More marketers and D2C brands are trying influencer marketing than ever before—and for good reason. The authentic content it provides is the perfect way to generate buzz and drive sales. Not to mention it’s one of the most cost-effective strategies available to modern marketers.
But as more brands enter the influencer marketing space, it’s more challenging than it used to be for brands to keep their influencer campaign ideas fresh and engaging. And depending on how much influencer content your brand produces, you may even feel like the thrill of influencer marketing is sometimes gone.
Whether you run dozens of campaigns a month or are just getting ready to try influencer marketing for the first time, here are some strategies to consider as you strive to keep the fire alive and the brand love flowing for your target audience.
Tips for executing your next successful influencer marketing campaign
1. Hold a contest or giveaway.
Holding a contest or giveaway is a great way to increase engagement with your brand or generate buzz for a new release. The best part is you can easily tailor your contest or giveaway to help you achieve specific goals.
Looking to build your audience? Require participants to give you a follow in order to win. Want to expand your reach? Ask your followers to share the post with a few friends. You get the idea.
Get your influencers involved, too. By asking your content creators to host the giveaway rather than your brand, you can leverage the trust they’ve built with their audience to encourage more participation.
2. Leverage unboxing videos and reviews.
ruined them 10hours later at the arctic monkeys concert but anyway 👍🏼
Everyone loves getting something in the mail. And it turns out that tons of people even love watching people get something in the mail.
Next time you send your creators some products, encourage them to unbox their gift on camera. Bonus points if they’re willing to give their haul a review, as well.
3. Start a brand ambassador program.
Brand ambassadors and influencers share a lot in common but have a few key differences:
- Brand relationship: Brand ambassadors generally have an exclusive relationship with the brands they promote, while traditional influencers might promote multiple brands simultaneously.
- Commitment: Brands usually expect their ambassadors to share the love for the long haul.
- Scope: Brand ambassadors often promote their partners across multiple channels—including in-person events—while influencers tend to stick to social media.
4. Let your influencers ‘take over.’
If you have an influencer that’s up to the job, consider letting them “take over” your brand’s social media account for a bit.
For example, let’s say you’re a fashion brand attending a red carpet event. Having one of your favorite fashionistas go live or post updates from your branded accounts can be a great way to leverage their expertise and provide an engaging and unique experience for your followers while giving your creator some extra exposure.
5. Embrace the holidays (or make up your own).
@snipingfordom Today is #nationalpizzaday and @Papa Johns brought out a new pizza! Parmesan crusted pizza! Let’s review it! #papajohns #parmesancrusted #foodie #foodies #foodtiktok #foodlover #pizza #ohheyjack ♬ original sound – SnipingForDom
Brands should always take advantage of busy holiday shopping seasons. Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and, of course, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the big ones for ecommerce brands.
But there’s nothing stopping you from making up a holiday of your own. National Pizza Day? Yes, please. National Margarita Day? Sign me up.
If you have a product people love, create a special occasion around it. And don’t forget to leverage your influencers to help spread the word.
6. Publish a gift guide.
@clararpeirce i think gift giving is my love language #greenscreen #giftideas #giftguide #wishlist #christmaslist ♬ It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas – Michael Bublé
Speaking of holidays, publishing a gift guide is a great way to get your products in front of people during busy shopping seasons. Don’t feel like you have to limit your guide to December shoppers, though. Quarterly gift guides are also popular for brands to show off their latest seasonal releases.
Try to get your merchandise on creators’ gift guides, too. Many well-known influencers post regular shopping tips that can give you valuable buzz and brand awareness.
7. Commit to a cause.
Consumers like brands that stand for something and feel good when they buy a product that supports a cause. Lucky for you, plenty of brands have already written the blueprint for how to do this successfully.
For example, Warby Parker donates a pair of glasses to someone in need for each pair sold. TOMS and Bambas also leverage a similar business model with great success.
But you don’t have to give away free merchandise to support a cause. Even just bringing awareness to issues you feel passionately about is an effective way to share your brand story and help you seem more relatable.
8. Make it an event.
Don’t limit your campaigns to social media. Holding in-person activations or webinars will help provide your audience a fresh experience and help you network with existing fans while building relationships with new ones.
9. Encourage user-generated content (UGC).
Using a fun hashtag encourages followers to share their brand love by creating content centered around your products.
Apple has done a masterful job of this with #shotoniphone. The hashtag has more than 27 million posts on Instagram from amateur photographers showing off the iPhone’s photo-taking ability while helping their content get discovered.
Keep a close eye on your hashtag and see if there is any content you can repurpose across your marketing funnel. Just be sure to obtain all necessary content rights first.
10. Feature your employees.
Your own employees can be some of your best content creators. Ideally, they already have a ton of knowledge about your brand and can help you share your story and brand vision. Plus, consumers generally love seeing behind-the-scenes looks at their favorite brands and are interested to see what a day in the life looks like on site.
11. Embrace the latest technology.
It’s important to keep up with the latest trends and technologies so you can identify opportunities to give your audience a unique and engaging experience.
Right now, AR and VR are having a moment. For example, IKEA created a mobile app called IKEA Place that allows customers to see how items will look in their homes before they buy them. Other companies like L’Oreal, Sephora, Volkswagen, and more have created similar apps to allow customers to “try before they buy.”
If you don’t have the budget or the know-how to develop an app with AR or VR capabilities, Snapchat has several filters and lenses you can leverage to take advantage of the technology.
