colorful line illustration with charts and graphs

30 Influencer Marketing Ideas That’ll Boost Your Sales

There’s more to influencer marketing than brand lift… right??

It’s time to sit down and map out your social media marketing campaigns for the holiday season. We thought it would be cool to publish a list of 30 influencer marketing ideas that we’re hoping will finally lay to rest the dreaded #basic product placement post. 

Remember the early days of Instagram influencer marketing, when most campaigns were for brand lift? Sure, you had the unicorn campaigns like Lord & Taylor’s famously successful paisley dress campaign, but we know that most campaigns for brand lift do not succeed in simultaneously introducing a new fashion line AND selling out its inventory in a few days. 

The Shelf team put together this list of influencer marketing ideas as a starting point for your marketing team to dream up cool campaign concepts. (And if the thought of that bums you out, we’re a click away.) 

colorful line illustration of Pinterest pin for blog post

30 Creative Ways to Work with Influencers and Boost Your Sales

Influencer Marketing Idea #1: Haul Videos

Good for brand lift, clicks, follows

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Partner with a creator to become one of multiple sponsors for a single video or video series. 

VERTICALS

Usually focused on a holiday (like Mother’s Day, Back-to-School time, Halloween) or a specific vertical (like fall home decor, favorite winter beauty products, hardiest plants for outdoor planting in southern states).

BENEFITS

Engaging content, reaches a targeted audience (very likely to show up as a result of specific searches), a fraction of the cost of a dedicated video about your product.

Multiple influencers are posting Sephora haul videos for the 2020 holiday season.

Influencer Marketing Idea #2: Amazon Live

Good for brand lift, conversions

WHAT IS AMAZON LIVE?

Amazon Live is a QVC-style video feature on Amazon where creators review and test different products. 

VERTICALS

All

BENEFITS

Greater likelihood of reaching consumers who already have purchase intent, usually features multiple products per video.

screenshot of Shea Whitney's Amazon Live account

Influencer Marketing Idea #3: Email Marketing

Good for brand lift, conversions

How does it work?

Partner with influencers whose email subscribers are most likely interested in your product or service, and have them feature your product as part of their normal email marketing strategy

Verticals

All 

Benefits

Partnerships can include social media influencers, B2B influencers, web-only publications like Morning Brew, and sponsorship packages from larger publications that have a digital presence.

Influencer Marketing Idea #4: Idea Pins

Good for brand lift, influencer-generated content, conversions

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Pinterest Story Pins allow brands and pinners to include 20 pages of images + text within a single pin. 

VERTICALS

All

BENEFITS

Can tie together as one clickable pin what would normally be multiple pins (maybe across multiple boards), easier to connect inspo ideas as part of a single theme (so, a kick-butt candle holder pin could become a Story Pin about a holiday tablescape, pages can link back to blog posts/product pages. 

screenshot of Pinterest user Alee's story pin about meeting shawn mendes

Influencer Marketing Idea #5: How-To Videos and Tutorials

Good for brand lift, website content, cross-channel promoting, conversions

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Influencers create video tutorials that explain how your product works and/or the benefits and different uses of your product.

VERTICALS

All

BENEFITS

How-to/tutorials are the number one type of content social media users want to see from the influencers they follow. They’re shareable and generate lots of engagement; also great for SEO, as the videos can drive traffic to product pages for years to come.

Influencer Marketing Idea #6: In-App Ads

Good for brand lift, conversions

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Influencers create video content (usually videos that can be used as pre-roll, mid-roll and in-app mobile ads.)

