Social marketers rate influencer marketing as having a significant impact on their brand’s marketing efforts including customer loyalty (87%), awareness (89%) and reputation (87%), according to our Q3 2023 Pulse Survey of 307 social marketers in the United States.
But influencer marketing isn’t as simple as picking any creator, creating one-off content and reaping the benefits of their loyal following—our report found 81% of social marketers describe influencer marketing as an essential part of their social media strategy. And with 79% of marketers describing influencer content as necessary for their customers’ experiences, brands need to be strategic to create campaigns that resonate.
In this article, we’ll cite more data from our Q3 2023 Pulse Survey as we explore campaign types. And we’ll cover 10 examples of successful influencer marketing campaigns to inspire your own strategy.
What is an influencer marketing campaign?
Influencer marketing campaigns are partnerships that leverage the influence of creators to promote sales and build brand awareness. Our survey shows expanding brand reach to new audiences (68%), boosting engagement rates (50%) and enhancing brand authenticity and trust (47%) are considered to be the three most valuable benefits of influencer marketing.
What do different types of influencer marketing campaigns look like?
There are many variations of influencer marketing campaigns, but they all harness the creator’s loyal following, trustworthiness and authenticity. According to our Pulse Survey, we found that companies are focused on the following brand-influencer partnerships: giveaways, product collaborations and influencer-led advertisements.
Let’s explore some examples of different types of influencer marketing campaigns.
Giveaways and contests
Who doesn’t like free stuff, especially from their favorite brands? The survey shows 65% of marketers partner with influencers via giveaways. These giveaways can range from free, exclusive products to discounted services. These types of influencer marketing campaigns are used to help increase engagement and promote brands. The influencer will describe how to enter the contest whether it’s leaving a comment, sharing a post, completing a social media challenge etc. Giveaways are effective for micro-influencer marketing campaigns because they tend to have a more engaged audience.
Some 62% of marketers partner with influencers through product collaborations. Product collaborations can take various different forms, but they leverage a creator’s creativity and influence by inviting them to design or produce specialized content, or a special edition of the brand’s products. These product collaborations might include event activations, unboxing videos, reviews and pre-release content to help create hype and excitement around the launch.
Affiliate influencer campaigns and sponsored posts
Over half of marketers (57%) use influencer-led advertisements to collaborate. These can vary as well, but affiliate marketing programs and sponsored posts are common examples of influencer-led advertising.
With affiliate marketing, the influencer promotes a product/service and when their followers convert, they earn a share of the profit. Basically, the creator will receive a commission for every sale they make through discount codes and/or referral links. Affiliate influencer campaigns are popular in ecommerce since it’s as simple as sharing a link or code for followers to make a purchase. An affiliate marketing influencer may also be a brand ambassador and consistently promotes a brand’s products or services.
Sponsored content are social posts that brands pay influencers to create and publish on the creator’s account. Sponsored posts are disclosed by a hashtag like #ad or #brandpartner, or a paid promotion label that appears on-screen to let followers know the creator is being paid for the content.
7 examples of successful influencer marketing campaigns
Get inspired with these seven examples of influencer marketing campaigns. These partnerships capture the magic that happens when businesses find and partner with the right influencers for their marketing campaigns:
Influencer trips are staples within the beauty industry. Topicals, a skincare line, hosted a trip in Bermuda to celebrate their brand’s third birthday. Of course, content in paradise is social media gold, but it’s not the IG-worthy photos that make this campaign stand-out.
Topicals is the first beauty brand to host a fully BIPOC sponsored brand trip and feature smaller creators. The skincare brand invited a diverse group of 18 influencers including reality television star Dami Hope, esthetician Sean Garrette and lifestyle creator Ishini Weerasinghe. Several had never been to a brand trip before. The influencer trip resulted in 3 million impressions and an increase of 5,000 followers across TikTok and Instagram, according to Topicals.
Topicals featured influencers on their brand account, but the guests also posted daily content on their Instagram Stories. Recaps were also posted on TikTok. The campaign used the tags #TopicalsTakesBermuda and #TopicalsTurns3 to mark content.
The key takeaway: Inclusive, diverse partnerships combined with a content strategy that centers authenticity can lead to significant follower growth and increased engagement.
