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Kara WingerOctober 5, 2022 at 1:36 AM6 min read

How to do an Instagram giveaway with athletes


If you want to attract new customers, engage with your existing audience, and score points with the algorithm, you might want to consider an Instagram giveaway.

By donating a few products or experiences, you can easily recoup your costs and boost profits over the long term.

A study by Tailwind proved that brands that hold contests grow their followers 70% faster in three months than accounts that don’t hold Instagram giveaways. Due to their loyal fans and large social media presence, athletes are uniquely positioned to capitalize on promotional contests. This article will offer an informative explanation of how to do a giveaway on Instagram, highlighting best practices to gain and maintain loyal customers.

Why Instagram giveaways are successful

There’s something innate in human psychology that triggers an emotional response when we earn something for nothing. Psychologists call it the “zero price effect” and it is the primary reason people respond so strongly to Instagram giveaways. When there’s no cost and no risk associated with an enticing prize, consumers will gladly follow a new page or join an email list. 

Keep in mind that giveaways and contests have different legal definitions. Giveaways do not require a purchase, whereas contests can require fans to buy a product or meet certain criteria like uploading a photo or video.

Instagram giveaways with athlete influencers

Athlete influencers, especially women athletes, boast huge social media followings, making them perfect collaborators for Instagram giveaways. Because most sports require lots of gear and equipment, there are endless opportunities for business tie-ins. Everything from protein powder to running shoes and ice skates presents a huge addressable market, allowing athlete influencers to choose winners and losers in a competitive environment. 

Partnering with successful women athletes has a proven track record of boosting sales and growing brand awareness.

According to research from the Fan Project, women sports fans are a desirable demographic. In general, they are early adopters of new trends, tech-savvy, and more likely to accept messages from socially conscious brands. Consider that 70% of teens trust influencers more than traditional celebrities and you’ll understand why utilizing athlete influencers will benefit brands and athletes alike.

How to do an Instagram giveaway with athletes

repost-sandicheekspv-CWlu8myp9Mt              repost-sandicheekspv-CWlu8myp9Mt (1)Olympic pole vault medalist Sandi Morris for dog food brand, Spot & Tango. 

Now that we’ve established the benefits of partnering with women athlete influencers, let’s focus on the mechanics of a successful Instagram giveaway. The best contests are thoughtfully tailored to your product, business, and key demographic. Keep these elements in mind as you consider how to do a giveaway on Instagram.

Choose a goal for your Instagram contest

It might sound obvious, but not all Instagram contests have the same objective. Do you want to increase engagement on your Instagram posts, add new entries to your email list, or draw attention to a new product line? The answer to this question will determine the strategy of your Instagram giveaway.

If you’re planning to boost your follower count, remember that gaining too many disinterested followers can actually have a negative effect on your engagement, which will reduce your standing in the algorithm. Try to tailor your Instagram campaign to consumers who are actually interested in your brand. It’s worth nurturing fewer high-quality leads, rather than casting a wide net that includes disinterested parties. For instance, if your company sells athletic equipment, it makes sense to focus your giveaway on athletes and exercise enthusiasts.

Partner with the right athlete influencers

Discover the untapped marketing potential of women athletes. Get the guide.

Not all athlete influencers are created equal. Finding athletes that match your brand’s values will increase consumer trust and brand authenticity. For example, women’s sports fans are more loyal to brands that specifically invest in their communities. When Visa became the official sponsor of the U.S. women’s national soccer team, they experienced a +2,700% increase in brand engagement and brand affinity

It’s also important to engage with  BIPOC and LGBTQ+ athletes—not only is it the right thing to do, but it will also endear your brand to passionate groups who want to vote with their dollars. Athletes such as Megan Rapinoe, Simone Biles, and Naomi Osaka are all outspoken activists who have dominated their respective fields and also earned lucrative endorsements. Even if an athlete influencer doesn't have millions of followers, their fans will likely be responsive to an enticing Instagram giveaway.

Define your Instagram giveaway rules

Don’t rush through the fine print. It’s important to define eligibility, terms and conditions, and other criteria like closing dates and time zones. Is your target audience only in your home country or do you have a service that can be accessed worldwide? You can limit or expand the scope of the contest in your Instagram giveaway rules.

Be sure to comply with the law!

Look into local regulations on giveaways in your country, state, and municipality.

  • To qualify as a giveaway (as opposed to a contest), winners need to be selected randomly and there cannot be a fee to enter.
  • A contest can require an entry fee and judge entries based on performance.

Regardless of which method you choose, be sure to make the terms explicit in your Instagram post.

Pick the perfect giveaway items

Extensive preparation is useless if you don’t have a desirable prize that will attract the attention of consumers. The prize doesn’t always need to be expensive. It’s more important to create a sense of scarcity by releasing a limited-edition product or a personalized experience.

For example, you could offer fans a one-on-one phone call with an athlete influencer—audiences understand that a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to connect with someone is extremely valuable.

Pick a contest type

As previously mentioned, a sweepstake or giveaway usually has a low barrier to entry. If Instagram users follow a page and like a post, they are automatically entered into a random drawing. This is a great way to attract large numbers of people with minimal effort.

A contest, such as a photo contest or a video contest, requires users to upload brand-related content. Fewer people will participate in these contests, but the organic reach may go further because their followers will see user-generated content coming from a trusted source.

Plan your social posts

Take the time to develop a well-crafted Instagram post. Find a compelling picture showcasing your amazing prize and write a dynamic caption to hold users’ attention. Again, make the rules explicit, and don’t forget to tag your corporate sponsors in the post.

Track entries with a social media management tool

Most brands use a third-party social media contest platform to automate Instagram giveaways and simplify the process. Choose a platform that matches your needs to make the process easier.

  • Sweepwidget - Because it offers a comprehensive free version, many companies use Sweepwidget to support more than 90 entry methods and more than 30 social media platforms. In addition to its low cost and flexibility, Sweepwidget can be embedded in any website and features a dedicated WordPress plugin.
  • Woorise - You can start with a free trial to see if Woorise is a good fit for your brand. Its main selling point is additional lead generation capability so you can run quizzes and surveys and create lead-generating landing pages.
  • Outgrow - Use this highly customizable tool to integrate your logo, brand colors, and other identifiers into your Instagram giveaway. You can also optimize SEO settings and integrate with other apps like Hubspot and Active Campaign.

Athlete influencers can grow your audience with Instagram giveaways

As a tried and true method of driving attention to your brand, Instagram giveaways offer a low-risk, high-reward option for growing companies.

Take the time to plan a thoughtfully-crafted campaign and you can raise hundreds if not thousands of high-quality leads with a single giveaway. Partnering with an athlete influencer is a no-brainer due to their loyal fanbase and large social media followings.

Reach out today if an Instagram giveaway sounds like an awesome opportunity to help your brand grow! We can walk you through the process and even connect you with up-and-coming women athlete influencers.

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Kara Winger

Kara Winger is a four-time Olympian in the javelin, as well as a World Championships medalist and the current American record holder. She completed her final season as a professional athlete ranked #1 in the world (2022). She works at Parity as Senior Director, Integrated Marketing.