How to Use Influencer Marketing in Your Fashion Business
This week we are going to talk all about influencer marketing. Is it really worth it at the end of the day? We’ll also discuss crucial factors to consider when selecting an influencer.
Influencer marketing is one of the most effective digital marketing strategies. I’m going to give you a sneak peek inside my own results with my own business, Fashion Angel Warrior.
I’ll give you two examples. One example is when I paid for one single post. It cost $55 with a link in the bio and it was a forever post which means it stays on the page forever. The person cannot take it down off their page. And it came with a link in their bio which lasted for 24 hours. I paid only $55 and out of that I actually sold a ticket to our bootcamp class that we did in New York City back in 2017. That was valued at $1,500. So I paid $55 and I got $1,500 out of it. That is a HUGE return on my investment.
Here’s another example. I paid $38 for a forever post that included a link in their bio for 24 hours. My account got over 500 real followers because of that one post. I’ve also on the flip side paid $40 for a post and it was never posted at the correct time or the link was missing and it went really bad. So there’s good and there’s bad with influencer marketing. Hopefully, you do it enough and you do it consistently that you find a good group of influencers. And it’s really important that you’re working with the right agency.
What is Influencer Marketing?
First, what is influencer marketing? There’s a lot of misconceptions about what it actually is. The true definition is a person with the ability to influence–that’s where the word influencer comes from. So it’s the ability to influence potential buyers of a product or service by promoting or recommending those items on social media. This is the same thing as celebrity endorsements. Remember back in the eighties and the nineties Michael Jordan was on the box of Wheaties cereal. Or Michael Jordan collaborating with Nike, that is influencer marketing. In that example, it was done with a celebrity. But these influencers on social media today are literally their own celebrities.
They have garnered so much following, hundreds of thousands of followers, and sometimes even millions of followers. Influencers are literally social media celebrities and they have a real influence. It’s amazing because now you don’t have to pay millions of dollars to put someone’s face on your product or get them to endorse your product. Now you can pay a couple of hundred dollars and have someone promote your product, it’s so simple.
Influencer Marketing vs. Brand Ambassador vs. Affiliate Marketing- What’s the Difference?
Now it’s important to note the difference between being an influencer and being a brand ambassador. In my opinion, brand ambassadors are just influencers that are doing a longer type of campaign. Maybe they’re doing monthly content for you, or maybe you hired them for an entire year. They could be constantly doing stories and video posts, or other things on social media. So it’s typically a much longer type of campaign. For instance, I was just the brand ambassador for TexWorld–a virtual trade show event–and so that lasted about six weeks. I produced a lot of content for them by taking over their stories, their IGTVs, etc. That’s really what brand ambassador means, at least in my opinion.
A lot of people also ask, how does this differ from affiliate marketing? So affiliate marketing and influencer marketing are very similar but they’re not the same. It’s not just here’s the payment for your post, it’s I’ll pay you a percentage of commission based on the traffic or sales that are generated from your post. It’s a commission-based type of structure, not an outright payment. Certainly, you can hire influencers and do it as commission-based, but that’s not typically the way it’s done. Technically it would be called affiliate marketing, not influencer marketing.
I’m going to specifically discuss influencers on Instagram. However, you can hire influencers to do any type of campaign, whether it’s on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, or Pinterest. There are so many different social media platforms.
Is it Actually Effective?
Influencer marketing is super effective but it is not easy. Don’t forget you’re dealing with humans. This is not Facebook ads or a computer algorithm that is somewhat foolproof. Human beings make mistakes. We’re not perfect. And it can be a real headache to deal with influencers. I’ve been dealing with a lot of them lately so I know. But what do you always need? A strategy. It’s not enough just to have the knowledge, you have to know how to actually apply the knowledge in the proper way. It’s also about consistency. You can’t just do one thing with one influencer and say oh no it doesn’t work I’m never doing it again. It could have just been a bad influencer, a bad week, or a bad time of day. Who knows, your product could have sucked, I mean that is a possibility, just saying.
What are the Benefits of Influencer Marketing?
First, you can grow a tribe of potential customers in a more organic way. Obviously it’s paid and considered advertising/marketing, but it’s more organic than other things. I would say it’s definitely more organic than Facebook ads or Instagram ads. You can increase your following and also reach people that you would otherwise have no access to with your own company page.
And you can gain a lot of trust from your followers. Customers are more likely to believe someone else’s testimony about your product. They’re more likely to believe an influencer over you.
You can also increase SEO and website traffic. And even generate backlinks, which is really good for SEO, if you happen to be doing influencer marketing with a blog post. You can most importantly generate sales. I know you’re all dying for sales, especially right now during COVID-19.
Is it Really Worth it?
