PROCUREMENT

What Is Influencer Seeding And Why Do You Need It?

Apr 23, 2024

Social Commerce

What Is Influencer Seeding And Why Do You Need It?

When we think about the role of an influencer, our minds immediately jump to the concept of free gifting/products. And rightfully so. Influencers are constantly posting Instagram Stories and TikTok videos highlighting the free products they’ve received in PR. 

But where does it all come from and how are these specific influencers selected for the acquisition of free products?

Influencer seeding involves sending out free products to select influencers, often in exchange for free publicity on social media, whether in the form of a dedicated post or passing mention within a larger Story. If you’ve constantly heard influencers preach about consistency with uploading content, then listen carefully, as those who practise this are more likely to be selected for influencer seeding campaigns.

But what is influencer seeding? Influencer seeding is more than just a buzzword however; it’s a strategic approach that leverages the reach and authority of influential personalities on social media to amplify brand messages and foster authentic connections with target audiences. As consumers increasingly turn to social media for product recommendations and lifestyle inspiration, influencers have become the modern-day tastemakers, wielding significant influence over purchasing decisions.

@abbybaffoe

This one was so good 😭🤌🏼 truly what is my life I an freaking out 🥹🥲💖 #prhaul #prunboxing #prhaulunboxing

♬ original sound – Abby Baffoe

In this blog, we’ll explore the nuances of influencer seeding, from identifying the right influencers for your brand to crafting compelling partnerships that resonate with your audience. We’ll examine the evolving landscape of influencer marketing, exploring trends, challenges, and best practices for brands navigating this dynamic space. In other words we aim to answer the question, what is influencer seeding?

Whether you’re a seasoned marketer seeking to optimise your influencer strategy or a newcomer looking to harness the power of influencer seeding, this blog aims to equip you with the insights and knowledge needed to thrive in the new digital age.

WHY SHOULD BRANDS ENGAGE WITH INFLUENCER SEEDING?

Picture this: You’re scrolling through your Instagram feed, double-tapping on photos of picturesque destinations, mouth-watering food, and stylish outfits. Suddenly, you stumble upon a post from your favourite influencer raving about a new skincare product. Intrigued, you click on the link, read the glowing reviews, and before you know it, you’ve added it to your cart. That, my friend, is the magic of influencer seeding.

But why is influencer seeding important? Well, let’s break it down.

Influencer seeding allows you to find creators who really love your brand

The modern day consumer is smart. They can tell from a mile away when a creator doesn’t actually like a product they’re promoting, deeming the endorsement inauthentic. In today’s social landscape, inauthentic content practically equals brand death. 

By sending your products out for free, creators are given the opportunity to try them out in order to determine whether they genuinely like them or not. From here a mutually beneficial partnership can be born.

Influencer seeding is a great way to build strong relationships at scale

The bottom line is everyone loves receiving free gifts. Creators will often be flattered if a brand likes their content so much that they’re willing to send them free gifts with no expectations. These arrangements prove great relationship-building efforts as your brand shows creators that you’re already all in.

Influencers offer unparalleled reach 

With millions of followers eagerly awaiting their every post, influencers have the power to catapult your brand into the spotlight. By partnering with the right influencers, you can tap into their vast audience and significantly expand your brand’s visibility.

This also allows for precise targeting. Instead of casting a wide net and hoping for the best, brands can strategically run their influencer seeding campaigns with those whose audience aligns with their target demographic. This targeted approach ensures that your message reaches the right people, maximising the impact of your marketing efforts.

@_samanthajo_

heres a little pr haul! thank you to everyone who sent me something 🥺🩷 im very lucky! #prhaul #prunboxing #unboxing #mysteryunboxing

♬ original sound – samantha jo

WHY SHOULDN’T BRANDS ENGAGE WITH INFLUENCER SEEDING?

As with every social media marketing strategy, it’s always good to analyse these pros against the strategy’s potential cons in order to evaluate if this really will work for your brand. The limitations to influencer seeding are as follows.

There is no guarantee of content

Unlike other content arrangements within which creators receive products in exchange for posts, influencer seeding doesn’t guarantee any kind of promotion on social media. Of course some creators might post something as a result of really liking your product, this is the exception, not the rule. Only once the influencer seeding strategy has bloomed, and the creator genuinely loves your products, can a more concrete partnership take place.

Some view influencer seeding as unethical

Some larger creators have begun talking about the true nature of these “no-strings-attached” deals. They call upon the psychological principle of reciprocity to explain that even though businesses say the creators have no obligations to post, many feel they must in order to “pay back” the brand for their generosity. 

While this may come across as a bit of a far-fetched take, there are many creators who don’t feel this way and are happy to receive free items from brands to try.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN INFLUENCER SEEDING AND INFLUENCER GIFTING

In the world of influencer marketing, two popular strategies come into play: influencer seeding and influencer gifting. While they may seem similar at first glance, they have distinct differences that slightly impact your brand’s marketing efforts. 

What is influencer gifting?

While gifting also involves sending out free products, this is often done on a transactional basis. The creator receives the product knowing they must post about it on their socials. 

@llzklifestyle

#GiftedbyMaybelline Let me know if you want me to swatch those pink #SuperStayVinylInk lipsticks! #beautytok #Maybelline #unboxingpr #makeuptok #atllifestyle

♬ Fashionable and mature Lofi hip hop(1299839) – Ei Itomaki

What is influencer seeding?

