As influencers become increasingly popular on social media platforms, so have the opportunities for businesses to collaborate with them to promote their products and brand. To increase brand awareness and boost product sales, marketing experts are implementing a product seeding campaign as part of their influencer marketing efforts. Product seeding is one of the ways a brand can capitalize on influencer marketing opportunities.
Companies that sell physical merchandise are finding that product seeding is a simple and cost-effective way to leverage influencer marketing campaigns. For brands that collaborate with influencers to build brand awareness and promote sales via social media, product seeding has become a way to spread word-of-mouth referrals and ‘borrow equity’ from the influencer.
Marketing experts know that influencers have the ability to reach the brands target audience on a more authentic and genuine level and that consumers trust the influencer’s recommendations. Product seeding has become a great way for brands to get their product in front of a wide audience and generate sales.
In this article, we will discuss what product seeding is, how it works, the benefits of product seeding, how to run a product seeding campaign, and which products are most suitable for product seeding campaigns.
WHAT IS PRODUCT SEEDING?
Product seeding, aka influencer gifting, is a process in which a brand gives free products (gifts) to an influencer without an obligation associated with it.
The brand will send the product to a select group of influencers in the hopes that the influencers will post about it and recommend it to their followers. If everything goes well, the influencer will post about the product and share their opinion in their community giving the brand free publicity from a trusted source in their specific niche.
This may seem like an optimistic approach to marketing, but it has proven to be cost-effective with great returns for businesses that choose to use it.
5 BRANDS THAT PRODUCT SEED SUCCESSFULLY
For many brands, product seeding is one of the first steps taken in their influencer marketing strategy due to budget-friendliness and ability to reach a wide targeted audience. Here are a few brands that have been successful in their product seeding campaigns.
GoPro, an American tech company, is known for product seeding full equipment bundles to influencers. They send their product out so the influencer can try the newest devices and provide feedback. Typically, GoPro will product seed to extreme sport or exotic travel enthusiasts. Recently, they provided action cams to 4 riders that competed during their brand sponsored Natural Selection Tour located in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. GoPro has 19M Instagram followers.
A British women’s luxury fashion brand, House of CB, distributes clothes to influencers before products are released to generate interest for pieces before they hit stores. This brand is also known for sending products to big celebrities like the Kardashians, Vanessa Hudgens, and Demi Lovato. House of CB has 3.4M Instagram followers.
LUSH is a handmade cosmetics company that features fresh and all-natural bath products and skincare items. They send influencers new collections featuring products the influencer already loves and uses. They are known for preparing packages unique to the influencers preferences. LUSH has 651K followers on Instagram.
Another fashion brand, Zaful, is an ecommerce company with affordable looks for men and women alike. Zaful lets fashion bloggers choose pieces that they want to try out. This popular influencer campaign labeled, ZAFUL Hauls, can be witnessed on Instagram feeds all the time. The brand currently has 5.1M followers on Instagram.
Graze is a subscription box service that specializes in healthy snacks. Graze sends products to influencers that have a healthy living and clean snacking lifestyle. They tailor the products gifted to the influencers desires and have seen great results from influencers posting about their customizable boxes. They have 51.1K followers on Instagram.
HOW TO RUN PRODUCT SEEDING CAMPAIGNS
There are four basic steps to running a product seeding campaign. Here’s how to get started:
Step One: Identify Your Main Goals
The first thing you will want to do is identify your main goals. What do you want to accomplish with the product seeding campaign? Brand awareness? Consumer feedback? Generate sales? Whatever your goals are, they should stay in the forefront when making campaign decisions. You’ll also want to put consideration into who you are targeting and which products to “gift” to influencers. Think about:
- Reach- Will you be sending products to multiple influencers or a select few?
- Audience– Who do you want to know about your product and what impression are you hoping to leave?
- Product– Depending on your goals, the product gifted may change.
Step Two: Choose the Influencers
Choosing an influencer or influencers to send your product to should be based on your main goals. Who is the audience you are trying to reach? What about your brand would they be interested in?
When influencer product seeding, it is best to stay with micro or nano influencers. They have an authentic community of engaged followers which will obtain better results for your campaign.
In-person product seeding is another option for brands. This method uses the everyday person to get the word out about their product. Although not a typical campaign, it can create great exposure if you position yourself in the right locations such as festivals, concerts, or sporting events.
Step Three: Select the Products
You want to generate a buzz around whatever product you choose to send to the influencer. New products or hero products are perfect options to send as samples. Make sure you are taking the time to learn about the influencer and their preferences so they are more inclined to post about your product. Sending a hand-written thank you note and wrapping the package in a unique way both increase the likelihood of the influencer giving your brand a shout-out. The experience should be a positive one for the influencer.
Step Four: Check the Results
The final step is evaluating the campaign results. Pay attention to your brand’s follower count and engagement rates before and after the campaign effort. Make sure that you are reviewing customer feedback, both positive and negative to improve your product. This can be done with surveys or monitoring of the comment section. Then, make the necessary improvements for future product campaigns.
BENEFITS OF PRODUCT SEEDING
With all this new information on product seeding, let’s talk about the benefits to your brand.
- Cost-Effective Marketing Strategy
Influencer product seeding is an inexpensive way to get your product in front of a large audience of targeted consumers. User-generated content is budget-friendly and ultimately leads to sales.
- Builds Brand Awareness
An influencer can quickly help to build brand awareness. They have a community of loyal followers that they actively engage with so when they highlight your product, people take note.
- Gain New Customers
Having an influencer showcase your product puts more eyes on the product itself. As marketers, we know that visibility is key to sales. Bonus is, you also have an influencer they trust recommending the product making it more likely that they will buy now or in the future.
- Valuable Feedback
Feedback may be positive or negative when you seed products to an influencer. However, both are valuable pieces of insight for your brand. It’s an opportunity to make changes the consumer wants to see or get the validation that you are doing it right.
- Targeted Audiences
The influencers you choose and the niche they provide content to are a community with similar interests and preferences. This creates a great opportunity for your brand to be seen by a targeted audience of consumers.
WHICH PRODUCTS ARE MOST SUITABLE FOR PRODUCT SEEDING CAMPAIGNS?
While product seeding is not exclusive to any one industry, the most effective campaigns usually occur in the consumer categories. Brands in fashion, beauty, cosmetics, food and technology all fare well. Consumer categories offer a product that can be “tried out” making it easier for influencers to provide user-generated content.
Influencer product seeding provides marketers a new opportunity to influence consumer-purchasing decisions. If done with fidelity, product seeding can offer a brand a low-cost option for getting their product in front of a targeted and engaged audience by a trusted content creator. Product seeding can also provide valuable feedback and brand awareness for your business.
In this article, we discussed what product seeding is, the benefits for your brand, and how to run a product seeding campaign. With a better idea of how product seeding can work effectively for your social marketing strategy, it’s time to get started!