Influencer Marketing Playbook for Service-Based Businesses 

Nidhi Agarwal and Varshitha Kavali
Editorial Team
February 27, 2023
min read
Share the article:
  • Influencer marketing growth in different service sectors
  • Influencers: The perfect choice for service-based businesses
  • Collaborating with influencers when you're a service-based business
  • Trending content formats to promote your service-based business
  • Popular influencer types you can partner with for your service-based business
  • Creative influencer campaigns run by leading service-based brands
  • Top 5 influencers promoting services on Instagram

In the service-based businesses domain, healthcare brands widely use influencer marketing to reach their potential customers. According to data from, it is the industry with the most influencers in the USA and Indonesia. Restaurants, hotels, and airlines are next, where influencers are leveraging FOMO (Fear of Missing Out!) to market the experiences these service industries offer.

The USA already has a service-based economy, and the SEA countries are also progressively transitioning to one. Following the pandemic's initial wave, spending in the service sector has kept growing. In terms of health equity, the environment, and sustainability, healthcare became the most frequently discussed topic. 

Influencers are at the forefront of generating demand for healthcare service providers, nutritional products, and wellness services. It is because Internet users of all ages are increasingly turning to social media research and making choices about anything from where to eat and vacation to which healthcare businesses they can have faith in. Consumers generally seek the counsel of people they know and trust, such as those in authority positions in the industry, in the community, among employees, or in the public eye (celebrities, journalists, etc.). scans how service-based businesses perform in different countries using influencer marketing. After beauty and lifestyle, the service sector is a burgeoning market with the potential to create successful collaborations with influencers. But brands still need to leverage it to increase ROI fully.

(NOTE:  Our data for the number of niche influencers are derived using niche labels to generate an influencer list. It means some influencers do not specifically identify with a particular niche and may have been excluded. However, steps were taken to ensure that the influencers list included in our analysis is relevant to the industry and has a significant social media presence to provide as accurate a picture as possible.)

Table Of Content:
  • Influencer marketing growth in different service sectors
  • Influencers: The perfect choice for service-based businesses
  • Collaborating with influencers when you're a service-based business
  • Trending content formats to promote your service-based business
  • Popular influencer types you can partner with for your service-based business
  • Creative influencer campaigns run by leading service-based brands
  • Top 5 influencers promoting services on Instagram

Influencer marketing growth in different service sectors 

1. Healthcare Influencer Marketing

Indonesia and the US have the highest count of local healthcare influencers. 

(Note: To identify niche influencers in the healthcare industry, we used a combination of labels including healthcare, hospital, doctor, and medicine to generate a list of potential influencers.)

Worldwide, more than 16.5k influencers advocate for a good diet, self-care, exercise, and mental wellness. The desire for health information, knowledge, technology advancements, and social media marketing have increased healthcare influencers. In Southeast Asia, Indonesia has up to 2.2K healthcare influencers. The US has 1.5K influential people, including key opinion leaders, athletes, and parent bloggers.

2. Airline Influencer Marketing 

The US has the highest local influencer count in the airline industry. 

(Note: To identify niche influencers in the healthcare industry, we used a combination of labels including  aviation, flight, airline, airplane and aircraft to generate a list of potential influencers.)

Globally, the airline industry comprises 13.1k travel bloggers, aviation enthusiasts, and frequent flyers, reflecting the rising interest in travel and the airline industry. 

Since the US has the world's largest aviation market, airline influencers choose to focus on this sector. Thailand is the second-highest in number, followed by India. Vietnam has the lowest number of airline industry influencers. 

By collaborating with airline influencers having engaged followers, airlines can reach a wider audience and generate buzz around new promotions. For example, an airline might partner with an influencer to offer a free flight or prize package to followers who engage with the influencer's content.

3. Food Influencer Marketing

(Note: To identify niche influencers in the healthcare industry, we used a combination of labels restaurant, cafe to generate a list of potential influencers.)