The influencer seeding process is much more relational, and requires the creator to choose whether or not they want to post about their free products online. Think of it like a seed that is planted and monitored while it grows. 

@mayanagy

Haul time 💛💛💛 #haul #prhaul #unboxing

♬ original sound – mayanagy

WHICH CREATORS RESPOND BEST TO INFLUENCER SEEDING?

In general, nano and micro influencers tend to respond best to influencer seeding propositions. Creators with over 100,000 followers tend to be too busy to take the time to consider anything that doesn’t offer payment, nor do they have much time in their day to show off free PR. Having said that, it doesn’t always hurt to reach out to a bigger creator if you’re really interested in them. Worst comes to worst they won’t post about your brand, but they’ll know you exist.

HOW TO RUN AN INFLUENCER SEEDING CAMPAIGN

Think product seeding could work for your brand? Follow these steps for the best results.

1. Find and shortlist the perfect influencers

Every successful influencer seeding campaign starts with discovering the right influencers. The last thing you want to do is waste valuable resources on people who aren’t likely to be interested in what you have to offer, or whose followers don’t match your target audience. 

2. Reach out with an irresistible offer

Shoot either a well-crafted email or DM to your chosen influencers offering them to take your product for a spin. Be sure to emphasise that there are no strings attached, but you’d greatly appreciate a review if they genuinely liked the product. You can find some message-crafting templates online for help.

3. Create an unboxing experience that ‘WOWs’

The key to a memorable product is a dazzling unboxing experience. So, get creative! Think about the packaging, the vibes you want to give off, and the excitement/messaging you want to convey. The best unboxing experiences are those most likely to get influencers talking about your products and showing them off to their followers.

@mianalauren

Such a cool PR box from @kyliecosmetics 💖 What products do you wanna see me try first? Have you tried any already? #kyliecosmetics #kyliejenner

♬ A-O-K – Tai Verdes

4. Show gratitude

Get in touch with the influencers who shared a review and let them know you appreciate it. Now would also be a great time to ask whether they mind you resharing their content to your brand’s channels. Sharing their endorsements will give your brand that all-important credibility boost.

5. Consider a long-term collaboration

Long-term collaborations can be incredibly impactful. Don’t forget to nurture the new relationships that come from your influencer seeding campaigns by involving the same influencers in your next one. Done right, you’ll have the opportunity to build a community of brand advocates who love what you do.

6. Analyse, rinse, and repeat

Now that your influencer seeding campaign has come to an end, it’s time to analyse the results. You’ll want to measure clicks, engagement rates, and influencer media value. After collecting these and analysing the data, you can then use it to make your next campaign even more engaging. 

INFLUENCER SEEDING CAMPAIGN EXAMPLES

After identifying personalities that align with your brand’s core values, you can send products in exchange for high-quality content and nurture long-term relationships. Here are some of the brands doing it right.

Glow Recipe

@iconicyellow

Glow recipe unboxing✨ thank you to @Glow Recipe for spoiling me🥰💖 #pr #glowrecipe #unboxing

♬ original sound – Anisa

Milk Makeup

@sharnteparkes

@milkmakeup unboxing🎁 Products: Hydro grip primer Grip + refresh spray Lip and cheek sticks (Quickie) (Werk) Kush mascara #gifted #milkmakeup #makeup #prunboxing #makeuphaul

♬ original sound – Sharnte Parkes

CELSIUS

CELSIUS influencer seeding

Freckled Poppy Boutique

Freckled Poppy influencer seeding

Rare Beauty

@sophia.castiblanco

Obsessed with these new products🫶 #rarebeautybodycare #unboxingprpackage #rarebeautyprpackage #teencontentcreator #rarebeautybodycollection

♬ Elevator Music – Bohoman

TOP TIPS TO KEEP IN MIND WHEN RUNNING AN INFLUENCER SEEDING STRATEGY

Be precise with your influencer selection and vetting

Finding the right influencers is the crux of a successful campaign. Nothing matters if you send your product to someone who doesn’t have any interest in your brand. Here are some selection and vetting tips:

  • Start by searching for influencers by interest. Use a keyword list of topics, hashtags, and phrases to search through past content and bios.
  • Narrow by demographics and performance metrics. Does this influencer already speak to your target audience? If so, does their content receive high engagement rates or video views?
  • Make sure the influencer is a right fit for your brand. Have they mentioned your brand before? Do they make the kind of content that would seamlessly work for your brand?

Set specific influencer KPIs and campaign goals

Most brands look at influencer seeding campaigns as a way to drive top-funnel-awareness, which is why you often see KPIs like X number of posts, X number of engagement, X number of video views etc. Consider the following too:

  • X number of posts from new influencer groups/tiers. 
  • X number of views on a branded hashtag.

Prioritise quality over quantity

Here are a few ways to ensure you are being both surgical and creative with your influencer seeding campaign:

  • Gauge interest before you hit send. It’s worth the upfront effort to give your influencers a heads up before you send them products. 
  • Write a personalised note. This note should include a reminder to clearly identify their posts as sponsored or gifted, but don’t be afraid to be creative!
  • Segment influencers by content type. Research the top performing content for your influencer list and encourage repetition of what works well for them – this could be GRWMs, creative makeup looks, highly-creative content etc. This can help you then tailor your note with a suggestion for how your product can be integrated. 

Our influencer marketing agency and social agency are located worldwide, with our agency network based in the USA, UK, UAE and China.

If you want to find industry insights, visit our influencer marketing and social media blogs.

@sociallypowerful

Author

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Ella Proctor

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