Tag Archives: tallahassee blogger

The TRUTH About Instagram Giveaways

If you’ve been on Instagram any time in the past month or so, it’s pretty much inevitable that you’ve seen at least one person telling you to enter their Instagram Giveaway.

Here’s the basic premise: an Instagram “friend” tells you to go to XYZ Giveaways page and follow everyone that page is following for a chance to win a gift card.

Usually the gift card is pretty substantial – I’ve seen anywhere from $200 to $4,000. The tradeoff is you have to go and follow anywhere from 15 to 30 random accounts in order to be eligible to win.

But who’s running these things anyways? Are they even legit? I wondered myself. So, I decided to join one and see what they’re like “from the inside”…

The Logistics of Instagram Giveaways

So if we want to get technical, I was invited to participate in the giveaway by my much more fashionable, Tallahassee blogger and real-life friend, Victoria Shelton. I believe she was invited by Aimee, the insta-famous personality behind the planesandprettythings IG account (she has 12.2k followers and counting).

Aimee was the organizer. She set up the giveaway page and collected the money. There were 20 total participants. The buy-in was $25, which we sent via Paypal to Aimee. However, there were approximately 2 ghost participants, who paid $35.

Ghost participants are accounts that are included in the people you must follow in order to win, but they don’t promote the giveaway on their page (we’ll get to why that’s relevant later).

The total amount of money put in the pot, so to speak, was $520. The gift card was $400 (in this case), so the organizer made about $120 to run the promotion.

The Real TRUTH About Instagram Giveaways
The REAL TRUTH About Instagram Giveaways

Why Participate in an Instagram Giveaway

Remember when Facebook was all about engaging with your friends? You didn’t get political articles, or click-bait stories or random memes popping up in your feed. Well, thanks to capitalism (really, THANK YOU! I’m a fan), Facebook realized brands would pay big bucks to get in front of all these regular people and our feeds started filling up with advertisements.

All the old people stuck around Facebook because they love political rants and pictures of other people’s dogs, but the millennials were like “ewww” and moved over to Instagram, where the space was free from the clutter.

Well, thanks to capitalism again (really, THANKS! I love money!), Facebook bought Instagram and started doubling down on the ads there too.

Ok, ok, but what does this have to do with participating in an Instagram Giveaway?

What this meant is, just like Facebook, it became nearly impossible to get organic growth on your Instagram page. The only way to “grow” your following, was to pay, and all the followers went to the businesses with the deepest pockets.

So, the mid-level (and low-level, considering they let me in) Instagrammers got together to come up with a new, innovative way to reach new people – Instagram Giveaways.

The thought process is: if you like following me, you’ll probably like following other accounts similar to me. So by doing a giveaway with a group of similar instagrammers, we can all grow our following and our followers can discover new accounts with content they like.

Do Instagram Giveaways Work?

This is a tricky question…

If you mean “do you gain followers by doing an Instagram giveaway?” then the answer is yes (for now). I started out with 687 followers. The day after the giveaway, I had 903 followers. Today, I’m holding steady at around 860 followers.

However, these “new followers” could be a bunch of random people who just follow every single contest account out there. If they never like any of my non-contest related posts, they’ll only end up hurting my engagement in the long run, which Instagram also penalizes you for. Only time will tell.

Wait, What About The Ghost Followers?

That’s right! Glad you reminded me…

I’ve been following one girl who has gone from essentially no followers to just over 7,000 followers in about 6 months by doing giveaways every couple of weeks. Not going to call her out. If that’s her thing, that’s her thing. But my point is, it gets old posting about a new giveaway and telling all your followers to like/comment/share/follow/give-your-first-born-to-the-cause etc.

So, what a lot of people do who are trying to build a large following quickly, without looking like they’re just jumping on every giveaway that comes their way, is to pay more to participate in the giveaway without having to promote it on their page.

Basically, everyone who wants to enter to win still has to follow them, but they don’t have a post on their page about the giveaway, so their growth looks more “organic”.

Are Instagram Giveaways Legit?

I’m going to be honest, I only looked it up after I had signed up and participated in the giveway (I only had 687 followers, so if I was booted off Insta for breaking the rules, I wan’t really losing big).

But as far as I can tell, yes, giveaways are legitimate. There are certain rules you have to follow, which Dana Kilroy does an excellent job of outlining in her article on shortstack.

However, the legitimacy of a givewaway also depends largely on the organizer. It takes a lot of work to go through all the comments and follows to determine who actually followed all the rules. And then you have to take it a step further and use a random name picker if you really want to be fair about it.

And then there’s the whole issue about announcing the winner. If you post the winner’s name all over social media, the people who followed just to win will quickly unfollow and the whole purpose of the giveway (aka to gain followers) was all for naught.