Several eateries are teaming up with popular people on social media to spread the word about their business and menu to reach a wider audience. Worldwide, roughly 10.9K influencers are linked with promoting restaurants, food, and beverages. Almost 2,800 influencers actively promote restaurants in South East Asian countries. More than 1070 influencers in the United States regularly promote local eateries by sharing photos and reviews online. It opens the door to spread the word about the menu, ultimately boosting sales and solidifying client loyalty.

4. Salon and Spa Influencer Marketing 

(Note: To identify niche influencers in the healthcare industry, we used a combination of labels salon and spa to generate a list of potential influencers.)

Comparing the salon industry to other service sectors like food, lodging, travel, and healthcare, it has the lowest influencers. The salon industry may be very regional and less globally present than other industries, which may be the cause. Also, many salons are tiny enterprises catering to the local population.

Influencers from the salon industry are gaining popularity on social media, especially Instagram. More than 1662 salon influencers in the United States, followed by 1101 in Thailand and 484 in Malaysia, represent a variety of beauty and hair-related content, including tutorials, product reviews, and behind-the-scenes looks at salons and spas.

5. Hospitality Influencer Marketing

Hospitality sector is a growing service sector, with 10.5k influencers globally.

(Note: To identify niche influencers in the healthcare industry, we used a combination of labels hospitality, hotels and resorts to generate a list of potential influencers.)

The market for hotel influencers is robust, with over 10.5k key influencers globally. These influencers feature distinctive and lavish hotels, specifically emphasizing upscale accommodations and unique destinations.

For instance, sponsored content involves partnering with an influencer to create posts or videos featuring the hotel's amenities and services. Brands offer a free stay, meals, or other perks in exchange for promotion. In addition, influencer marketing campaigns may include contests, giveaways, or other incentives for followers to engage with the hotel's social media accounts. 

By examining the data for hotel influencers, it is visible that luxury properties and exotic destinations tend to be the most popular among influencers and their followers, positioning hotels as desirable destinations and attracting more potential guests.

The United States occupies the highest number of influencers accounting for 1.41K individuals. In Thailand, the hospitality sector is growing with over 1076 influencers, the highest among SEA nations. The hotel influencer market in India, Canada, and the UAE vary in size and focus. Still, all three countries have thriving hotel influencers helping promote and showcase unique and luxurious hotels to their followers. 

Although the data clearly shows that influencers have become an essential marketing tool for service businesses, many companies struggle to run successful campaigns for their business. They struggle to understand the type of influencer they should partner with, the content format they should use, and more. 

To help you overcome these challenges, we have created this exhaustive guide which can be used to strengthen your influencer campaigns and supercharge your ROI. 

What Makes Influencers The Best Option For Service-Based Businesses

Working with the right influencers gets you closer to the audience. They are their loyal fan base, who look up to them for recommendations or useful content. 

  1. Influencers can easily highlight the service value you offer. They highlight the results you promise. 
  2. They know what works well with your potential customers. They know how to build a relationship based on trust and credibility.
  3. Influencers are aware of the latest trend on social media. So they incorporate that into their content, which makes it easy for you to hit the nail. 
  4. If you use influencer marketing, you will know how your competitors are trying to attract consumer attention. 
  5. Influencer content impacts your SEO by letting you rank higher in the SERP. 

Influencer marketing for the service sector is more complex than product-based promotions. Unlike product brands, service-based businesses have an intangible product, which puts the customers at a buying risk because they don't know what they're getting before actually getting the service. 

The audience in this sector does careful research before availing of any services. Recommendations from peers, family and social media influencers build the audience's trust and make them believe the service is worth their money. Whether you're an airline company, bank, restaurant, beauty salon or boutique, hotel, or consulting agency, you can use influencer marketing to build quality social proof for your business and reduce buying risk. 

