Top Influencer Marketing Summer Campaign Ideas

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This summer is perhaps one of the most highly anticipated summers ever for North American consumers. As COVID-19 vaccinations lower the number of pandemic cases, the economy is opening back up.

That means that lockdown-weary people are emerging from their homes. Kids are out of school, temperatures are warm, and in-person experiences are back on calendars.

Naturally, a major lifestyle change means a change in consumer behavior. Because people can carry their mobile devices with them wherever they go, upward trends in social media usage remain high. And surveys continue to show that social media is a leading platform for buyer inspiration.

Bar graph of "US Social Commerce Buyers, by Platform, 2021"
Image via eMarketer

US Social Commerce Buyers, by Platform, 2021

millions and % of internet users

Facebook: 56.1 million (22.3%)

Instagram: 32.4 million (12.9%)

Pinterest: 13.9 million (5.6%)

Note: ages 14+; social network users who have made at least one purchase via the Instagram platform, including links and transactions on the platform itself, during the calendar year; includes online, mobile, and tablet purchases

Source: eMarketer, May 2021

This convergence of social media and ecommerce is known as social commerce. Popular social platforms are updating in-app shopping features to allow users to buy within a social shop and share about purchases they’re excited about.

Social media influencers are the key drivers in social commerce. These creators nurture engaged communities of like-minded consumers and can help drive sales for those products that they love.

“Brands trusted by consumers aren’t just trendy, they’re more valuable. This is because of the ‘halo effect’ that trust and authenticity creates: Trust improves conversion rates across the entire marketing mix, delivering higher ROI on marketing investments. The halo effect is the hidden key that influencers produce and high-growth brands embrace.”

– GRIN, Authentic Influencer Marketing

As you engage consumers this season with the help of creators, here is a full guide to help you plan and launch your influencer marketing summer campaigns.

5 summer marketing trends for ecommerce brands in 2021

There are a few things that set the summer season apart from other times of the year. Some are specific to summer, while others are more specific to the long-celebrated post-COVID culture.

1. In-person events

In states across the country, COVID restrictions are lifted, as well as travel bans. Enough of the population is fully vaccinated, and as a result, COVID cases have dropped significantly since January.

covid restrictions outlook survey infographic grin influencer marketing
Image via Triple Seat

2021 Outlook Survey Infographic

With many people planning to make up for missed birthday celebrations and parties in 2020, events planned will have a small budget:

  • 70% people are planning a birthday party
  • 48% people are planning a holiday party
  • 30% people are planning a wedding

Most events will be held at home, and over 50% will be catered from a local restaurant or venue.

Average event budget (37%): under $1,000

A close second event budget (25%): Under $5,000

Despite restrictions becoming more loose across the country, most people are keeping their guest count small:

  • 1-20 guests: 39%
  • Under 50 guests: 32%
  • Other: 29%

As vaccinations ramp up and restrictions are being lifted, people are feeling more comfortable getting together with others:

  • 49%: Almost half shared their event will be held in summer, likely due to the warmer weather that will allow for being outdoors.
  • 72: of respondents shared their event will be in-person

The top four spaces people are planning to host their event at include:

  1. At home
  2. Unique Venue
  3. Hotel
  4. Private restaurant space

Taking the Party Outdoors

  • ⅓ of respondents will be hosting their event at their home
  • Almost 50% of respondents plan to host their event/party outdoors
  • 35% planning typically happens with 1-3 months’ notice

The most popular COVID-related safety offerings people look for when booking a venue include:

  1. Outdoor spaces
  2. Socially-distanced floor plans
  3. Cleaning crews for pre and post-events
  4. Flexible cancellation policies
  5. PPE for attendees

As a result, people are coming together for weddings, birthday parties, play dates, game nights, putt-putt golf, and so much more.

Live events, such as concerts, festivals, and corporate events, are also back this summer. 

The sudden rise in in-person activities impacts what consumers need by way of gifts, clothes, booking services, and more.

2. Summer hashtags

Top summer hashtags can help you and your influencers improve campaign discovery during and after a campaign.

The current leading summer marketing hashtags include:

  • #summer
  • #summertimes
  • #summervibes
  • #hellosummer
  • #lovesummertime
  • #ootd
  • #fashion
  • #whatidwear
  • #music
  • #travel
  • #beach
  • #nature
  • #photooftheday
  • #fitness

While each platform also has its own hashtag trends, the hashtags above are performing well across all leading social channels. Not only can you request these hashtags in your influencer posts, but you can also do hashtag searches to get ideas for your summer campaigns.

