9 Ways To Collaborate With Influencers: A Complete Guide (With Examples)

February 20, 2024
14 min
Rochi Zalani
Content Writer, Modash
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Finding relevant influencers is only one part of a successful influencer marketing strategy. The next piece of the puzzle is determining the perfect type of collaboration for your brand. The ideal creator partnership will take into account your campaign goals, budget, and admin capabilities.

Wondering where you should start? Here are nine ideas to inspire your next influencer collaboration — with examples to boot and pro-tips to implement them!

1. Influencer gifting

Best for:

What it is: influencer gifting is giving away your products to creators for free. Unlike product seeding, though, there’s scope for asking something in return from the creator — whether it’s requesting them to join your affiliate program or writing an honest review. You can usually spot these posts with a #gifted hashtag.

Example: baby clothing brand Hunter & Oak regularly gift products to mom influencers (their target audience) and repurposes the influencer generated content for their own Instagram profile. They also share a discount code with each creator for their audience — which also makes it easy for them to measure ROI.

Pros and cons:

Pros and Cons
Pros Cons
Starts your influencer collaboration on the right foot — based on giving, not asking You can’t ensure every influencer you gift your product to follows your brand voice, since there’s no influencer brief
The only cost is your COGS Influencer gifting can be costly if you sell a luxury product or if your product’s COGS is extremely high
You can filter influencers who already match your brand voice and perform excellent If you aren’t strategic in finding the right creators for your brand, you might waste time, money, and resources on unfit influencer partners


✅ Find creators who’d be genuinely interested in your product.

Ask yourself, “Will the influencer’s audience benefit from my product?” If yes, the influencer will likely be interested in collaborating with you.

The best way to filter for relevant creators is by using an influencer search tool like Modash. It has a database of over 250M+ creators — listing every influencer with 1K+ followers across Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok.

Let’s say you want to find influencers whose audience overlaps your target customer. Your customers are female residents of the United States aged 18 – 24. You can apply these criteria in the “Audience filters” on Modash and get a list of influencers who meet your requirements exactly.

Similarly, you can also apply influencer filters if you’d only like to send your products to creators with a specific follower count, engagement rate, etc.

Pro-tip: don’t apply too many filters at once. Start with a couple and keep narrowing down your list slowly. This ensures you don’t miss out on any creator who’s an excellent fit for your brand.

✅ If you found the gifted post performed well, extend the collaboration by inviting the influencer to your affiliate program, recruiting them as a brand ambassador, or even doing a sponsored post.

2. Sponsored posts

Best for:

What it is: sponsored posts usually mean you pay a fixed fee to the influencer in exchange for a spot in their feed (or Stories, in the case of Instagram). But this type of creator collaboration has scope for a lot of nuance.

It can mean fixed fees, or it can mean performance-based commissions (using codes or affiliate links). Or a combination. It depends on things like: the tech you have available, the size of the influencer, and your negotiation skills.

Sponsored posts can be spotted with a “paid partnership” label or the “#ad” or “#sponsored” hashtag.

Example: Theresa Laine’s partnership with Logitech for Valentine’s Day is a perfect example of a sponsored post. The post is contextual, has a paid partnership label, and a limited-time discount code for followers.

Pros and cons:

Pros and Cons
Pros Cons
There’s less risk of the influencer flaking out or going off-script since you’re paying the influencer The audience might tune out sponsored content or consider it less authentic than organic content
There are a lot of possibilities on how you can play a sponsored post — you can ask for a spot in the feed, a Story or podcast mention, or a generous commission If you haven’t chosen the right influencer partners, sponsored posts can cost you money and give a negative return


✅ Always use an influencer analysis tool like Modash to check a creator’s previously sponsored posts and verify if they perform well. This will help ensure you invest your money and resources in the right creator.

✅ Partner with a variety of influencers simultaneously — like during a new product launch. An audience’s feed often overlaps with the same niche of creators. When they see everyone talking about your product, your brand’s name will stick and they’ll be more likely to give you a shot.

✅ Mix and match other types of posts with sponsored posts. For example, you could build an affiliate program requiring creators to share sponsored posts across their platforms monthly.

✅ Make a solid influencer contract before entering into a partnership. Include details about usage rights, compensation structure, and payment details to keep things documented and clear from the beginning.

✅ Provide influencers with loose guidelines without restricting their creative freedom. Remember, they know what clicks best with their audience.

3. Giveaways

Best for:

  • Boosting conversions
  • Enticing specific customer actions
  • Running a high-touch influencer marketing campaign

What it is: giveaways are a collaboration type where an influencer distributes free merch from your brand to their audience in exchange for a specific action from them. For example, an influencer could ask their followers to enter a contest, follow your brand account, and tag their friends to win free products from your company. Giveaway posts mention the details about how to enter the competition, information about the prize, and sometimes a #giveaway hashtag.

