In Traackr’s recent State of Influencer Product Seeding report, 61% of marketers reported that less than half of influencers receiving gifted products actually post on social media. If you are experiencing something similar, the factors that might contribute to this low success rate are numerous:
- Are you finding and reaching out to the right influencers?
- Are you gifting the right (or right amounts of) product to influencers?
- Do you have good messaging in your outreach and follow ups?
- Are you actually seeing all the posts from influencers in your product seeding campaigns, or are you having a hard time tracking things?
There are a lot of moving parts in product seeding campaigns, especially ones that involve large influencer lists. Below, we’ll walk through four easy ways to improve the success of your influencer product seeing campaigns and offer up some examples of brands that have brought these best practices to life.
4 Easy Ways to Improve Your Influencer Product Seeding Campaigns
Influencer product seeding tip #1: Use data to find influencers who love and post about your product
“The biggest mistake that I see brands make in product seeding campaigns: they send gifted products to creators without really researching them.” — Naomi Hearts (@naomiheartxo), Influencer
It sounds basic, but finding the right influencers to include in your product seeding campaigns can make all the difference. Oftentimes this means investing more time in your influencer discovery process and keeping your influencer lists smaller. Using an influencer marketing platform with a large influencer data set can help you find a variety of influencers for product seeding campaigns quickly and easily. For example, Bite Toothpaste used Traackr to find the right influencers for its Smell Good Summer product seeding campaign. The team utilized Traackr’s data-driven discovery tools to find influencers by:
- Performance metrics — specifically focusing on engagement rate and video views across relevant social platforms.
- Brand and product affinity — looking for influencers that had previously posted about Bite Toothpaste or competitor brands and products.
- Audience demographics and past content — ensuring that each influencer’s audience was aligned with the brand’s target audience, and that the influencer had previously posted about important key messages, like sustainability.
- Influencer tier — for this particular product seeding campaign, the Bite Toothpaste team looked for influencers with smaller audiences because they felt that those influencers produce more compelling and authentic content.
With Traackr, the Bite Toothpaste team was able to layer all of these criteria in order to build a small but targeted list of influencers for its product seeding campaign. The results?
- 67% increase in influencer responses
- Increase in influencer loyalty, with multiple influencers posting more than once
- 50,000 total impressions – massive awareness for the indie brand
That being said, if you don’t have an influencer marketing platform, you can set up a system that allows you to employ social listening and identify great moments of opportunity in real time. For example, Airbnb came to the rescue of popular TikToker Alix Earle after she posted a video to her 5 million+ followers saying that she was the victim of a scam and booked a fake villa in Italy. Airbnb came across the video and left a comment letting Earle know that they would reach out to her, and delivered accommodations with a luxurious villa equipped with a massage table, steam room, and terrace overlooking the sea. Talk about perfect timing and “product” fit!
Influencer product seeding tip #2: Be transparent in influencer outreach
Once you’ve built your dream list of influencers to be a part of your product seeding campaign, it’s important to be very clear in your outreach messages to them! Ask influencers to opt-in to your campaign (being very clear that this is gifted and not sponsored!) to avoid miscommunications or frustration. Some influencers may simply prefer sponsored partnerships, or be unable to test out the products during your campaign window. Pro tip: an influencer writing back “no thanks” to you is still a win! It means that you were respectful in your outreach to the influencer, and you won’t waste any product or time.
A good example of a brand that’s done this type of outreach well? Ole Henriksen. The team streamlined their product seeding outreach by creating a branded campaign page with Traackr’s Brand Studios. The landing page outlined the details of the gifting campaign, including:
- Highlighting that the campaign was a product seeding campaign. Details on the product, timing, and expected deliverables were included.
- Getting influencers to “opt-in” or agree to participate. Creators completed a short survey that asked if they wanted to receive product and if they were open to posting if they liked it.
Ole Henriksen’s product seeding outreach outcome:
- Sourced 1,000 new YouTube creators — outreach earned a high response rate (24%).
- Improved creator communications — feedback from influencers in this campaign was vastly positive, with many saying they liked the process. Communication and expectations were clear, with no surprises!
- Identified key partners for long-term relationships — the sourcing of these new partners was so successful that there are even micro influencers that have signed on to help create content for Ole Henriksen’s own YouTube channel.
Influencer product seeding tip #3: Allow influencers to select their own gifted products
Another way to reduce the risk of waste and increase your chance of receiving love on social? Provide a custom product catalog from which your influencer partners can select their own gifts.
Remember, Traackr’s State of Influencer Product Seeding report found that 61% percent of marketers reported that less than half of the influencers receiving gifted products actually post on social media. This shows that there are plenty of brands that are unintentionally wasting valuable time and money (not to mention the potential negative impact that that could have on the environment).
This is why it’s a good idea to allow influencers that are opting-in to your product seeding campaign to select their own products.
“Product seeding is typically way too time-consuming because we have a huge catalog, and going back and forth with creators about what is available is not the best use of our time. Integrating our Shopify store directly into Traackr Studios so creators can go in, browse and pick exactly which shoes they want not only saves our team hours of work, but it helps us live our brand values of sustainability and empowering every person to celebrate their individuality.” — Natalie Kathleen, CEO and founder of Jibs
This can certainly be done manually (as basic as asking the influencer to message you which products they want to receive), but that can be time consuming. Instead, look for influencer marketing platforms that allow an integrated and automatic solution. For example, Traackr now has a Shopify integration that makes this part of influencer product seeding easy. With this integration, marketers can select items from their store to add to their product seeding campaign and invite creators directly to Traackr. Creators then choose which product they want and place the order directly through Shopify. Marketers can track order status in Traackr, offloading hours of manual work. Plus, creators can pick exactly which product they will use leading to improved collaborations and better results from seeding campaigns.
Influencer product seeding tip #4: Engage with posts in real time and follow up with partners
It’s standard for influencer product seeding campaign content to go live over a period of several weeks or longer. During this time it’s important to have a good system set up so you can understand:
- Did the influencer post once or more (or at all)?
- Did the influencer seem to truly love the product? What type of messaging did they include?
- What was their audience’s reaction (or sentiment)? Did the post get good engagement?
If you are doing this type of work manually, it’s best to encourage influencers in your product seeding campaign to use specific hashtags or tag your brand. However, we all know that this is not as easy as it sounds. Not only can it feel awkward to make requests of influencers that you aren’t paying, it can be difficult to track and find posts even if hashtags and social handles are used.
This is where an influencer marketing platform can help! Influencer marketing platforms like Traackr can help you easily track posts from influencers in your network. They also gather and compile data on how those posts performed, making your post-campaign analysis a breeze. Pro tip: when you find posts from influencers in your product seeding campaign, make sure to like their posts, reshare, and comment something encouraging!
That being said, sometimes you aren’t finding posts because influencers simply haven’t posted yet. This is why it’s important to prioritize following up with folks that you’ve sent gifts to! However, influencers are people too – they want connection and care, not just someone bugging them to post about their brand — so how you follow up is critical.
A good example of a solid follow up strategy comes from skincare brand, Herbitual. The Herbitual team didn’t send the usual “please post about us” follow ups for their recent product seeding campaign. Instead, they asked influencers if they used the product, how they liked it, and how they used it (essentially opening a conversation about product feedback).
“We decided to make this type of product discovery and exploration a key goal for our influencer program too. After all, it’s a fantastic way to get quick feedback and build relationships!” — Peter White, CEO and founder of Herbitual
The brand found that not only did this invitation for product feedback increase the likelihood of influencers responding and posting about Herbitual publicly, it helped foster long-term organic relationships, and helped the team discover new use cases for their product.