Increasing revenue and expanding brand awareness are just some of the benefits of influencer marketing. If done properly, this channel can be one of the most impactful and cost-effective strategies in your marketing handbook.
If you’re looking to build relationships with influencers and launch a campaign that actually works, you’ll need to know where to start. We’ve put together 10 examples and actionable insights to inspire your next campaign.
1. Animalhouse Fitness x Product-seeded influencers
Animalhouse Fitness develops innovative solutions to help fitness enthusiasts achieve their goals. And their product, MonkeyFeet, is very unique—allowing individuals to attach dumbbells to the bottom of their feet.
To introduce MonkeyFeet into the fitness market, Animalhouse Fitness’s influencer marketing agency, Kynshipco, started by sending (or "seeding") 100+ influencers the product without any obligations. This involved forming genuine relationships with each person, rather than asking them to post in exchange for free products or entering a contract.
“Product seeding enables our team to identify influencers who are authentic lovers of the brand by gauging who organically posts on their own about products we sent them—no strings attached.” — Taylor Legace, Co-CEO at Kynshipco
Without having to make an upfront investment, pay influencers, or rent a studio for a product shoot, the team was able to get high-quality content free of cost, from individuals who are authentic product users.
They then redistributed the content across Animalhouse Fitness’ own channels and used it to launch 10-15 unique ads per week. The results were authentic user-generated video content that turned into top-performing Facebook and Instagram ads.
Takeaway: Leverage product seeding to build authentic relationships
Sending your product to the right people without any obligations is a gold mine for user-generated content (UGC). The content can then be used for ads, email campaigns, and SMS, and it makes for great testimonials on your website.
2. Obvi x Stay-at-home moms
Obvi set out to make it obvious which collagen is best for customers by providing a simple product with transparent ingredients.
The brand has a dedicated online community and gathered about 20 of its most engaged and die-hard fans as their influencers for an upcoming campaign—these were stay-at-home moms, not your typical influencers. Each of these influencers created a video sharing how Obvi’s best-seller, the Collagenric Fat Burner, changed their life and allowed them to reach their fitness goals. In exchange, these influencers received free products.
In about one week, Obvi received 20 pieces of content unique to each individual’s experience with the product. The Obvi team then created 20 Facebook Pages for each of these influencers and ran all of the influencers’ content through these pages.
“Currently, the average CPC and CTR for our branded ads have taken a hit since the iOS Update, with $3-$4 CPCs and 0.8%-1.0% CTR's. With these new Facebook Pages and new content, we were able to achieve $1 CPC and 2% CTR's which drastically cut our CPA by almost half.
Using our consumers as our influencers was the best thing we could have done for our advertising in a post iOS15 world.”
— Ash Melwani, CMO at Obvi
Takeaway: Collaborate with your most engaged customers
Obvi’s strategy differs from typical influencer marketing campaigns, as they collaborated with real customers who gave their feedback rather than sending the product to influencers who already had a following.
The success of this campaign has led the team to continue working with these influencers on promoting additional products.
3. Hint Water x Sara Dietschy
While working at Hint Water, a sugar- and sweetener-free beverage company, Nik Sharma discovered a YouTube creator who loved sparkling water, specifically LaCroix.
Sara Dietschy is the perfect influencer, as she was obsessed with sparkling water—dedicating many of her YouTube videos to the drink and consistently trying to hook friends on LaCroix.
Hint Water randomly sent Sara 100+ bottles of water. That led to a reaction video on her Instagram (another great example of UGC), as well as a YouTube video with Nik, explaining her conversion to Hint.
Takeaway: Focus on content rather than following
Hint Water was extremely intentional with which individuals would receive its products—and it paid off. Not only did Sara get hooked on Hint Water, but she converted from a competitor.
By working with influencers for their content, and not following, they were able to lower their customer acquisition costs by 40%. (You can learn more about Nik’s strategy here.)
When choosing an influencer, focus on who they are as a person and the content they produce rather than their following. People who are great communicators and engage with their audiences are the ones to look for in your next campaign.
4. Mysa x Quebec influencers
Mysa launched in 2014 with one mission: To help the people become more environmentally friendly and sustainable through energy efficiency and conservation with their smart thermostats.
But breaking into the Quebec market posed an exciting challenge because there are many languages and cultural differences in this province.
The Mysa team tested an influencer marketing strategy of working with local interior designer influencers and specifically targeted women. Why women? They wanted to break the stereotype that men should be the ones tech is marketed towards. The campaign resulted in increased sales with women by 50%.
When influencers do not reside in the same regions as the target customers, they do not always create exposure to the right audience. However, with Quebec influencers, Mysa was able to generate the right demand and saw exponential increases in organic search traffic during the two weeks after each campaign.
Takeaway: Think about the impact influencers have within regions
Influencer marketing may seem like one of many different marketing channels being used by your company. But if you are looking to target people in a specific region, local influencer marketing could be the channel to use. Doing market research based on demographics such as age and location can help you decide whether or not influencer marketing should be a priority.
