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The 7 best influencer marketing campaigns

The 7 best influencer marketing campaigns

Looking for ideas for your next influencer marketing campaign? We’ve rounded up the best influencer marketing examples, to get you inspired.

Read the global state of influencer marketing report

What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is about using social media personalities to promote your brand.

Why? 11 times the ROI compared to traditional digital marketing! Keep reading to see just what you can achieve when you take the time to find amazing influencers, and manage them properly. These are my favorite influencer campaigns from the last year - with the data showing why they worked.

What makes a good influencer marketing campaign?

A great influencer campaign involves 3 things; creativity, organization, and of course, the right influencers. Below, I’ve selected examples of influencer marketing campaigns done right. Those that have found the right balance of elements to promote their brands in inspiring, engaging ways.

Mattel

Child influencers are on the rise, with eight-year-old Ryan Kaji named YouTube’s highest-paid star in 2019. These channels dedicated to unwrapping and playing with toys are a great way to engage younger audiences - and the biggest toy companies know it.

They used a number of different types of influencers to promote a wide variety of toys from their line in 2019. From just 130 unique authors, Mattel was mentioned 1.5k times, and gained 213.6k engagement. A phenomenal engagement rate of 142.4 engagements per mention.

The trick here was to use a range of influencers to help target different audiences. From celebrities with millions of followers, such as Tia Mowry, who help build reach and brand awareness.

This celebrity post generated 17.5k engagement for Mattel.

To micro-influencers with audiences in the tens of thousands, like @CensieJ, who reach fewer people but typically drive higher engagement.

Micro-influencers have smaller audiences, but better engagement rates.

This range of people, promoting toys relevant to their audience, shows a well-thought-out influencer strategy.

Compare that to Hasbro’s, and you can see how good it is. Hasbro used 3 times as many influencers over the same period, creating 5 times as many brand mentions.

But barely 15% of the engagement. That was because the content promoted wasn’t adapted to suit the target market - with over 50% of all mentions including one toy line - Transformers. This led to a disconnect with the audience and a lack of engagement.

Best influencer campaigns tip

Be relevant. When you choose your influencer, don’t just consider size, but also content. What does their target audience engage with? Then adapt your promotion to fit.

If the messaging doesn’t feel natural, at best, it won’t work. At worst, it can damage yours and the influencers’ reputations.

Vaseline

You can see Vaseline is starting to develop its influencer marketing strategy, but they’re certainly not just paying lip service to it. They’re testing the water and developing for future campaigns.

Their big focus is now seasonal promotions - pushing the Vaseline brand around major purchasing periods to boost sales.

The strategy is well thought out - target micro and nano influencers, provide a few messages and content they can use, and get them to promote on the lead up to the sale season.

g_kohls gained 104 engagements and 249 video views for Vaseline before Christmas.

For Christmas, they used nearly 250 influencers, and gained upto 104 engagements per mention. For Valentine’s day, this was trimmed down to 216 influencers (presumably based on previous engagement rates), increasing the maximum engagements per mention to 150.

ItsFreeAtLast gained 154 engagements for Vaseline before Valentine’s Day.

Best influencer campaigns tip

Using smaller influencers allows you to experiment more in influencer marketing. Generally, nanos and micros have more engaged audiences, but there’s no guarantee they will engage with your product - especially if it’s something more niche.

But by relying on these smaller influencers, you can afford to test messaging, demographics, and ideas without blowing big money. Expect bigger things from Vaseline in the coming year as they perfect their strategy.

Dreamworks - How to train your dragon

Working with influencers is also great for drumming up attention for events, like launch parties, product releases, and movie premieres. Dreamworks demonstrated when they launched an influencer campaign for the cinematic (and DVD) release of ‘How to train your dragon’.

The reason this was so successful, was because they gave their influencers a lot of creative freedom. They needed to target a family audience, which opened up a lot of potential channels. But for maximum impact, those influencers needed to create content that they knew their audience would love.

TipToeFairy made costumes.

While SpaceshipsLB made bath bombs.

Other examples included popcorn, cupcakes, and a DIY thundercloud. But it didn’t matter what the topic was - the influencers had the freedom to create engaging content.

This was continued with a partnership with DeviantArt, with a contest for users to create their own art inspired by the movie. Although this crossed into the realms of user-generated content, they used influencers from the channel to promote the competition. The competition has gained 143k views.

Best influencer campaigns tip

Don’t stifle your influencers’ creativity. They’ve built an audience by creating content that people love - if you force them to adapt their style to fit your sales pitch, it won’t work.

In fact, it could turn consumers away from your brand.