VERTICALS

All

BENEFITS

In-app ads are targeted to reach app users, which can include people who may not be looking specifically for your brand or your product. So, in-app ads can easily be brand lift plays since many apps also track consumers online behavior). 

screenshot of Duolingo app
Just a regular day in the Duolingo app
Duolingo in-app ad feat. influencer Manny Guttierez
In-app ad for Bliss skincare line with influencer Manny Gutierrez
in-app ad clicks thru to Target product page for Bliss Skincare
Click-thru goes to buy Bliss products on Target.com

 

Influencer Marketing Idea #7: Pet Influencers

Good for brand awareness, marketing assets for  online and offline ad

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Partner with popular pet accounts to create scroll-stopping, compelling content

VERTICALS

All

BENEFITS

People enjoy content that includes pets, facilitates positive connections to the brand, people are 3x more likely to buy based on pet influencer recommendations than recommendations from celebrities (not even kidding about that). This strategy’s cool because it’s not just limited to brands in the pet supply industry (like this Victoria’s Secret ad on the right).

screenshot of 2 dogs promoting sale at Victoria's Secret

Influencer Marketing Idea #8: Instagram Reels

Good for brand awareness, cross-channel promotions

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Partner with creators to dream up content for Instagram Reels, a micro-video feature within Instagram that allows users to create, post, and string together 15-second videos.

VERTICALS

All

BENEFITS

Can cross-post from TikTok or Triller, currently generating more than 2x video views of IGTV content because Reels are being favored by the Instagram algorithm. Reels display in the main feed, on the Explore page, and on hashtag pages.

Influencer Marketing Idea #9: Influencer-Generated Content

Good for brand awareness, social media content for your branded channels, marketing assets for online and offline ads, retargeting

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Partner with multiple micro-influencers who appeal to different segments of your target audience to create a catalog of influencer-generated sponsored content

VERTICALS

All

BENEFITS

Can refine messaging and boost content that performs best, can match assets for a retargeting campaign to the original converting campaign content, provides social proof, evergreen content can be used for future campaign pushes.

Influencer Marketing Idea #10: Giveaways or Contests

Good for follower growth, clicks, traffic, user-generated content

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Partner with larger influencers to promote one or more product giveaways. The cost of entry is usually for participants to follow your brand and tag a friend.

VERTICALS

All

BENEFITS

Can gauge audience responsiveness and sentiment, measure relevance of your campaign/messaging, great for retargeting and relationship building

Influencer Marketing Idea #11: Spouses Instagram Takeover

Good for user-generated content, brand awareness

HOW IT WORKS

Idea #1: Partner with married couples where both spouses are influencers who cross-post to one another’s feeds.

Idea #2: Allow the partner who is less active on social media but may often be featured in the influencer’s content to have a day where he or she takes over the influencer-spouse’s Instagram feed.

VERTICALS

All

BENEFITS

Attention-grabbing. Whether it’s for a few hours or a few days, a takeover creates an opportunity for an influencer to show off a feed that isn’t hyper-curated. The idea is for the feed to be more real-life and even a little off-brand for the influencers to trigger curiosity among the influencer’s regular followers (since they’ll know something’s up when the pics are a little weird).

Influencer Marketing Idea #12: TikTok Creators

Good for brand awareness, credibility, transparency, user-generated content

HOW IT WORKS

Partner with a TikTok creator to create a post whose audience aligns with your targeted audience.

VERTICALS

All

BENEFITS

Boosts brand lift. Reaches younger shoppers, and it’s great for engagement since TikTok has a natural fun-seeking gamification. element to it, so people want to engage with the content they see, even if it’s sponsored. Can add a fresh take on a known product (like how Crocs are popular with Gen Zs now). Can reuse content for actual ads.

TikTok screenshot of Croctober
Nathaniel Simonsen’s TikTok for Famous Footwear’s #FallAtFamous campaign.
Click the image to see Nathaniel Simonsen’s TikTok for Famous Footwear’s #FallAtFamous campaign.

 

Influencer Marketing Idea #13: Ambassadorships

Good for brand lift, sales promotions, sign-ups, downloads, user-generated content

HOW IT WORKS

Partner with an influencer who aligns with your values and reaches the audience your brand is courting. Create an ambassador program where influencers get free products and either get paid a flat rate or earn a percentage of the sales generated by their posts.

