Influencer Partnerships: 7 Ideas for Collaborating with Creators

influencer holding up like account

Social media is one of, if not the most influential inventions of the last decade. Whether it be Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok, nearly half of the world’s population is active on some kind of social media site

It once started as a way for people to connect with family and friends. But, social media has since turned into a profitable avenue for brands to promote their products and services. 

Although, as more users became inundated with ads the less impact they had.

It’s why influencer partnerships have become a big part of a brand’s digital marketing strategy. 

If you too are thinking influencer marketing could be a viable option for your business, keep reading. We share new ideas for collaborating with creators and increasing your brand’s awareness.

influencer report - drive research

Drive Research surveyed 100+ influencers and creators to learn more about their ideal brand partnerships. The Brand’s Guide to Working with Influencers discusses their feedback surrounding compensation, best ways to contact creators, areas of opportunity for brands to stand out, and more. 

What are Influencer Partnerships?

Influencer partnerships involve a brand hiring a content creator to promote its product or service via the creator’s social platforms. Typically these creators have a large online presence with thousands (or millions) of followers.

The benefits of collaborating with creators include: 

  • Increasing brand awareness from target buyers
  • Accessing new audiences
  • Earning a higher ROI compared to traditional advertising channels 
  • Repurposing their content on other marketing platforms

There are many different types of influencer partnerships, most of which we’ll discuss in today’s blog. Each can range in cost depending on the creator’s following size and engagement rates. 

Despite which type of collaboration you choose, you are likely to see better results than with Facebook or Instagram ads.

In fact, 61% of consumers trust influencer recommendations while only 38% trust branded social media content. 

61% of consumers trust influencer recommendations

Source: Matter Communications

1. Sponsored In-Feed Posts

From our research surveying content creators and bloggers, we find that sponsored in-feed posts are the most preferred type of influencer partnership. It combines the best of both worlds: paid social ads that appear to be organic posts.

Sponsored posts or branded content is when an influencer’s social media post features a brand, product, or service for an exchange of value. In most instances, the value is money, discount on products, or free products from the brand. 

All sponsored posts must have “Ad” or “Paid Partnership” in the caption. Doing so ensures more transparency in paid collaborations.

Despite it being an ad, 40% of people have purchased something after seeing it on Instagram.

Example Influencer Partnership - Sponsored Ad

Source: @claudwithnojob on Instagram

2. Sponsored Instagram Stories

In 2016, Instagram introduced Stories. It is a feature that lets users share photos and videos that disappear from their profile after 24 hours. 

A lot of people engage with Stories on Instagram, making it a great avenue for influencer partnerships.

  • 70% of Instagram users watch stories daily (Tech Jury)
  • 50% of Instagram users visit a website after seeing it in Stories (Sprout Social)
  • 25% of Gen Z and Millennials use stories to find products and services (Tech Jury)
  • Influencers Stories get 15% to 25% of viewers to swipe up (Earth Web)

Many creators utilize Instagram stories to promote brands.

They do so by reviewing PR packages, doing daily routines with the product, or promoting them in general. Creators tag the product in their story and users can ‘swipe up’ to buy it.

Because the post is only active for 24 hours, many creators charge less for sponsored Instagram stories.

Therefore, it is a great intermediate step for brands looking to get started with influencer marketing.

50% of Instagram users visit a website after seeing it in Stories

3. Brand Ambassadors

Shortly after conducting market research with content creators, Drive Research quickly learned that brand ambassadorship is an excellent collaboration tool influencers love.

The primary role of a brand ambassador is to create a relationship between a company’s presence and its customers. The partnership adds a human touch to a business, making it more relatable. 

Think Jake from State Farm or Flo from Progressive.

While brand ambassadorship is not a new concept, it has evolved past only relying on celebrities and corny commercials. In fact, many influencer partnerships progress into brand ambassadorship, despite the creator not being a household name. 

Rather than posting sporadically, creators and bloggers form long-term relationships with brands. They are active users of the product or service and are truly passionate about sharing it with their friends, family, and followers.

