3 Types of Influencer Marketing Campaigns That Work in 2024

This article will show you how to run successful influencer marketing campaigns on social media.

Stefan Afrăsinei

by Stefan Afrăsinei

· 14 min read

It makes sense if you’re intimidated by running an influencer marketing campaign. If you don’t have the right tools, it can be a complicated and time-consuming process.

But in this article, we’ll show you how to run successful influencer marketing campaigns that work. You’ll discover:

  • What an influencer marketing campaign is.
  • 3 types of influencer marketing campaigns with examples, categorized by payment type
  • Even more current influencer marketing campaigns, by content and format type.
  • What your first campaign should look like.

There’s a lot to unpack here, so let’s get started.

But what IS an influencer marketing campaign?

“Influencer marketing campaign” is a phrase everyone throws around these days to sound fancy.

Want to know a secret? It’s super simple.

An influencer marketing campaign means you’ve strategically hired a bunch of influencers to post about your brand at similar times on social media. That’s it.

For example, if you’re preparing to launch a new skincare product, you recruit 5 influencers to post about you on their Instagram accounts (or their TikTok to potentially go viral) close to the new product launch. Ideally, you’ll get all of these influencers to post around the same time, so people hear about your product from a few different places.

We told you! It’s super simple. Other situations where the term “campaign” is used are generally also simple. For example, affiliate campaigns are where you have a bunch of partners with affiliate deals writing or posting about you, and ad campaigns are where you have a bunch of ads running at the same time on social media.

Now that you don’t have to be intimidated by the word “campaign,”, you might wonder, “What will the influencers post for me?” That’s what we’ll answer in this article.

Let’s explore your options together.

3 types of influencer marketing campaigns brands can run

In this section, we’ll discuss three types of campaigns (based on how you pay the influencers) that work for brands of all sizes. We’ll also provide examples of each type of campaign and some key takeaways, so you can make an informed decision for your brand.

Influencer gifted campaigns

Gifted campaigns are a great way to start working with influencers and generate awareness, UGC, and sales for your brand.

The idea behind gifted campaigns is simple: You gift your products to influencers and ask them to post on their social channels in exchange.

However, there are a few challenges when it comes to running a gifted campaign. Here are a few pro tips from us:

  • Do your research. Sometimes the influencers will take products and never post about them. However, you can prevent that by using a feature like Social Cat’s reviews to research.

If influencers take products and ghost– whether that’s not posting about them, or even just failing to respond to messages– you’ll see that in their reviews. All brands on our platform must leave a review related to their campaign and communication. So if you see something fishy, you can avoid it. This is HUGE. Please note: We can’t guarantee this works the same on other platforms, and it doesn’t work this way if you choose to reach out to influencers on your own.

  • Start by sending a maximum of 5 gifts per month. This helps you minimize your spending and makes it easier to monitor the posts that go live. Check what you liked and didn’t like about each post, and see how they performed. Then, replicate based on what you learned. Remember: This is a long-term game, not a sprint. You want to learn before you scale. That’s why we have a plan that allows you to work with just 5 influencers per month on Social Cat for a super affordable price.

You also get content licensing included in that price– which means you can take all of that content and post it on your social media at no extra cost. How cool is that? 😄

  • Guide your creators. When you create a campaign, make sure you guide your influencers. For example, give them 3 features to talk about with your product, as well as some dos and dont's.

Don’t just expect them to magically figure everything out– if you do, you’ll be disappointed.

Fun fact: Social Cat is the leading influencer marketing platform for gifted campaigns. So if you’re interested in trying one, you should sign up for a free trial today.

Example of a brand doing gifted campaigns: Daniel Wellington

One brand who’s made amazing use of gifted campaigns is Daniel Wellington. A quick search of their Instagram hashtag #dwpickoftheday shows that it has almost 60K posts. A majority of those posts are gifted collaborations with influencers like Natalie Brander.

The brand itself features most of these posts on its social media page, just like this one. This way, they get brand awareness but also gets to use the influencer UGC for their page. Smart, right?

Now, we know– they’re huge! You might be thinking, “They can afford to send influencers a ton of products. Our brand couldn’t dream of keeping up!”

Remember– start small (we just talked about this).

The momentum of successful brands like Daniel Wellington is built up over time. For your influencer marketing campaign, start small, and scale as you can afford it.

After all, Daniel Wellington started with only $20,000, and look what they’ve become!

Influencer affiliate campaigns

Affiliate campaigns aren’t wildly different from gifted campaigns, so if you’ve tried gifted campaigns and want to expand, this is a GREAT next step. Here’s why:

Affiliate campaigns are better for influencers because they’re incentivized to do a great job. If they sell more, they make more.

Affiliate campaigns function the same way as gifted campaigns, but with a twist: On top of receiving free products, the influencers also get a commission from each sale they make. This can either be a percentage of the purchase price (e.g. 10%) or a fixed commission (e.g. $10).