VERTICALS

All

BENEFITS

Boosts brand lift, demonstrates the value of your products, lower front-end financial investment than hiring influencers outright, long-term partnerships with influencers, TONS of content to reuse across your branded channels.

Influencer Marketing Idea #14: Webinars

Good for brand awareness, conversions, sign-ups, building trust, brand reputation

HOW IT WORKS

Partner with influencers who sell products and services that compliment yours to cross-promote your brand/products to their audience. You could sponsor a webinar being hosted by a brand or publication. OR…

Ppitch your own webinar to their audience with the influencer earning a commission on any sales generated as a result of the webinar.

VERTICALS

B2B and Brand 2 Brand

BENEFITS

Primary benefit is that social proof and trustworthiness since you’re reaching audiences by way of introduction from a brand or influencer they already trust.

Influencer Marketing Idea #15: Podcasts

Good for brand awareness, explainers, promoting sales and discounts

HOW IT WORKS

Become a sponsor for a podcast where the listening audience overlaps your target audience.

VERTICALS

All

BENEFITS

A lot of brands don’t consider podcasts as part of an influencer marketing strategy, but partnering with influencers who have podcasts (and there are tons of them) is great for promoting products whose value is more easily understood when audiences can hear a quick explanation.

Influencer Marketing Idea #16: Glowups

Good for brand awareness, conversions, site traffic, coupon codes/promos

HOW IT WORKS

Glow-ups are so popular on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube that there’s an actual Netflix show based on the concept. With glow-ups, social media users post multimedia before and after shots of themselves. The most jaw-dropping TikTok glow-ups can easily grow the creator’s follower base and like count. I am personally a fan of the ones that turn regular grandmas into Helen Mirrens. With the vastness of YouTube’s demographic, you can really target anyone on the platform.

Glow-ups can be geek to chic, weight loss transformations, quarantine transformations, and makeovers. In the video below, JENerationDIY created a post-quarantine glow-up of her going from her quarantine norm to be ready to face the public. You’ll notice there’s a link to a coupon code for thredUP posted in the description section beneath her video.

VERTICALS

Lifestyle, beauty, nutrition, weight loss, fashion

BENEFITS

Glow-ups are entertaining. People watch glow-ups to see how products and techniques contribute to changes. Great opportunity to demonstrate value.

“Use my code JENDIY for an extra 30% off of your first thredUP order! Click here: https://bit.ly/thredUPmay2020_JENDIY. Offer expires 06/30/20. Not valid on Goody Boxes, Rescues, or on items over $150. Valid in the U.S. and Canada only. Other restrictions may apply. Thanks to thredUP for sponsoring this video.”

Influencer Marketing Idea #17: Memes

Good for shareable content, user-generated content, branding, brand lift

HOW IT WORKS

Partner with creators who can really nail the voice and personality of your campaign, AND who are a natural fit for a partner. You don’t have to stick to meme creators, but you can bring in a meme creator to build the meme your influencers will share with their audiences.

VERTICALS

Alls

BENEFITS

Memes are highly shareable. They can help brand establish their personality and snatch up “cult followers” who support the brand first for its views then for its products.

Influencer Marketing Idea #18: Parent, Grandparent, Crazy Cousin/Uncle Instagram Takeover

Good for grabbing attention, brand lift, memorable content, follower growth

HOW IT WORKS

Similar to the spouse’s Instagram takeover, this idea is about pulling in relatives who can add entertainment value beyond what the influencer typically provides.

VERTICALS

All

BENEFITS

Great for scroll-stopping content.

Influencer Marketing Idea #19: Reviews

Good for brand awareness, explainers, site traffic, clicks, store traffic

HOW IT WORKS

Partner with an influencer who regularly reviews products IN YOUR NICHE or in a related niche. Can be one of multiple sponsors for a particular video.

