If you’re just starting out your fashion brand or you have an amazing idea for a new store, you don’t need us to tell you how difficult it is to grow your brand. If someone asks you what the toughest part of your job is, you’d probably say it’s getting your brand in the heads of consumers, right? With so many large fashion brands and stores crowding up the market, how can you possibly get your name on the tip of their tongues?
If you want to achieve this, then there’s one group of people that you need to focus most your marketing strategy on. And those are social media influencers. If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past few years, then you should already know what an influencer is. It’s no longer a rarity to see an influencer making a career out of content creation and partnering with large fashion brands like H&M and Zara. With so many influencers crowding the social media world, it’s time to get your brand on board with this digital marketing strategy.
To grow your fashion brand, you need influencers on your side. Here’s how to do that.
Discover Your Story and Get Your Aesthetic Down.
So, you’re a budding fashion brand or fashion entrepreneur. At the end of the day, you want consumers to buy into your designs and for you to make a profit, right? But what exactly sets you apart from the crowd? What makes you different from every other fashion brand on the face of the planet? If you’re going to be working with influencers, then this is the first thing that you need to determine. Once you know what makes your clothing unique, then you will be able to determine which influencers will best showcase your clothes.
Let’s say that you’re a fashion brand that wants to sell athleisure clothes. These are pieces that can easily be worn both during your daily life and when you go to the gym. Your target audiences aren’t going to include crazy fitness enthusiasts. These consumers are already going to be sold with Nike and other performance brands. You will want to work with more casual fitness/lifestyle influencers. Creators like this will have audiences who exercise on a more casual basis and will be more likely to buy into your line.
Give Influencers the Reigns Over Your Stories.
Imagine the top adjectives that you’d like consumers to think about when they think about your fashion brand in the future. If you’re like most founders, one of those adjectives would be “authentic”. You want your customers to see your company and trust it like one of their close friends. When you’re authentic with your customers, they are more likely to trust you with their purchase and share your brand with their circle of family and friends.
When you’re developing your influencer strategy, make sure you give room for these creators to take over your Instagram Stories. This is an absolutely fantastic way to show to your audience how influencers integrate your clothing pieces into their everyday lives. Plus, this gives influencers a little promotion with your audience. It’s a win-win!
Build Hype Around Your Branded Hashtag.
You might think that hashtags aren’t going to have too much of an impact on the creation of your brand, but you would be totally wrong on that front. Using the right hashtags when you’re posting and working with influencers is one of the best ways to get discovered on Instagram. No matter what other hashtags related to fashion you use, you should always have one or two branded hashtags that are unique to your brand.
Whenever you have influencers post for campaigns, they can use this hashtag(s) on their post. This will give followers the chance to click and browse through other people who have used the hashtag. And when you grow your brand enough, you can even get regular customers to post about your clothes using your hashtag for a chance to be featured on your page. Make sure to put your branded hashtag in your bio, too!
Do Some Giveaways and Contests.
Now, the last point on this list is one of the most absolute most important to remember as a small fashion brand. Getting influencers to post about your products is great and all, but you know what’s even better?
Working with influencers on giveaways and contests. Who doesn’t love free stuff!?
You might be wary about doing giveaways. You might be thinking that this is just going to be lost money on your part. However, imagine this scenario. You work with some of your best influencers to giveaway a $150 gift card to the lucky winner of the competitions on their respective pages. In order for someone to win the gift card, they have to both follow the influencer, follow your Instagram page, and tag two or three friends in the comments. These friends then enter the competition, tag more friends, and you can see how the snowball effect takes hold.
You are going to see a huge boost in your following when you undertake such competitions with your pool of influencers. The money that you might lose in free products or gift cards is going to be made back in no time with the new followers and customers you gain.
Utilizing the Power of Influencers to Grow Your Niche Fashion Brand
Fast Fashion and the Desire for More Style
Once upon a time, there used to be four seasons of fashion, a mid-summer and January sale period, and that was your lot. Now, for reasons such as Influencer and affiliate marketing, social media, and technological advances (drop shipping, digital platforms for creating fashion lines etc.) there are more and more niche fashion brands coming to market.
Online shops like ASOS and FarFetch too have also contributed to a growing number of start-up fashion retailers over the last five years. ASOS alone makes 52% from the 1000 brands it stocks, and 48% from its own sub-brands. ASOS’s product strategy led to a 32% profit increase in 2017, while also giving sub-brands a marketplace to stock, sell their products and raise their profile to a wider audience.
Social Media and Influencer Marketing’s Impact on Fast Fashion
It’s not only the marketplaces that have given start-up brands and entrepreneurs an opportunity to grow, either. Social media has arguably become the hottest platform to advertise and find more style.
81% of audiences are influenced by friend’s posts, while 85% of audiences are influenced by celeb endorsements. (Source) This has given influencers the baseline to recognize two things:
- Social media is the platform to build a fashion business.
- 80% minimum influence ensures that their influencer marketing strategy can have an impact on their followers and their top line income.
The result is aspiring influencers, and now affiliate marketing utilizing the power of influencer marketing to generate mass sales from social media platforms. It’s the golden ticket affiliate marketing needed to sustain itself after plateauing, and it’s the new market from which audiences from millennial and younger are using to find style inspiration and the latest up-and-coming brand they can shop with.
These are the foundations in which Oh Polly, Pretty Little Thing, and more have built their social marketing strategies around, and it’s paying off! These brands have soared recently combining both a product strategy in fast fashion, with a social strategy in influencer marketing and maximizing 10x growth as a result.
But it is a strategical approach to fast-fashion and influencer marketing
Make no mistake, there is a methodology in what might look like the madness. When you take a deeper look at Oh Polly, and Pretty Little Thing, it might look like your general standard of clothing and influencers wearing them, but there’s more than meets the eye here.
This is their target audience, they have identified that millennial, social native audiences wish to look like your Jess Hunt’s, Stacey Amber Ward’s etc. and these are the product lines that suit the curvy, revealing and ‘sexy’ image they’re trying to portray to their target audience.
You can see the same with brands like vegan fashion accessory designer, Kuma Design. Their influencer strategy targets natural, holistic and more up-and-coming fashion influencers who are more intertwined with nature, rather than high-street fashion, due to their target audience being different. These influencers reflect the brand’s image, and identity, just like the above reflect Oh Polly and PLT.
By utilizing your brand with the correct influencers, you’ll reach more relative audiences, who are more likely to be interested in purchasing your products. Seems like a no brainer, but you’d be surprised at the number of brands with no coherent influencer strategy.
And the same can be said regarding the products. Especially for SMEs, who are young and agile enough within the growth to produce product lines within a fast fashion market that suit not only their brand style, but the influencers they’re working with.
By styling products and items for these influencers, they’re building fast-fashion relationships and long-term ambassadors with the people who have the voice and reach they need to grow their brand. The return to the influencer? The latest fashion styles given to them regularly, financial reward (if warranted), and the feeling of value – which is ultimately what we all want; customers, employees and influencers alike.
So, for the next product line think to yourself ‘who do I want to use/wear this? Which influencers reflect this, and how can this piece of fast-fashion make its biggest impact?
It’s time to find your influencers.
So, you should know by now what you need to do if you really want to grow your fashion brand or clothing store in the 21st century. Work with your marketing team, find the best influencers or celebrity sponsors based on geographic area and engagement rates, and start working with them on the above points. Before you know it, your brand is going to be gaining traction and speed like you never thought possible, thanks to the power of social media.