Tips for Crafting a Successful Influencer Gifting Campaign

Get to know what it takes to create a winning gifting campaign

Brand and influencer collaborations come in a wide variety of forms from paid posts to brand advocacy and affiliate programs. The right solution depends on the company's goal, target audience, budget, and influencers' strengths. As a result of their cost-effectiveness, influencer gifting campaigns are one of the most common forms of brand-influencer cooperation. These collaborations can serve as part of a comprehensive digital marketing strategy or as a short-term stand-alone project.

A gifting campaign can be a major break for businesses that want to improve their brand awareness on social media. In addition, they can be an affordable way to find new target customers. Despite all the benefits of influencer gifting collaborations, companies should keep in mind several factors to succeed with them. In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of building beneficial gifting campaigns from identifying the right influencers, to effective outreach, the importance of product fulfillment, and tips for monitoring performance.

What Are Influencer Gifting Campaigns?

Influencer gifting is a type of collaboration between brands and influencers based on free products and services. Simply put, the creator receives freebies and in return promotes them to their social media followers. It is ideal for brands that want to increase brand awareness, improve loyalty or build excitement around a product or service. This cooperation can be fruitful for both parties as it provides content material for influencers and turns people’s attention to the brand.

How can a gifting collaboration benefit both influencers and brands?

Let’s review in more detail how both sides can gain from this form of cooperation.

Benefits for brands:

  • Brand exposure is increased: Publicity is guaranteed whether you work with a few top-tier influencers or numerous micro-influencers. 

  • Genuine endorsements: Your brand gets authentic reviews and even shoutouts from trustworthy individuals. 

  • Cost-effectiveness: Compared to paid advertising, gifting is less expensive, although you still have to calculate the cost of production and fulfillment.

  • User-generated content: Combined with other influencer marketing solutions, like giveaways, giftings can generate ample UGC, growing engagement, and buzz.

  • Content re-usage: Content may be reused on other channels and in future projects if the brand agrees with the users on content rights.

Benefits for influencers:

  • Access to products and services: Through gifting, creators receive swag and can discover new brands to recommend to their audiences.

  • Opportunities for content creation: It is the product that provides the content, which can be a review, tutorial, or unboxing.

  • Can be combined with financial incentives: Brands often integrate gifting campaigns with incentive collaborations, like affiliate programs to motivate creators and drive sales.

  • Possibility to boost engagement: An authentic product endorsement will trigger the reaction of the audience and strengthen the influencer’s community.

Common Drawbacks of Influencer Gifting Campaigns

Apart from the advantages, you must consider the following disadvantages as well if you want to implement this approach in your online marketing strategy.

  • Lack of control over content: Businesses have less control over influencers’ content. If you establish your marketing efforts on sincere opinions, you may have to deal with some negative reviews.

  • Stock shortage: If you decide to work with many influencers at once, you must ensure that you have enough demo products in stock.

  • Shipping issues: The items need to be delivered to creators on time and undamaged. The more participants, the bigger responsibility you’ll have and the higher delivery expenses you’ll need to calculate.

  • Influencers’ individual impact on sales: It's difficult to attribute sales to a specific influencer, even if you use unique links or promo codes. There are some clients who purchase a product only after seeing it promoted by a few influencers and using a promo code from one creator. Even so, all influencers were involved in the sale because all of them had an impact on the customer's decision. It is therefore most common and accurate to analyze the effectiveness of a campaign as a whole.

What Type of Influencers Should You Choose for Gifting Campaigns?

Top-tier influencers aren't willing to accept smaller gifts for their work, so nano- and micro-influencers make sense for this campaign form. Nano-influencers have followers ranging from 1,000 to 10,000, making them the smallest in size but the largest tier on Instagram and TikTok. Micro-influencers have a following of 10,000 to 50,000 and are slowly becoming the next social media stars. Both types of influencers strive to preserve their authenticity and are slowly building their fan bases.

Their relatively new status as influencers makes them open to working with brands if they are compensated with free goods. This is a huge advantage for companies with limited budgets. Thanks to their relatable personality and by frequently interacting with their followers they are able to build a close-knit community whom they can mobilize much faster than macro- and mega-influencers.

Typically, lower-tier creators specialize in a particular field, so brands in a narrow niche have a greater chance of reaching the right audience. To ensure your campaign's success, you must find creators who understand your industry and whose values match yours.

