There’s many different ways of working with influencers to spread the word about your brand and products. This article dives into 7 unique influencer marketing collaboration ideas that you can use as inspiration.
Just in case you need a quick update about Influencer Marketing, here’s a link to refresh your memory.
For Lemonstand Merchants and store owners, you have two main key advantages to this critical marketing channel.
- You already have an online store set up
- You are investing the majority of your marketing into digital channels.
Get Started – A Basic Influencer Marketing Toolbox Checklist
Here’s what you need to have ready before getting started:
- Ideal influencer persona
- Your store brand presence on the same platform as your ideal influencer (e.g. have a presence on Instagram)
- Dedicated samples and inventory of your store’s products readily available to be sent to any interested influencers
7 Unique Types of Collaborations
These Collaboration outlines are written mainly for consumer products. In every case, the influencer creates content in the form of video and/or photos with a product from your store. They can either receive the product from you directly or it can be drop-shipped.
1. Social Impact/Awareness and Cause Collaboration
Does your product source its materials from sustainable materials? Do you have an interesting unique origins story to share? What kind of social impact occurs when a customer buys from your store?
Social impact/awareness Collaborations can be rooted in a cause that you’re already promoting and can be the core message of your brand.
Ten Tree works with adventurous influencers with a strong focus on the great outdoors. Their Collaborations, like the one below, are high captured ‘in the moment’.
Above: Tommy Millz, Instagram micro-influencer with 6K followers posts about planting trees in collaboration with Ten Tree.
Using your brand’s impact message as the backbone of your Influencer Marketing Collaboration can be extremely powerful. It will resonate emotionally with the influencer’s followers and creates an emotional bond with your product, cause, and Influencer.
Pro tip: Make sure your values are aligned with the influencer’s values.
2. Challenge Collaboration
Customers are bored by the typical picture and product pose – whether it be Influencer Marketing or a billboard ad. Point is, you can’t afford to be dull.
A Challenge Collaboration is when a brand takes a product from their store and creates a challenge for their influencers to participate in. There is a strong call to action.
Above: Riley Lewis and her #fruitbythefootchallenge YouTube video.
Fruit By The Foot challenged their Influencers to finish an entire piece of candy without any hands and their CTA (call to action) was to invite their followers to try and do the same.
The competitive nature of the challenge was magnetic.
The result? An additional 510 posts tagged with “#fruitbythefootchallenge” of images and videos across Instagram with the top videos gaining 1,608,000+ views.
If you sell a product that allows an Influencer to think outside the box when presenting it to their audience, think about turning it into a challenge. And of course, offer a prize to incentivize the challenge (plus bragging rights!).
Pro tip: Be clear with the rules of engagement with your challenge. Ensure that the “Can-Dos” and the “Can’t Dos” are clear but not overwhelming. You want people to easily understand the point of the challenge and how to participate.
3. Influencer Takeover Collaboration
A Takeover Collaboration is having a virtual guest ‘sit-in’ on your store’s social media account for a period of time.
An Influencer is a great advocate for your store’s account as it shows that the Influencer trusts your brand. The key here is quality, not quantity.
Above: Courtney Kerr of Kerrently, Instagram and Blog Influencer has done a successful Takeover on Baublebar’s Instagram.
Set a time frame for the Takeover; they can be for a day, a few hours, or even just half an hour.
A Full Takeover means the influencer is able to log into your social accounts and post during that time frame. A Semi Takeover means that the influencer sends you content and videos to post onto your social account.
Influencers participating in your brand’s Instagram/Facebook/Twitter Takeover will warm up their followers by giving them early notice that they will be a virtual guest on your account.
Lastly, promote the Takeover with a custom hashtag like #[your brand name]x[influencer name] and co-promote the upcoming Takeovers. Announcing which Influencers will be taking over your social account will build up both buzz and prepare your followers.
Pro tip: Promote and celebrate the Influencer takeover even after it has ended. Reminisce with a “#TBT” (Throwback Thursday) post or feature this memorable moment on your own social page and eCommerce page.
4. Influencer “Favorites” or “Collections” Collaboration
As a store owner, you are familiar with selling products by the season, time of the year, and other major national holidays.
Influencer inspired collections or favorited collections are newer Collaboration types. There are two ways you can set this Collaboration up. Please note that once you engage in this Collaboration, this requires more of a commitment from both your brand and the Influencers.
Influencer Co-Created Collections is what M.A.C. has done with 10 beauty Influencers. M.A.C. created a shade of lipstick inspired by each of the 10 Influencers; they serve as “Muses” of the brand but also as co-creators of their products.
Above: Samantha Ravndahl, beauty Influencer serves as the inspiration for a M.A.C. line of lipstick along with 9 other beauty influencers.
Influencer Curated Collections are when the Influencer creates a “favorites” list of the products they love the most from your store and allows their audience to enter into your store and shop directly from their “Favorites” List.
In both cases, giving the Influencers who are curators or co-creators a coupon code or a special VIP discount to give out to their audience would serve your store well in the long run.
Pro tip: Give the influencers the freedom to be creative. This gesture makes for not only great content but even better relationships. Influencers who are proud to have curated a collection or can attest to being a muse for a brand will bear that badge proudly.
5. Trips or Events
Who doesn’t like a little get-together? Hosting an event allows you to meet the Influencers personally and offers an experience your Influencers can post about. Events can be organized either by your store or you can team up with another local vendor to bring an Influencer-centric event to life.
Your event should be centered around an announcement, message or cause; a fashion show, wine tasting, or fundraiser are a few examples. This gives Influencers a core to gravitate to, and post about when attending the event.
Above: e-Commerce brand Pretty Little Thing teamed up with Park Life Festival to host a separate area for Influencers who were invited to lounge and meet other Influencers.
Pro tip: Out of town trips can be expensive, local events and parties don’t need to be. You can team up with other local businesses or eCommerce store owners around you to share the cost of hosting an event. If an influencer is already doing a meet up with their followers in your city, you can use that opportunity to ‘sponsor’ the event or a moment with the influencer.
Give all guests a special hashtag for the event and encourage Influencers to bring a plus one.
6. Personal Stories Collaboration
With a Personal Story Collaboration, Influencers share a heartfelt story rather than more a quick “why they like this product”.
A Personal Story asks the Influencers to draw a personal attachment or memory that your brand inspires.
Ensure that the Influencers you are reaching out to are comfortable with being vulnerable by connecting closely with your brand and ultimately.
In this case, having a longer post serves you well. For example, Jeanne Grey’s (@thegreylayers) has done this sort of collab with Cluse watches on multiple Instagram posts – and are supported by long form blog posts.
Above: Jeanne Grey is featured in an interview by Cluse Watches. A longer form blog post on this post can be found on her blog page.
Pro tip: Be supportive. Send your influencers encouraging emails, comment positively on their sponsored posts, and engage with their audiences.
7. Virtual Influencer Hosted “Trunk” or “Flash” Sale
Offering a sale or a discount on your store can be tricky because you don’t want to be known as a discount company (unless of course, that is your value prop!). However, offering a time-limited discount through a group of influencers is a clever way to bypass the “bargain bin” stigma.
It’s not often consumers see virtual Influencer “Trunk” or “Flash”. It’s more common for brands to collaborate with influencers to offer coupon codes or run an affiliate program. A “Trunk” or “Flash” sale technically works the same by offering a coupon code, only it is marketed as an event.
Pro tip: Be organized and prepared. Audiences need to know well in advance that the sale is time-limited. This means there needs to be plenty of pre-event marketing.