Example: Sonia partnered with Joker & Witch for their “Love Is In The Pair” campaign. The rules to enter are simple — following the brand & the creator account, interacting with the giveaway post, and tagging two friends. At the time of writing this, the post had been live for 19 hours with over 1K+ likes and 290+ comments.

Pros and cons:

Pros and Cons
Pros Cons
You see a spike in engagement quickly as the audience swarms to enter the limited-time contest before the due date The leads might dry up after the giveaway ends as some people might’ve only interacted with your brand to win free products
You can prompt a new audience to take any action that benefits you directly — whether it’s signing up for your email list, following your brand account, or tagging a friend There’s a risk of fraud associated with giveaway posts. Some participants might try to engage in deceptive activities to increase their chances of winning — undermining the credibility of the giveaway post
Giveaway posts usually see much more engagement than other forms of collaboration posts The cost of the prize is an additional cost associated with a giveaway collaboration


✅ Ensure the influencer explains the submission guidelines and the prize clearly — including details like who’s eligible to participate, what they’d get, how to enter the giveaway, the start & end date, and how the winner will be contacted.

✅ Couple your giveaway post with a milestone for the influencer. For example, many influencers run a 10K, 50K, 100K followers giveaway. Or you could run the giveaway at an occasion like Christmas or Valentine’s Day and market your products in the context of the festivities. Doing this boosts your chances of getting even more engagement on the collaboration post.

✅ Have crystal clear KPIs to determine whether your giveaway post was successful or not.

4. Brand ambassador program

Best for:

  • Building long-term creator relationships
  • Converting influencers to brand advocates
  • Getting a deeper commitment from influencers

What it is: when an influencer partner graduates, they become your social media ambassador. They don’t just do posts about your brand on social media — they embody your values, become your company’s spokesperson, and don’t take on offers from your competitors. If you compare brand ambassadors to influencers, you’ll notice their dedication and loyalty to your brand is much higher. As a result, their partnership posts come across as much more authentic and natural than a one-off collaboration post. You’ll notice these posts often have the #brandambassador or #[company name] partner” hashtag.

Example: skincare brand CeraVe has a lot of brand ambassadors who consistently promote their products using the #CeraVePartner hashtag. Their brand ambassadors include various types of influencers — from lifestyle creators like Niamh Adkins to certified dermatologists like Dr. Adeline Kikam.

Pros and cons:

Pros and Cons
Pros Cons
Brand ambassadors have a much deeper allegiance to your brand than influencer partners Building and running a successful brand ambassador program may require setting up tons of systems, guidelines, and admin work
Your partnerships come off as more genuine and trustworthy than a standard influencer partnership If a creator’s reputation goes south, your brand reputation might get affected too — since your brand and the influencer are strongly associated with each other


✅ Have a “test run” before upgrading an influencer to a brand ambassador. Form a long-term influencer collaboration, measure performance, work ethic, etc., and then move them from a creator to a brand ambassador (if they pass).

✅ Brand ambassadors can act as your personal feedback channel, event promoters, and panel moderators — don’t limit their collaboration to social media alone.

✅ 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.

💡 Learn more: How To Build A Brand Ambassador Program In 7 Easy Steps: The Ultimate Guide (With Examples)

5. Account takeovers

Best for:

  • A low-commitment influencer collaboration
  • Forming a mutually beneficial partnership‍
  • Generating influencer content on your brand’s socials

What it is: account takeover is when an influencer posts from your brand’s social media account. They announce the date and time in advance to their followers so the audience can interact with them via your brand’s account. The creator can post in-feed posts, answer frequently asked questions, or do a series of posts on a specific topic.

Example: Aliza Eliazarov’s collaboration with chicken brand My Pet Chicken is a commendable example of an account takeover influencer partnership. The creator posted her chicken portraits from the brand’s account throughout the day. She also informed her followers to stay tuned to My Pet Chicken’s brand page during the takeover.

Pros and cons:

Pros and Cons
Pros Cons
You get a direct funnel to the influencer’s audience as the creator redirects them to your account There might be some security risk with giving your account access to a creator if you haven’t vetted their influencer profile thoroughly
You get influencer-generated content on your brand’s social media page The reach maybe limited compared to other collaboration types as not all of the influencer’s followers will show up during the account takeover
Your brand’s social content gets spruce as the creator brings their own voice and face into it You may have to relinquish some control over how you interact, post, and engage as a brand with your followers when a creator takes over your account


✅ Decide on your takeovers' format, duration, and content 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.