What I Learned from Participating in an Instagram Giveaway

  1. I want to be the organizer. As I have realized with most things in my life, I prefer to be in charge, so if I were to do another giveway, I’d want to be the organizer.
  2. They’re kind of annoying. Personally, I wouldn’t want to participate in one of these giveaways. It’s annoying that I see 1 or 2 giveaway-related posts in my feed every day, but if I had to follow all those people hosting the contest, I think my feed would pretty much just be all posts about giveaways, which isn’t that interesting.
  3. Stay on brand. I joined a fashion giveaway (and by joined, I mean i was invited by my fashionable friend). While I do some fashion posts here or there, lately I post way more about home decor and (foster) parenting, so it probably would have made more sense to join a mom instagram giveaway group.

So, did I answer all your burning questions about Instagram giveaways?! Is there anything I didn’t cover? If so, ask me in the comments! Or be a pal, and follow me on IG 😉

Accepting Our First Foster Kid Placement

AKA We Said “YES!” To Our First Foster Child

Ever heard the saying “if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans”? That pretty much sums up the process leading up to our first foster kid placement.

What I thought placement would be like

Here’s what I thought would happen, based on classes, books, videos and conversations with other foster parents:

  • It would be 11 pm on a Tuesday
  • The phone would ring
  • The placement officer would tell us about a 6 month old who needed a home
  • An infant would be dropped off at 1 am
  • I would spend the next day calling every provider on the daycare list that I created and going to Target for a million baby things
  • The following day would be spent in court trying to determine what was going on with the case
  • I would call ELC every hour to see if they received the paperwork so I could take the baby to daycare and avoid missing yet another day of work
  • At some point I would get overwhelmed and burst into tears probably due to lack of sleep and most likely due to an incident not related to foster care at all, which would leave the receiving party utterly confused

What foster kid placement was actually like

  • I got a text on Wednesday afternoon that some local Tallahassee foster parents had a personal issue come up and they wouldn’t be able to foster for the long term
  • They wanted to make the process as smooth as possible to transition their almost 4 year old foster son to a new home
  • We set up a play date
  • They came to our home so we could all meet face-to-face
  • I had a week to get daycare and other paperwork sorted out
  • Any time I had a question, I was able to text the current foster mom and she answered immediately
  • 3 people who work in the foster care system all reached out to check on me, ask if I had any questions, explain what next steps would be etc. etc. etc.

I mean, HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?! I’m sure complications will ensue. For now I’m just thanking my lucky stars on a relatively smooth first placement process.

Can you ever really plan ahead as a foster parent?

All the pre-planning and preparations I made leading up to this point did nothing except to ease my rising fear of the unknown. If you’re making preparations, you really don’t have time to overthink and start panicking.

So I guess it wasn’t completely in vain.

In our pre-licensing class, every time someone would raise their hand and ask a question, the first response from the instructor would be “It depends. Every situation is unique.” which drove us all crazy. But it ended up being true.

This foster kid placement was different from the norm and not what we prepared for at all but…

On Friday we will officially be foster parents to a 4-year old boy.

List of Daycares in Northwest Tallahassee

The day we got certified to be foster parents, I started looking into daycare options since both my husband and I work full time.

As a foster parent, the state provides a voucher that can be applied toward the cost of daycare. However, not every daycare accepts the voucher. Additionally, of the daycares that do accept the voucher, the ones that are rated the highest fill up quickly. In fact, many daycares in town have waiting lists making it even that much more difficult to find last minute childcare when a kiddo shows up at your door one night and you have work the next morning.

Where to get a list of Daycare Providers

To be fair, the Early Learning Coalition (ELC), who handles some aspects of daycare for foster children in Tallahassee, will provide you with a list. However, it’s a complicated process.

First of all, the list of eligible daycares isn’t available on their website. There isn’t a form online to request a list (that I could find). There is one if you’re a typical parent but not for foster parents. Second, once you call and request a list, they only email you a list of 10, so if you want more than 10 daycare options, you have to call or email and ask for another 10.

Why I Created My Own List of Childcare Providers

Because of this, I decided to develop my own list. Since I live in zip code 32303, for this list I only include daycares in Northwest Tallahassee. However, I work in 32308 and plan to create a list of daycares in that area too. If there is enough interest, I may add daycare and childcare options in the other Tallahassee zip codes.


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Really, any Tallahassee parent or future parent can use this list, but I did call each daycare on this list to specifically ask if they take the ELC voucher for foster kids and I made note of it in the far column, so if you are a foster parent in the area, hopefully this will be a more comprehensive resource for you.

If you live in Tallahassee, please like this post and share it with your friends! I’ve got some other downloadable resources in the works that will be beneficial for parents living in the area.