1.8K total new REAL followers
291k impressions
29.5k unique impressions
18.6k profile visits
560 website clicks

As part of our overall marketing strategy for the 2019 California Rodeo Salinas, McLernon & Co. implemented a strategic growth campaign for the event’s Instagram page with two primary goals. 1) Specifically, increase follower count to 10K, and 2) more generally raise awareness for the Rodeo. Both goals were chosen specifically to drive the overall initiative of ticket sales for California Rodeo Salinas.

We strategically targeted a minimum goal of 10K followers, knowing that this amount would unlock the Instagram Stories ‘Swipe Up’ feature for California Rodeo Salinas. This feature allows for a direct link within a story post, which creates an extremely valuable avenue for a brand’s overall content marketing strategy.



California Rodeo Salinas was sitting at 8.4K followers a week prior to event. We did not only want to reach our goal of 10K but also provide the Rodeo with an authentic audience that would engage and stick (no bots here, because we keep social media social!).

Our strategy on the account growth centered around a prize giveaway through Instagram.

Instagram giveaways are an oversaturated marketing strategy that garners little participation if the audience doesn’t value the prize. Or alternately they attract a fleeting audience seeking the prize, but no relationship with the brand.

However, giveaways can bring unparalleled value for a brand when implemented properly alongside the right giveaway.

To combat the inherent strategic challenges, McLernon & Co. collaborated with California Rodeo Salinas on an extremely valuable giveaway prize that specifically enticed and excited the rodeo community of central California. Winners received a pair of VIP tickets inclusive of food and drink, as well as additional goodies and experiences for the four-day event.



The rodeo community is passionate and enthusiastic. To reach 10K followers, we made the initiative not only our mission but the mission of the community.

Our messaging was transparent and forward with the goal of reaching 10K and bringing the audience in as participants to help us get there. By entering the giveaway, people were helping the California Rodeo Salinas, steeped in tradition and celebrating its 109th year, reach a major milestone.

As an additional incentive, the number of winners would double if the account were to grow to the 10K mark by the end of the 5-day giveaway campaign.



Although we were executing an Instagram giveaway, we made sure to share messaging on the Rodeo’s Facebook account as well. By sharing on Facebook, and directing readers to the Instagram account for participation, we ensured the message was seen by a larger built-in audience.

Beyond the newsfeed and story posts of the giveaway, McLernon & Co. implemented guerilla tactics to get the word out. With boots on the (digital) ground, our message was strategically delivered to audience members that would participate and share.


Outbound Engagement

McLernon & Co. identified large clusters of audience through account followers, hashtags, and locations tags that we knew were already, or likely to be, bought into the California Rodeo Salinas brand and event.

Through direct messages to these Instagram users from the California Rodeo Salinas account, McLernon & Co. raised awareness of the giveaway and the collective community goal of reaching 10K and directed users to the initial newsfeed post for additional information.

The Salinas Sports Complex plays host to numerous events throughout the year, including a packed schedule leading up to the official kickoff of California Rodeo Salinas’s long weekend. One of the audiences McLernon & Co. targeted through guerilla outbound engagement was attendees of the Tim McGraw concert at the Salinas Sports Complex the weekend prior to the Rodeo.

With one of the biggest country music stars, Tim McGraw’s audience overlapped significantly with our target demographic. We had a captive audience engaged in Instagram, who were already onsite at the location of the upcoming Rodeo. McLernon & Co. connected individually via comments and direct messages with hundreds in this audience regarding the giveaway and goal.


Influential Support

In addition to McLernon & Co. creating direct connections with relevant users across Instagram, we used sponsors of the Rodeo as an additional resource. When the giveaway went live, we directly messaged sponsors of the Rodeo who are local to the Salinas community.

Our messaging was focused in two areas. 1) Thanking the sponsor for their support thus far, and 2) asking if they’d consider helping us get to 10K by sharing the giveaway post.

This allowed us to leverage other channels that the Salinas community already recognizes and supports.




We knew that the giveaway’s prize would be of high interest for all current followers, but our goal was to increase that overall number of followers on the account. So, we implemented strategic giveaway rules that would exponentially increase awareness and incentivize following every time someone entered.

  • You must be following California Rodeo Salinas on Instagram
  • You must tag 4 friends in the comments below
  • You must share this post to your Instagram Story and tag California Rodeo Salinas in your story

More awareness of the giveaway lead to more followers, who in turn created more awareness, and so on.

This created user-generated awareness of the campaign with a reach exponentially beyond the number of users we would have been able to engage on our own.


McLernon & Co. generated 1,800 new followers for California Rodeo Salinas during the 5-day giveaway. 1K new followers were gained within the first 24 hours, and the 10K goal was reached by day 3. Ultimately by the end of the rodeo, we grew the account to 11k.

Showcasing the incredible impact of guerrilla marketing, unique accounts-reached saw an increase of 276% over the week prior. This growth of 7.8K to 30K shows that 257% more users were reached during this time than the total number of followers that California Rodeo Salinas even had at the beginning of the campaign.

While total impressions compared to the week prior jumped a drastic 718% (+255K), we can further dial into the number of new users reached from the total number of profile visits.

Profile visits increased an incredible 2091% from the week prior. This increase, from 848 to 18.5K profile visits, produced a growth percentage significantly higher than that of impressions, indicating that the giveaway message organically reached numerous profile visitors from avenues other than their newsfeed.

Beyond spending a minimal amount on boosting the Instagram post, McLernon & Co. executed a 100% organic campaign focused on guerilla marketing tactics through Instagram.

When executed correctly, online giveaways can have a tremendous impact for brand awareness and following. If you’re looking to grow your online presence and reach new audiences, say hello and let’s discuss the best type of growth campaign for your business!