Finding influencers who have the perfect audience for your product is a big task in itself. Even once you've done that though, what's next?
What kind of campaign should you set up? Which type of collaboration will work best for your product?
Here are 9 different ideas to inspire your next influencer collaboration — with examples to boot and pro tips to implement. Let’s go! 👇
1. Influencer gifting
Best for smaller budgets, getting product reviews, and opening the door to long-term relationships
Influencer gifting (similar, but not the same as, product seeding) is giving away your product to influencers for free with no strings attached or in exchange for a product review.
Then, why the heck should you do it? It’s a way to start your influencer relationships on the right foot — where the collaboration is based on giving, not asking.
Not to mention: You can easily filter out which influencers genuinely love your product when they post about you for free.
For instance, look at beauty brand Conair’s gifting campaign with the hashtag #UnboundBeauty during the launch of their cordless product line.
Ashlee and many other beauty influencers posted honest reviews of the product in exchange.
The best part about influencer gifting? Your partnership with the influencer comes across as more authentic — the audience knows the influencer isn’t getting paid to preach praises of your product, so the influencer review must be true.
✅ Find the right social media influencers in your industry who’ll be genuinely interested in your product.
A good way to test this is to ask yourself, “Will the influencer’s audience demographic benefit from my product?”
The fastest way to find influencers with the right audience is by using an influencer discovery tool like Modash. You can filter the database of 200M+ creators to see only those who have audiences in your target market. You can also add filters related to the influencer too (e.g. their engagement rate, follower count, and more).
✅ Personalize and brand your packaging using services like Arka. The more you research the influencer, the more you increase your chances of getting a free post.
✅ If the one-off post was successful, extend the partnership by offering a commission, affiliate link, or base fee and continue the collaboration.
✅ If you plan on re-sharing influencer posts on your social media channels, ask for permission before doing so and give them the credits.
✅ Measure the success of your gifting campaign. How would you know if influencer gifting generated a positive return on investment for you? Set up a monitoring campaign in Modash to automatically track who posted, and how much reach & engagement each post received.
2. Sponsored posts
Best for one-off deals, building social proof, and generating influencer content
You’ve seen them before, haven’t you? An influencer posting about a brand with the hashtag #ad or “paid partnership with [brand name]” header — like this post by Jass Stupak, an entrepreneur, and nutritionist influencer, collaborating with supplement brand Genuine Health.
It’s undoubtedly the most popular type of influencer collaboration — sponsored posts on Instagram have jumped from 1.26 million in 2016 to 6.12 million in 2020.
A sponsored post is an influencer posting about your brand in exchange for a fee. You can enter a regular, long-term collaboration where the influencer posts about your brand multiple times in various formats like Instagram posts, Instagram Reels, and Instagram Stories. Or it can be a one-off post where you pay an influencer to post about your brand once.
And sponsored posts are no longer limited to social media:
- Frigidaire sponsored a blog post on the recipe blog, The Kitchn.
- Tim Ferris regularly talks about the sponsors on his podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show, including Eight Sleep, GiveWell, and Athletic Greens.
- Klaviyo and other prominent e-commerce brands partner with the DTC newsletter for sponsored email content.
- BetterHelp sponsored YouTuber Sadia Badiei’s video for the mental health awareness month.
At the risk of a cliché, the possibilities of sponsored influencer partnerships are endless.
✅ Partner with a variety of relevant influencers at the same time — for example, during a product launch. Why? It’ll boost your presence in your target audience’s feed and increase your chances of profits. Your target customers would think, “I should probably try this product. Everyone's talking about it!”
✅ Give your influencers a barebones structure of what you expect from them — including a brief, content guidelines, and call-to-action. But don’t give too stringent rules that limit the creative freedom of the influencer. Remember, they know what works best with their followers.
✅ Make a solid contract before entering into a partnership with any influencer — including details about repurposing the influencer content they create for you, a free round of revisions on their sample posts, and compensation expectations.
