Fashion is one of the most diverse and thriving industries in the world, garnering a cool $1.2 trillion globally. To get their piece of the pie, many fashion brands have brought influencer marketing into the mix by partnering with tastemakers to get their brand name in front of the right people.
A recent survey of fashion and beauty brands by Fashion and Beauty Monitor/Econsultancy revealed that 57 percent of respondents had an influencer marketing strategy in place. In addition, 78 percent said they choose to identify and manage their influencers in-house, yet 73 percent said identifying the right influencers is their greatest challenge. The disconnect between the fashion industry and brands understanding the benefits of using social influencers stems from their lack of knowledge on choosing, engaging or managing said influencers. Here are some best practices for getting the most out of your fashion influencer marketing efforts.
Look into partnering with an influencer marketing firm to do the legwork for you.
New influencer marketing firms are cropping up constantly, so there are some important questions to consider when choosing whether to keep your efforts in-house or partner with a third-party company:
● How long has the company been running influencer campaigns? While influencer marketing is a relatively new avenue, experience is still key in ensuring common mistakes are avoided in the process. Compared to new marketing firms and brands just getting started with influencer partnerships, seasoned professionals will know what makes for a successful campaign and what doesn't.
● What is the company's influencer selection criteria? As stated, fashion brands' often have trouble identifying the right influencers to work with. When vetting marketing firms to manage campaigns for you, ask to see their criteria for selecting influencers. A high-quality firm will have influencer targeting capabilities based on the brand's preferred retailer, type of content, social platforms, age range, geographic location and more.
● Can the company provide you metrics beyond impressions? A company's measurement capabilities are crucial in determining whether the investment will be worth it or not. Reporting legacy metrics like impressions won't cut it when a brand is wanting to know if influencer content is being consumed by shoppers or not. See if the company reports metrics like time spent on content and click through rates, which actually show an action being taken by consumers.
Leverage influencers beyond them posting photos wearing your clothes.
Consumers want to know more about the clothes they're considering purchasing. Where can they wear this? How have others styled this piece? What can they pair with this piece? Keep this in mind when planning what work influencers are going to do for your brand. These partnerships can yield much much more important and creative content and results than just some photos of the tastemakers wearing your clothes. Why not have them produce full lookbooks showing multiple ways to style your pieces? They can disperse important information about upcoming events, loyalty programs, and product launches. Invite influencers to take over your social accounts for a few days to break up your regular scheduled content and add a splash of freshness to your feeds. This method can also drive traffic from their own feeds directly to your brand's. With Millennials being twice as likely to watch videos online to do their fashion research, it's important that you're creating video content as well. Ask YouTubers to film hauls or trips to your store trying on their latest finds. Fashion influencers are inherently content creators that built their audiences on eye-catching visuals and relatable storytelling - let their creative juices flow and you won't be sorry.
Your campaigns should not just be a flash in the pan effort.
Tossing money at a few influencers to post on Instagram about your brand and expecting to see results overnight is a little much. Of course, running a single campaign can be fantastic for initiatives like launching new products and promoting events, but the real benefits lie in investing long-term. Partnering with specific influencers for a long period of time adds consistent value to your brand. The level of authenticity is unquestionable to their followers because the influencers consistently share their love for your brand. There's no flash in the pan mentality of whether an influencer posted about a brand just for the compensation or perks.
Final note: Influencer marketing is here to stay, so it's important for fashion brands to invest in what matters most - a company with proven experience, a targeted influencer selection process, and high-quality measurement capabilities. Also, allowing influencers to create multiple kinds of content and share insider information will make your partnerships far more fruitful. This is not a fad, so treat your campaigns and partnerships accordingly.