Product Sampling Programs

Influencer Product Gifting: How To Get 100+ People Posting in 30 Days

Influencer product gifting can help brands build awareness and encourage sales. Here’s how to send products to influencers step-by-step.

A Statusphere-branded box encircled by products including a skincare bottle, flowers, a watch and a phone

Feeling generous?

Product gifting campaigns are a prime way to get more people talking about your brand.

The concept is simple: you give products to relevant creators in exchange for social media shout-outs. Beyond exposure, here’s what you get in return:

  • Valuable user-generated content you can promote again and again
  • An authentic introduction to new audiences (and potential customers!)
  • A brand credibility boost from being featured in an influencer’s content
  • When done right, product gifting can easily outperform traditional ads when it comes to reach and engagement.

Thing is, getting influencers posting about your product won’t happen by accident.

That’s exactly why we put together this post!

6 Steps to a Successful Influencer Gifting Campaign

Here’s the deal: gifting is about so much more than simply sending freebies to creators.

If you want to earn authentic content that’s worth promoting, you need to approach the process with care. Thankfully, we’ve gifted more products than we can count!

Below we highlight how to launch an influencer product gifting campaign step-by-step.

1. Define Your Goals (What Can Influencer Gifting Do For Your Brand?)

To kick things off, you need to decide why you want to start gifting in the first place.

Goal-setting matters for social media campaigns — gifting promotions are no exception.

With an end goal in mind, you can measure your campaign’s progress and tie the impact of gifting to actual business objectives. This might include:

  • Hyping up a product launch
  • Building brand awareness
  • Sourcing influencer-generated and user-generated content
  • Strengthening your social media sales strategy

Gifting campaigns are one of the most effective ways to get more eyes on your brand.

But we’ll be real: product seeding involves a lot of legwork if you’re doing it manually.

Justifying the time commitment involved starts by setting specific goals. Doing so will make your job easier and highlight the value of gifting to stakeholders. It’s a win-win!

Below is a breakdown of sample goals for influencer product gifting. Keep in mind that multiple goals can overlap (and that’s good!):

Product Launches

Gifting influencers your latest release is a smart way to introduce it to the public.

Our advice? Send out products a few weeks prior to your official release. Then, instruct influencers to not post about them until the actual launch date.

This gives your influencers enough time with the product to provide an honest and meaningful review. Extra time often translates to more thoughtful and creative content. Your influencer will appreciate the flexibility, too.

Below is a post from a Statusphere creator highlighting how influencer product gifting can support a launch. We gifted Workman Publishing’s Be the Dragon to parenting influencers on TikTok prior to the book’s official release in September 2021.

By the time the book was available in stores, the brand already had high-performing content about it all over TikTok. This video alone earned 23,000+ views!

be the dragon workman example (1)

Source: @sierra_zagarri

Brand Awareness

Want to generate more buzz about your brand or tap into a new market?

Gifting influencers your best-selling or most Insta-worthy product can make it happen.

With the new Instagram algorithm, creator accounts almost always have way more reach than brand accounts. The same goes for TikTok, too.

Below is an example of how creators can earn greater social engagement than brands for the same piece of branded content. Keep in mind that the brand here has 25x (!!!) more followers than the creator. Oh, and the creator’s post earned 20x as many comments as the brand. 

colorfulnatalie1   colorfulnatalie2
Source: @shopcolorfulnatalie / Source: @maeveecostello

How's that for awareness?

Earning Authentic, Reusable Content

Skilled influencers know how to create genuine content that shows off your products in the best way possible. Influencer product gifting helps you earn those pieces of content relatively quickly.

Beyond shout-outs, consider the ongoing value of influencer content. For example, you can repurpose influencer posts for:

  • Marketing emails
  • Product pages
  • Landing pages
  • Social media ads
  • Organic social media posts

Pro Tip: Be sure to work out a copyright agreement to avoid any issues when reusing influencer content. Check out our post on repurposing user-generated content if you haven’t already!

Increase Sales

Fact: 88% of consumers trust recommendations from people over brands.

And so a positive review from an influencer can translate to awareness and sales.

Your most popular products are a safe bet when in terms of what you should send creators. On the flip side, some brands use influencer product gifting as a way to get more exposure to their hidden gems. The choice is yours!

Oh, and note that product gifting can also work to drive sales in retail stores. Just ask the creator you’ve partnered with to direct their audience to retail stores where they can buy your products. Captions and geo-tags are awesome for this.

In this gifting campaign, Andalou Naturals was looking to promote their retail partnership with Whole Foods. The brand sent product bundles to Instagram beauty influencers who geo-tagged Whole Foods in their posts. Their captions served as a call to action to purchase products in-store.

andalou naturals example (2)

andalou naturals example comment
Source: @kissmyash_

See how that works?

2. Pick the Perfect Products to Send to Your Influencers

Product choice can be make-or-break for gifting campaigns.

You should send products that influencers will legitimately love and want to promote. Gifted products especially need to make an impact on influencers since there’s technically no obligation for them to post.