✅ Find influencers whose target audience aligns with yours and ensure they haven’t purchased fake followers. Use Modash's fake follower tool to check fake followers with a few clicks — more than 25% could be a sign of fraud.
✅ Continue monitoring your influencer marketing campaigns for different influencers and double down on the methods and influencers giving you the maximum ROI.
Best for requesting specific customer actions, boosting conversions, and running a high-touch influencer marketing campaign
Giveaways are when an influencer asks their followers to do a specific action for entering a contest where they get a chance to win free merch from your brand.
What actions can an influencer prompt their audience to do? Common ones include signing up for an email list, following your brand account, and tagging a friend.
The post includes details of the giveaway — like when the winner would be announced, what they would get, and a step-by-step process to enter the giveaway.
This collaboration between food blogger Kylie Perrotti and spice kit brand Homiah Foods is a good example.
Giveaways are your best shot at getting qualified leads quickly. An Instagram contest or giveaway can help you grow your followers 70% faster in three months than if you didn’t host a contest at all, according to a study by Tailwind.
Remember: You might see the leads dry up after the giveaway is over. Why? Some people would follow your brand only to win free products and go back once the possibility of it subsides.
✅ Have crystal clear goals and KPIs for your giveaway to increase your chances of success.
✅ The influencer must explain all guidelines clearly — who’s eligible to participate, what they would get, how to enter the giveaway, the start & end date, and how the winner will be contacted.
✅ Obtain permission from the participants if you plan on reusing their user-generated content for the giveaway.
✅ Encourage people to partake in your giveaway with a clear and consistent call to action.
✅ Be creative in what you decide to give for free — it should be compelling enough to entice people to action and fit your audience’s needs.
4. Brand ambassador program
Best for building long-term creator relationships, converting influencers to brand advocates, and getting a deeper commitment from influencers
A brand ambassador is one step ahead of the influencer — they’re your long-term partner paid to consistently promote your brand on social media, embody your brand’s values, and act as your company’s spokesperson.
Unlike an influencer, they won’t partner with competitors. So their commitment to your brand would be much more authentic, solid, and loyal.
For instance, take influencer Alyssa Marie, who is part of the jewelry company Pura Vida’s ambassador program. She has created a whole new Instagram page promoting the company’s products and encouraging the audience to use her custom discount code.
That is the dedication you get when collaborating with influencers as brand ambassadors.
✅ Only make your most trusted influencers your brand ambassadors, so you’ve had a “test run” before committing to a long-term partnership.
✅ Make your membership program exclusive. Don’t let anyone and everyone become your company’s brand ambassador. You want only those influencers who genuinely love your product and align with your values to become brand ambassadors.
✅ Offer product updates and support to your brand ambassadors. Help them help you — equip them with insider info, assets, and the help they need to promote your products.
✅ Brand ambassadors can act as your personal feedback channel, event promoters, and panel moderators — don’t limit their collaboration to social media alone.
✅Offer suggestions to your brand ambassadors about what they could improve by tracking how their posts perform. Use tools like Modash to quickly check engagement rates.
Read more: How To Build A Brand Ambassador Program In 7 Easy Steps: The Ultimate Guide (With Examples)
5. Account takeovers
Best for low-commitment influencer collaboration, generating influencer content on your brand’s socials, and forming a mutually beneficial partnership
Account takeovers are when an influencer posts content from your brand’s account directly. How does this benefit you?
Influencers announce they’ll take over your account for a fixed time in advance on their social media handles and funnel their audience in your direction.
Not just this: Your social media team can rest for a day because the influencer will do the content creation for you.
For example, take the influencer collaboration between photographer and author Aliza Eliazarov and the chicken brand My Pet Chicken.
Aliza posts throughout the day with her chicken portraits and promotes her book along with it. She also informs her followers to stay tuned to My Pet Chicken’s brand page during the takeover.