In addition to all their positive qualities, you'll need many small influencers to achieve the desired impact with your campaign. Furthermore, you need to longlist three times as many creators, as you will need for the campaign, in case some individuals will be busy or decline your offer.

How to Find Influencers in Mass for Gifting Campaigns?

Partnering with multiple creators can amplify your brand exposure and improve your reach to a diverse audience. So how should you approach your influencer search? Scanning through social media manually? Enlisting influencer discovery tools or asking around your employees and customers? Each option could work. However, looking for a large number of creators without proper means will be wearisome. Here are some ways to find influencers in mass for your gifting collab:

  • Influencer marketing platforms: Many of these platforms have a massive creator database and discovery and recruitment tools for identifying and contacting influencers. Numerous filters help businesses to fine-tune their search based on the influencer’s size, audience demographics, ER, and topic. Some of the most popular platforms are:

    • HypeAuditor: HypeAuditor’s all-in-one influencer marketing platform offers one of the largest influencer databases with more than 68 million creators, along with market-leading creator discovery and analysis tools and influencer relationship management. You can sort influencers with over 30 filters, by keyword usage in their bio or content, or uncover trending creators in your niche at scale.

    • Upfluence: A 6.3M influencer database, with various search features across eight platforms.

    • AspireIQ: The platform’s search tool enables brands to vet influencers based on their audience demographics, content, and ER.

    • Traackr: An influencer marketing platform offering influencer discovery by checking hashtags and mentions, or refining the search with filters. 

    • Klear: Its influencer search tool and collaboration hub allow businesses to activate the right creators.

  • Social listening tools: Using these tools, brands can monitor social media content and communication connected to their niche and locate users who mention them. Even better, if you utilize tools created for influencer listening.

  • Influencer look-alike search tools: Businesses can use these tools to identify creators with similar characteristics and audiences to their existing influencers and ambassadors.

  • Unique landing pages: With a specific landing page, you can recruit and build a community of creators, as Sephora does.

  • Your customer database: Special tools, such as CRM tools, can help you identify potential influencers within your existing client database.

  • Industry events: Try offline networking and explore conferences, meet-ups, and festivals too.

Methodically vet influencers for the collaboration

As a next step, you must narrow down your list of creators to a manageable number. As influencers grow in number, managing the vetting and recruitment process will be more challenging. To save time and reduce manual labor and strain, consider using platforms with advanced filters and influencer CRM.

You can sift through candidates with advanced filters until you find those that match your gifting campaign’s criteria.

  • Ideally, you should focus on nano- and micro-influencers, so set the follower number filter between 5,000 and 50,000.

  • In 2022, nano-influencers had an average engagement rate of 2.53% on Instagram. Look for creators with an ER of more than 2%.

  • Check HypeAuditor’s proprietary metric, the Audience Quality Score, and examine creators within minutes by selecting those with a good or higher AQS.

  • Make sure more than 20% of the audience comes from your location.

Once you have a shortlist of influencers at your disposal, you can start contacting them with your campaign idea. The two approaches here are to use influencer management tools or spreadsheets. The former is easy to follow, helps you stay organized, and keeps your team updated on the outreach and relationship-building process.

Overall, influencer search and CRM tools help brands streamline creator discovery and analysis, plus enable tracking outreach and negotiation.

Build Trust with an Effective Influencer Outreach Strategy

So how do you attract creators to collaborate in your influencer gifting campaign? Let’s discuss influencer outreach and communication.

You compiled a list of prospects whom you can contact in several ways. Based on our outreach survey, creators prefer email and social media direct messages when brands approach them. Many influencers add an email address for business requests in their bios or about pages. If not, you can send them a private message or as another option, you may comment on one of their posts.

With so many messages to send out, we recommend you use email marketing softwares to automate a significant portion of your communication. They enable you to create a series of emails in advance making your outreach smoother and more efficient. Even so, spreadsheets and calendars will be necessary to coordinate the negotiation process. Since multiple influencers are involved, a comprehensive platform is a better choice. 

Send your first message through an influencer marketing platform with influencer outreach and relationship management features. If possible, segment influencers during your search based on their contact details into two groups. One group will consist of those whose email addresses are public, and another will consist of those who must be approached through social media.

