Influencers on social media are capable of more than just posting about your brand for money. They carry massive potential to market your products that bring more engagement, trust and sales. This ultimately amplifies your ROI.
Creators have a superpower that’s causing all the rage today in the digital marketing space. They’ve got the power to influence people. Unlike traditional forms of marketing, where only brands had direct access to customers, influencer marketing gets communication flowing both ways- making it a two-way street!
As a DTC business, it's essential to keep your content fresh and engaging. This means giving your influencer partners the creative freedom to try out new formats like videos, stories, posts, carousels, and reels to see which ones resonate most with your potential buyers.
Let’s find out a few practical and inexpensive ways of running high-impact campaigns on a budget with influencer marketing.
7 non-forceful and high ROI ways to engage influencers with your DTC brand
It was common for brands to put words in their brand ambassadors' mouths earlier. Today, you want your creators to be genuinely excited about your products so they can help make their followers excited about you too!
This way, you're not just paying someone to promote your product-you're getting an authentic endorsement from someone who believes in what you do.
1) Product seeding
Let’s start with the most economical and equally impactful option there is. Product seeding for influencers. It’s when you send your best products to the creators in return for a positive endorsement from their social media presence.
Even though it’s not really in your hands if the influencers choose to post about your product, but there are ways you can always make them want to do so voluntarily!
Here’s what improves your chances of getting a post with seeding
i) Have stellar packaging of your goodies that looks aesthetically pleasing, fall under your most loved category, and entices creators to show it off as soon as the package reaches their doorstep.
ii) The unboxing experience should complement the packaging. It should feel like an extension of the same experience rather than a disconnect. Don’t send a boring brown box.
iii) Let your creators know a surprise is on their way. Make sure to keep them in the loop at all times from the moment you ship, dispatch, and deliver the freebies. You can use tools like SARAL to track this.
iv) Personalize the experience. Include a handwritten note, share instruction cards on how to use the product, let them know about the next steps, and so on.
v) Don’t forget to follow up. Know why you shared the package with them in the first place. Follow up with them if they would need any help in promoting your product. Proactively reach out to them for any queries they might need help with over emails or DMs.
All of this reflects how considerate and committed your DTC brand is to providing the best experience at all levels.
2) Link in bio partnership
Big influencers have a good number of people clicking the “link in bio” option for other brands' links.
You can land your potential buyers directly on your website, landing page, relevant posts, or product page without them having to go through multiple touchpoints.
If you can’t afford a creator’s fees for a post, it might be worth making them an affiliate or paying a fraction of that fee for a link in bio placement. This can be exclusive to your brand, or you may be part of a Link-tree link (shown below).
You might not get as much traffic, but a placement here gets you access to the creator’s most engaged audience. So when they click on the link tree for another brand, you’re right there.
Usually, if you work with the right creators and make sure the micro-copy on your link is great, you might see a couple of sales per week come in from here. Doesn’t hurt!
Use SARAL to automatically generate UTM links and track the overall performance of your influencer campaign.
3) Get authentic product reviews
Remember how we talked about product seeding? Consider this an extension to that method. Take this as an opportunity to play your cards right and get a product review video or a live stream in exchange for the free goodies you shared with the creators.
You can add a detailed note with the package itself and let them know you’d appreciate a review. It can be a simple 15-second story or a few words.
The goal here is to get a review (even if it’s not posted on their social media) which you can leverage as social proof on your website, your own socials, and other places.
Most of the time, influencers will be more than willing and happy to review your product if you send it to them for free and personalise the experience with the steps we mentioned above.
4) Ad creatives
Consumers trust creators more than brands. This is because creator-produced videos appear more credible and organic than generic advertisements by the brand itself.
Also, because storytelling is at the core of creative ads. And creators are good at crafting stories.
This way, the content feels more persuasive and relatable that eventually leading to more sales and higher ROI on your ad campaigns. To back this up, this is exactly what research carried out by The Harvard Business Review revealed: “A euro invested in a highly creative ad campaign had, on average, nearly double the sales impact of a euro spent on a non-creative campaign.”
The variable for success with ads is being creative. But the good thing is, you don’t personally have to be creative. You can let the creators do it for you! It’s also inherent social proof.
Don’t miss the opportunity to (re)use your Influencer-Generated Content as ads.
5) Partner with them on secondary platforms
With social media, not everyone is created equal. Some platforms are more popular than others, and some people have a bigger following on one platform than they do on another.
Take Youtubers, for example – someone with 500,000 subscribers on YouTube might only have 35,000 followers on Instagram. But that doesn’t mean you should write them off as a potential influence partner. It could be an opportunity to leverage their most loyal fans on Instagram.
Why? Because when a big-name Youtuber comes on to Instagram, they already pull their most loyal fans to the secondary platform (in this case, Instagram). This gives you the chance to pay less and reach better audiences. So instead of opting out purely based on follower count and platform – take a closer look and see if you can partner with them on secondary platforms.
6) Social Account Takeover
A social account takeover is when you give the creator access to post on your social media for a certain period of time (usually one day).
When you hand over the keys to your social media kingdom, you're opening up a world of opportunity for both you and the influencer. For starters, it's a great way to build trust both ways, which is a foundation for a long-term relationship with them.
By giving someone else access to your account, you're essentially putting your faith in them that they'll represent your brand in a positive light.
Here’s an example of Goop allowing Dr. Shauna (a mindfulness researcher) to post on their account.
This can help expand your DTC brand's reach and attract a completely new set of people.
And honestly, it's just plain fun! It can be exciting to see how another person interprets your brand and shares their unique perspective with your followers (and theirs, whom they pull in).
They are allowed to go live from your account, show behind the scenes; pretty much anything that allows them to explore their creativity. Of course, discuss everything they plan on doing with the takeover before hand so there are no last minute surprises.
7) Giveaways & Shoutouts
Hosting a contest or giveaway on social media is a great way to get influencers involved with your brand. If you simply ask them to promote the contest on their channels in exchange for free products or other prizes for their audience, they’re usually excited to do it.
This helps build their own connection and trust with their audience, powered by you.
With this, you can incentivize people to follow your brand’s social account! Make it part of the giveaway’s rules that they must be following both the creator’s account and your account to qualify to win.
This gives you permanent access to the influencer’s followers, as they now follow you too.
There are many different types of contests you can run on social media. Some popular options include photo contests, caption contests, or trivia contests. You can also get creative and come up with your own ideas.
Whatever type of contest you choose, make sure the rules are clear and easy to understand. Also, be sure to promote the contest heavily before it starts so that as many people as possible know about it. The more people who enter, the better!
Influence the bottom line
There you have it. Influencer partnerships don’t have to be just pay-per-post. There’s many unique and creative ways to do it, some of them I’ve shared in this post. Doing these will not only save you money, but also help you be creative in your work with creators… making your brand stand out.
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