My Pet Chicken gets new followers aligned with its target customers. Aliza sparks interest in her book to a newer audience. Win-win.
✅ You can either give an influencer your social media account access or ask them for the post, caption, and hashtags and do the job for them. Either way, pick an influencer you trust and whose voice you’d like on your social media page.
✅ Choose an influencer whose followers align with your target customers to get relevant traffic to your social media handles. Use Modash’s influencer analytics tool to get this intel at your fingertips with a few clicks — simply add your target audience’s details and get a curated list of influencers who meet that criteria.
✅ Decide on the format, duration, and content of your takeovers in advance. How long will the takeover run for? Will the influencer post image or video content? How many posts will the influencer make throughout the day? Clear all the details before running the takeover to avoid any mishaps on your social media feed.
✅ Promote your takeover over and over to create excitement and gain more eyeballs. Create a sense of urgency around the time-boxed takeover to direct new followers to your account. Building a new hashtag around your takeover like “[influencer name] x [your brand name]” can boost the hype along with making the collaboration content easy to find.
✅ Let the influencer add their own voice to your brand’s social media page. You can offer general guidelines and outline an approval process, but don’t chain the influencer to overlap exactly with your brand tone.
6. Content collaboration
Best for when you want to talk about your brand in your own words, have the time to create content yourself, and want valuable backlinks to your website
Have influencers or key opinion leaders in your industry who create blog posts or accept podcast guests? You’re sitting on a great opportunity. Content collaboration is when you post on someone’s blog or give a podcast interview for free in exchange for promoting your brand.
The best part? You can talk about your brand in your own words and speak to consumers directly. Sure, the medium would be through the influencer’s website or podcast, but you have much more control here than other forms of collaboration.
The catch? It can take a lot of time and resources to successfully land a guest post or be accepted as a guest on a popular podcast.
You have to find relevant influencers who accept guest pitches, pitch your idea, and create the content — all by yourself.
The payoff is worth it, but remember to take into account the upfront work that goes into it.
For example, take this Zapier guest post by L. Michelle Smith, the founder of media and consulting company, no silos communication llc.
She shares helpful information about how brands can create social media content that sells and shares results she’s garnered for her clients. She’s able to share her story in her own words, talk about what’s important to her, and get valuable backlinks from Zapier.
Similarly, Mélanie Masarin, the CEO of a non-alcoholic drink brand, Ghia, shared her journey as a guest in the DTCPod.
✅ Find publications and podcasts with high engagement. Ask for the domain rating, number of listeners, and/or traffic metrics before agreeing to a guest collaboration. You don’t want to waste so much effort on creating content if it’d barely get you any results.
✅ If you’re opting for a guest blog post — submit a killer piece. If your writing skills aren’t the best, hire a ghostwriter.
✅ Discuss the nitty-gritty of your brand promotion before writing the post or setting a time to interview. Many publications put a cap on the number of links you can add for self-promotion — you want to know about that in advance to determine if the website or podcast is a right fit.
✅ Engage with the commentators and listeners of your guest post. If you have the option to respond to comments from readers or chat with listeners, don’t miss it. It creates an additional opportunity to talk to potential customers directly.
✅ Make your content informative. The intent here is to educate and provide valuable intel about your pitch. Don’t be too salesy and direct — people see right through it.
Best for large budgets, collaborating with famous influencers, and extending partnerships with existing influencers
Influencers have shed the chains of social media and made it to the big screen. If you’re partnering with an influencer who’s a big name in the industry, has millions of followers, or has gone viral — it’s your chance to take them on TV.
For example, Indian influencers Yashaswini Dayama and Ahsaas Channa starred in a television ad for tech giant HP.
But you don’t need to take influencers as far as the television — especially if you don’t have TV ads in your marketing strategy. The Beard Struggle frequently shoots social commercials with its influencers — showing their product in action and how their influencers use them.