3. Warm weather fashion

For a year, fashion purchases had little to do with going out and much more to do with feeling comfortable at home. Now everything has changed, and everyone wants to look good. 

Among the most popular content categories on social media today are outfit-of-the-day (OOTD) posts. Even if your products aren’t strictly fashion, integrating your promotions with OOTD influencers could improve your campaign performance.

4. Outdoor activities

Consumers are going to sports events and festivals, as well as taking camping trips with friends and family. As buyers venture outdoors, your travel, hiking, fishing/hunting, and photographer influencers are going to get more engagement than they do during other parts of the year.

5. 2021 Summer Olympics

Due to COVID-19, the International Olympic Committee postponed the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games from 2020 to 2021. Now the Olympics are approaching, and marketers are looking for ways to capitalize on these sporting events.

As television advertising continues to decline, a large number of enterprise-level budgets are now dipping their toes into other forms of media marketing. It comes as no surprise that social media ranks as the third most popular alternative to TV commercials during this year’s Olympic coverage

Pie chart of "Coronavirus Impact: How Are US Agencies and Brand Marketers Who Planned to Advertise During the 2020 Summer Olympics Reallocating that Budget?"
Image via eMarketer

Coronavirus Impact: How Are US Agencies and Brand Marketers Who Planned to Advertise During the 2020 Summer Olympics Reallocating that Budget?

% of respondents, June 2020

Planning to advertise

  • No: 71%
  • Yes: 29%

Budget reallocation

  1. Keeping budget with the Olympics for 2021: 35%
  2. Other sports that are resuming: 17%
  3. News content: 10%
  4. Paid social: 9%
  5. Entertainment content: 8%
  6. Lifestyle content: 8%
  7. Paid search: 8%
  8. Other: 5%

Note: n= 150

Source: Advertiser Perceptions, “Coronavirus Effect on Advertising Report: Wave 6,” July 13, 2020

That means that more branded accounts and creators will be posting content that is relevant to this year’s Summer Olympic Games. It also means that social media users will be using those apps to see how well Team USA is competing.

So from July 23-August 8, be prepared to compete with or join the chatter for the Olympics.

Building your summer influencer marketing strategy – A quick checklist

As you prepare to launch your summer influencer campaigns, here is a quick checklist to guide your workflow and productivity.

What do you want to accomplish?

Influencers are well-equipped to deliver any number of benefits to your brand. But in order to find the right influencers, you’ll need to identify two or three key marketing goals you hope to achieve this summer.

Some common influencer marketing objectives include:

  • Raise general brand awareness
  • Drive buzz around a seasonal product, product launch, or product line
  • Create user-generated content
  • Increase sales
  • Drive website traffic
  • Build a content library of lifestyle images/videos for paid and organic social

After identifying your objectives, you can break down each goal into multiple milestones and measure KPIs to determine success. 

“Your campaign objectives determine what your KPIs should be. And your KPIs help you determine your most important influencer metrics.”

GRIN, 20 KPIs For Your Influencer Marketing Campaign

Your objectives and KPIs ensure that you keep your summer influencer campaigns focused on what you want to accomplish by season’s end.

Who is your target audience?

Your buyer personas or ideal customers help you further focus your campaign efforts to the right consumers. The influencers that you select ought to represent each of your audience segments.

By recruiting the right influencers, you can create brand champions that promote you to thousands of your ideal customers at once.

What is your budget?

Your influencer budget doesn’t just dictate which influencers you can afford, it also impacts other aspects of your summer campaigns, such as repurposing influencer content in paid ads or shipping product gifts.

Thankfully, you’ve built your campaign goals and KPIs to help you allocate resources accordingly.

What are your social media channels?

Unless you’ve nurtured social presences on all the channels for some time, it might be unreasonable to try to run influencer marketing campaigns on every platform. If you focus your efforts on the two or three channels where your audience engages the most, you can attract and convert them more efficiently.

How will you track ROI?

To track performance, the best approach is to gather your KPIs and assign influencer metrics to each. 

For example, if your key performance indicator is to achieve 10,000 impressions, you can track that metric on your video or post. If you’re doing this manually, make sure to have a spreadsheet with each KPI metric attached to your campaign and influencers. You’ll want to update these metrics consistently throughout the campaign. If you’re using an automated platform like GRIN, the software will pull these metrics automatically, and you can select the KPI-specific metrics for building reports.

Either way, you’ll want to do your best to calculate the monetary value of each metric and then subtract your costs. The difference between the two is your positive/negative cash flow, and you can divide that number by your costs to arrive at your ROI.

