A brand’s dream came true back in the day when they got in front of their target customer with a billboard ad or double-page magazine spread. Yet, these elite marketing avenues came with a hefty price tag. Now consumers don’t need to look further than their mobile phones for the latest style inspiration. Why? Social media.
Social media’s popularity has rocketed over the years. It has 4.2 billion users, amounting to 53.6% of the population. Social media and influencer marketing combined with some timely advancements in the eCommerce space have helped brands of all sizes thrive. They can now get in front of their target customers, engage with them continually, and build relationships at scale with greater ease and cost-effectiveness.
Digital innovation has also helped social media’s takeover. 98.8% of social media users access it from their mobiles, making it easier than ever to stay connected with brands they love.
So, if you’re wondering whether influencer marketing can help you set up your fashion brand, the answer is a resounding YES! With that, let’s get into how social media has irrevocably changed the fashion industry, along with some tips and tricks to help you craft profitable influencer campaigns.
The Rise of the Fashion Influencer
There was once a time when models and celebs wield unthinkable power. They were the main style inspiration for shoppers and the avenue of choice to promote products. Now a growing influencer population has carved out a niche for themselves as trendsetters, pushing fashion boundaries by testing new looks and kickstarting trends. This shift has caught the eye of tech-savvy brands. They’ve jumped at the chance to work with these influencers to scale their audience profitably.
It all started with bloggers. They were the first to disrupt the traditional fashion marketing setup. Up and coming fashion designers started to collaborate with bloggers directly. This move drastically reduced their reliance on traditional fashion publications and fashion shows.
The reasoning was simple. Brands got the opportunity to target profitable sub-niches affordably and humanized themselves while giving bloggers new and interesting topics to discuss. The duo was so successful that even established luxury brands began to eye up the influencer marketing market.
Top fashion bloggers like The Blond Salad, Who What Wear, and In the Frow, ruled the roost. They provided fashion brands exposure to their vast readership, allowing brands to start their buyers’ journey with interested parties.
As digital transformation took hold, social media stepped to the forefront to usher in a new era of influencer marketing. Now platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, and more recently, TikTok have become the official stomping grounds for influencers.
While we can’t deny the influence of some celebs on fashion influencer marketing (hello Kim K!), fashion is one industry where individuality shines through, and influencers can define their tribe. Consequently, you can hone in on smaller profitable niches by working with fashion influencers rather than speaking to the masses.
The fashion influencer marketing space connects people with the runway and pop culture fashion in a way TV commercials and magazine covers couldn’t. Influencers are easy to follow and interact with, plus their content is shareable, which has caused their popularity to explode. Consequently, by working with fashion influencers and developing a strong social media presence, brands can form thriving communities around their products. So, it’s no surprise that Fashion influencer marketing is the most developed out of all influencer marketing. Its market cap stood at an impressive $1.5 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach $17.2 billion by 2027.
While trends come and go, there’s no denying their effect on an industry, and fashion is no exception. It’s crucial to stay up to date on the biggest and latest trends sweeping the fashion industry to inform your influencer marketing strategy. This approach will ensure your campaigns are relevant and sensitive to current events. Let’s take a look at a few:
Everywhere you turn, people are flashing the latest designer wears. There’s also been a shift towards minimalism. People are increasingly buying investment pieces and building capsule wardrobes to feel more comfortable about spending money in an uncertain market. Fashion influencers lead the pack in drawing attention to luxury fashion items by swirling them into their content through things like ‘what’s in my luxury handbag’ videos and designer try-on hauls. Now it’s become normal to see luxury brands working with influencers too. 73% have already made the leap.
From supporting fair trade to committing to waste reduction, there’s been a lot of emphasis on sustainability in recent years. Many brands are hunting for ways to make their operation fairer to workers and gentler on the environment. Some digital-savvy consumers look into brands’ environmental impact before making a purchase. Consequently, the trappings of fast fashion like next-day shipping and throw-away items are frowned upon by this portion of shoppers. So, brands have to balance the wants of both sides to maintain their customer base.
Some fashion companies’ attempts to cover their less-than-stellar environmental impact with misleading campaigns and products pretending to support the sustainability narrative haven’t gone unnoticed.This ‘greenwashing’ as its termed, is a cardinal sin in the fashion world, and it’s bad enough to cause irrevocable damage to a company’s reputation.