Keep your promotional message simple, and allow your chosen influencers the freedom to be creative.

Braun

For some events or campaigns, your window of opportunity is often very narrow. Using influencers can help you maximize that opportunity, extracting out more engagement in minimal time.

For Braun, their work with the NFL draft offered a short lived option to engage new potential customers. By encouraging new players to post sponsored content on their Instagram and Twitter feeds, the brand could quickly join the draft conversation.

And because the topic was hyper-trending, this generated a lot of buzz around the players, and therefore the brand.

Greedy’s tweet gained 24.6k engagement.

While Quinnen’s Instagram post generated 44k engagement.

On Twitter alone, the campaign garnered 82.3k engagement from 868 unique authors. Very successful in just a couple of days.

Though it wasn’t an easy task. The campaign had to run in real-time to work, which required photographs created in advance (and a little Photoshop magic). Braun couldn’t lose the opportunity, so speed was of the essence. And it paid off.

Best influencer campaigns tip

Plan your influencer campaigns with military precision. Ensure you have all assets prepped and ready to go, especially if you’re engaging 100s of influencers at once.

And be quick. There’s no point in jumping on a trend if you miss the peak. Research your topic in advance to help predict when your audience conversation will be highest, and make sure your campaign goes full steam during that period. Influencers may start the brand conversations, but it’ll be organic growth that turns the campaign into a success.

Netflix - The Circle

If you’re going to create a show about social media and influencers, then you have to promote it with a social influencer campaign.

That’s what Netflix did for their new reality show, The Circle - a show following contestants battle for popularity on a faux social media platform.

For the campaign, Netflix created the #CircleBackChallenge. Hashtag challenges are the perfect engagement driver, encouraging user-generated content from your audience while generating product buzz.

What Netflix did to boost their challenge, was to encourage select influencers to post their entry first - sharing their first-ever social media pic.

Safaree’s post gained 38k engagement for Netflix’s #CircleBackChallenge.

This initial content boost helped encourage more users to join the challenge, creating a positive cycle of posts and engagement.

Best influencer campaigns tip

Hashtag challenges are ideal for engaging users through creative content. If imaginative, original or just plain fun, they can capture the imagination of your consumers, and hit viral levels.

Think about how the #IceBucketChallenge became a global success just through people wanting to be part of the trend. That’s what you’re aiming for.

Lego

Not every influencer campaign has to be campaign focused. Influencers can also help with brand purpose - helping you position your company around the values at the heart of your business.

Lego’s #RebuildTheWorld is about encouraging creativity in children while promoting a positive impact on the world and the environment.

They teamed up with various influencers to promote Lego with a focus on this theme - creative with a conscience.

Kevin Parry’s stop-motion animation brought Lego to life in a new way - for 4.3k engagement and 38.6k views.

The brand also brought the concept to life, by telling the stories of those that were already rebuilding the world - displaying ingenious ways of integrating Lego to improve people’s lives.

DavidHandSolo’s story has been viewed nearly 340k times.

So far, #RebuildTheWorld has been mentioned 28.4k times, with 297.9k engagement.

Best influencer campaigns tip

If you are a purpose-led brand, look for partnerships with influencers who share that purpose. They can help spread your values to a wider audience, who will share those values.

But bear in mind, brand purpose shouldn’t be a flash in the plan strategy. You must align your business to your values from the very core, or risk backlash from a woke clientele.

Hyundai

Influencers are also ideal for maximizing the reach of your media campaigns across social.

The Super Bowl is one of the biggest marketing opportunities of the year, with big-budget adverts filling the airtime. But influencers can help take that further.

The Hyundai #SmahtPahk campaign was shared by the celebrity influencers from the ad, maximizing reach and engagement.

Using Chris Evans to share this ad was a smaht move from Hyundai.

The reshare of the ad by Chris Evans, created 146.1k engagements. More than double Hyundai’s own tweet. In fact, 15% of the mentions of the keywords relating to the campaign (Smaht or SmahtPahk) were down to this tweet.

The Super Bowl may have been a great way to release this campaign to their TV audience, but it was the celebrity influencer from the ad that spread the word for this campaign, turning it into a social media success.

Best influencer campaigns tip

Sometimes celebrity influencers can add value to a campaign. Although typically they don’t offer the engagement rates smaller influencers have (with their more nurtured audiences), if you just want eyes on your campaign, celebs have huge reach potential. Throw in humorous content that people are sure to watch and share, and you’re on to a winner.

Just some of the top influencer campaigns

That’s just a taste of the best influencer campaigns from the last year. If there are any I’ve missed, drop it in the comments below. While you're here, check out our Global State of Influencer Marketing report.

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