A successful fashion influencer marketing strategy can drive valuable exposure for your brand, authentic user-generated content, and of course, sales.
Like all marketing strategies, influencer marketing does require time, resources, and a thoughtful plan to get right, but it is an incredibly powerful tool to add to your marketing toolbox.
For the fashion industry in particular, where shoppers often look for inspiration online, fashion bloggers, Instagram influencers and Youtubers have quickly risen to fame for sharing their style choices, and can lend their influential voice to brands that they partner with.
It’s no surprise that 92% of marketers who use influencer marketing have found it effective (Linqia).
In this article, we’ll guide you through the benefits of influencer marketing, how to select the right influencers, and tips and tricks to make it successful, so you can start thinking about how to build your own!
Let’s get started.
What is influencer marketing?
First things, first! Influencer marketing is a marketing tactic that leverages influential voices on social platforms to create more authentic content and conversation about your brand.
It can take shape in a variety of ways, and in this digital form, it’s still a relatively new marketing channel that continues to grow and evolve. Influencers have a broad reach, strong engagement, targeted audiences, and content creation skills that can be very valuable to you as you grow your fashion brand.
Trend’s recent work with FabFitFun, for example, produced a series of well-styled, fun, and on-brand photos from influencers like the images here, that they can use in marketing materials as well.
Working with influencers can offer an element of authenticity to your marketing, with user-generated content, to complement your professional marketing assets.
Your fashion influencer marketing strategy might be, for example, hosting a series of exclusive events (like the #revolvefestival) for fashion influencers on Instagram where they get to preview and share your latest line. Or it might involve sending out your product to a selected group of fashion Youtubers to style in their own unique ways and share on their channels.
Depending on your brand, your budget and time constraints, and your objectives, fashion influencer marketing can show up in a lot of different (but successful!) ways.
How do I choose the right influencer for my brand?
It may seem that everyone is an influencer, nowadays. From micro-influencers to stars with a million followers, it can be overwhelming to think about how to go about choosing the right influencers to partner with to grow your business.
There’s no right answer that works for every company. You’ll need to ask yourself a few important questions on whether to go with micro-influencers or macro-influencers.
Questions to answer for choosing influencers
1. What are your goals?
Your strategy may look different if you’re trying to build brand awareness versus trying to drive specific sales during a promotion. Make sure that your call-to-action is aligned with your goals, whether it is to follow your page, share a post, or use a promotional code to purchase from your e-commerce site.
2. What kind of resources do you have to dedicate to an influencer campaign?
It takes heavy lifting to build a list of influencers, develop those relationships, compensate them with product and/or payment, and measure the results, and influencer marketing campaigns don’t work if you only do them halfway.
Expect that the relationship-building and follow-through for fashion influencer marketing campaigns take time and effort, in order to drive meaningful impact.
You might be willing to spend a little more budget to work with just a few larger influencers, or you might prefer to spend more time developing relationships with micro-influencers who are more likely to be willing to post for product and no fee.
However, be very careful of this approach. Here at Trend we don’t typically support this approach, as it tends to lead to very poor quality results and ends up costing more in time. These influencers have little incentive to follow through with your campaign.
3. What kind of influencers can speak to your target audience?
You might want to go after a big name influencer that is a celebrity in their own right (who can forget Beyonce repping exclusively Glossier makeup at the Grammys?) but if you have a rather niche target audience, you may want to consider micro-influencers that speak directly to your niche instead.
Also, don’t feel limited to just one type of influencer. There are so many different niches, and creators’ voices out there, you can explore a variety to find out what works for you.
Tips for a successful fashion influencer marketing campaign.
1. Build a longer list than you think you need.
Don’t expect everyone to get back to you. In fact, don’t expect even half of your target list to get back to you, if you’re doing this by cold outreach.
86% of marketers are using influencer marketing for their businesses (Linqia), so influencers are getting pitched all the time, and they are likely to be just as picky as you are when it comes to finding the right fit.
2. Start relationships early.
Find the people who are already in love with your brand and serving as brand ambassadors and build relationships with them. Reach out to influencers who you think are the perfect fit for your brand and engage with them on social.
Cold DMs are unlikely to be successful. An influencer will be a lot more likely to want to work with you if you’ve been in conversation with them already: liking and commenting on their posts, responding to their comments, resharing their content, etc.
3. Give your influencers clear guidelines for what you want them to do.
Be specific in terms of when they should post, language and hashtags they should (or shouldn’t) use, and provide your brand guidelines for content production.
Don’t be afraid to run these guidelines by a third party to make sure there’s no room for miscommunication where it’s most important to you.
4. Be sure to also give your influencers creative freedom.
Remember that you chose these influencers for the authentic and creative voices that they bring to the table. Let them come up with their own unique way of sharing your brand, as long as it sticks to your key messages!
You’ll get the benefit of valuable user-generated content that you can maybe even utilize in other marketing materials. Take Everlane, for example. They asked one of their influencers, @neadajane, to style her own looks with their new jumpsuit.
5. Measure your successes and keep optimizing.
Ensure your goals are clearly outlined and measurable (new followers, visitors, sales), and keep track of them. As you dive further into influencer marketing, test different opportunities up and down your consumer funnel to see what works better toward your goals.