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

Previously its been a manual process of reaching out to hundreds of people on instagram, or sending product unsolicited to people you think might be interested, or even sampling in malls or train stations! But 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 contra gifting collab directly in our ‘Contra Offers’ section, and people who are interested in collaborating with you in an unpaid capacity can apply. You then pick the people you want to gift, and leave them a review at the end of the process. Simple!

We’ve put together this guide on how to maximise your contra gifting collaboration:

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

Remember, mid tier and macro influencers normally get given product 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 are not looking for people to post on instagram but to 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? A great way to test new products!

If you are asking for social posts, here’s 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 ‘Would I do this collaboration myself? If someone gifted me this product/service, would I want to post about it, or tell my friends about it, or write a review?” – if the answer is no, rethink your offer 🙂

2. Attach photos

Attach clear photos of your product or service and a catalog so people can see if its a product or service they are interested in trying, and if its 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 linked in! 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 to 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, and etc. This person has expressed an interest in collaborating with you, so if you provide them 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, beautiful packaging, 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 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.

Reasons your contra offer might be declined:

  • You’re asking to use the influencers content for advertising
  • You’re asking influencers to promote a discount code
  • You havent shared what your brand or the product is (so they dont know what they’re applying for!)
  • You’re asking for an unfair exchange (lots of posts for a low value item)
  • You are dictating what they say and how and when
  • You have added personal details in an attachment
  • You havent added a photo of the product or service so the influencer doesnt know what they’re getting!
  • Your product isnt 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 to you to reuse
  • You havent listed specifically what the influencer is going to receive