Influencer Seeding: An Essential Guide for Brands

When it comes to building trust among potential customers, establishing credibility, and thus gaining market share in a competitive environment, brands can deploy multiple tactics, such as online paid ads, creating valuable content on various platforms, developing and implementing a strong branding plan, and harnessing influencer promotions. Influencer marketing has many forms as well, but its biggest advantage is that it provides social proof in the form of influencer- and user-generated content.

People usually consult family and friends before making a purchase. In addition, they pay attention to trusted sources on the internet, so if an influencer has gained a significant following and is considered an authority figure, their opinions are widely considered credible. One of the best ways to get trustworthy reviews and recommendations is through influencer seeding (also referred to as product seeding), a strategy we'll cover in this blog post. We’ll summarize the main aspects of this cooperation, what goes into a successful product seeding collaboration, and share with you our tips and tricks that help you scale your business.

What Is Influencer Seeding?

Product seeding is a collaboration type between companies and creators, where brands send free products or provide access to services to influencers or valued customers who share their impressions and experiences with users on social media. You might wonder how this partnership produces original content about businesses. Surely, all influencer-brand collaborations depend on contracts and money, right? Not at all. As part of product seeding, influencers are usually not compensated for posting about brands and aren't even asked to do so.

To understand why they still post about a business despite the above, let's first look at the main characteristics of this collaboration.

  • Less financial risk: Influencer seeding generally doesn’t include paying influencers, making it financially safer for brands.

  • Requires relationship building: Credible reviews don't grow out of quick acquaintances. Audiences are savvy. It will be evident if an influencer forcibly mentions your product. Before sending them your goodies, do your homework and look at their specialty and followers and engage with their content.

  • Doesn’t pay off immediately: Seeding is a game of time and patience. First, businesses have to get familiar with creators. In the same way, influencers need to try the products and write about them in such an engaging way that it spreads virally and ultimately produces the desired results.

  • Fulfills more goals: One of the main goals of seedings is to boost brand awareness. Nevertheless, if businesses develop a close relationship with influencers, they can grow their authority and earn users' trust, resulting in increased social media followers and even conversions.

  • Generates UGC and IGC: The content produced by this campaign type is genuine and organic, and companies are able to repurpose it in a variety of ways, after negotiating usage rights, of course.

What Brands Can Excel in Product Seeding Campaigns?

In keeping with its name, this campaign involves placing a product, so it is effective for companies that sell visually appealing and easily transportable items, whether they are e-commerce companies or niche businesses. The word-of-mouth effect of product seeding is an excellent way for fashion and beauty, tech, food, fitness, and wellness businesses to tap into the audiences of creators and put their new collections in front of widely interested people. With quality images, influencers can showcase your products and create anticipation among social media users or show them in use.

The budget-friendly aspect of influencer seedings enables emerging brands with budget restrictions to gain exposure and connect with their target customers in an authentic way. Furthermore, influencers and users generate valuable feedback about the latest products which helps start-ups and recognized companies refine the items and improve their strategy.

Ace Influencer Product Seeding with These 6 Best Practices

There are two things you need to keep in mind before you jump into this collaboration. Influencers don't all want products and services as rewards, and only 30 to 50% of those who receive your freebies post about it. You two have no contractual obligation because you offer your goods as gifts. Still, positive reviews and genuine excitement from creators can make your product stand out, therefore influencer seeding is definitely worth trying. Detailed below are six tactics to help you increase your brand's social media posts and mentions.

1. Work with creators who fit seeding campaigns

Look for influencers who are more likely to accept free stuff as compensation. A macro- or mega-influencer may prefer luxury goods as a gift or additional monetary compensation, but nano- and micro-influencers are still on the rise and willing to test your products. Moreover, lower-tier creators have a better relationship with their followers and put great effort into engaging with them. You can definitely expect them to promote your products to people with similar interests, and their posts will generate enough interaction. Although their ER may be much better than other influencers, their audience is much smaller, so recruit enough of them.

Your business has a good chance with niche influencers if you operate in a specific market. Besides being able to connect deeply with their followers, they are also enthusiasts of a particular subject and can create highly relevant, useful, and informative content. In addition, many niche influencers fall into the micro-influencer category, which makes them more affordable for brands.

Tools that help you in mass discovery

It is possible to search for influencers on each social media channel manually, however, this task can quickly become overwhelming if you have to find a large number of people. One way to identify a lot of creators simultaneously is by using influencer marketing platforms with filters that enable you to narrow down your search based on niche, size, demographics, geo, and interests.