VERTICALS

All

BENEFITS

Great for new products or products where there’s lots of competition in the market from very similar products (like hair care). Partner with influencers who know your space well enough to be able to touch on customer pain points and explain the nuances of your product compared to similar products.

screengrab of Lia Lavon's YouTube reviews

Influencer Marketing Idea #20: Retargeting

Good for increasing touchpoints along path to purchase, clicks, site traffic

HOW IT WORKS

Retargeting should be part of your conversion funnel for influencer campaigns. One way to keep your product and offering top-of-mind is to repurpose influencer content from an active influencer marketing campaign to be used in your site content as well as a smart ad across the web.

VERTICALS

All

BENEFITS

The visual cues that made a scroller stop and pay attention to your offer are the visual cues you’ll use to keep your offer top-of-mind. And you don’t have to buy new marketing assets.

Influencer Marketing Idea #21: Q & A

Good for brand awareness, brand lift, clicks and traffic

HOW IT WORKS

Idea #1: Partner with fashion bloggers and beauty influencers or enthusiasts who’ll do a Q&A of follower/subscriber questions. These will usually be questions centered around the topic they’re enthusiastic about.

Idea #2: Partner with a lifestyle influencer who can contextually embed your product as part of s Q&A about the influencer or their life. These will be more personal questions, but the wide range of question types will likely provide multiple “ins” to introduce products.

VERTICALS

All

BENEFITS

Boost brand lift and visibility, extol the virtues of your brand/product. Embed products in a way that doesn’t look like a product placement. Can be less expensive if multiple products are featured.

Both of these surfaced for the search term “Car Q&As.” One has a lifestyle spin, the other has an enthusiast spin.

Influencer Marketing Idea #22: Advice

Good for brand awareness, clicks, traffic, getting buy-in, branding, brand reputation

HOW IT WORKS

Partner with an influencer to recommend your product as a solution for a common problem.

VERTICALS

All

BENEFITS

Social proof can help sway buyers who are in the decision-making process, ESPECIALLY when decision fatigue becomes a problem (i.e. you have a ton of competitors and your buyer can’t figure out which product is the best choice.

Influencer Marketing Idea #23: Local Search on Pinterest

Good for foot traffic, site traffic, brand awareness, clicks

HOW IT WORKS

You don’t need to hire a Pinterest influencer to be seen on the platform. Pinterest can include local results for topical searches if your brand has a verified Pinterest business account and you’ve uploaded your products for inclusion in Pinterest

VERTICALS

All

BENEFITS

Wider exposure for retailers with ecommerce functionality. Extended life cycle for Pinterest posts, as pictures can be repinned to millions of boards by pinners. Supports local SEO efforts as 97% of Pinterest searches are unbranded, so local companies will now surface in results for broad categories.

graphic of different Pinterest Local search features

Influencer Marketing Idea #24: Direct Mail

Good for brand awareness, driving site traffic, expanding your audience

HOW IT WORKS

Retailers and especially digital natives send postcards out via US mail with coupon codes or incentives to visit the brand online or locally.

VERTICALS

All

BENEFITS

Digital natives can introduce their product to older shoppers who typically buy offline, incentivize new and existing customers to buy with discounts and coupon codes.

Direct mail flyers from online retailers

Influencer Marketing Idea #25: Catalogs

Good for retailers who want to reach offline shoppers

HOW IT WORKS

Mail out physical catalogs to help people quickly and easily identify your best deals.

VERTICALS

All

BENEFITS

Minimizes decision fatigue. Gives customers a way to rehearse decision-making offline. Clears the path for buyers to streamline their decision-making process.

walmart toy catalog

Influencer Marketing Idea #26: Sponsor an IGTV Series

Good for brand awareness, brand voice, explainers, traffic and clicks

HOW IT WORKS

IGTV is Instagram’s long-form video feature that creators use to create serial content. Partner with an influencer to create or repurpose longer video content for the platform.

VERTICALS

All

BENEFITS

IGTV can be used as the fancy-tickling preview for long-form content on YouTube. Previews show up in the grid and in-feed for the influencer’s followers with an option to Keep Watching the full video. So, you can grab eyes from IG feeds and drive that interest elsewhere.