If your brand has a big-name influencer's budget and goodwill, try incorporating their presence into more traditional advertising — like TV ads, banners, and branded advertisements.
✅ Unlike a celebrity, an influencer cannot successfully promote every kind of product. You can’t choose a fashion influencer to promote a stationery product. Find an influencer in your niche.
✅ Keep the influencer’s personality intact in your ads. People love the influencer for their individual voice — keep the relatability and familiarity factor high to see success.
✅ Ask influencers to post the ads on their social channels for increased reach. The bonus? Consumers will start to associate the influencer with your brand.
✅ Tie your advertisements around a theme, occasion, or product launch to get your audience excited and derive the maximum benefit from this form of influencer partnership.
✅ If your pocket is deep enough, hit the golden spot by combining a celebrity influencer and a macro or mega influencer in one ad. It’ll double your audience reach — including the masses and the niche community — and also give your potential customers something fresh.
8. Product collaboration
Best for large influencer marketing budgets, collaborating with big-name influencers, and leveling up brand ambassador programs
Ever had an influencer drum up so much attention for your brand that you thought of naming a collection after them?
That just might be a great influencer collaboration idea: Co-create new products or launch a new product range in partnership with the influencer.
Take influencer Molly Mae — she partnered with luxury hair enhancement brand Beauty Works to create an entire collection under her name.
It’s a win-win situation where an influencer gets more stake in their partnership with you, and you receive more and more engagement because the audience trusts the influencer and their products.
✅ Launching a product together is high stakes — in budget and brand image. Reserve it for large influencers who you trust to ensure a positive ROI.
✅ Give influencers the creative lead in designing the collection. It might seem scary to give an influencer so much control, but the results would be worth it — an influencer knows what would work best with their audience.
✅ Tease the potential big collaboration and encourage the influencer to do the same on social media. It’ll get people talking and boost word-of-mouth brand awareness.
✅ Partner with influencers who you’ve worked with in the past. Ideally, an influencer should have done a few types of collaborations with you, become a brand ambassador, and then arrived at the product collaboration stage. A long-term partnership will also feel more authentic to your audience.
✅ Mention the manufacturing details, distribution strategy, and revenue share clearly in your influencer contract to avoid misunderstandings.
9. Hosting events
Best for attracting a large number of influencers, getting more attendees to your event, and boosting brand exposure
If you host many events, conferences, or webinars, you can partner with influencers to draw more attendees and increase brand awareness.
Hosting events also gives you a chance to invite a large pool of potential influencers and provide them with an opportunity to experience your brand.
Take influencer Steph Tom promoting Urban Decay’s Summer Solstice Festival along with sharing her discount code.
✅ Collaborate with influencers whose followers are aligned with your target audience to generate relevant buzz for your event.
✅ Give influencers enough lead time before the event so they can cause enough excitement during the ticket sales.
✅ Share unique discount codes or affiliate links for the tickets to incentive influencers to promote your event.
✅ Have an event hashtag to gather all influencer-generated content quickly.
✅ Make your event aesthetically appealing so more and more influencers are keen on sharing pictures and videos of your event (even if you aren’t partnering with them yet).
Which collaboration method is the one for you?
You’ve seen nine types of influencer collaborations. (Want more? Here are another 8 examples for you!) The right fit depends on your marketing goals, budget, and resources.
We would always encourage you to work on building long-term performance-based relationships. One-offs like sponsored posts or gifting can be a great way to kick off a relationship. If they're successful, try developing those partnerships further with an ambassador program or a CPA/commission-based payment model.
All these methods might work for your brand for different purposes at different times. The key is aligning them to your present marketing objectives, finding the right influencer, measuring progress, and doubling down on what works for you.
Luckily, you don’t have to do the grind manually. Modash can help you discover the best influencers for your brand, vet their profiles & audiences, and monitor how your campaigns are running — all in one place.
Get a 14-day free trial to give it a spin.