(Campaign results in $$ – campaign costs) / costs = % ROI

5 Summer Campaign Ideas

1. How-to video (TikTok, YouTube, IG Reels, IGTV)

Short-form “how to” videos are among the most popular types of creator content across all video channels. 

Working with those influencers that know your product, you can direct them to complete a project and strategically place your product within the video. For these campaigns, it’s critical that your influencers understand how to use your products well.

Variations on this campaign include:

  • Video tutorials 
  • Before/after videos/images
  • Q&A videos

2. Hashtag campaign

If your brand already has a handful of popular hashtags associated with your products, you can have your creators promote the hashtag to drive user-generated content.

Hashtag campaigns often work well as a part of other campaign types, including:

  • TikTok challenge campaign
  • Giveaway or contest
  • Experiential campaign
  • Unboxing campaign

3. Instagram or Facebook giveaway

Fans love free products and swag. If you want to drive brand awareness, UGC, and product sales, you can launch a giveaway event this summer and enlist help from influencers to promote your event.

When building a social media contest, make sure that the rules are clear, and that you’ve established ways to track participation. Examples of great tracking tips include brand tags and hashtags.

4. Live experiential campaign (IG, Facebook, TikTok, Twitch)

If you plan on promoting special events this summer, using Live features on various social channels can increase attendance and participation. For those in attendance, you can create event-specific tags and hashtags to create online chatter before, during, and after the event.

Influencers are excellent promoters. You can give them VIP access, use them as brand ambassadors, have them host your event Live on their social account, or all of the above!

5. Summer OOTD campaign (IG, TikTok, Pinterest)

For apparel, fashion, and accessory brands, having your influencers feature your outfits through visual content can inspire fans to buy. Make sure that your creators are equipped with the right size and color, as well as affiliate links or coupon codes to track sales.

Summer examples for Instagram influencers

ShopRite hashtag campaign

ShopRite is an East Coast grocery chain that frequently leverages IG creators to promote sales and products. In this campaign, they promoted Paperbird products using branded hashtags like #paperbird and #cleaninpeace.

The post example below appealed to stress-free Fourth of July party planning by promoting disposable utensils. ShopRite worked with creators local to store branches and had them showcase various summer-specific products while using the campaign hashtags. 

Blowfish Malibu giveaway campaign

Blowfish Malibu created a product giveaway campaign and partnered with moms and dads to promote the event.

In an effort to increase user-generated content on behalf of the brand, influencers shared the contest rules, which included following both the creator and the influencer. Blowfish Malibu used this tactic to raise awareness among friends and family of influencer followers, thereby increasing post reach and driving engagement.

OUTLOUD & the Los Angeles Coliseum experiential campaign

OUTLOUD and the Los Angeles Coliseum partnered on Instagram to promote an exclusive Pride Month event. The campaign included multiple creator partners (both on and off site), as well as custom hashtags.

Both organizations also partnered with LGTBQ creators to drive ticket sales, as well as provide virtual experiences for those who could not attend. The campaign was also promoted across multiple platforms, including Instagram/Facebook Live and Twitch.

Summer examples for TikTok influencers

Pool Parts To Go “how to” video campaign

Pool Parts To Go sponsored a local pool cleanup crew to promote their pump and brushes to audiences on TikTok.

The creator took a “how to” approach and was able to demonstrate a product case use to fans. The crew even documented their progress across multiple TikTok videos and showcased a before-and-after shot at the end.


Grandmas pool!! ##sponsored by @poolpartstogo ##thep00lguy ##hollayaboy ##swimmingpool @poolboyb4nners

♬ original sound – thepoolguyml

Cafvina Coffee and Tea “how to” video and hashtag campaign

When your product looks and tastes delicious, sometimes all you need to do is ask a creator to make a beverage in front of fans. And that’s just what Cafvina Coffee and Tea did with Vivian’s help below.

The brand tracked their TikTok campaigns using the #cafvinacreations hashtag to drive awareness, summer sales, and UGC.


a little cup of sunshine 🌞 iced mango jasmine tea — tea and ez brew by @cafvina 🍵✨ ##sponsored ##cafvinacreations

♬ Lofi – Domknowz

Motorola hashtag campaign

A big trend since the launch of TikTok is filming impressive physical feats. So what if your product allows creators to capture their moves with better precision? 

Motorola’s answer was to sponsor acrobatic creators for video filmed on their new Rzr smartphone. The brand pushed their #FeelTheFlip campaign out to gymnasts, dancers, parkour masters, etc. and offered a free Rzr to a participating winner.

