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How to Run a Successful Influencer Seeding Campaign

6 minute read

Influencer seeding involves sending influencers free products as gifts in return for free publicity on social media. It can be a low-cost alternative to  big-budget influencer campaigns, and an affordable option for up-and-coming brands. Influencer seeding is a common practice. In fact, a search for the hashtag #gifted on Instagram returns 4.3 million results. But is it the right choice for your brand? And how can you get started?

Keep reading to find out if and when you should do influencer product seeding, things to watch out for, and tips for running a successful product seeding campaign. 

Should your brand do influencer product seeding?

There are a few reasons why brands use influencer seeding. Here are a few of the main ones:

  • Product seeding is simple 

Unlike traditional influencer-brand partnerships that involve official contracts and payment, product seeding is more straightforward. You just post out the samples or gifts to influencers you’re interested in working with. 

So, product seeding can be a great tactic to kick off your influencer marketing strategy without lawyers and paperwork. 

  • It’s (almost) free

With product seeding, influencers aren't paid to talk about the brands.  Many businesses, especially younger brands with modest budgets, find it easier to hand out free samples rather than invest thousands in big campaigns.

  • It can be more authentic

Product seeding is different from a campaign, with an official briefing and scripted messaging. 

If an influencer genuinely enjoys your product or service and shares how they use it, that authentic experience can carry more weight than a scripted advertisement. This builds trust and credibility with the influencer’s audience, leading to more awareness and sales.

Here’s a great example of an authentic review from an enthusiastic fan of Haus Labs by Lady Gaga:

Limitations of product seeding

While influencer seeding can be great, it does come with a few drawbacks. 

  • Limited control

The influencer can say what they like about your product. In fact, it’s completely up to them where they mention your brand at all.

  • No guarantees

Since you don’t know for sure if the influencer is going to mention your product, it’s hard to predict the results. This depends a lot on the quality of your product, and the types of influencers you reach out to. The better the influencer fits your brand, the more likely it is that you will see results. But still, nothing is guaranteed. 

  • Not all influencers will mention your brand for free

Let’s be real: for many influencers, this is their full-time job. And a mention from them could bring in significant revenue for your brand. While a nano influencer with 5,000 followers might be happy to try some free samples and talk about them, Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid probably won’t give you free publicity, unless it’s for a really good cause and/or you absolutely knock their socks off. 

Will influencer product seeding work for your brand?

Product seeding can be a powerful tactic to generate buzz with minimal costs.. However, you need to weigh up whether it is right for your brand. 

Product seeding could be a good move for your brand if:

  • You have a product based business 
  • You have a limited budget for influencer marketing campaigns
  • You have a clear brand message and value proposition that stand out 
  • You’re prepared to accept honest, unfiltered ( potentially negative) feedback

Product seeding examples

Many brands, across a wide variety of industries, leverage product seeding as a method to generate free publicity for their brand. You see all kinds of businesses doing it, from cosmetics to publishing.

Here, for instance, MAC Cosmetics sent an influencer a primer to test. She created a reel about it thanking them and shared her thoughts on the product:

In this example, a publisher sent a gifted copy of a book to an influencer, thinking they might enjoy it:

How to run a successful product seeding campaign

Want to give product seeding a go? Follow these steps for best results. 

Step 1: Find and Shortlist the Perfect Influencers

Every successful influencer product seeding campaign starts with discovering the right influencers that vibe with your brand. You don’t want to 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. 

This is where Storyclash can help. Storyclash uses AI technology to find brand-fit influencers in seconds, based on their content. 

Just open Storyclash, type in what you’re looking for, and use filters to refine the results. 

If you don’t have access to Storyclash yet, you can use our free AI tool. For example, a search for “skincare influencer with freckles” pulls up a bunch of influencers in that niche, with that look. 

Step 2: Reach Out with an Irresistible Offer

Now it's time to slide into their inbox with an offer they can't refuse. Shoot a well-crafted email to your chosen influencers, offering them your awesome product for a spin. Emphasize that there are no strings attached, but you would love a review if they genuinely appreciated the product. For some pro-level help, we've got outreach messaging templates that can make your message stand out from the crowd.

Step 3: Create an Unboxing Experience That Wows

You want their unboxing experience to be like a fireworks show – unforgettable and dazzling. So, get creative! Think about the packaging, the vibes you want to give off, and the excitement you want to stir up. A killer unboxing sets the tone for how influencers experience and show off your product.

Step 4: Keep Tabs on Their Content with Ease

Staying in the loop with what influencers are up to is key. Storyclash tracking can help you track the results of your influencer seeding campaign and monitor influencer’s content for brand mentions. You can even check out their Instagram stories after the 24-hour deadline has passed.

Step 5: Show Gratitude and Ask for a Little Something

Get in touch with the influencers who shared a review and let them know you appreciate it. You could also ask them if it's cool to reshare the content on your brand’s channels. Sharing their endorsements will ensure they are seen by more people, which can give your brand a credibility boost. 

Step 6: Consider a Long-Term Collaboraton

Long-term collabs tend to be more impactful, because the influencer’s audience is more exposed to your products and it seems more authentic. So, don’t forget to nurture that new relationship and involve the influencers from your seeding campaign in future campaigns. Done right, you have the opportunity to build a community of brand advocates who love what you do.

Step 7: Analyze, rinse, and repeat

When your campaign comes to an end, it's time to analyze the results. You'll want to measure clicks, engagement rates, and influencer media value. An influencer marketing tool can help you find the data you need. Once you’ve collected the info and analyzed the results, you can then use these insights to make your next campaign even more engaging.

By following these steps, you're well on your way to crafting an influencer product seeding campaign that resonates with your audience and plants the seeds for some amazing influencer partnerships.

Ready to try product seeding?

You should have a pretty solid understanding of how to run a successful product seeding campaign for your brand! To get started, you need to find the right influencers. The best place to do that is with the Storyclash platform. Get in touch for a free demo or check out our free AI influencer search tool.