McDonald's, British Airways, Marriott, Uber Eats, and Chipotle, among others, leverage creator partnerships to establish unwavering trust in the audience for their business. Besides the big names in the industry, small businesses, too, are driving tons of engagement through local influencers.

Research shows that one in three consumers prefer TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and other social channels to discover new brands, products, and services. 

"Every time I visit a new country, I search for good restaurants that I can check out. On the platform, I can watch short videos posted by people who have already been there. That makes me see the restaurant's vibe and its menu, and get a whole picture of the place from the video," Lovisa Wallin, famous social media influencer and TikTok star, tells the audience in an interview with Cure Media. 

People using social media for product discovery is the primary driving factor behind influencer marketing becoming a powerful strategy for boosting visibility. Regardless of your sector, it is now a must-have tool in your marketing mix. 

Influencer marketing with the right creators can: 
  1. Build brand awareness
  2. Boost web/foot traffic 
  3. Create User Generated Content (UGC)
  4. Drive positive brand sentiment 
  5. Increase sales 
  6. Enhance search engine optimization (SEO)
  7. Improve visibility and engagement 

Struggling to find high-engagement influencers for your brand? Access’s 6M+ influencer profiles to analyze performance metrics and select the best creators.

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Collaborating with influencers when you're a service-based business 

Bedrock Real Estate's short film is an excellent example of getting people emotionally invested in the brand while promoting the brand's message. Bedrock is a Detroit commercial real estate services firm partnered with celebrity rapper Big Sean to inspire regional purchases. A short video features the rapper talking about how being born in Detroit has shaped him into who he is today. 

The video's raw content made the audience emotionally invested in the film and secured tons of engagement on YouTube, bagging more than 182k views on the platform. 

While Bedrock real estate partnered with a celebrity influencer, companies can also go for local influencers in their budget to drive traffic to their physical stores. Seeing an influencer post delicious food images from a restaurant, spend time in a relaxing resort, or travel around the world in a particular airline, creates a FOMO (fear of missing out) effect in the audience, encouraging them to try out the service for themselves. 

The younger audience always looks for the next trendy restaurant or popular place to visit and share on social media. With local influencers, you can target the nearby demographic and boost your in-store traffic. 

For example, Sun Peaks Resort in Canada partnered with the Instagram star and adventurer photographer Callum Snape to boost their visitations. The photographer posted images and videos of the beautiful snow-clad landscape from the resort, which went viral on Instagram and Facebook. The post clocked 200k+ views in just three minutes and around 17K+ likes, which considering his 700k followers, is pretty good engagement. The campaign enabled the resort to boost the awareness of its business and made it one of the top winter attractions in Canada. 

Trending content formats to promote your service-based business

When deciding the type of influencer content for the campaign, most brands go with trending content. Experts and influencers believe it is the least effective way to appeal to your audience because people on social media are savvy enough to understand the difference between authentic and forced content.

Here are a few effective content formats you and your influencer can derive inspiration from: 

1. Giveaways 

Giveaways can be a go-to influencer content strategy to generate excitement for services. It encourages people to engage with your content and start interesting conversations about your services. Being a service provider, you can't give away products; however, you can give away gift cards to your audience to avail of your services at a discount. 

FindersKeephers, a Canada-based local clothing boutique, partnered with fashion and lifestyle influencer Bailey Stanworth in 2021 to host a $500 gift card Christmas giveaway. Bailey posted her image and talked about the boutique, encouraging the audience to participate in the giveaway. To enter the giveaway, followers had to like the post, tag a friend, and follow both the boutique and Stanworth, which increased the follower count and the post's engagement. This Christmas influencer marketing giveaway campaign gained over 5000 entries and over 2k likes on the post.  

2. Storytelling or experience-based content 

Whatever the influencers promote, be it a service or product, it is their experience and story the audience wants to know. The audience is interested in what the service offers and why they should trust your brand. When it comes to services, the audience likes listening to new and interesting anecdotes that excite them and make them want to try out the business.  