Depending on the brand deal, this partnership could involve in-feed posts, Instagram Stories, social media takeovers, and more.

Recommended Resource: Best Ways to Contact Influencers [With Email Templates]

4. PR Unboxing 

When conducting market research with vloggers, Drive Research learned about the power of PR unboxing. It is hugely common on TikTok, Instagram Stories, and Reels.

The concept involves brands creating a PR package of products and sending it to influencers for free. Creators will often take a video of them unwrapping, opening, and reacting to it. While there is no obligation for the creator to post about the package, many choose to do so anyway.

It is a unique way for brands to organically promote their products. Though, to be successful, it’s important the product is relevant for the creators. 

For instance, if a pregnant mommy influencer receives a PR package from an alcohol brand, they’re less likely to post about it.

Below is an example of a PR unboxing video for more insight into this type of influencer partnership.

5. Follower Giveaways 

Influencers and creators love celebrating follower milestones. For example, reaching 100K followers or 500K followers.

As a way to show their appreciation, they often host ‘follower giveaways’ where they choose a winner to receive a free gift. 

Brands can join in on the fun by sponsoring a creator’s giveaway. In this scenario, a company will send the influencer free products to send to a lucky winner or winners. 

To enter, people must complete certain actions such as:

  • Follow the influencer and the brand’s social media page
  • Like the post
  • Tag three friends in the comments
  • Share the post on their story 

It is a great strategy for organizations looking to grow their following and engagement on Instagram.

influencer partnership giveaway example post

Source: @shophaileymichelle on Instagram

6. Social Media Account Takeovers

Influencer partnerships can also include social media account takeovers. 

And it’s exactly what it sounds like: an influencer or content creator takes ownership of a brand’s social media account and posts as if it was their own. 

Typically this trade only happens for a day or for a specific event. Therefore, it is another great way to dip your toe into the influencer marketing pool without diving in completely. 

Social media account takeovers give your audience and followers a new perspective on your brand. It also helps raise brand awareness because the influencer’s followers will head to your page to see more of their content.

Aside from content creators, employees or industry thought leaders are other great candidates to take over your account for the day. 

For instance, an employee can post stories about a day in their life working for your organization. It provides an inside look into your company culture and shows the people behind the brand.

For more best practices, Sprout Social shares in-depth insights in their article, How to run a social media takeover from start to finish.

7. Affiliate Marketing 

Last but not least is affiliate marketing. It is a type of influencer partnership where online retailers provide a commission to a third-party source for traffic or sales generated from its referrals.

To support the power of affiliate marketing, here are a few statistics that are worth sharing:

  • Affiliate marketing has a market value of $17 billion as of 2022 (Demand Sage)
  • 16% of online orders in the United States come through affiliate marketing (Fetch Profits)
  • Affiliate marketing is used by 83% of marketers to raise brand recognition (Demand Sage)

While it is popular among popular bloggers, affiliate marketing can also be utilized via social media and podcasts. Most commonly, influencers are given a unique link or code from a brand that they can share with their followers.

If their followers use the link or code, they often receive discounts on products. Because of this 'exclusive' discount, their followers are more likely to try the product. 

Additionally, influencers receive a cut of the sale. Doing so encourages creators to promote the product more because they also earn money.

83% of marketers use affiliate marketing  to raise brand recognition

Contact Drive Research

Drive Research is a national market research company. Our team conducts qualitative and quantitative studies with influencers and creators.

The insights gathered from our custom research help companies perfect their influencer marketing strategies with data-driven insights. 

Our team has access to an in-house panel of content creators that have signed up to participate in market research.

This panel allows Drive Research to execute surveys, focus groups, UX, and other types of research quickly and cost-effectively.

To learn more about our services, contact us today.

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at [email protected]
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

emily carroll about the author

Emily Rodgers

A SUNY Cortland graduate, Emily has taken her passion for social and content marketing to Drive Research as the Marketing Manager. She has earned certificates for both Google Analytics and Google AdWords.

Learn more about Emily, here.

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