Spoiler alert: irrelevant products get ignored all the time. Influencers have the right to be picky for the sake of their audience and personal brand.

If you want to delight your influencers, your gifted products should tick the boxes below.

Gifted Products Should Have a Value of $20+

No surprises here. After all, the product you send needs to be worth the time and effort that goes into making a post. Products with higher price points are literally more valuable to recipients, too.

If you don’t have a product worth $20 in your line, put together product bundles that add up to that value.

Pro Tip: Product bundles are a smart move as they give your influencers more options for their posts. For example, eyeliner featured in your beauty bundle might be perfect for an influencer’s audience while your nail polish isn’t.

Gifted Products Should Be Easy to Ship

This is a detail of product gifting that many brands unfortunately overlook.

Gifting a damaged or busted product is obviously a bad look for your brand. Reconsider your product choice if you’re shipping:

  • Fragile items
  • Products that need to be kept at a specific temperature
  • Items that are too large to fit in a small shipping boxPro Tip: If all your products are difficult to ship, consider sending influencers coupons to buy your product in stores. You’ll need to compensate your influencers for the time and money required to buy your product in person, though. A gift isn’t a gift if it’s not free!

Gifted Products Should Have a “Cool” Factor

Stylish. Share-worthy. Perfect for piggybacking on social media trends.

That’s what we mean by having a “cool” factor.

Influencers want to be on top of the next big thing when it comes to trends and their latest purchases. Gifting products with a cool factor make creating content seamless for them.

Let’s look at a cool gifted product in action. Check out how beauty influencer @chloeandcos shows off Lottie London’s new stamp-on eyeliner set she was gifted.

eyeliner stamp example (1)_1

Source: @chloeandcos

Drawing identical wings on both eyes is a challenge but this product solves that problem by creating the perfect wing in a single stamp. She shows off all the creative ways to use the product and then asks her audience which eyeliner they would try.

Because of the product’s cool factor, this feels more like an organic post than sponsored content. That’s the power of influencer product gifting done right!

Pro Tip: If you gift a product like this to influencers, ask them to show themselves using the product and give a positive review. This will help illustrate to their followers why they need to try it.

Here are a few final points to consider when choosing products for a gifting campaign:

  • Is your brand name or logo clearly visible on the product you’ve picked?
  • Will the influencer have enough of the product to thoroughly test the results?
  • How photogenic is the product?

Pro Tip: Think about shipping a few small extras to encourage influencers to post about your product. This might include sample sizes of other products you offer or personalized packaging. For example, sending a handwritten thank-you note can help you stand out from the crowd. These small extras show appreciation to your influencer beyond your campaign.

3. Identify The Right Audience and Influencers for Your Campaign

Based on what we’ve seen firsthand, about a quarter of influencers ghost brands after receiving a gift to promote.

Ouch! That’s why it's essential to pick the right influencers for your brand. Much like choosing products, you have to put serious thought into your outreach candidates.

You need to find people who will actually care about your product once it's in their hands. That means reaching out to influencers with an audience that reflects your own.

Think about it. Asking a yoga lifestyle blogger who doesn’t have children to post about cloth diapers doesn’t make much sense, right?

The better the match, the better your campaign’s performance and UGC.

Check out this example from Curlsmith’s gifting campaign through Statusphere. The brand focused on beauty micro-influencers on Instagram with content centered around curly and wavy hair. Curlsmith’s product was a perfect fit.

curlsmith ex (1) Source: @being_frugal

The gifting campaign above generated 40,000+ likes and 4,400+ comments overall. The takeaway? Relevant creator matchmaking goes hand in hand with strong results!

How to Find Outreach Candidates for an Influencer Product Gifting Campaign

  • Think about the target audience of your brand. Who do they follow on social media? Who are their favorite influencers? Again, you want the creators you choose to resemble your target audience and speak their language.
  • Looking at your own followers is a solid starting point for finding relevant influencers. If you have current customers who frequently engage with your account or post product photos, reach out and ask for a collab.
  • Turn to Google! Search for product review blogs and YouTube channels for creators in your industry. Chances are they’ll put their contact info front-and-center and let you know if they’re interested in collaborations.
  • Search industry-specific hashtags (#BeautyTok or #FoundationHacks) to find influencers who review products similar to yours. The more specific the hashtag is to your industry, the better.
  • If you’re a brick-and-mortar store looking to find local influencers to build brand awareness in your community, search for geo-specific Instagram hashtags. Examples of this might be #OrlandoFoodie or #ChicagoHairStylist.
  • When in doubt, try searching Instagram or TikTok for hashtags like #Ad, #Gifted or #Sponsored. This is can help you find established influencers ASAP.
For a more in-depth look at how to conduct an influencer search, check out our post on finding Instagram influencers.

4. Contact and Pitch Influencers to Promote Your Gifted Products

First impressions matter when working with influencers.

Our advice? Be friendly, professional and specific about what you want.

By the time the influencer finishes reading your first DM or email, they should have a clear understanding of what’s being asked of them.