In recent years brands have owned up to the fact that their marketing campaigns and messaging could be more representative of the way society looks today. Consequently, there’s been a sharp rise in initiatives like gender-neutral clothing ranges, casting models from ethnic minorities, and promoting the LGBTQ+ community. Shoppers from all walks of life can now anticipate a more inclusive shopping experience.
Shoppers are increasingly seeing their clothes as not only fashion statements and self-expression, but as a form of self-care. The way we dress is therapeutic and shapes our mood from when we are going to a fancy event and get glitzed up to when we slouch around at home in our PJs.This change in how we view fashion explains the rise in loungewear launches when lockdowns took effect. More people were at home and comfortable clothing was soothing.
How to Build Influencer Marketing Campaigns that Make Waves in the Fashion Industry
Blend psychographics with demographics
Demographics continue to play a key role in mapping out your consumer profile so you can build campaigns that resonate. They’re especially important when targeting niche audiences as they help you reach specific audiences.
For example, for years curvy people have struggled to find fashionable clothes that don’t cost the earth. There wasn’t much representation in stores, on runaways, or in social media campaigns either. Thankfully, brands have started to make strides forward in advocating body positivity and self-confidence and actively cater to this consumer segment . There are now popular plus-size influencers who promote catwalk-worthy fits that brands can collaborate with.
There’s also a growing community of child influencers who are styled so well, they make adults look underdressed. Their content is adorable and eye-catching, which is just what kidswear brands need to get attention. These influencers’ content is designed to inspire moms and pops with young kids to experiment with their fashion to help express personality through their clothes. As their popularity continues to grow, working with these budding stars will become essential for success in the children’s fashion market.
But to ensure your fashion influencer marketing campaigns resonate with your target audience, it’s vital you meet people where they are mentally rather than situationally. This means looking at psychographics like:
Goals and values
Attitudes and beliefs
For example, say you sell luxury resort wear and only target high-earners, you could be alienating shoppers that fit a different profile but would buy your products. These days people from all income brackets can access luxury products and are willing to save up or use a buy now pay later solution to afford it.
Another example of psychographics in fashion is the emergence of subcultures like kidcore, cottage core, alt girls, and fem boys on social channels like TikTok which are taking new spins on culture and driving strong engagement.
The true power lies in mixing psychographics with demographics. It allows you to make your targeting more accurate to increase your campaign’s profitability. A great example of this mix can be found in athleisure brands like Lululemon and Gymshark who not only focus on the lifestyles and beliefs of their target customers (psychographics) but also factors like their age and occupation (demographics).
Let micro-influencers in on the fun
When you mix micro-influencers into your campaigns it can expand your reach exponentially and allow you to test specific audiences (micro-segments and micro-subcultures). Don’t be afraid to niche down when using micro-influencers, as this approach can help you drive more engagement and sales.
Micro-influencers are also more affordable than the established influencer, so you can make your budget go further by working with them. However, your workload can skyrocket as you’ll be dealing with more influencers simultaneously. You’ll have to take care of tasks like:
Hunting for the right influencers
Processing legal paperwork
This is manageable when you only have a few campaigns, but things can quickly go haywire as you scale up.
For best results, get assistance from an expert influencer marketing agency (so you know, Open Influence can help you with all these responsibilities and more!)
Focus on creating customer-centric campaigns
Your influencer marketing campaigns should always achieve at least one of the following goals:
This means you should always be on the lookout for ways to add value to customer’s lives and use customer behavior to understand your customers’ mindset at each stage of the buyers’ journey. Then use this information to optimize your campaigns. This approach will help you craft razor-sharp influencer collaborations that your target audience won’t be able to get enough of.
Finally, try to spend less time hard-selling your products. Instead, aim to build a picture of the lifestyle buyers can have or embody with your brand. Highlight the benefits of your products and show how they will complement or improve your customers’ lives.
Use technology to drive engagement and humanize your brand
These days, you can use the latest tech to create excitement around your brand. For example, Augmented Reality (AR) technology can boost the creativity and interactivity of your influencer marketing campaigns. Social media platforms like Instagram allow all users to create AR filters, so it offers a simple yet highly effective way to get noticed.
Luxury brands like Prada and Gucci have already jumped on this fun trend to spice up their online presence. So, why don’t you use AR to amp up your influencer campaigns? You could:
Build an AR filter for customers to use to show off their latest buy from your store.
Host a competition encouraging customers to create an AR filter for your products to win a prize.
Release content showing viewers how to use AR to achieve a certain look (e.g., adding jewels to clothes or accenting clothes).