Influencer marketing is really worth it. We recently did a giveaway with a swimsuit designer and hired an influencer to promote it. So she posted a photo with a link in her bio and we paid $500 for it. We got 7,000 likes and 96 comments on the post. And 134 total link clicks! Then we did another post with another influencer who only had 11,000 followers, compared to the first girl who had 121,000 followers. So we only paid $100 for her to post. We ended up doing three posts, so it cost $300 in total. From that, we got 550 likes, 36 comments, and 61 total link clicks. So 61 link clicks for $300 vs 134 link clicks for the $500. The $500 one was more effective since it was only one post.
I also think it was more effective not because she had a larger audience but because her audience was more women. The swimwear brand was for women so we were targeting women. All in all our goal of the campaign was to collect emails. This swimwear brand didn’t have any product to sell yet. So yes, you can actually do influencer marketing before you’re ready to sell. We got 57 emails out of these two influencers and the four posts that they did which is actually very effective. So if you have the right influencers with the right strategy and the right agency, you can succeed with influencer marketing.
Crucial Factors to Consider When You’re Selecting an Influencer?
First off, know your target demographics and your target customer. What’s your niche? What are their demographics–age range, location,etc. Some of these factors that we’re going to go over now also apply to the influencer themselves. And it also applies to the demographics of the influencer. You need to know the influencers’ insights. You can just ask them to take screenshots. I literally want to see the print itself with the date and the time so that I know it’s real and they’re not faking it.
You also need to know what to look for. Typically on Instagram insights, they will give you all your demographics. You want to be working with an influencer that has similar demographics to your target audience. Things like age and gender are very important to look at. In insights, you can see the percentage of men to women. A lot of influencers, especially girls that are really pretty and have curvy body, have a big male following. These guys are creepy and they’re stalking them, you know. So you don’t want that. You don’t want guys if you’re targeting women to buy your stuff and you’re not selling lingerie. Keep in mind it’s going to be difficult for you to find more than 50% women if a girl is really pretty. But it is possible. We have found girls that have 70% women even.
Location, Location, Location
Next is the top locations, which will also come up in Instagram insights. This is really important because you might just be targeting specific locations. For example, this swimwear brand I’m working with wanted to target places that were already warm. Nobody’s really buying a swimsuit in a cold location right now. Then we were also concerned about where the influencer was actually located. Because there are certain boutiques and certain people that we were looking to target in certain areas. So the influencers’ location itself was also a deciding factor.
There are things you want to look for like the best day of the week that will be visible on their insights. You want to know their average reach, average impression, and engagement rate. The engagement rate is not visible in their insights but you can figure it out yourself. I teach all of this inside of our Intelligent Instagram class. But you can also just look at how many comments they’re getting. If they’re only getting 5 comments for posting and they have a hundred thousand followers, then something is wrong. You want to see lots of comments and interactions.
Make sure to look at the general brand aesthetic of the page too. If it doesn’t match yours, then it might not be such a good fit. Are you a really high-end fashion brand or a vintage-inspired brand? Maybe you’re doing swimwear but they have no pictures of themselves in a bikini. They’re probably not going to be comfortable putting on a bikini in that case. Look at the types of poses that they’re doing, does it match your brand aesthetic?
You want to also look at the girl’s body shape. I know that some people are targeting men and it goes the same for men too. But body shape is very important. If you’re targeting curvy girls versus really thin types of girls. Or maybe your targeting plus plus size women so you want to use a plus-size influencer. Just look at their body shape and see if it matches your specific target customer. Also, you want to find out their actual size. You’re going to be sending them product or samples if you don’t have inventory yet, so you’ll need to know their measurements.
Does it Match?
You want to see what other types of products they are also promoting and endorsing. Does it match your product? Will it align with your market segment? If a girl is promoting McDonald’s and Walmart and you’re doing high-end evening wear, it’s not going to work. That’s not the same demographic. You definitely would want to move on to another influencer if that’s the case. Find out if there are micro or macro influencers. My definition of this is micro is under 50,000 followers and anything over 50,000 is macro. I tend to like girls that have a lower following because I think that it’s more real. But it really all depends.
Are their followers real or fake? A really easy way to figure this out is based on their insights. Again, I teach all of this inside our fashion startup intensive course. If you’re wondering how I figure all this out, it’s all in the course. Pro tip–micro influencers receive more of a targeted following. It’s typically 13% over macro, so in my opinion, they are simply better. But I always say do a little bit of both so that you can test and see what works for you.
Once you’ve done all your research, you want to make sure that you reach out to these influencers in the right way. If you are going to do it yourself and not hiring an agency, there’s over six different ways that you can reach out. I give you guys email templates ready to go all inside our PR like a boss class.
In the next blog, we’ll cover more on influencer marketing including;
- Free product, discount, paid, which compensation model is the best?
- What is expected + how to properly manage your influencers
- 3 key components of developing a WINNING influencer marketing campaign
- Plus how you can win a FREE Influencer Marketing Campaign
- And More!
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