Keep in mind influencers get pitched all the time. To make your brand stand out, it’s important to highlight your product’s unique selling proposition. Mind what you say in your messages when sending products to influencers.

Pitching via email is ideal if you want to provide a more in-depth explanation of your brand or products. Emails offer space to highlight your value and what’s in it for them.

Instagram DM pitches should be short and sweet. Say exactly what you need to say in a couple of sentences. If they’re interested, they’ll let you know!

Here’s what you should include in your pitch:

  • An introduction to your brand and what you’re all about
  • What you specifically like about the influencer’s content
  • Why they’re a great fit for your brand (and the product you’re gifting)
  • Specify the type of content you want them to post (photos, videos, Reels, Stories)
  • A time frame for your campaign
Pro Tip: Outreach templates are a massive time-saver for influencer gifting campaigns. For samples of how to craft an effective pitch, check out our very own influencer outreach templates. Just remember to personalize every pitch you send!

5. Ship Your Products and Get Them Into Your Influencers’ Hands

With the initial planning phases of your campaign complete, it’s time to start sending products to influencers.

Keep in mind that shipping is one of the most time-consuming tasks involved with product gifting. In our experience, you’ll spend approximately eight to fifteen hours in this stage.

Prepare to receive and send shipments, pack individual boxes and then mail them out. If you plan on doing this yourself, here are some firsthand tips on how to send influencers products:

  • Use a trackable delivery method to ensure all shipments are delivered on time. We recommend using a tracking spreadsheet to keep tabs on influencers. This helps you organize addresses, products and delivery dates throughout your campaign.
  • Ask each influencer for their address so you can ship the products directly.
  • If you have specific sizes, shades or variations of your product, be sure to ask your influencer for their preference!
  • Pack your boxes and personalize your packaging. Remember to include a thank you note to show your influencers you care. Bonus points if it’s handwritten!
  • Keep in touch with your influencers throughout the shipping process to ensure they receive their products.
  • Let your influencers know when you’ve delivered their gift so they can look out for it.

love1 (1) love 2

Source: @taytenlanae

Note: To save time and money, many brands streamline fulfillment by using an influencer marketing platform. Full-service platforms like Statusphere take care of shipping, influencer communications and reporting.

6. Follow Up and Engage with Your Influencers’ Posts

Now that your products are in the influencers’ hands, make sure the creators you’ve gifted actually post their product reviews on social media.

After all, that’s the whole point of a product gifting campaign!

Don’t panic if you don’t hear from your influencers immediately. Chances are you’ll need to follow up and that’s okay! In our experience, influencers are busy people by default. Here are some tips for following up without being too clingy or aggressive:

  • Wait to reach out via email or DM two to three days after they receive their product. Frame your follow-up as positive by saying you’re excited to see their posts.
  • Don’t forget to “like” and comment on their post when they go live. This shows you appreciate their work and that you’re engaged with their community (see below).
  • Once you send the gifts and influencers post about them, don’t let that be the end of your relationship. Keep in touch and show them that they’re valued. If their initial post performed well, they may want to continue beyond a one-off campaign.

kiehls giftedkiehls gifted comment

Source: @allthings_giselle

But let’s say your influencer has gone silent even after following up multiple times.

The reality? It happens. With no contract or legal obligations, there really are no guarantees that influencers will post.

This highlights the value of onboarding an influencer marketing platform like Statusphere. We work with reliable creators based on brand-specific criteria and content is guaranteed.

Sample Timeline of an Influencer Product Gifting Campaign

Before you get knee-deep into a gifting campaign, let’s quickly talk about time!

By now you’ve probably gathered that the time required to do product gifting is no joke. We’ve run countless gifting promotions ourselves and have spoken with brands who’ve done it the DIY way, too.

Here’s a breakdown of the average time required to run an influencer gifting campaign:

  • Identifying and researching your target audience (1 to 2 hours)
  • Creating a list of influencers to reach out to (5 to 10 hours)
  • Creating offers and pitching influencers (5 to 10 hours)
  • Managing influencer communication and negotiation (15 to 20 hours)
  • Sending products to influencers (8 to 15 hours)
  • Sending reminders and follow-ups to complete posts (8 to 20 hours)

And so you’re looking at 70+ hours from your schedule (and that’s being generous).

We’ll say it again — product gifting campaigns are a ton of legwork! That said, the resulting content, social proof and engagement are invaluable for brands.

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Ready to Ramp Up Your Product Gifting? Let Us Help!

With these steps in mind, you know exactly what to expect to run an influencer gifting campaign. The effort is worth it long-term when you have dozens (or hundreds!) of authentic posts to promote by the end of it all.

If the process sounds like too much to handle on your own, we hear you!

That’s where Statusphere comes in. Our platform manages your influencer marketing campaigns from start to finish. This includes matchmaking, shipping and reporting.

And when you work with us, authentic creator content is guaranteed.

Want to know how the process works? Contact one of our consumer-to-consumer marketing specialists to see how we can get hundreds of people posting about your brand ASAP!

This article was first published in February 2019. It was last updated June 2, 2022.

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