Encourage your fans to save your AR filters, use them, and tag you in the photos (or utilize a dedicated hashtag).
Then use influencers to market these initiatives along with your products to drive awareness.
Don’t stop here! Facebook’s live broadcast, video chat, and Virtual Reality (VR) feature to bring the catwalk experience to customers’, offering another unique angle you can use to create exciting influencer campaigns. So, why not test things like live try-on hauls and interactive dress-up campaigns using VR to get shoppers talking.
You can also mix online influencer campaigns with offline experiences. For example, for New York Fashion Week in 2020, brands invited top TikTokers to take upfront row seats and share their experience. This clever strategy created a buzz and kept their marketing current.
Recover lost ground by going against the grain
The fashion industry has endured some significant slumps in recent years. In 2020, fashion revenue had fallen 93% compared to 2019 figures and isn’t expected to recover to its former glory until 2022.
These figures can be worrying for fashion business owners without a solid recovery plan, but don’t fret! We’ve got you covered. With some strategic influencer marketing and eCommerce selling moves, there’s no reason why you can reach or exceed your past revenues. Here are some things you can do to improve leads and sales:
Implement social selling:
People spend a lot of time on social media. The global average is 145 minutes. So, it makes sense to give them the option to buy on the platform you have nurtured them on. It provides a seamless shopping experience that’s so fuss-free it’ll keep them coming back. Fashion lends itself very well to social shops (fashion brands were some of the first to use Instagram and Facebook shops). Yet, social commerce is still a widely untapped opportunity. In 2020, just 25% of brands reported engaging in social commerce, and a further 15% said they intended to. These facts mean your brand can rise to the forefront by building social media-based stores. It’s worth a try to get the upper hand.
Once you’ve set up a social media store, the real fun begins! Pick your best products to showcase and entice shoppers into your store. Then use influencers as models in your store and marketing campaigns to drive awareness.
Experiment with social media features:
Social platforms always bring out new tools and features to help businesses connect and engage with their target audience. You can capitalize on these tools by blending them into your influencer marketing campaigns. Here are a few solutions you can try:
Tag products on reels:
Once you have Instagram Shopping enabled, you can use this feature to label products in your influencer content for a smooth shopping experience.
Guides for Business:
Use this Instagram feature to educate customers on specific pain points or passions they have. Then involve a fashion influencer to offer their advice or share their experience in the guide or to promote it.
Take inspiration from China-based brands like Taobao, Alibaba, and Aliexpress, who have taken live streaming to the next level by mixing it with eCommerce. Shoppers and brands engage and transact in real-time, just like the old-school infomercials, except online. You can hire influencers to promote your products in this fashion to add the wow factor to your promotions.
Short, memorable video clips:
Social media apps like TikTok provide you with the opportunity to show your brand’s personality through influencers that match your target audience. Use them to create engaging clips that prompt viewers to find out more (dance moves optional!)
Inspirational Influencer Marketing Campaigns to Help You Kickstart Your Journey
With so much influencer content out there, it can be challenging to know what a great influencer marketing campaign looks like. So, we’ve dug into our creative archive to bring you a couple of influencer campaign we’ve worked on that are worth shouting about:
We joined forces with Under Armour to mass drive awareness for their HOVR sneaker launch. We gifted celebrities and pro-athletes to expand the campaigns’ press and fashion influencers to highlight the benefits of the new sneakers. This approach formed the basis of Under Armour’s largest seeding initiative to date, with over 1000 participants in total, and was a huge success!
We linked up with Anthropologie to generate eyes on its new denim line and #50statesofdenim campaign. In line with the theme, we found 50 influencers across all US states. Each influencer had their style but still honored the Anthropologie ethos. The campaign’s reach was one for the record books, and its engagement floored typical industry results. All in all, it was an unforgettable success!
The Path to Profitable Fashion Influencer Marketing Campaigns
Fashion influencer marketing is essential for success in today’s ultra-competitive market. It allows you to introduce your brand, show off your unique style, and make consumers feel comfortable shopping with you.
To improve your influencer campaign results, strive to build a community in smaller niches. This will help you find your superfans that’ll support you all the way. Also, research what other industries are doing in their influencer marketing to find ideas you can use to make your campaigns stand out.
Don’t let fear of competition or analysis paralysis hold you back. There’s never been a better time to get started, so kickstart your influencer marketing journey today and reap the rewards for years to come!
Ready to claim your spot as a fashion powerhouse? Find out how Open Influence can make your goal a reality.