Influencer Marketing Idea #27: Sponsor a Reels Series

Good for brand awareness, brand voice, user-generated content, clicks, list-building

HOW IT WORKS

Partner with influencers who create serial content or bring influencers into your creative process if your brand includes episodic content as part of its content marketing efforts.

VERTICALS

All

BENEFITS

Episodic content presents the opportunity for regular exposure and brand-building efforts. Brands can reach customers at different touchpoints along the path to purchase.

 

Influencer Marketing Idea #28: Influencer-Curated Gift Guides

Good for brand awareness, clicks, social proof, conversions, coupons, opt-ins, SEO

HOW IT WORKS

Partner with influencers who publish holiday gift guides (either blog or vlog) to have your product featured as one of the items on the list. Make sure the influencer’s brand aligns with your own so the recommendation makes sense to their audience.

VERTICALS

All. The more niched-down the vertical, the better your chances of being able to convert readers. For instance, the infographic on the right is a result that surfaced for the Google search “holiday gift guide for toddlers” from MommaSociety.com

(Here’s why this matters: Mandy is a blogger with a sizable Pinterest following that drums up nearly 2 million monthly viewers. One of the things Mandy publishes to her blog MommaSociety.com (and promotes on Pinterest) is her roundup of toy ideas. We found her under the search term holiday gift guides for toddlers… which is a popular search term.)

BENEFITS

Great for boosting brand lift ESPECIALLY when featured alongside more well-known products and brands. Less expensive than a dedicated series of posts.

Holiday gift guides are often published to blogs and vlogs and cross-promoted with Pinterest, which gives them a years-long life cycle. Continues to be searchable for future holiday guides.

Holiday guides streamline the gift-buying experience for busy shoppers who can be overwhelmed by options.

Influencer Marketing Idea #29: Blogs

Good for clicks, traffic, opt-ins, sales, brand awareness, SEO, explainers

HOW IT WORKS

Partner with social media influencers who are also active bloggers with with active, engaged readers.

VERTICALS

All

BENEFITS

Longer content life cycle with blogs. Blog content can be better optimized for multiple search terms. Great way to explain and demonstrate the value/benefit of a product.

Influencer Marketing Idea #30: Curated Product Collections

Good for brand awareness, social proof, clicks, site traffic, sales, retargeting

HOW IT WORKS

Shoppable platforms like Instagram and Pinterest have product curation features that highlight products recommended by influencers.

VERTICALS

Most often beauty, fashion, home decor. Works in way more verticals, though.

BENEFITS

Can highlight your products. Algorithms surface curated products based on who social media users follow and their interests (content they engage with). On both Pinterest and Instagram, influencers are featured as curators in Shop tabs.

WE ACTUALLY CREATED AN ENCYCLOPEDIA ON THIS STUFF…
The Complete Guide to Influencer Marketing 🤯

Which of These Influencer Campaign Ideas Floats Your Boat?

There you have it – 30 different ways you can work with influencers this holiday season and stave off those basic-looking product placement posts. #kryptonite

If you need help with your holiday campaign or coming up with influencer marketing ideas, there’s still time. We’ve rolled out campaigns in days that converted for our clients. We don’t LIKE TO… but we have done it and delivered . So, if you need a team in place who can implement these influencer campaign ideas for you, The Shelf team is into full-funnel stuff.

So… (in our best David Rose voice)

Struggling to come up with creative concepts for your influencer campaign?

We have strategists for that sorta thing.

Let’s avoid those basic-looking product placement posts. They generally don't convert anyway. Our campaign strategists work with our sales team + your in-house team to dream up multiple creative, fun, on-brand concepts for your influencer campaign. This way, your campaign not only reaches a bunch of people and gets engagement, you also end up with a catalog of really, REALLy great visuals to reuse across your own branded channels. (And you can download those suckers right from your campaign dashboard on our platform.)

Schedule a Strategy Call