✅ Make account takeovers a win-win partnership by helping the influencer promote something they’ve recently launched (that they might want to expose to your followers).

✅ Promote your takeover multiple times 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.

6. Content collaboration

Best for:

  • When you want valuable backlinks to your website
  • Talking about your brand on a creator’s profile using your own words
  • When you have the time to create content for the creator’s profile yourself

What it is: content collaboration is partnering to create content in exchange for promoting your brand. For example, you go as an expert guest on one of your industry’s podcasts hosted by a key opinion leader. Or you could write a helpful article on your industry’s leading blog to get some valuable backlinks to your website. 

Example: a great example is Zapier’s guest post by L. Michelle Smith, the founder of media and consulting company, no silos communication llc. Michelle 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.

On social media platforms (specifically Instagram), content collaboration can often look like Collabs posts where two accounts (brand and creator) co-author a post. The below post by influencer Waliya Najib, in partnership with HERBeauty, is a good example.

Pros and cons:

Pros and Cons
Pros Cons
You get to talk about your brand in your own words There’s a ton of upfront work — doing personalized influencer outreach, pitching your idea, and creating content
You can speak to a new audience directly rather than communicating via an influencer You might have to pitch various places multiple times to land a spot in the best blog, podcast, etc.


✅ 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 barely gets 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 can respond to readers' comments or chat with listeners, don’t miss it. It creates an additional opportunity to talk to potential customers directly.

7. Commercials

Best for:

  • Large budgets
  • Collaborating with famous influencers
  • Extending partnerships with existing influencers

What it is: commercials are when you partner with an influencer for a classic ad. It’s best for mega-influencers who are household names in your industry.

Example: The Beard Struggle frequently shoots social commercials with its influencers — showing their product in action and how their influencers use them.

Pros and cons:

Pros and Cons
Pros Cons
You get backed by a popular influencer and earn the goodwill of the audience that follows them Shooting commercials and paying mega-influencers can be expensive
You can use the commercial in other forms of traditional advertising — like banners or television ads — to have a familiar face in your advertisements Commercials can come across as less authentic compared to other types of collaborations


✅ Find an influencer who’s famous in your niche. A fashion influencer — no matter how popular — promoting a health product will not have the same effect as a niche influencer.

✅ 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.

✅ 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.

8. Product collaboration

Best for:

  • Large influencer marketing budgets
  • Collaborating with big-name influencers
  • Leveling up brand ambassador programs

What it is: product collaboration is when you co-create a new product or launch a new line in partnership with the influencer. Depending on what you sell, the influencer may partake in designing the product, or they might only handle promoting it since it’s under their name. Either way, in most cases, it’s primarily up to you to manage the production and delivery of the products and upon the creator to promote them.

Example: Molly Mae has a collection under her name with the hair enhancement brand, Beauty Works. She’s the face of all the products shown under this collection and also has product tutorials showcasing how exactly she uses the items listed.

Pros and cons:

Pros and Cons
Pros Cons
An influencer has much more skin in the game if you sell a product under their name — thus increasing their motivation to promote your products You must reserve this type of collaboration with limited influencers — the ones you trust and who are reliable to hold their end of the bargain
There’s much more trust among the influencer’s audience surrounding your products if you launch a new product range with the creator (versus doing a few sponsored posts) Launching a product together involves a ton of upfront costs and stakes in maintaining the brand image


✅ Give influencers the creative lead in designing the collection. Giving an influencer so much control might seem scary, but the results would be worth it — an influencer knows what would work best with their audience.

✅ 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 arrive 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:

  • Boosting brand exposure
  • Getting more attendees to your event
  • Attracting a large number of influencers

What it is: hosting events is a type of influencer collaboration where your company hosts an event (a conference, a meetup, etc.) and invites creators in your niche to be a part of it. In exchange, they can post content about the event and promote it in advance. You can also invite influential thought leaders as speakers to your event.

Example: creator Jade Beason attended and posted content around YouTube’s Made on YouTube event. It’s a perfect (and meta?) example of how influencers can boost brand awareness and the reach for your event.

Pros and cons:

Pros and Cons
Pros Cons
You can boost brand awareness and generate hype about your company event simultaneously If you aren’t finding local influencers, you might have to incur additional costs for meals and accommodation
You can partner with a ton of influencers at the same time by inviting all of them to your event You might have little to no control over what creators post and don’t post from the event


✅ Give influencers enough lead time before the event so they can cause enough excitement during the ticket sales.

✅ 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).

“The one” influencer collaboration doesn’t exist

You’ve read about nine different types of influencer collaborations. (Want more? Here are another 8 examples for you!). But all these partnership styles 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.

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.

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.

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