Naomi Davis, a mommy blogger, and influencer with more than 400k followers, was invited by St. Regis Hotel over Father's Day weekend to stay at their facility. Davis posted a blog and an image on her Instagram page where she shared stories of her and her family enjoying a delightful stay at the hotel and detailing to her audience the wonderful services the hotel provided them. Davis' storytelling content successfully highlighted it as a family-friendly place to stay. 

Naomi Davis' blog on her stay at St. Regis Hotel-service based business influencer marketing
Naomi Davis' blog on her stay at St. Regis Hotel.

3. Live Streaming 

Live Streaming is a growing trend on social media where creators go live on their channel to connect with their audience and discuss the brand. Most product-based brands use shoppable live streams to enable product shopping in real time through social media. 

However, service-based businesses use live streams to boast their outstanding services by getting the influencers to go live while exploring their business. You can be a restaurant, an app, a health and wellness institute, a financial firm, or anyone providing services that the influencers can do a live vlog about. The influencers share their experience with their followers, which makes for raw and authentic content, adding to the brand's credibility and engaging the audience. 

Royal Caribbean's live adventure 'Come Seek Live' is a perfect example of capturing experience in real-time. The global cruise holding company collaborated with five travel influencers and asked them to share their experience on the cruise while exploring 5 Caribbean islands. The campaign was a massive success as it thrilled the audience to watch the crazy adventures the influencers came across on live streams. The influencers controlled the live stream, making the content even more interesting, telling people how they could have the same fun on a Caribbean cruise. 

Brands looking for additional engagement and hype can go further and host live-stream giveaways and announce the winners. This strategy will create additional audience excitement and increase awareness and engagement. 

4. Creator-hosted TikTok Challenges 

Influencer-hosted TikTok challenges are a great way to attain quality user-generated content (UGC). TikTok creators perform the challenge and share it with their followers, encouraging them to create their videos doing the challenge. The TikTok challenges often go viral on the platform, which helps the brand enhance awareness, reach, and engagement. Branded hashtag challenges work well on TikTok as they familiarize the audience with a brand. 

Chipotle's #GuacDance TikTok challenge hosted on National Avocado Day became a big hit among guacamole fans, initiating more than 800k condiment sales by the Mexican food chain. The company invited entertainment influencers Brent Rivera and Loren Gray to do the challenge as a dance-off, bringing the company over 250k video submissions in 6 days. The campaign became TikTok's highest-performing branded challenge in the US in 2019. 

Using TikTok to promote service-based businesses

Avoid making these 5 TikTok creator marketing mistakes for your next campaign! 

5. Business Collabs 

Who says you need to run an influencer campaign all by yourself? Why not benefit from other businesses' names in the market and build your engagement? You can partner with other service providers to merge your strengths for one campaign and include influencers in the mix to push your sales further. 

UberEats, Chipotle, and Hinge ran a collective influencer campaign in 2020 with Rebel Wilson, the entertainment queen of Hollywood. For the Cuffing season, Chipotle offered its seasonal menu only for people ordering on UberEats and gave ten lucky winners a chance to win dating advice from Rebel Wilson. The menu was inspired by Hinge's dating habits, a popular dating app in the US, and Chipotle's special items. 

The collective campaign increased sales of the food delivery app and the restaurant chain. It simultaneously boosted awareness for the dating app as Rebel Wilson acted as a catalyst to the campaign, attracting young adults—the target demographic of all three businesses. 

6. Video Series 

Mini-video series are a major hit on YouTube
because its entertaining, emotional, and informative content hooks the viewers' attention and keeps them returning for more.

The 'Do Not Disturb' video series launched by Moxy Hotels proves that people love consuming entertaining content featuring content creators. The video series was filmed in the Moxy Hotel Rooms with Taryn Southern, a YouTube star. Southern interviewed other creators like Oli White, Amy Pham, Bart Baker, and Brittany Furlan inside the hotel rooms. They played games and answered questions to make the series more entertaining. 

