[Image credits: @nicolerodger, @karenbritchick]
If you follow any influencers on social media, chances are you’ve seen content fueled by gifting. Think Cristiano Ronaldo thanking TAG Heuer for the “kind gift” followed by their signature slogan #dontcrackunderpressure, or your favourite beauty blogger excitedly sharing a photo of a new skincare product they received in the post. Throughout the marketing world, brands are thinking strategically about how and when they interact with influencers, knowing well the power of endorsements.
While some influencer relationships are based on an agreed salary that a brand pays in exchange for posts and/or views, many rely on gifting to build an influencer relationship. By sending samples of a product or service to a like-minded social media star, brands can harness their network if they’re willing to post about it.
We spoke to one brand who has mastered the art of gifting over time. Pixi Beauty is a popular skincare and makeup line based in the UK. In addition to their flagship shop in London, Pixi has a large online store and digital presence.
hKeen to learn the ropes of gifting for influencer marketing, we asked Felix Strand, President of Pixi, to enlighten us.
How does influencer marketing work at Pixi? Has it changed over time?
We like to start working with influencers in an organic fashion, if they gravitate towards our products we tend to try to reach out and create a relationship. Our influencer marketing is always evolving with the ever-changing needs of the industry and influencers.
How does Pixi approach an influencer that you’d like to work with?
We reach out genuinely to people that already love our product.
Why does gifting work for Pixi, and what does it entail?
Our product is so strong that our retention rate is very high – the value proposition is high.
Do you direct/monitor the content of influencer posts, or can influencers write whatever they choose?
We do not direct the content, influencers are content creators, that is what they’re good at.
How long do most of your influencer relationships last?
Most of our influencer relationships last for years.
How do you measure the success/ROI of your influencer marketing?
Through platforms such as Wearisma.
Speaking with Felix illuminates the potential for gifting to create meaningful long term relationships between brand and influencer. By reaching out with gifts to those who already love their products, Pixi ensures that content is authentic and engaging. As Felix notes, these relationships stand the test of time. With this strategy in mind, here are some tips to get started with gifting influencers.
Gift based on relevance, not reach
When determining a gifting strategy, think less about about an influencer’s overall reach, and more about their organic interest in your brand. The relationship is a two-way street, and thoughtful research can make all the difference. Avoid pitching to influencers when there’s no logical connection, even if they have a great audience.
Instead, seek out those who have high potential to actually benefit from your brand and become a true advocate over time. Once you identify the right people, gifting can break the ice and set the relationship afloat. Here lies the valuable exchange: influencers help brands communicate to the right audience, and brands help influencers grow. Bringing budding talent into your team is a win for all.
Nurture the relationship over time
Once you’ve begun gifting influencers who love your brand, think long term. As Felix notes, trust your influencers to create great content. Digiday notes that many brands have begun “whitelisting” influencers that they know and trust to post without approval – this can save everyone time and turmoil. When feeling respected and valuable, influencers will enjoy the relationship and it will show in their posts.
Next, have a programme in mind to encourage your influencers to stick around. Allow them to pick products and campaigns they like – this will keep them interested. Connect them with networking opportunities like industry events – they’ll be appreciative. Before you know it, your influencers will have grown along with your brand.
Gifting is an ideal way to approach and engage upcoming influencers. By identifying those who naturally gravitate towards your brand and nurturing them over time, you can build strong relationships that are mutually beneficial.
Have you tried integrating gifting into your influencer marketing strategy?
Let us know in the comments!