There are many different ways you can market your fashion brand as a fashion entrepreneur. While many go the traditional way of using word of mouth, social media ads, marketing campaigns, and so on, all of which are quite effective, others go the way of influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing is a form of social media marketing that uses people who are seen as social media influencers to endorse or mention a particular product on their social media pages. These people have an engaged social media following and are viewed as experts in a particular niche. Influencer marketing can be paid or unpaid.
This week, we reviewed a video by Bibi Adeniyi of Lady Biba fashion brand on ‘Dressing Influencers as a Startup’. In the video, she talks about how she was able to dress Toke Makinwa as a startup fashion brand and what it did for her brand.
The video aims to help fashion entrepreneurs understand the power of influencer marketing and provide practical steps fashion entrepreneurs can take to attract influencers to their brands.
Alongside the video, we got opinions from other fashion designers – Omotola Bakare of Tola Bakare and Yejide Fadele of Nuella Apparel – on their take on influencer marketing.
This video review will cover;
- useful points fashion entrepreneurs can learn from,
- important points missed out,
- the relevance of the information provided to fashion entrepreneurs.
Useful Points for Fashion Entrepreneurs
While some fashion entrepreneurs believe that influencer marketing is a fad, others strongly believe in its power. There are many different influencers out there, from big influencers to micro-influencers, and depending on what you want, you can use influencers to the benefit of your brand.
The reason why big brands use influencers to push out their products is that people trust people as opposed to trusting brands.
If you are going to pursue influencer marketing, you have to make sure that you have the products in stock because people do not like to pre-order and the buzz will die down.
Steps to Attract Influencers to your Brand
1. Create Products that are Great
Your competitive advantage lies in creating great products.
The thing about you as a new brand is that you are not going off your name or brand, you are going off your product. If your product is not fantastic and appealing and if there is no connection between influencers’ stylists and you then your products will not do well.
2. Put Your LookBooks on Fashion Blogs and Websites
As a startup fashion brand, you need to create lookbooks and have a press mailing list, so that each time you have a new collection, you can send it to your press mailing list.
There are many blogs that will put your products out there for free as far as it is not a specific advert. If it is just a lookbook or a campaign, there are many blogs that will push it for you. Examples of such blogs are Genevieve magazine, Ono Bello, and Style me Africa.
You should do your research and build your mailing list so that each time you have a new collection, you can use an app like MailChimp to send your lookbook to them. You have to keep building your mailing list and sending your lookbooks to them because this increases your chances of being seen.
“I think influencer marketing is one of the best forms of marketing in this era. I have never tried it before now, but I am launching a new collection soon and I intend to use it to market all the prices in the collection.” – Omotola Bakare Bakare, Founder, Tola Bakare.
3. Create Good Content and Have Good Imagery
On your social media page, you need to have good content and good imagery. It is likely that you will appear on Explore, which is like a goldmine for finding new things, so you want to put out good imagery to better your chances of being discovered.
A stylist is one way to go about getting across to influencers. With stylists, you have to reach out, so you have to do a lot of cold emailing. You also have to be very proactive about knowing who dresses who.
Many influencers work with different stylists so if you do your research well, you will find them out and you can reach out to one of them. Some stylists pull pieces from showrooms and boutiques while some find designers on their explore page because they are always on the lookout for fresh people to put their influencers in.
As a new brand, you are at an advantage because no one has heard of you and they are more likely to use you, but your product has to be really good.
These are the basic things you need to do to get your products across to big influencers. Apart from aiming for the big influencers, you can aim for micro-influencers who are just as valuable as the bigger influencers.
In looking for micro-influencers to try out, you need to look out for:
How many people comment on their social media posts? Not just any type of comment, but comments that point towards that person being someone who can command style. When people always comment about how good the person looks, it shows that people are looking at them for style.
Dressing big influencers usually signals to other big influencers that you are someone they can try out as well, and they just might reach out to you to wear your product. It also helps you to be able to reach out to them.
In looking for influencers on Instagram, you can click the down arrow button beside the ‘message’ button on the page of any influencer of your choice and see people that are like them. This means that if you want to dress a particular influencer but you have tried to no avail, you can use that arrow to find other influencers that pull a similar crowd to them and you can then reach out to those people.
You also need to know that the fact that someone has a lot of followers does not mean it will translate to sales for you. You need to look at their network of people to see the type of people that comment on their posts and see if they fit into your ideal buyer persona.
While influencer marketing might work for some, you have to be prepared for cases when it might not quite work for you.
“I think influencer marketing is a good form of marketing for fashion brands, however, it did not work for me. I once reached out to an influencer and gave her my products, but till date she has worn any of them. As a fashion designer, no one can market your products better than you. If you are sure of your products, you do not need to depend on influencers to help you.” – Yejide Fadele, Founder, Nuella Apparel.
Important Points Missed Out
1. Collect the Information of Influencers You Wish to Use
As a fashion entrepreneur trying to get in the sight of influencers, you need to do your research. Go online and gather as much information about the influencers of your choice as you can.
Get all their social media handles, their email addresses, and phone numbers, if possible, then store it all in an organised manner. This will help you be able to reach out to them on as many fronts as possible to draw their attention.
2. Build a Relationship
No one is unreachable on the internet.
If you know someone who knows someone who is quite influential and can get you to other influencers, you should not just reach out to them with an ‘ask’, you have to get to know them. Start building a relationship with these people, support them, ask questions, and share their content, they might not respond initially, but eventually, they will.
3. Follow Up/Follow Through
This is an often missed step, but it is one that will make you stand out from the crowd. These people are human beings so you need to be respectful of their time.
Let them know how their involvement in your campaign helped you and, if possible, show them statistics to back up your claims. People want to know that their help made an impact, so let them know. And after they have helped you, keep building your relationship with them.
The Usefulness of the Information to Fashion Entrepreneurs
The information provided in this video is vital for fashion entrepreneurs looking to go into influencer marketing. Since it is spoken out of a place of experience in the Nigerian fashion industry, it is practicable by fashion entrepreneurs in Nigeria.
To be successful at influencer marketing, you always have to remember to do your research, be persistent and choose influencers that your target audience can relate to.