Influencer seeding — or the practice of sending free products to encourage organic posts — is the OG influencer marketing tactic.
But, many marketers are still unclear about how to develop an influencer seeding strategy that really works. How do you find and vet influencers? What kinds of KPIs do you set? How can you track and measure them? Does it ever make sense to drop some paid spend into the mix?
Further, what is a good result from an influencer gifting campaign?
In our last customer roundtable, Scarlette Tidy, CEO of Sure Thing Consulting, shared that a strong seeding campaign should achieve a 70% posting rate in the 4 to 6 weeks following shipment. But to achieve such success, you have to lead with data and communicate clearly with your influencers.
Let’s dive into how to do influencer seeding like a pro.
Finding the right influencers to seed your product to is the crux of a successful campaign. Nothing matters if you send your product to someone who doesn’t have an interest (our potential) in your brand! Here are some influencer selection and vetting tips:
Tip: If you have access to Traackr’s competitive analysis tool, you can also use the "paid vs love" tab to see who is tagging your competitors and mentioning their products. This can be a targeted, yet effective strategy for increasing your influencer roster and share of voice.
If you’ve already sent free product to all the folks who match the criteria in the previous section, try these more sophisticated strategies:
Think of key performance indicators (KPIs) as the structure for your campaign. KPIs help you track how you’re doing in real time, analyze successes/failures, and improve over time.
“Data driven influencer selection is central to our strategic approach at Shiseido US. Influencer measurement isn’t determined by a single number or ranking. Our team analyzes many intricate layers and sources of data to understand effectiveness at the program level. We leverage these ongoing findings to measure our program effectiveness and inform driving our go-forward strategy.” — Erin Kelly, Director of Integrated Communications at Shiseido
Most brands look at influencer seeding campaigns as a way to drive top-of-funnel awareness, which is why you often see KPIs like: X number of posts, X number of engagements, X number of video views, and X% engagement rate.
There are a few other KPIs that are less common, but extremely helpful:
Last, but definitely not least, make sure that you track these KPIs in real-time. Using an influencer marketing platform like Traackr can help you do this — allowing your team to know how the campaign is progressing, and evaluate how to improve. For example, if your team notices a specific kind of content or product is performing well you might want to add some paid spend into the mix. You can do this by reposting high performing organic posts to your brand’s profile (make sure you ask permission first) or by engaging a few influencers to post sponsored content that utilizes key elements from successful organic content.
Influencer marketing has evolved to the point where bigger is not always better. Many brands are finding that it’s best to take the time to develop tailored and well thought out seeding strategies, even if it's for a smaller pool of influencers.
“Influencer marketing is a perfect balance of a science and an artform. You need to be surgical in building your best practices but also creative in finding new partners and telling stories.” — Scarlette Tidy, CEO and Founder of Sure Thing Consulting
Here are a few easy ways to make sure you’re being both surgical and creative with your influencer seeding program: