Influencer product seeding (aka gifting) campaigns are great for driving awareness and sales.
In fact, Traackr’s State of Product Seeding report found that 92% of marketers at least somewhat agree that influencer product seeding has successfully driven awareness for their business and 76% of marketers say it has successfully driven sales for their business.
While we know product seeding can be extremely beneficial, it also comes with its own set of challenges.
Thankfully, we got to chat with influencer and entertainment marketing consultant, Bette Ann Fialkov, and get her expert advice on how to run more successful influencer product seeding campaigns.
With over 14 years of experience, Bette Ann has helped brands like Google, Lyft, and hims and hers build strong influencer programs that have data, diversity, and storytelling at their heart. Watch here product seeding tips live!
When it comes to building a successful product seeding program, finding the right influencers is listed as the number one challenge for marketers. Shocked? We’re not. It’s tough to find influencers who align with your brand and feel compelled to post once they receive your product (especially when they might be getting multiple gifted packages a day!).
Bette Ann advises to first identify and define the goals of your product seeding campaign. Is it to create social buzz, build relationships, remain top of mind, or unlock opportunities for future collaborations?
“There might be times when you want to seed to an influencer and you know they are not going to post. It’s important to understand what the goal is for gifting this product. Are you seeding to unlock a bigger partnership in the future or are they the gatekeeper to a celebrity you’re trying to work with? Either way, there must be a strategic goal behind your decision before you move on.” - Bette Ann Fialkov, influencer and entertainment marketing consultant
Defining your goal will affect who you choose to put on your product seeding mailing list and how you engage with them. For example, if your campaign goal is not to get immediate posts but to use it as a relationship-building tactic, you may decide to send multiple packages to influencers with bigger followings.
On the other hand, if your goal is to get immediate awareness the next step is to fill your mailing list with influencers who will most likely post about your brand and reach your target audience. The best approach is to always seed product to influencers you already have a relationship with! But if you don’t have relationships with the right influencers yet, or you’re trying to expand to a new influencer group, you can use these handful of tactics:
Remember, it’s about quality over quantity. Sending product to 20 influencers who genuinely align with your brand and product will make a larger impact than sending 300 packages to every influencer you can think of (it’ll also save you a ton of money).
Fun fact: 38% of marketers say they send less than 100 total packages to influencers per year. So stop wasting your time and energy sending hundreds of packages!
“The best seeding happens when an influencer needs your product at that moment in time.” - Bette Ann Fialkov, Influencer and entertainment marketing consultant
Timing is everything when it comes to product seeding campaigns. Put yourself in the influencer’s shoes and think about when it would be the perfect time to get your product.
For example, Bette Ann sent influencers hims & hers supplements and probiotics during Christmas time in order to help with the holiday bloat and “new year, new you” mentality. This type of seasonal or intentional timing can also help you create a more personalized and interesting experience for your creators. If you’re seeding product during the holidays, make the packaging festive! Or if you’re seeding product during the summertime, you could come up with some fun hashtags that incorporate summer puns. It sounds simple, but aligning your campaigns around moments when influencers would actually use your products is key!
Pro tip: Make a calendar of the big moments in time that make sense for your brand to be seeding gifts, and then work backward to determine how long it will take to activate the campaign. Designing the packages, putting together your mailing list, reaching out to influencers, and sending the packages all takes time, so be proactive to ensure you never miss the “perfect” moment!
Now that you’ve found the best influencers for your product seeding program, how do you reach out in a way that will make a lasting impression?
“Personalization is key! From the very start, you should be thinking about how to create excitement and engagement from your product seeding campaigns. The design of your package, your outreach approach, and personalized note all contribute to whether or not someone will be willing to post about your brand.” - Bette Ann Fialkov, influencer and entertainment marketing consultant
Here are a few ways you can personalize the product seeding experience:
Congrats! You’ve now done all the hard work, so it’s time to sit back and watch the posts (hopefully) come rolling in.
To evaluate your product seeding campaigns, go back to your goals and the KPIs you set out for the overall campaign.
General social metrics to keep track of include:
“Determining success goes back to what your goals for the campaign were. Of course, there are standard things you can look at general social metrics like number of posts, potential impressions, and engagements. However, depending on the size of your campaign this type of metric tracking can get tricky. This is why I use Traackr to measure the success of my product seeding campaigns. Not only does it do a lot of the manual work of pulling metrics into one central view, you can also invite influencers to opt-in which allows you to see things like actual impressions on content.” - Bette Ann Fialkov, influencer and entertainment marketing consultant
Qualitative metrics to keep in mind include:
Spend efficiency metrics like cost per engagement and cost per video view are additional metrics to track. Even though you are not directly paying a creator to post content, there is still a cost associated with the product, packaging, mailing and effort. With these metrics, you can determine who your most efficient partners are and consider them for upcoming paid initiatives.
Want more influencer product seeding tips from Bette Ann? Make sure to watch this workshop!