What is Influencer Gifting? [And How Much You Should Gift an Influencer]

What is Influencer Gifting? [And How Much You Should Gift an Influencer]

It's better to give than to receive!

Gifting products to people is a great way to spread the word about your brand and create UGC (that's user-generated content for those who hate acronyms!) and word of mouth, and reach a range of new potential customers.

Previously, influencer marketing through gifting involved a manual process of reaching out to hundreds of people on Instagram, sending products unsolicited to people you think might be interested, or even giving away free samples in public spaces. These days, platforms like #gifted -- the fun and easy way to run a contra gifting campaign -- and have changed all that.

When using, you can list your influencer gifting collab directly in our Contra Offers section, and people who are interested in collaborating with you can apply. You then pick the people you want to engage in your contra gifting campaign and leave them a review at the end of the process. Simple!

To make your next collab easy, we’ve put together this guide on how to maximise your influencer gifting collaboration:

7 tips to get the most out of gifting influencers

Influencer gifting is considered a creative method of forging high-quality client relationships through social media marketing. A good way of reaching influencers, especially if they're nano or micro influencers, is by giving them gifts.

In the simplest form, this means sending products to prominent influencer talent or social media personalities with the hope that they will promote your product/s on their own platforms.

If the thought of sending your products out to social media users feels daunting, here are 7 steps to help you get the most from your partnership.

#1 - Set a fair contra exchange (be realistic in your expectations!)

Remember, mid-tier and macro-influencers normally get given products plus payment to collaborate and promote brands. If you only have contra available and not monetary compensation, then make sure you’re making it worth their while. If you're not looking for people to post on Instagram but simply leave a review on Google or Facebook or Amazon, you can do that too. Or perhaps you just want them to email you their feedback? This is a great way to test new products!

If you are asking for social posts, do the maths:

  • Product or service value: $100 (this is the minimum value for contra gifting on TRF)
  • Influencer following: 5k max Content: 1 x Instagram in-feed post, or 2-3 stories
  • Product or service value: $300- $500
  • Influencer following: 10-20k Content: 1 x Instagram in-feed post

A good sense check is to ask yourself, "Would I do this collaboration myself? If someone gifted me this product/service, would I want to post about it, tell my friends about it, or write a review?"

If your answer is no, rethink your offer. 🙂

#2 - Attach photos

Attach clear photos of your product or service and a catalogue so people can see if it's a product or service they are interested in trying and if it's going to align with their audience and things they are interested in. If you have more than 1 product for people to choose from, please add photos of all so they can easily select what they would like to be gifted.

#3 - Describe your brand

In 3-4 sentences describe who your brand is for, why people love it, any press you have received, awards won, or celebs who have used your product.

#4 - Don’t limit yourself just to Instagram!

Don’t forget, contra gifting is so much more than just asking for an Instagram post! Perhaps instead of asking for a post on Instagram, which most influencers will charge a fee for, you can ask for a Google review, a Facebook review, a post on Facebook, or even on LinkedIn! You can ask for feedback, testimonials, and reviews which can help you better market your product.

Also, remember that Instagram stories are a great way to work with influencers as they can use swipe-up links that can drive traffic to your website.

#5 - Understand the difference between contra collaborations and paid posting

Contra gifting is like social sampling – you can’t dictate what a person writes or posts, ask them to use discount codes, dictate what words they use and when they do the post, etc. This person has expressed an interest in collaborating with you, so if you provide them with a great product or service, they’ll share it in a way that best resonates with their audience in an authentic way and on a platform that works for them.

If you want full creative control, and to dictate the deliverables, then a paid influencer campaign is the way to go.

#6 - Make your delivery impressive!

Go the extra mile and include a handwritten note or beautiful packaging for a 'WOW' moment from the moment they start interacting with your brand.

#7 - Keep your brief simple

Keep in mind with unpaid collaborations that the person isn’t being financially compensated for their time, content and reach so we recommend keeping your briefing document clear and simple. They are much less likely to take part if you have way too many guidelines and requirements for an unpaid collab.

Be mindful of any requirements in your market about marking posts as ads or sponsored or gifted. Then give them the info they need in a quick and simple document, thank them for their involvement, and let them bring their vision to life.

Benefits of influencer gifting

Gifts are the easiest way to gain influencer exposure or reviews via social media through their recommendations. It is impossible for companies today to overlook influencer advertising and its potential for profitable marketing campaigns. However, marketers are often intimidated by contra collaborations. Can influencer gifting programs be profitable? How can they improve brand visibility?

When done correctly, influencer gifting can provide a number of benefits for brands:

  • Reach your target audience without spending a lot
  • Get your products in front of industry leaders and trendsetters
  • Improve your social media presence with quality content from influencers
  • Increase website traffic and sales organically
  • Gain insights from influencers about what works and what doesn’t in your products

What to include in your influencer gifting note

Influencers who have amassed an engaged audience online will receive free products from brands all the time. If you want people to notice your brand, then you must first capture their attention and set yourself apart from the competition.

One way to do this is by adding a gifting note to your package. It will not only show that you took the time to personalise your gift but also demonstrate that you are treating the person as an individual and not just a cog in an influencer marketing campaign that will provide your brand with some marketing exposure.

Including a 'WOW' moment from when they start interacting with your brand is another great way to make an impression. This can be as simple as personalising the gift itself with their name or sending them a unique and exclusive product that they can only get from you.

When it comes to contra gifting, there are no hard and fast rules, but following best practices will help make your brand more visible to the influencer's audience and increase your chances of generating some valuable leads.

Here are a few things to include in your gifting note as you kickstart your influencer relationship with your chosen talent:

  • The influencer's name
  • A little bit about what your brand is and what you do
  • Details about the gifted products
  • Explaining why the influencer is the right fit for your influencer marketing efforts
  • Clear instructions or suggestions on how the influencer can showcase the product
  • A thank you for being part of the campaign

But note that contra gifting isn't all rainbows and butterflies. Despite your best efforts to make a great impression with your gift, things can still go wrong and your offer may not be accepted. When this happens, don't take it personally – just review what you did wrong and try again with a different influencer.

Why a contra offer might be declined on an influencer gifting platform

You might be asking yourself, "Why would an influencer decline my offer?" Or you could be on the other side of things and wondering why a particular influencer has declined your contra gifting offer. There are many reasons that either party may not want to work together in this way, but there are also some common themes when it comes to what causes gifting offers to be declined.

There are a number of reasons why an influencer might decline a contra offer on an influencer gifting platform. Some of the most common reasons include:

  • You’re asking to use the influencer's content for advertising
  • You haven't shared what your brand or the product is (so they don't know what they’re applying for)
  • You’re asking for an unfair exchange (lots of posts for a low-value item)
  • You have created long, complicated terms and condition
  • You're making it all about you and your brand
  • You haven't added a photo of the product or service so the influencer doesn't know what they’re getting
  • Your product isn't valued at $100 or over
  • You’re asking for content or caption approval before a post goes live
  • You’re asking for the influencer to send the high-res assets for you to reuse
  • You haven't listed specifically what the influencer is going to receive

When it comes to contra gifting, both brands and influencers need to be clear about what they're offering and what they expect in return. Be upfront about your brand, product, and the value of what you're offering so that there is no confusion later down the line. If you can't provide a high-value item, consider offering services or experiences rather than physical products.

And finally, always remember to say thank you! A little appreciation can go a long way when it comes to building long-term relationships with influencers.

Want to drive brand success via influencer partnerships? Click here to connect with thousands of leading influencers on

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