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Everyone's a winner: What role does influencer marketing play in contests and giveaways?

by Joe Sinkwitz

April 21, 2022

I love contests and giveaways. Do you know who else like giveaways, swag, and free product? Peer influencers (sometimes referred to as nano or micro influencers). There are varying opinions on what defines a peer influencer in terms of audience reach, but for the sake of this article, let's say it is someone with 25,000 followers or less. There are literally entire platforms whose business model is dependent upon making peer influencers and their audience feel special with gift boxes and swag bags given away to reward completed surveys and randomized contest draws.

On those platforms, the small influencer wins by virtue of having received a free product worth bragging about to their audience, and the brand wins if the social bragging results in actionable KPIs being met on their campaign. Lastly, the network hosting the contests wins presumably on both ends by charging an advertiser-style fee, coupled with the information sales associated with those surveys.

The use of peer influencers within contests and giveaways extends well beyond randomized drawings for the sake of sample boxes. Even on simplistic platforms ideally suited for giveaways, such as Twitter, there are multiple ways to engage influencers.

Let's explore.

Seed the contest with some simple shares

Your giveaway doesn't have to be complicated. Most brands can see results quickly by running a simple Facebook share or retweet contest.

Twitter’s likes, tweets and retweets are ideal for contests, as they inject themselves into the peer audience's newsfeed. In aggregate, the pile-on effect of appearing in the target audience's newsfeed creates the compulsion to also get involved in the contest. This is less the case with Facebook, whose edge rank algorithm may distort and dampen virality of specific shared URLs. That said, brands can adapt for contests on Facebook by requiring users to “like” a business page and post a message related to the contest entry.

This is also how influencers are used most often within contests and giveaways: as seeders and amplifiers. You will see how this worked out for my own influencer marketing platform below.

Ask for engagement to extend the conversation

Similar to sharing, another simple way to inject into an audience's activity stream is via comments on existing posts. Within Twitter and Facebook, this works best if the audience is already following the entity associated with the initial post, but higher quality comments themselves can earn enough likes, retweets, and shares to assist the initial contest share campaigns.

Within Twitter specifically, using hashtags and specific keywords can assist in extending the reach beyond the initial conversation for those utilizing search features. An advanced option on top of this is to reference other influencers into the conversation with the @ function to amplify further, as this gaming brand encouraged.

Let influencers give away value

Influencers also love being able to offer giveaways to their own audience as it creates a sense of endearment and value, reinforcing an audience's decision to follow them.

To do this correctly, a contest will need to be structured in a way that encourages some sort of value exchange that is specific to the person sharing. For instance, if the contest entry allows for a specialty unlocked coupon on a product purchase for the audience of the influencer, then the influencer can both share their participation in the contest while showing gratitude to their audience in the form of a discount.

This works even better with giveaways where a randomized number of followers that perform a series of actions "win". It encourages interaction while the influencer gets to play the role of the hero by offering a discount code.

Tie it all to attention you want

Combine any of the above to encourage a viral loop which drives continuous referrals by adding a contest component to product launches, PR campaigns, or whatever you might want to highlight.

This isn't just theory.

At Intellifluence, we recently ran a cash giveaway using both Twitter and TikTok influencers as a way of introducing a new product feature and creating immediate use around it by those engaging in the giveaway, all while pushing virality through the use of shares and friend tagging. By the end of the contest, our posts received thousands of views, shares, and retweets bringing attention to our new feature and one lucky influencer won $10,000.

According to Kontest, an average of over 34% of new fans are acquired through a giveaway campaign. If you are looking to get the word out about your product or service, don't underestimate the power of the peer influencer-led contest or giveaway.


Social Media
Influencer marketing