My first giveaway

I recently reached 800 followers on Instagram. Can you believe 800 people (over 1,000 now!!) like my crochet and doodles enough to follow me? I really can’t. To say thank you, I decided to have a giveaway for my Insta friends.

It was the first giveaway I’ve ever hosted so it was a little bit stressful at times, but I learned a lot and I’m definitely planning to have more in the future.

When the idea popped into my head, the first thing I thought of was the prize. It would be yarn, obviously, but what kind? What colour? How much of it? I initially thought Caron Cakes, but then that seemed a bit generic and we don’t even have all the fancy new ones that have been released recently.

Instead I decided to follow my tenet of supporting local businesses, and went to The Yarn Cake in Glasgow West End.

*1st learning point: plan, at least a little bit, and set a budget!

I wandered into The Yarn Cake with no real idea what I wanted or what it might cost. My only criteria was ‘something special’. Luckily, my radar for ‘special’ seems to be quite finely tuned, and I was in there less than 5 minutes before I spotted Joie De Vivre by Abstract Cat Yarns. It. Is. GORGEOUS!

But it also costs £18.95 per skein, which I didn’t find out until I was already at the till. I didn’t have a specific budget, but the strangled sound in my head when I heard the price tells me that any budget I made would have been lower than £18.95.

*2nd learning point: I really need to invest in a half-decent camera.

You may think this looks like beautiful yarn, but compared to real life this is nothing. There are dark blues in there so rich they almost look purple, there are lighter blues that perfectly complement the streaks of silver thread that you can’t see at all.

I can honestly say I’ve never photographed one thing so many times, in so many ways, in so many different places, and it still doesn’t look right.

In the end I just had to go with it, and hope that the winner would be pleasantly surprised when they saw how much better it was in real life. But I definitely need to start saving up for a better camera.

Next up I decided how exactly people could enter. It’s quite popular on giveaway posts I’ve seen to have an entry for every time you tag someone in the comments, which always seemed a little unfair to me; what if you have a million friends but only one of them is okay with being tagged in these things? You sometimes have to repost the image, but not everyone wants your picture on their account.

But I did want people to interact with the post, so I went for all the usual methods and made them optional. The only MUST was that they must be following me; it was a reward for my followers after all.

So I launched my giveaway HOORAY!

And then nothing happened. For several hours.

I was really starting to worry that nobody would even enter!

Of course I’m just impatient. That evening I got my first few entries, then there was a steady trickle all the way until the final day, and I ended up with 112 entrants – much more than I expected!

3rd learning point: I would need to look into some proper giveaway apps/sites

I entered every single entry from every single person into an Excel sheet and assigned a number. That’s over 250 lines of information. I have far better things to do with my time, and (much as I enjoy using Excel’s formula to generate a random number) there are so many less-faffy ways of doing it.

It was really very exciting when the number popped up and I had a scroll to see who had won, and even more exciting to realise it was Beth from Kick Arse Crochet!

Obviously I would have been pleased for whoever won, but knowing who it would be going to, and hopefully being able to see the resulting make on her blog, was just the cherry on top.

4th learning point: check for bank holidays when you plan your giveaway

I remembered only after the giveaway had closed that this weekend just gone was a bank holiday weekend. The Post Office in town was open on Friday, but I don’t know if the sorting office was running, and everything was closed yesterday. So it’s entirely possible Beth might have had to wait until today for her prize to arrive. Sorry about that!

So now I know what works and what doesn’t, my next giveaway should be even better than this one 🙂

Has anyone else ever done a giveaway? Got any tips for things I might have missed? Let me know in the comments!