly calculate this into the buy-in price if you’d like.
10. ASK FOR FEEDBACK
Once the loop has ended, check in with your co-hosts. Ask if anyone has suggestions for the future or would be interested in participating again sometime down the road.
Think about how you benefitted from the loop. Did you gain authentic followers or followers that unfollowed you as soon as the contest ended?
Analyze the bloggers/brands you worked with. Their audience will affect yours, which is why I try to handpick co-hosts who have visually similar aesthetics to mine rather than pick anyone who offers to join. It’s okay to be selective. Someone with 300 followers versus someone with 3,000 will make a difference in participation.
Reflect on your efforts. If it seems like you put in more than you got out, think about co-hosting instead of running a loop next time. I always choose to run for the mere fact that I’m a control freak, but if you’re okay with someone else being in charge, your work load will be significantly lighter.
TIPS FOR BEING A GOOD CO-HOST
- Be genuine. If you aren’t sure if you want to participate – be honest. It’s better to ask questions and then decide if you want to participate than to commit and then back out.
Take it serious. Follow your deadlines, confirm receipt of e-mails, post on time. This makes it so much easier on the person running the loop and makes them more apt to want to have you back!
Ask questions. Your main host is the main host for a reason. If you’re new to loop giveaways ask questions instead of trying to figure it out on your own and risking the possibility of making a mistake.
Engage with your co-hosts! Use this as an opportunity to set up future collaborations and build relationships.
Be prepared for the good and the bad !
New followers and readers
Time spent organizing
Ingenuity – people who commit and then back out last minute or ignore you once it’s time to send payment all together
Inauthentic followers who you will lose once the loop is over
What do you think? Have you hosted or participated in a loop? If you’ve never hosted, are you thinking about doing it in the future or running for the hills? I’d love to answer any questions and hear your feedback!