Despite the growth that influencer marketing has seen over the years, it still continues to fascinate people. The term “influencer marketing” has seen a 325% increase in searches on Google in the last year.

There has also been a marked increase in influencer marketing budgets. And the last two years have seen more than double the number of influencer marketing agencies and platforms entering the market.

Influencer marketing has many long and short term benefits from an increase in profits to increasing brand awareness. It is the trust factor that makes it such a rebounding success in brand promotions.

People no longer want to hear a celebrity be a mouthpiece of a brand. They are turning to social media for a more genuine reviews and feedback about products and services.

If you are a small company who has just entered the market, influencer marketing is what you need. No matter what your budget is, influencer marketing fits every pocket.

For companies with a limited budget, you can offer free products to the influencers so that they can experience your brand and, in turn, post reviews on their social media platforms. This is a popular alternative to paid influencer promotions. With this method, influencers promote brands in exchange for free products or services.

Sending product samples can be helpful if the influencer is an expert in your industry. Their review of your product can help you reach consumers in your niche. Their reviews - which could be videos, blog posts, or social media posts - can help your brand get the attention you need.

This is a good way to initiate contact with an influencer. The thing to remember here is that you can’t force the influencer to promote your brand on the basis of free products. Give them an offer they can’t refuse. Influencers need a social media presence, without which they would no longer be stars. As a brand, you can promise them more visibility through your campaign.

COPPER+CRANE, a luxury spa gave out free samples of their skin care and bath products to influencers, who tagged them in their Instagram posts.

COPPER+CRANE

Tips

  1. Choose the right influencer. For a campaign with a limited budget, get micro-influencers, who specialize in your industry, on board. They are most likely to review your product as they also get visibility in return.
  2. Unboxing videos are a good way to get honest reactions from influencers when they open the gifts. These can be posted online as genuine feedback on social media.
  3. Remember that a brand promotion in exchange for free products is an ideal scenario. It doesn’t mean that the influencer will promote the brand. Even if they don’t, consider it as an initial point of contact with the influencer for a future relationship.

Conclusion

If you are looking to increase your brand’s awareness, or simply launch into the market, providing free products to influencers will get you onto consumers’ radar. A tight budget may be a limitation, but you can turn it around for a more authentic marketing campaign by offering products for review.

Gifts and free products also help build relationships with influencers for long-term partnerships. Influencers will get a feel for your brand, and if they love it, they will take to social media to spread the word. Next time, when you want to partner with them, you will have already jumped the first hurdle.

Free stuff alone may not work in today’s competitive influencer marketing climate. Influencers are earning some serious money for brand promotions. Goodwill may help in a few cases, but brands need to have proper budgets to engage most influencers.

Brian Mechem

Brian Mechem

Brian Mechem is COO and Co-Founder of Grin, a software solution for companies who run influencer marketing programs. Grin's software powers some of the best influencer programs in the world, providing insights on ROI and adding efficiency to the influencer marketing process.

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