There’s a never-ending debate regarding Instagram Loop Giveaways. Are they cheating or just a good shortcut for growth? Are the followers gained real or fake? Do Instagram Loop Giveaways damage your account in the long-run?

In today’s post, we’re going to talk about what Instagram Loop Giveaways are and if you should use them for your account. We’ll also fill you in on an alternative giveaway method you can use to grow your account.

What is an Instagram Loop Giveaway?

You’ve probably seen them all over Instagram, but maybe you don’t know them by name. An Instagram loop giveaway is named for the “loop” of people involved in running the giveaway, as well as the “loop” participants must follow in order to enter to win the prize.

Essentially, it is an Instagram giveaway that requires you to follow several accounts (typically 5-20) in order to win a prize.

These can be formatted one of two ways:

  1. The person posting the giveaway will tag one other account and tell you to go follow them. That person will tag another participant, and so on. You must follow the whole “loop” in order to enter.
  2. OR the giveaway organizer will create an account on Instagram that follows only the accounts running the giveaway. All participants tag the account in the caption of the giveaway post and contestants will click it and follow everyone the account is following.

Why run a loop giveaway? Well, the main goal is to gain a ton of new followers. Because entrants are required to follow everyone in the “loop”, participants often gain hundreds, if not thousands, of new followers.

Are Instagram Loop Giveaways Effective for Growth?

According to a recent poll, people who have tried Instagram Loop Giveaways have seen some pretty crazy results.

For example:

  • A male fashion influencer got 300 new followers overnight.
  • A female travel blogger got 450 followers from only 1 IG post.
  • A beauty brand got 5k followers over the past 3 months with loop giveaways.

Sounds a little bit too good to be true, right? Well we hate to be the bearer of bad news but there are some serious problems with loop giveaways:

  1. Your demographics will be altered. When you host a loop giveaway, you can’t control who enters the giveaway and you probably won’t be reaching your target audience. If you’re a women’s high-end beauty brand in the USA, does your business really benefit from 2000 18-24 year old Turkish men following you? If you’re a food blogger based in Australia, you’re probably not looking for high school-age children from the US to follow you. That’s not going to appeal to any brands you want to work with.
  2. Your engagement will go way down. When a bunch of people follow you for a giveaway, Instagram will show your content to them first because they are new followers so they’re supposed to be the most interested in your content. If they don’t like your posts (and they won’t because they’re only following you for free stuff), Instagram will think that your content isn’t good enough to keep showing to people and will significantly throttle back your reach.
  3. Your growth will slow down for weeks, if not months after the giveaway concludes. Whenever you do an Instagram Loop Giveaway, a large chunk of the followers you gain will start unfollowing you once the giveaway is over. Again, they were only following you to win a prize – not because they like you or your brand – so they’re not going to stick around very long. You may start losing hundreds of followers a day after the giveaway ends. This will severely hurt your account and your reach. Even if your total gain is larger than your total loss, the algorithm will still begin to hide your posts because people are unfollowing you at such a rapid pace. We have had many clients come to us with 10K+ followers and only getting 50 likes. It is a LONG road backk to recovery when your page has been damaged like that.
  4. You’ll seriously annoy your followers. Asking your followers to go through 5-30 steps in order to maybe win a prize definitely is a great way to build bad blood with your community of followers. If you’re constantly focused on building up that little number at the top of your profile, you’re not going to be providing ANY value to the people that already follow you. Instead, focus on the people that ALREADY follow you and love on your posts. You’ll gain loyal customers rather than spammy followers that are just there to win a prize!

Are Instagram Loop Giveaways Dangerous for Your Account?

We just went over some of the reasons why running an Instagram loop giveaway may not be very effective for growth. However, there’s an even bigger risk that comes with using tactics like loop giveaways.

Instagram is in the battle of a lifetime against “inauthentic behavior” on the platform.

With new algorithm changes, Instagram is also removing inauthentic likes and follows. This means that if you have gained any followers or likes using shady tactics, your account can suffer heavily if and when Instagram figures it out.

People often associate “inauthentic behavior” with bot activity. Bots are programs that automatically like, comment, and follow users under your account name. However, Instagram’s crackdown includes manual activity too.

For example, if you follow a large amount of accounts within a short amount of time, Instagram will flag your account and you may be suspended from following anyone else temporarily. This happens automatically within Instagram’s algorithm. This temporary suspension usually doesn’t have much of an impact on your account because you can wait until the ban is lifted and resume activity as usual. However, if you are repeatedly suspended and banned from making certain actions, you are at risk of your account being disabled forever.

Does this mean that Instagram loop giveaways will automatically place you on their s*** list? No — but why run that risk? You’re playing Instagram’s game and you have to play it by their rules. If you’re not interacting on their platform like a normal human being would interact, you’re going to be flagged as a suspicious account and may end up permanently damaging your account.

You always need to be putting the interest of your followers first. Focus on quality over quantity — follower counts are just a vanity metric for a business. A following of 1,000 real, genuine people who CARE about what you have to say is going to do way more for your business than 100,000 people who couldn’t care less about your content.

The Verdict

While Instagram Loop Giveaways can give you a lot of followers in a short amount of time, they aren’t actually going to help your business gain new customers. Those 2,000 people that just followed your account are only there to win a prize — not to find a new product or service to use.

If you really want to grow your account, focus on targeting the right people for your business and provide VALUE to them. After all, an audience of 2,000 people who aren’t even interested in what you’re talking about is essentially an audience of 0.

At the end of the day, your goal should be to attract followers that stick around and care about your business.