5. FIGS Scrubs x Medical professionals
FIGS Scrubs, a DTC retailer, doesn’t like to refer to partners as influencers but rather as medical professionals who are ambassadors of the brand.
“All of our ambassadors are medical professionals, not professional influencers who earn a living by posting selfies,” said Trina Spear, co-founder, and co-CEO of Figs. “They are real doctors and nurses.”
There are about 250 FIG brand ambassadors that promote and provide discount codes for the retailer's scrubs. Most notably is Danielle Leveck, who has over 130,000 followers on Instagram. Because these ambassadors aren’t influencers, their content is genuine and often created in the hospital or right after a long shift—making it authentic and relatable to viewers.
Takeaway: You don’t need “professional” influencers
Danielle Leveck is first and foremost a nurse practitioner, and likely a lot of other things before identifying as an influencer. Depending on your brand, these types of influencers can be powerful for growing sales and awareness. When searching for influencers, don’t limit yourself to those who identify as an influencer, but rather someone who can authentically sell products to your target market.
Three Ships partnered with influencers that embody the same values, such as being passionate about clean beauty, sustainability, and wellness. As a result, the campaigns aren’t merely pictures of the products but full-fledged “unwinding” and “skin-care” routines filmed and photographed—shared primarily on Instagram.
Here is one example from Three Ships’ Dream night cream launch:
Takeaway: Find influencers the embody your brand values
Finding influencers who embody your values will result in UGC that is on-brand. In addition, followers of micro-influencers will take their recommendations seriously—if you find that hard to believe, look at the first comment in the image above.
7. Frank and Oak x Becky Lynne
Frank and Oak designs and sells sustainable and functional clothing for men and women. The Canadian brand launched in 2012 and has grown in popularity while keeping true to its roots.
Takeaway: Experiment with different content formats such as videos
Rather than just sharing the pieces as a photo, the Reels provided a more engaging experience and let Lynne’s personal style come through, making the videos feel authentic.
8. SuitShop x Gunnar Michaels
While scrolling through TikTok, Director of Marketing at SuitShop Kristen Jones, saw a viral video of someone named Gunnar who had set out to marry a stranger. (He did, and now they live together!)
Kristen messaged Gunnar and ended up sending him a suit that he wore to his Vegas wedding. After this strong connection was built, Gunnar produced a complete experience for the team and still works for SuitShop when needed.
Takeaway: Be bold—reach out to influencers who make viral content
Messaging someone who’s gone viral, or is very popular, may seem pointless—they get tons of messages, and what’s the chance that your message is seen? You truly never know until you try. In Kristen’s case, she was not only able to partner with Gunnar to showcase SuitShop in his videos, but also use his production skills for the brand.
Another great example is how Joanne Coffey, Head of Retention at Aisling Organics, emailed two TikTok influencers and they responded in minutes.
So shoot your shot—you never know what will come of it!
9. Loki the Wolfdog x Toyota
Influencer marketing isn’t limited to just humans. For example, animals like dogs and cats have massive followings and are influencers on social media—such as Loki the Wolfdog, who landed a partnership with Toyota.
The Toyota 4Runner is an SUV designed for the rugged terrain and ready to take any adventurer to their next destination. And this is precisely the persona that Loki and his family embody. This long-standing influencer relationship consists of funny captions and interesting stories from Loki’s travels with the 4Runner featured in the background.
Takeaway: Think beyond “human” influencers
Toyota didn’t design the 4Runner for dogs but pursued an influencer marketing campaign with one. The takeaway—you don’t have to be a brand for dogs or animals to partner with them. Even if your product isn’t made for animals, it can make sense for your brand to create a partnership with an animal influencer.
10. Pura Vida Bracelets x College students
Pura Vida Bracelets was founded in 2010 when two friends took a post-graduation trip to Costa Rica. Griffin Thall and Paul Goodman brought back about 400 local artisan bracelets that sold immediately—it was then they knew they were onto something.
The brand started influencer marketing in the early days, creating an ambassador program within their alma mater at San Diego State University. This program has grown into a national network of online influencers like Charli D'amelio and thousands of other micro-influencers.
Currently, the brand has over 125,000 college students who have participated in the Pura Vida Rep Program. This program is so powerful that the brand has a section of their online store dedicated to influencer favorites.
Takeaway: Don’t be afraid to start early
You don't need to be "big" or “established” to launch an influencer marketing campaign. Pura Vida started its influencer marketing efforts at the beginning of its journey, which has compounded in growth over the years and led to partnering with larger names like Charli D'amelio. If you’ve identified a group of influencers that is relevant to your product, pursue it.
There is a lot of work and strategic planning that goes into an influencer marketing campaign. However, when done right, it can be transformational, especially for small-to-medium-sized businesses.
To make the most of this marketing channel, check out these other resources:
Megan Kopalasingam is a content strategist, ecommerce enthusiast, and book nerd. When she’s not working you find Megan hosting a games night, exploring a new hiking trail, or cuddling up with her rescue pup, Cooper.