Apart from searching for and contacting creators within one platform, create email sequences with introductory, follow-up, and other relevant emails to speed up communication. Remember, that you have to negotiate with numerous creators keeping in mind your offer and respecting their schedules. Manage the onboarding process through the suite to reduce errors and frustration.

Why personalization is key in influencer outreach

Our outreach survey revealed that more than half of the creators receive generic messages from brands. Building relationships requires making the effort of familiarizing yourself with the creator's content and tailoring your emails accordingly. Your messages should suggest that you like what they do and have already engaged with their posts in a way. Try to come up with a compelling subject line, introduce yourself and your brand briefly, mention why you picked them, and explain to them how they can benefit from the collaboration and what their followers can gain. Lastly, don’t get upset, if you don’t get a response right away. Follow up on your initial email after 3-5 days.

Introducing Your Product to Influencers, aka Product Fulfillment

As soon as you recruited a number of influencers you must start mailing out the products to them. Tips for smooth shipping:

  • Ensure creators have enough time to try out your product and address any questions they may have.

  • It’s best to select a trackable shipping method. 

  • Always notify influencers that their package is on its way. Keep in touch until they receive it.

  • Customize your product box for influencers.

How to package the product?

The most important point to consider is that the packaging is in line with your brand aesthetic. This helps you maintain professionalism and reinforces your brand’s image and messaging. To leave a lasting impression, you may use decorative components, like stickers, colorful ribbons, and tissue paper.

Tailor your box to the influencer. If you offer your product in more colors or sizes, discuss which one they prefer. Include a card with a personal message using their profile name and a short note thanking them for their efforts. As a result of these small gestures, your partnership will become stronger and influencers will be inspired to create higher-quality content.

One last thing: Looks are important, but it is also critical that the product is not damaged during shipping. Work with responsible delivery companies, and use durable materials and bubble wrap that protect the items.

Measure the Success of Your Influencer Gifting Campaign

We can’t highlight enough the importance of monitoring and evaluating performance. Data helps you improve your marketing strategy and future campaigns, you can optimize your budget for later campaigns and uncover well-performing creators and content types.

When it comes to influencer gifting, your goal determines exactly how you can measure success. If you aimed to grow sales, you can effectively track your campaign's progress:

  • Promo codes: Providing individual promo codes to influencers will facilitate calculating the number of purchases. Besides, you’ll see which influencer generates more sales and which products are the most popular.

  • Personalized links: Using unique links is another way of tracking the efficiency of your campaign. You can monitor the number of clicks and conversions and estimate your website traffic’s growth. Like in the case of promo codes, you’ll be able to specify best-selling items and top creators.

  • Integration with e-commerce platforms: By integrating your campaign with an e-commerce platform, such as Shopify, Magento, or WooCommerce, you will see the impact of your collaboration immediately.

If your goal is to improve brand recognition, expand your social media audience, or build loyalty, there are several ways to assess your cooperation’s effectiveness.

  • Additional campaign metrics: You can gauge the level of your brand’s exposure and engagement by monitoring reach, impressions, engagement rate, and follower growth.

  • Brand mentions: Want to know how often users talked about your brand or engaged with creators’ content on social media? Keep an eye on brand mentions and campaign hashtags.

  • Website traffic: Using analytics tools, like Google and Adobe Analytics will give you insights about the number of visitors, page views, and other critical metrics.

By keeping an eye on a range of metrics, you get an extensive view of your influencer gifting campaign’s performance and will be able to determine your weaknesses and strengths.

Rounding Things Off

When planned carefully and implemented properly, influencer gifting campaigns can help generate interest in a product and boost a brand's visibility. Remember to determine your objectives and partner with nano- and micro-influencers. Leverage tools and automate your processes, customize messages and parcels for creators and measure the results.

Want to partner with influencers who will be right for your brand?
Find the best creators with HypeAuditor Influencer Discovery and its 138M+ account database.
Anna is an influencer marketing expert and content marketing writer at HypeAuditor. She enjoys discovering new social media trends and features.
Topics:Influencer marketing basics Influencer marketing campaign types
March 27, 2023
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Anna is an influencer marketing expert and content marketing writer at HypeAuditor. She enjoys discovering new social media trends and features.
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Want to partner with influencers who will be right for your brand?
Find the best creators with HypeAuditor Influencer Discovery and its 138M+ account database.