Although the video series did not focus on the services of Moxy Hotels, it showcased how the business can make for exciting and memorable stays for visitors. 

7. Brand-hosted influencer parties 

Influencer parties and events provide an opportunity to create a positive buzz for the brand with loads of influencer content, including Live streams, TikTok videos, Instagram Reels, service reviews, blogs, vlogs, stories, posts, and more. So brands looking for on-the-spot raw content, influencer parties are the solution.

Natasha Graziano, influencer, podcast host, and author, said in the Power of Creator economy Masterclass hosted by and Vinnie Potestivo, "Whether you're a fashion brand, tech brand, or restaurant, influencer parties are how you build communities and reach millions of influencer audiences since each of the creators will be posting about your event on social media. Instead of making the events exclusive, you can invite into the events like brand fans, host giveaways, or even open up the VIP area for your influencers and give them normal access." 

Popular influencer types you can partner with for your service-based business 

Service-based businesses can go for any influencer based on their goals. For example, if reach and awareness is your primary goal, go for macro and celebrity influencers with thousands and millions of followers. However, you can collaborate with micro and nano influencers with only a few thousand loyal followers to generate engagement. 

The choice of influencer can also depend on your area of the target and what works in your geography. In Southeast Asia, key opinion leaders (KOLs, like nutritionists, food connoisseurs, medical practitioners, and business leaders, are the go-to choice for brands to build credibility among their target audience. On the contrary, UAE brands employ macro and celebrity creators to boost awareness for their luxury brands, including 5-star hotels, airlines, and more. 

Creative influencer campaigns run by leading service-based brands 

1. Dunkin’ Donuts – #CharliXDunkinContest #CharliDunkinRemix

Dunkin' Donuts, America's well-known coffee and baked goods company, is an expert in driving sales for its food products. The popular food chain entered into a long-term partnership with Charlie D'Amelio, a TikTok personality, and Dunkin' Donuts ambassador, to capture the attention of her fan base of 144 million.  

Their strategy is to target the TikTok influencer's fan base, who love watching Charli's content and piggyback on her fame to generate engagement and hype for themselves. 

The brand launched a #CharliXDunkinContest campaign on TikTok and released a new beverage, The Charli, to increase sales. The brand saw a 20% increase in the sales of its cold brews on day one and a 45% increase on day two. Since then, they've been leveling up the partnership further with new campaigns. 

The #CharliDunkinRemix campaign launched the week of the influencer's birthday was to inform people about the week-long offer from the company as a treat for D'Amelio's fans. As a result of the campaign, the hashtag has more than 240 million views, making the company the number one food brand on TikTok. 

Dunkin' Donut uses TikTok to promote service-based business

2. CapitalOne – #walletstories

Banking and financial services are boring to talk about on social media, but CapitalOne doesn't think so. CapitalOne is a US-based financial services business that develops creative influencer marketing strategies to make the topic of finance interesting to talk about for the younger audience. 

In 2015, the company collaborated with Instagram influencers to create authentic content for its #WhatsInYourWallet ad campaign and engage Gen Zers and Millennials. 

The company handed over its Instagram account to three influencers: Zach Rose, Kimberly Genevieve, and Paul Octavious, to post content under the hashtag. The campaign allowed the fans and audiences to watch #walletstories from different perspectives of the influencers. The influencers posted high-quality videos and images of them exploring what they had in their wallet while sharing their personal stories. 

From love letters to old receipts and family photos, the influencers shared everything they found in their wallet to make the campaign memorable and heart-touching, raising tons of fan-following for the brand. 

3. McDonald's – # BTSxMcDonald's

McDonald's, the fast food chain, captured K-pop fans' attention by introducing a BTS-inspired meal in their 2021 influencer campaign. With 18 million+ fans, BTS is a popular music band worldwide, primarily in Southeast Asia. 