Summer examples for Facebook influencers

Kona Brewing Company hashtag campaign

Beers and lawn chairs are a special summer tradition for many. And that’s why Kona Brewing Company decided to partner with creators like Kelly Slater to post lifestyle content featuring its product. Using the already-popular branded hashtag, #oneliferight, Kona leveraged Facebook and Twitter influencers to raise awareness among older audiences.

Cowboy Charcoal tutorial video campaign

Cowboy Charcoal and Derek Wolf partner up in this campaign in a tutorial video for barbequing chicken wings. The creator does a great job of showcasing the product, not to mention his mouth-watering wings.

Summer examples for YouTube influencers

Benjamin Moore before-and-after campaign

YouTuber Lexi Hensler partners with Benjamin Moore to makeover a guest room in her and her roommate’s house. But there’s a catch – Lexi’s roommate thinks that she is moving out. Fans watch the story unfold while also getting a glimpse of what Benjamin Moore paint looks like before and after a room makeover.

For homeowners, summer is a great time to update and renovate parts of the house. DIY purchases surged in 2020 and have remained popular in 2021. 

Etsy music parody video campaign

Some YouTube creators don’t just make fun videos, they can also sing, dance, and act. In The Holderness Family’s recent parody video, Penn (Mr. Holderness) declares, “I like special things, too” in a specially-made Father’s Day campaign music video.

The family partnered with Etsy and showcased several unique gift ideas from its ecommerce store for Father’s Day shopping.

QuickVue “how to” video campaign

While COVID-19 restrictions are going away, many are still cautious about reentering the public this summer. And that’s why Guillermo Rodriguez from Jimmy Kimmel Live and QuickVue® partner in a YouTube campaign to promote the brand’s at-home OTC COVID-19 testing kit.

Even though the video is humorous, Guillermo performs the procedure to demonstrate how easy the QuickVue test is for the average person to use.

Summer examples for Pinterest influencers

PinkBlush OOTD campaign

Summer outfits are a big deal to consumers – particularly for those planning to go out for the first time in months. Pinterest is a great place for picky dressers to find apparel inspiration.

Floradise’s post below shows off a floral print from PinkBlush. This OOTD approach allows fans to pin their favorite outfits before deciding on a purchase.

Product review campaign

Those with sensitive skin or are conscious of sun UV rays, and summer skincare is a major concern. 

Photographer and blogger Julia Berolzheimer demonstrates expert product placement in her lifestyle content for an authentic sponsored Pinterest summer campaign. For this post, she raises awareness for top skincare products to help women achieve that “healthy sun-kissed look.”

The post links to a blog where she lists the top summer skincare products, along with reviews for each.

Summer campaign best practices

Build a media library of IRL content.

As you craft and launch your summer campaigns, try to think beyond the present campaign. If you include content rights within your influencer agreement, then you’ll be able to save your top-performing posts and reuse them in your brand’s paid and organic social marketing strategy.

Remain COVID-conscious during a critical time.

Even though millions have received their vaccine and case numbers are down, many are still nervous about COVID variants and the possibility of transmission from/to those who’ve not yet received a vaccine.

Particularly for recreational products and events, it’s important to remind customers that their safety is your utmost priority, even as they take part in group activities.

Plan earlier in the year.

If you begin thinking about your influencer marketing summer campaigns earlier in the year, you’ll have more great ideas to choose from, as well as a stronger process for executing those ideas.

It’s also a good idea to engage your influencers sooner so that you can pick their brains on messaging and content.

You can use summer influencer campaigns to prepare for your holiday shopping events.

As soon as your summer campaigns conclude, you’ll be getting ready to launch your holiday promotions. If you step back and think about your summer campaigns in relation to your holiday campaigns, you’ll find ways to accomplish more tasks at once and feel more prepared going into Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) shopping.

Make your creator guidelines clear using consistent communication and concise campaign briefs.

Anytime you launch a campaign with your creator team, communicating clear goals and expectations is critical to success. Summer campaigns are no different. Make sure that your creator briefs include any specific guidelines, links, hashtags, logos, etc. so that your creators fully understand what you need them to accomplish.

It’s also a good idea to remain in contact with your influencers during the campaign to address any questions or to adjust your approach to increase results.

Conclusion: Social media creators will help you build deeper connections with your audience this summer.

At the end of the day, you don’t just want to sell products. You want to build connections with your audience. That’s what authentic marketing is all about.

If you and your influencers enjoy strong relationships, that positivity will overflow onto influencer fans and help you attract like-minded customers who will stay with you for the long term. This summer, don’t be afraid to take your program to the next level using some of the campaign ideas above.

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