We have a few tips for running an affiliate campaign:

  • Make a trackable discount code. Stripe, Shopify, or whatever sales platform you use should allow you to create a unique discount code for that influencer to give to their audience. That way, you incentivize the audience to buy and see how many sales came from a particular influencer. Just make sure the discount doesn’t eat into your profit too much– remember, you’re also paying the influencer a commission!

  • Post on stories. If you want to maximize your results, ask the influencers to post on their stories as well. It doesn’t matter if it’s the same video from reels or the same photo from their feed. Stories have a swipe-up link that can lead directly to the product on your website. When you make the customer journey shorter, you sell more.

Example of a brand doing affiliate campaigns: Care/of

If you search for Care/of’s hashtag on Instagram (#careofvitamins), you’ll see more than 4,000 posts. The vast majority of them come from influencers– and all the posts we checked contained affiliate links.

Check out this one, for example. In it, Maggie is promoting the brand, but at the end of the post, she mentions a discount code.

Again, we want to repeat: Make sure that you can afford to do both a discount code AND a commission before choosing this strategy. But, if your profit margins allow, go crazy with it!

This type is probably what you’re most familiar with, but there’s a reason we saved it for last.

From our perspective, if you’re a small or medium size brand or you don’t have experience working with influencers, it’s better to start with gifted campaigns. Next, try affiliate campaigns and then move on to paid campaigns. (Sponsored posts are another name for paid campaigns)

Ideally, you want to learn as much as possible about what works for your brand before pouring money into influencers.

Besides following the order outlined above, here are some other pro tips for running paid influencer campaigns:

  • Negotiate prices. Influencers are worth money for their work, but sometimes they ask for too much. Try to strike a good balance between what you pay and what you get.

  • Create ongoing deals. If you find an influencer that you like and whose posts convert, try to create an ongoing deal. Here’s why: An influencer posting just once won’t make a huge difference. Sure, you might see a small spike in traffic and sales, but the real magic happens when you have consistency.

Example of a brand doing sponsored posts: HelloFresh

A great example of part of a paid campaign is this post from Rebecca Hobson, which was sponsored by HelloFresh. It’s part of their campaign to #RefreshWithHelloFresh, where they worked with around 15 micro influencers for a three-week challenge to cook healthy meals from scratch using their recipes. If you look for this hashtag on Instagram, you can see even more posts.

If you’re new to influencer marketing campaigns, this probably sounds a bit overwhelming– and it is! A campaign like this requires overhead and a lot of operational work. That’s why we think it’s a good idea to start with smaller, gifted campaigns so you can learn– then try more elaborate ideas as your confidence and revenue grows.

Other influencer marketing campaign categories

In the last section, we divided the types of influencer marketing campaigns based on one key component: payment. How do you, as the brand, pay for it?

However, if you research the best influencer marketing campaigns online, you’ll realize there are a LOT of other campaign types out there.

For example, some articles split campaign types by placement on a particular social media network, so you end up with things like feed campaigns, reels campaigns, or stories campaigns.

The kinds of campaigns you want to consider are going to depend on why you’re doing the campaign. So, let’s talk about a few more content types you can try:


In giveaway campaigns, brands work with influencers and ask them to promote a giveaway where the brand provides a prize and people get a chance to win it if they take a specific action. For example, sharing or commenting on the brand’s latest posts. These are super popular lately, and they’re a good option if you want to create excitement around your social media accounts.


Contests are similar to giveaways, but usually, the prize is one of the brand’s products. You ask users to perform specific actions to enter the contest and potentially win the prize. Then, you promote them on your social media and have influencers promote it, too.

Product unboxing

Product unboxing is a super popular format, especially on TikTok. To do it, you send products to influencers and ask them to do an unboxing video showcasing the product. One of the reasons this format works so well is that it includes an element of curiosity– people want to see what happens at the end! If the influencer is good with storytelling, this is the kind of video that can go viral.

Pre-launch content

Pre-launch content is usually done by bigger brands, but you don’t have to be big to do this– we’ve seen smaller brands do this successfully! The goal is to create buzz around a product launch, to grow awareness around the product, and eventually sales. If you can build hype before you launch, your product has a better chance to be a success.

There are even more examples of influencer marketing campaigns out there– these are just some of the highlights. What works best for you is going to depend on your brand and resources.

Your next influencer marketing campaign

As we said before, you can think of current influencer marketing campaigns from a few different angles:

  1. If you’re thinking about payment, there are gifted campaigns, affiliate campaigns, and paid campaigns. If you’re starting out, we recommend trying gifted campaigns.
  2. If you’re thinking about placement, there are Instagram reel campaigns, Instagram feed campaigns, Instagram stories campaigns, TikTok feed campaigns, and more.
  3. If you’re thinking about the content of the campaign, there are product unboxing campaigns, giveaways, contests, and pre-launch campaigns.

Now that you know the different kinds of influencer marketing campaigns out there, which one will you choose?

Share now!

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