If you use social media, I would bet that you have seen influencer marketing in action in some form.
The main influencer marketing examples that come to mind include the classic (and occasionally cheesy) Instagram photo of an influencer posing with the advertised product.
But don’t let that fool you – the playing field is diverse and impressively creative.
That’s part of what makes influencer marketing campaigns so fun. Brands and influencers can work together to come up with fresh ideas that engage their audience and get them excited to try those brands.
Regardless of what type of influencer marketing campaigns you choose, keep in mind that your compensation arrangement can follow different models. For example, you can give the influencer your product or service for free, pay them a flat rate for each post, or create a model that pays them (or otherwise rewards them) for reaching certain goals.
If you go the affiliate marketing route, you can pay the influencer a commission as a percentage of the sales they bring in.
In this article, I’ll focus on the common types of influencer marketing campaigns in terms of their content. We’ll also look at some real-world examples of brands doing it right.
I’ll cover six types of influencer marketing campaigns:
Contests and giveaways
Product and content collaborations
Takeovers” on your platforms
1. Sponsored Content
Let’s start with the basics. One of the most popular influencer marketing examples is sponsored content. This type of influencer marketing campaign falls more in line with the simple, ‘classic’ description I mentioned earlier. It typically plays out with brands reaching out to influencers to ask if they’re willing to promote one of their products or services – or vice versa… some influencers do outreach too!
Depending on the influencer’s channel(s) you’ve agreed on, the final product is usually a photo, video, or blog post featuring your offering.
These campaigns usually start with the brand sending the influencer a campaign brief that outlines certain guidelines, instructions, and requirements.
But it’s important to remember that you must give your influencers some creative freedom.
It’s their audience, after all – they know the best ways to engage them. And their followers will definitely smell something fishy if a post is out of line with the influencer’s personality, style, and voice.
Here’s a classy Instagram influencer marketing example from Carl Thompson, founder of men’s clothing brand Hawkins and Shepherd.
And a video example from Calvin Young, a Deaf traveller who entertains and inspires through his blog Seek the World. He partnered with travel and ticket booking company Busbud to promote its services on Facebook.
One of the most common influencer marketing examples of reviews involves a brand offering their product or service to the influencer for free, and the influencer posting a review in exchange.
If you’ve seen any ‘unboxing’ videos, this may have been the driving force. The premise of these videos is that the influencer has never seen or used the product before, and they’re unboxing and testing it out for the first time on camera.
(Keep in mind, though, that some web personalities have built their name on reviewing products, like tech products. In these cases, they may be getting these items through other ways than an influencer marketing partnership.)
In his YouTube video, Jacques Slade unboxes and reviews a media kit sent to him by Jordan Brand.
Similarly to the sponsored post, this type of partnership can operate based on a set of broad and flexible guidelines sent by the brand.
But as you might guess, this can go wrong or run into ethical issues pretty quickly. Especially if the brand requires the influencer to only say positive things… or if the influencer isn’t afraid to tell the world that they flat-out hate your product.
Like this delightful example from Benjamin Burnley of the popular rock band Breaking Benjamin, who was approached by EA Games to give a positive review of their Star Wars Battlefront game:
The moral of the story is: be careful what you wish for.
3. Competitions and Giveaways
Everyone loves a giveaway.
These influencer marketing campaigns can be a win-win-win for your brand, your influencers, and their fans.
This is especially true when the process is simple for audiences to enter and win.
Typically, brands offer a free product or service for the influencer to give away to their followers.
Competitions and giveaways can include:
- Engaging with the influencer’s post itself, such as:
- ‘Liking’ the post
- Commenting on it with a certain phrase, hashtag, or photo
- Tagging up to 3 friends in the comments
- Engaging with the brand outside of the post, like:
- ‘Liking’ or following the brand on their social media channel(s)
- Going to the brand’s website to sign up via a form or mailing list
- Submitting photos, stories, or other types of ‘entries’ to be judged by the brand
In this example, model and fitness influencer Angi Fletcher gave away a Natural Life gift box to users who followed the brand’s Instagram and tagged one person in her post’s comments.
4. Product and Content Collaborations
Instead of the one-off types of campaigns we’ve seen with the other influencer marketing examples, some brands have worked closely with influencers to co-create products or content. This is often seen in the beauty and fashion industries, where influencers create their own line of clothing, accessories, or beauty products under the brand.
For example, beauty influencer Jaclyn Hill created an eyeshadow palette in collaboration with the international makeup brand Morphe.
Of course, this is a very involved strategy if you’re manufacturing the products yourself, and it’s more common among brands that have already built a name for themselves in their industry. If your company encounters these kinds of issues, you might opt for content collaboration for the time being.
Like how plant-based food blogger Kimberly Espinel partnered with muesli brand Dee Muesli to come up with original recipes using their product.
Influencer marketing examples like this can go a long way, especially when your influencers can showcase your brand in action while giving them a clear and direct call-to-action (CTA).
In this case, the CTA was something along the lines of “You there! Buy this muesli so you can make these awesome muffins.”
5. Long-Term Brand Ambassadors
As the name suggests, a long-term ambassador is an influencer who partners with your brand for an extended period. You could think of them as a ‘face’ of your brand, sort of how celebrity spokespeople work in traditional advertising campaigns.
As opposed to other influencer marketing examples that might be one-off or a few posts, a brand ambassador might promote your brand for several months to a year or longer.
This type of influencer marketing campaign can bring great results because:
- Repetition keeps your brand at the top-of-mind for the ambassador’s audience
- More frequent promotion gives more opportunities to show the versatility of your company’s offerings
- A stronger relationship with the influencer means more trust, credibility, and authenticity in the eyes of their audience
- There’s a lower churn rate in your marketing strategy, which generally equates to less uncertainty and more convenience
Here, fitness personality Matt Upston posts a tweet celebrating three years of being an ambassador for sport nutrition company Science in Sport.
(Two-for-one special: it’s a brand ambassador hosting a giveaway!)
6. ‘Takeovers’ on Your Platforms
While the first five tactics involve your brand showing up on an influencer’s platform(s), this one involves the influencer showing up on yours.
In a takeover, the brand gives the influencer access to its social media channels of choice for a set period of time.
Usually, the period lasts about a day, but some go as long as a week for special occasions or events.
Influencers can create fun behind-the-scenes or ‘day-in-the-life-of’ posts, videos, and stories to keep your audience interested and engaged.
The biggest downfall of this influencer marketing example is that you’ll typically have to give the influencer your password. For obvious reasons, you’ll need to make sure there’s a high level of trust. And a contract too.
But there’s good news if you have a Snapchat: the platform has actually created a feature that lets your account post takeover stories without giving strangers your login info! Read more about it here.
You can see it in action in the video compilation from Newcastle University’s Snapchat account, showing a series of takeover posts from Newcastle students researching glacial erosion and climate change in Svalbard, Norway.
Now you’ve got a solid idea of the types of influencer campaigns and influencer marketing examples out there. We’ve covered everything from short term shoutouts and sponsored content, to long-term brand ambassador relationships. Each one of them come with their own pros and cons that you must evaluate carefully when putting together your influencer marketing strategy.
But when done right, you’ll be able to create a powerful campaign that builds off the credibility of other’s to get your brand and products in front of the right people, in the right way.