To appeal to the younger audience in India, Indonesia, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, and other Asian regions, McDonald's introduced an Asian cuisine-inspired BTS meal in purple packaging, the theme of the BTS fans. McDonald's marketed the campaign on social media under the hashtags #BTSMeal and #BTSxMcDonald's and posted an ad to capture maximum attention.

The campaign went viral in only a few days and drove tremendous foot traffic to McDonald's restaurants. The ads resulted in 20 million views and 949k likes on the YouTube video and 400k+ likes on Instagram. 

Related: Marketing Takeaways from McDonald's BTS Meal Campaign

Top 5 influencers promoting services on Instagram 

1. Taim AlFalasi (@taimalfalasi, 4.2 million followers) 

Taim AlFalasi popular content creator promoting service businesses

Taim AlFalasi is a well-known food, lifestyle, and beauty influencer in the Middle East, with over 4 million followers on her Instagram page. She also engages followers on Snapchat and TikTok. Her Instagram profile boasts branded content from product-based brands as well as service-based companies. She reviews top restaurants in the Middle East and gives a review for their food menu, encouraging her followers to try out the restaurants. She also posts beauty and lifestyle content on her channel so that she may be a good choice for boutiques, salons, and more. She has an active youtube channel with over 500k subscribers and over 99m views. 

2.  Michael Slabach (@michaelmatthew_, 106k followers)

Michael Slabach popular content creator promoting service businesses

Matthew Slabach is a well-known influencer with a particular focus on coffee culture. Slabach’s Instagram account has 106k followers generating over 195.75% engagement rate. He features various coffee and cocktail-related content, including reviews of specialty coffee shops, brewing tutorials, and latte art demonstrations. His expertise and passion for the craft have helped him to build a dedicated following and establish himself as a respected voice in the industry. He collaborated with brands like Morris Coffee, Mr. Black Spirits, Hershey's, Bizzy coffee, Chameleon Coffee, and more. 

3. Daymond John (@thesharkdaymond, 1.3M followers) 

Daymond John popular content creator promoting service businesses

Daymond John is a popular key opinion leader in the business sector. He's the founder of FUBU, an author, an investor, and a TV personality who is also active on social media channels like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. He publishes motivational, family, and business-related content along with snippets from the Shark Tank TV shows. Daymond is a good choice for brands that want mass awareness of their services. 

4. JP Anglo (@chefjayps, 241k followers) 

JP Anglo popular content creator promoting service businesses

JP Anglo is a Philippines-based chef and food influencer who owns two restaurants in Manila and the UAE. His profile displays multiple cuisines from numerous restaurants, which tells that food tasting is one of his favorite habits. The food influencer has collaborated with Marvs Seafood Delivery, Single Fin Cafe, Philippine Airlines, Air France, and more to drive recognition for their business. 

5. Thanis Lim Food Travel Asia (@thanislim, 99.7k followers)

Thanis Lim  popular content creator promoting service businesses

Thanis Lim is a Brunei-based food, lifestyle, and travel influencer, currently hosting Radio Television Brunei, a national broadcaster of Brunei. Lim's profile has restaurant reviews showcasing him trying delicious meals. He has collaborated with well-known food chains like Burger King, The Fork, McDonald's Brunei, KFC Brunei, Hungry Hippo, and more. Lim is an excellent option for restaurant chains looking to drive awareness.  

On a final note 

Influencer marketing has become a powerful tool for businesses in the service sector, with influencers significantly impacting consumer buying decisions. It plays a significant role in the growth of healthcare, airline, hotel, restaurant, and salons by providing a way to reach new and broader audiences, increase brand awareness, and generate engaging content for the consumer demand for personalized and authentic experiences.

To learn how you can run a successful campaign in 2023, book a free trial and connect with our experts! 

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