Gymshark’s partnerships team scouts talent to post content featuring their products. If you ever scroll on TikTok or Instagram, you’ll find a number of their brand ambassadors, known as Gymshark Athletes, showing their latest haul and sharing discount codes.
For example, @SopheAllen tries on her Black Friday haul items and points her followers to use her affiliate link to get up to 60% off.
The key takeaway: Brand ambassadorships promote special offers and showcase products authentically which drives direct sales. Try-on hauls like these allow viewers to envision themselves in the clothing and gives followers the opportunity to ask the creator relevant questions about sizing, fit, material etc. It also creates a pipeline for more user-generated content that will also extend the brand’s reach.
Dunkin’ is a great example of a company stepping outside the box for brand partnerships. Their brand collaboration with e.l.f in 2022 proved the success of two unlikely duos. This year, they’re bringing it back with their latest campaign: America Runs on Munchkins®.
The Munchkins® campaign plays on the donut brand’s American Runs on Dunkin campaign, a tagline the company has used since 2006. This collaboration stars Ben Affleck, Dunkin’s official spokesperson, and Ice Spice, a rapper known for her several viral hits like, “Munch,” which is also the name of her fans and a play on words for the campaign. The bespoke video premiered at the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards, with several viral social media posts teasing at the collaboration ahead of the ceremony:
The key takeaway: Collaborating with unexpected influencers that build on legacy campaigns can create buzz-worthy campaigns that resonate with broader audiences.
4. La Roche-Posay
As the US Open’s official sunscreen partner, La Roche-Posay hosted a brand activation at the national sporting event. The skincare brand invited a number of influencers like @JaeGurley to try out sunscreen products and a skin-scanning machine that evaluates sun damage:
The key takeaway: Partnering with influencers through interactive activations can effectively promote and educate consumers about your brand’s products and services. Aligning the brand with a prestigious event maximizes exposure and engagement.
We can’t do an influencer marketing campaign in 2023 without talking about the marketing magic behind the Barbie movie. Joybird collaborated with content creator @ChrissaSparkles to promote the Barbie™ Dreamhouse™ furniture collection. Along with sponsored videos, @ChrissaSparkles created content at Joybird’s showroom.
@ChrissaSparkles is a perfect fit for Joybird collaboration with the movie because she embodies some core traits associated with Barbie: a love of pinks and pastels, humor, vibrant home decor and lots of stylish looks. She wears several hats as a performer, designer and pilates instructor. And she has a popular satirical series where she plays different Barbies, like “Only Child Barbie.”
The key takeaway: Working with content creators who authentically align with your brand can drive awareness and sales in creative ways.
6. Flock Freight
Flock Freight tapped on Steve Burns for their “Define Your Load” campaign. The freight shipping company was looking for investigative personalities to feature in their campaign and with Burns returning to the spotlight a year before, the partnership was the right fit. The nostalgic star went viral after his “Message From Steve ” video, celebrating the 25th anniversary of Blue’s Clues. The “Define Your Load” campaign won a Cannes Lion for B2B Creative in the Challenger Brand category in June 2023.
The key takeaway: Flock Freight’s campaign illustrates the importance of timing and capitalizing on influencers’ recent viral moments or relevancy to amplify a campaign’s impact. Leveraging Burns’ resurgence into the limelight added to the shock value of the campaign.
In 2022, Dove expanded its influencer community to help champion the brand’s values of inclusivity and body confidence. The personal care brand won a Shorty Award in micro-influencer strategy for its several campaigns: #PassTheCrown, #DetoxYourFeed, #ReusableIsBeautiful and Baby Dove #OneRealPressure.
These various influencer marketing campaigns combined lead to impressive success on Dove’s social channels, earning over 1 billion impressions and overdelivery on every key metric. Their engagement rate went up 20%, allowing them to exceed their 2022 goal.
The key takeaway: Microinfluencer marketing campaigns can be just as impactful as those with larger followings.
Selecting the best influencer marketing platform
Strategic collaborations with influencers that align with your brand can yield incredible results while establishing trust and authenticity in a creative way.
But to achieve those results, you need the right tools to execute effectively across platforms and with various influencers. Influencer marketing tools can help you identify which type of collaboration to pursue and help you find the best influencers for your campaign.
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