The other way is to use social listening tools to search for relevant hashtags, keywords, and mentions and discover which influencers are talking about your business or your competition. These solutions analyze conversations on social media and provide insight into users’ emotions and give a clear picture of your brand’s Voice of Share allowing you to decipher your position in the market.

Another option is to create a landing page that corresponds with your campaign's idea and recruit creators that way. You should also look at your customer base, as they are already familiar with your products, and even recommend them to their friends.

2. Study influencers and their content before approaching them

It is essential to analyze influencers and their content, even for a paid campaign, but it is even more crucial for a campaign that is based exclusively on user-generated content. Influencers must be knowledgeable about the industry in which your company operates and have a close relationship with their audience. They should be a natural fit with your brand and be able to incorporate your product into their storytelling without seeming forced. Furthermore, you must examine their engagement rate, posting frequency, and Audience Quality Score. The AQS is HypeAuditor’s proprietary metric that combines four components and enables you to see the overall quality of an Instagram influencer based on their engagement and audience quality and authenticity and follower and following dynamics.

Now you might think that campaign development continues with outreach, which is the start of building relationships. Actually, no. Relationship building begins even before approaching influencers. Stay up-to-date with their social media activity and interact with their content. Liking their posts is the simplest way to do this. However, commenting or sharing their content on your channels makes you more likely to catch their attention.

3. Increase creators’ response rate with the right outreach

The knowledge gained through the influencer vetting process and the exploration of influencer posts allows brands to contact influencers in a memorable manner. Ideally, you should do this via email, if that's not possible, through DM.

Outreach dos and donts

  • Always personalize your message by using creators’ names and/or profile names and provide examples of their work you liked.

  • Give a short rundown of your business and yourself.

  • Emphasize what value they and their audience get if they team up with you.

  • Stay friendly and relatable.

  • Use CTA and ensure them you’ll answer all their questions.

  • Avoid sending dull, copy-pasted messages.

  • Don’t ask for anything in return for the freebies. (Remember, you are sending them goodies as a gift and you’re aiming for honest feedback and content.)

  • Evade sending them your brief and lengthy descriptions right away.

  • Don’t focus on what you can win from the collaboration.

Best tools for outreach and communication

Fortunately, there are excellent communication and outreach solutions. Email marketing platforms and automation tools simplify mass email sending and automate monotonous tasks. These tools allow you to create complex email series that contribute to building and nurturing relationships. Several influencer marketing platforms also have outreach, CRM, and email sequence capabilities. Consider choosing one that lets you manage influencer search, analysis, and communication all in one place.

4. Product selection and packaging

For an influencer who is discovering your sample for the first time, the packaging already holds a lot of weight. If you want your goods to stand out among the crowd, it matters that they are presented in a tasteful box that matches your company's identity.

You can further increase the WOW factor by sending products tailored to the creators that they will look forward to using. Choose your best-quality items and add a personal thank-you note to leave a lasting impression.

5. Monitor social media channels and measure your success

Influencer product seeding doesn’t guarantee that every creator will post after receiving your package. In spite of this, keep an eye out for seeded creators' social media posts mentioning your brand or product. Photo posts are a big success by themselves, but if you make a profound impact on them with your product fulfillment, you can expect more content, such as unboxing videos and product reviews. If an influencer mentions you to their social media followers, don’t hesitate to interact with them and start tracking how much engagement their content generates. You can monitor brand mentions, user sentiments, and website traffic as well. If you included a discount code in your note, you can easily track conversions too.

6. Keep on nurturing your partnerships and offer additional perks

Engaging with creators’ content during the campaign and providing them with additional materials can pave the road for long-term partnerships. Keep them informed about product releases, give them access to special events, invite them to write guest posts on your blog, send them tutorials, celebrate their success, and involve them in other collaborations.

Conclusion

If done right, influencer seeding can boost brand recognition and deepen customer trust with organic and authentic influencer reviews. There certainly will be some creators whom you won't hear back from once the product is shipped. But if you focus on details like personalizing messaging and packaging, reaching out to people who will like or use your products, and leveraging tools to streamline your work, you can expect the 30-50% posting rate that is typical of these collaborations.

Want to partner with influencers who will be right for your brand?
Find the best creators with HypeAuditor Influencer Discovery and its 139.1M+ account database.
Anna is an influencer marketing expert and content marketing writer at HypeAuditor. She enjoys discovering new social media trends and features.
Topics:Campaign TypesBasics
May 16, 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 139.1M+ account database.