Everything you need to know about gifting product to influencers

Sending products to influencers
Learn how seasoned experts have been gifting product to influencers
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Influencers are the most natural and organic introduction to a new brand. Consumer want recommendations, not hard selling.

Whether you’re launching a new brand, a new product or simply generating awareness among your target audience, engaging influencers is a smart way to introduce new customers to your organization. Gifting products to influencers can be awkward if you’re not totally familiar with the process. If you’re unsure about the best method for influencer gifting, I’ll cover all the basics and formalities. Before you know it, you’ll be sending products to influencers with the confidence that both parties have a mutual understanding.

Sending Products to Influencers

Prior to gifting products to influencers, you need to have a gameplan. You need to know what you’re offering them, and more importantly, what you expect to receive in return. When sending product to influencers, you want to ensure that you’re giving them enough value that it’s worth their time. The rule of thumb our agency has is to ensure that the minimum influencer gifting value is $50. If your budget allows, you should try to provide more – upwards of $100 value will result in more appreciative influencers and better content. Remember, this is $50-100 in product value, your actual cost is much lower. 

Speaking of appreciation, there are a number of little things that can go a long way with your influencer gifting. For example, a short, handwritten note personalized to your influencers of choice will strengthen the bond between you.

Before you put a stamp on your product and send it out in the mail, make sure the recipient knows what you expect. Typically, in exchange for $50-$100 value, you can get one grid post or one story. If you play your cards right, you may be able to get both (hint hint, handwritten notes). 

Selecting the right influencers for gifting products goes a long way as well. If you select someone who truly aligns with your brand, they will be happy to promote it. They’ll tell their offline friends about it too. They may post about it on Snapchat or voluntarily produce video content rather than basic photo content. Think to yourself “why does this persons audience follow them?” If the answer doesn’t align with the kind of product you have, it’s just not the right fit.

Gifting product to influencers

For example, I personally follow @fitmencook for his healthy recipe advice. If he recommends a new food product, I’ll probably try it out. But if he’s waving a Daniel Wellington watch in my face, it doesn’t carry any weight – I simply don’t care about his fashion opinion and it’s not why I follow him. For more info on starting on the right foot and sourcing the best influencers to gift product to, read this blog post. 

Be transparent before you send product to influencers with what you expect from them in return. Give them direction on what kind of post you’d like them to do for you and make sure you have some sort of monitoring measure in place. You want to be confident that you’re getting something in return and not just sending free product for goodwill. Although, it should be noted that on the odd occasion, you may send product to an influencer only to have them ghost you – it happens! It’s just an unfortunate reality in this industry, but don’t let a few bad apples ruin the entire experience for you.

Gifting Products

Another aspect to consider when gifting products is the size of the influencer’s audience. You won’t have much luck chasing macro-influencers with offers to send them free product. If it doesn’t have a giant price tag associated with it, they won’t be interested. Personally, I recommend staying away from macro-influencers most of the time anyway. We’re talking anyone above 100,000 followers on Instagram.

So what sizes of audiences should you be targeting? I advise going with a minimum of 5,000 followers. The meat of your campaign should be nano-influencers with 5,000-10,000 followers on Instagram. Ideally, these content creators aren’t promoting a slew of other products. They will be ecstatic that you’ve identified them as a someone of influence in their niche. They’ll also more than likely be more inclined to go above and beyond the requirements you set out.

Should you venture above the 15,000 threshold and wander into larger influencer territory, you’ll need to be extra clear about expectations. These days, most quality Instagram influencers with above 25,000 followers are being compensated with more than just gifted product. In this case, an ongoing relationship may prove very beneficial. Again, try your best to go above and beyond with the influencer gifting – even going as far as regularly sending them free products to share with their followers. If the results are promising, you’ll already have the groundwork of a solid relationship built and you can begin paying the influencer and enjoying a mutually beneficial relationship.

Influencer gifting is a great way to create some meaningful buzz for your brand. To get the most out of your efforts, establish relationships with the influencers who will appreciate your brand and product the most. Have a gameplan and most importantly, set reasonable expectations and tracking systems.

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