12. Leverage multiple platforms.
Don’t limit yourself to a single social media platform. Spend most of your time where your audience spends most of their time, but you should still branch out and take advantage of features unique to each platform.
Snapchat, as we’ve mentioned, has some great AR features. YouTube is most popular for long-form video, while TikTok is the king of short-form, and Instagram has become sort of a jack-of-all-trades. Lean on your influencers to help you determine the best approach for each platform, and don’t be afraid to get creative!
13. ‘Challenge’ your audience.
@nellagrabowski #GYMSHARK66 DAY 1 @gymshark ♬ Righteous – Mo Beats
It seems like there’s a new TikTok challenge going viral almost every day. So, why not take advantage?
Create a hashtag and see if your audience is “up to the challenge.” If done correctly, you’ll generate plenty of valuable UGC and put your brand at the center of the latest trend.
14. Ask an expert.
Think beyond your typical creator profile and consider pulling in an “expert” for your next sponsored campaign. If you’re a fitness/nutrition brand, you might pull in a sports scientist to explain how your brand helps improve performance. On the other hand, beauty brands could partner with dermatologists, cosmetic chemists, or biophysicists to help illustrate the effects of your products.
The expert you choose doesn’t have to have a large following as long as they are respected in their field and can prove that your product does what you say it does.
15. Partner with a like-minded brand.
Also known as co-branding, brand partnerships involve two or more brands playing on each other’s strengths to promote their products in a single campaign.
McDonald’s and Coca-Cola is probably the most famous co-branding example. The two companies have been partners since the 1950s and have collaborated on numerous marketing campaigns, including the popular “McDonald’s Coke Glasses” campaign.
But you don’t have to be an industry giant to take advantage. Just find a brand that compliments you nicely and devise a strategy that benefits both parties.
16. Collaborate with influencers on new products.
unleash your inner artist 🌈
Influencers know what works with their audience and what doesn’t. They also have a direct feedback line with their followers, making them ideal partners to help design your next product.
YouTube superstar James Charles pulled off a hugely successful product launch with Morphe to launch a range of eyeshadow palettes. The release was a hit with his tens of millions of followers who are still pining for the next collab.
17. Create a series.
Creating a “series” of related social media content is a good way to help build brand recognition, create an emotional connection, and encourage followers to engage with your content over longer periods.
One example is Nike’s “Better for It” campaign featuring several well-known celebrities, headlined by Serena Williams. The campaign aimed to celebrate women at every stage of their fitness journey. Nike also created a hashtag to encourage fans to post their own journeys on social media.
18. Build lasting relationships with your influencers.
Long-term relationships with high-performing influencers are essential if you want to pump out fresh marketing campaigns consistently. Keep an open line of communication with each one, and be sure to listen when they offer constructive feedback. Treat your influencers well, and they will return the favor, leading to a long and fruitful relationship.
19. Allow for plenty of creative freedom.
Remember, your influencers know their audience better than you do. So, don’t stifle their creativity. Give your partners room to do what they do best and encourage them to think outside the box. If you trust your influencers, you’ll help give them the confidence they need to create unique content that resonates perfectly with your target audience.
20. Be authentic.
Authenticity is at the core of every successful marketing campaign. We’ve given you some examples of brands that have used these tips with great success (and more to come), but don’t try to mimic them exactly. Use these tips as inspiration and use your own voice to bring them to life.
Innovative influencer campaign examples to inspire your strategy
Always launched its #likeagirl campaign in 2014 to help teen and tween girls keep their confidence through puberty and beyond without letting societal limitations stand in their way. The campaign created a powerful movement on social media and generated global brand awareness with more than 1.5 million #likeagirl content pieces on Instagram alone.
The Captain is all about a good time, but he also wants his fans to be responsible with their spirits. The brand encouraged its audience to “enjoy slow” and reminded them that “fun that isn’t remembered isn’t fun.” Captain Morgan also created the hashtags #LiveLikeACaptain and #EnjoySlowSpiceOn to help promote its responsible drinking message and encourage fans to submit UGC.
Levi’s launched its “Live in Levi’s” campaign to celebrate diversity by highlighting all the different activities people do while wearing their favorite jeans.
“Authenticity is at the core of the brand. Levi’s invented the blue jean, and ‘Live in Levi’s’ captures what it means to wear them,” Eric Springer, FCB West Chief Creative Officer, said in a press release about the campaign. “The campaign shows the contagious joy that comes from living without hesitation. Your Levi’s are an accomplice in the story that unfolds as you live.”
Whether it’s a “no digital distortion mark” or any number of “real beauty” campaigns over the years, Dove has always been a champion for body positivity. In a recent campaign, the brand discussed how retouching apps and pressure to post the “perfect selfie” hurt girls’ self-esteem, claiming that 80% distort their appearance online by age 13.
To help young ladies build confidence, Dove launched #TheSelfieTalk and #NoDigitalDistortion movements to promote a positive body image on social media. The company even provided resources to help parents and teachers talk about the issue and encourage girls to love themselves in all facets.
Key takeaway: Innovative influencer campaign ideas start with trust and communication.
If your influencer content is fresh and authentic, there is almost no marketing KPI you can’t achieve. Social media engagement can accelerate business growth for single-product line companies just as well as it can for brands with massive product selection.
No matter your business, your influencer’s authenticity and creativity will be key to keeping your content fresh. Investing energy into quality influencer relationships will nurture the kind of collaborative spirit and engaging content that delivers any place, anytime.