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There are typically three different ways that a company can use influencers to spread the word about their product or service while creating brand buzz and awareness. All three of these strategies warrant different results and take a different type of budgeting, so when implementing these plans, take that into consideration.

These three strategies are discounts, product exchange, and paid advertisements, which are all commonly seen throughout social media and influencer marketing. Here is how to leverage your company’s influencer marketing opportunity to its highest potential by following some basic influencer engagement formats through Instagram and any other platform, you may find the presence and need for influencer marketing.


These are the companies that love to slide into the average joes’ direct messages and attempt to sell them something but masking it as a collaboration opportunity. This marketing strategy makes the nonsocial media savvy person feel special. They suddenly are being noticed by a company for what they can offer, and the allure of products makes it hard for them to resist. They did not even realize they looked like they could provide any service to a company. This group of people is not usually a career Instagramer or even taking it up as a hobby.

Turn on the charm and talk to the person about why their profile stood out to you. From there, you can proceed to tell them how you think they could rock your product, and you are willing to give them a storewide discount to shop your products if they promise to post about them! Now here is the catch, this will not work on most people inside the influencer world; that being said, it is a great strategy to target the everyday social media user who does not know the ins and outs of the environment or require payment for posts.

If you try this tactic on a seasoned Instagrammer, they generally will get very annoyed and refuse collaboration since, for them, time and energy is money in their line of work, and you are wasting it. We highly advise not reaching out to influencers with this offer if they are above 5,000 followers. Being an influencer is now recognized as a full-time career option to some, and you have to remember to have a level of respect for that.

If you target the right person though, this can increase your exposure, and you will still see some form of profit since you are not giving away anything for free or paying a creation or service fee. Some companies also will offer a free product but ask the person to pay for shipping. This is great for brands just starting out and getting their feet wet in the beginning stages of their marketing plan, but as you grow, you might want to reevaluate this strategy.


This is where there is an exchange of goods for services on social media or in a blog. This can mean a static in-feed post, stories, videos, IGTVs, blog posts, ad space, etc. Essentially, you offer the influencer a free product that you think they would love or need in exchange for any of their advertisements or services. This one is a little easier to get away with than discounts with a seasoned influencer if your product truly offers value to them, so it is vital to target people within your niche.

Many influencers are willing to work for free if the product has value to them or is worth a substantial price. Primarily to get someone to work for free for you, it has to be something they would like to have – because they are working for free. Creating content, planning, editing, and advertising takes substantial time, so it is crucial to remain in the mindset that they provide you a service. You will commonly see companies that deliver experiences or services that utilize product exchange. It is popular in the travel blogger community to exchange for tourist experiences, hotel stays, and exclusive experiences with a higher cost. Essentially, if what you provide is something a person would typically pay for anyways and is not a luxury item, then there is a pretty good chance you can get many influencers to participate in product exchange.

You will also see this with big-ticket items such as home goods and technology items since they are high priority items for many people, so if that is your company’s niche, give the product exchange strategy your best go!


The final exchange you will commonly see is the one people are most familiar with, paid advertisements. These are the brands that pay for posts, stories, videos, or anything else you can imagine for sponsorship. When a brand is paying an influencer to advertise their product through experience, usually one-time posts do not see a large return. Still, if you are going to invest the money into an influencer, you might as well invest your time into them.

Create a relationship that spans for a longer duration of time. The more you get your product in front of an influencer’s audience, the more likely they will buy into what is promoted. It is all about the commitment to a repetition of exposure, and if you are going to put your money into this kind of advertising, you have to remember that it is a slow return process sometimes. This form of advertising is not just for the more prominent corporations; there is a range of influencer levels, which means people with different rates are willing to negotiate! If your budget is not as large, do not abort the mission on paid advertisements. You would be surprised by the number of micro-influencers you could implore that are not as expensive as what companies commonly assume influencer marketing costs.

Whether your company is large or small, you have the opportunity to try out all of these different influencer marketing strategies and see which one works best for your brand. Since the influencer world is so new and people are just beginning to discover influencer advertisement’s depths, it is still such a trial and error process. Be prepared to crash and burn a few times before you find what gives you the best return on investment and what suits your company’s feel best in the digital marketing world. Influencer marketing is the newest digital form to try out, and trust us; it is worth a go.

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