Can Brands Change Their Fate Using Unpaid Influencer Campaigns?

Brands have often been in dilemma in bringing the influencers on board their marketing strategy. They are susceptible to spend a budget on something, the outcome of which is not in their hand. This decision often lets them to not get into any sort of influencer marketing strategy.

But this is more than what they often perceive. Brands tend to experiment with their marketing with some form of Unpaid Influencer Campaigns. They tend to bring these strategies to guarantee their investment into something fruitful. So, do these unpaid influencer campaigns work? Is it possible for some brands to bring into fore the unpaid influencer campaigns? Will the result be the same for both paid and unpaid influencer campaigns for marketing? Will the equation work on similar terms for influencers if they don’t get paid?

What can be the Issues arising in Unpaid Influencer campaigns?

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So, if your brand is planning to bring into the team the unpaid influencer campaigns, you are not alone. Thousands of such brands and some influencers too want to have such exposures. Influencers too tend to start off with such cases as they too want to test their skills in the advertisement. Often, the big influencers and celebrity endorsements tend to make big headlines, but most influencer collaborations happen at more reasonable rates and scale. Companies can receive positive ROIs by working with a large number of micro-influencers. They are eager to work without even having to pay them hugely. Investment in high-quality influencers and tools to streamline a large influencer program is necessary to see long-term, tangible returns. For some brands, it may be possible to run successful and unpaid influencer campaigns as well.

What factors determine if your brand qualify for Unpaid Influencer Campaigns?


Here are some of the factors which might describe if your brands qualify for unpaid influencer campaigns –

  1. Value of Products – The value of products go a long way in deciding if any of the influencers might say yes to unpaid campaigning. Luxury fashion products, cosmetics, and some electronic items have a huge fan following. These verticals have the potential to gain influencers who are ready to run unpaid campaigns.
  2. Popular or Viral Products – many influencers, in an attempt to enjoy popularity, vie to endorse some products which have gone viral. They are willing to work with trendy products, if not the brand. The brands can capitalize on the trend set by their brands to influence influencers.
  3. Non-Profits – Even though the influencers don’t have a fixed layout for CSR, they tend to help non-profits get recognition. They are often willing to spread awareness about nonprofits. Certainly, they too get the soft side of the people.

What Alternatives can you offer to run Unpaid influencer campaigns?

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There are certain alternatives to monetary compensation which your brand can offer to the influencers. Here are some of them –

  1. You can offer to feature influencer content on their social channels, website or other advertisements.
  2. Also, you can gift them your products cases for free.
  3. A long-term partnership proposal or affiliate partnership with the commission may be fruitful.

Acceptance rates for Unpaid influencer campaigns

Often, we see how some brands can run successful unpaid influencer campaigns solely on a gift-giving basis. So, after surveying both the brands and the influencers, we can conclude that the influencers can work at a discount for brands which they love. Working for a favorite brand even without any price can uplift their social aspects easily. As per Karlee Andrews @Madameandrews, an influencer with close to 150k followers,

“As for unpaid vs paid, I almost always charge…I put a lot of time and effort into producing content that fits with the campaigns that I work on. I know that I produce great content and I’m not afraid to say that I should be compensated for it… However, if the product is worth a lot and I love it, I will on occasion do work for trade”.

But brands should note that working without any payment can limit the number and types of influencers in the future too. Only willing and fan type influencers will work for your brand henceforth.

Finding the Right Set of Influencers

After talking to most of the brands and their testimonials, the influencers are willing to post content in lieu of products or other alternatives to money. The other products must resonate with the value of the work they are doing. So, it is important to find the right set of influencers to run unpaid influencer campaigns. To make the collaboration natural and authentic, it is important that the influencers align their likings with the product. You may also find the right set of influencers ready to run campaigns without even charging any money.

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