30 May HOW TO WORK WITH FASHION INFLUENCERS
The way that brands reach their customers has shifted in recent years. The latest Nielsen research shows that 92% of consumers trust the recommendations they receive from other people – even if they don’t know the person – more than they trust content from a brand.
This is why fashion brands must begin investing in creating great content and partnering with trusted content creators and fashion influencers to build brand and product awareness.
If you’re struggling to reach out to fashion bloggers and you aren’t sure what you should say to them, or you have trouble working with fashion influencers, then keep on reading. These are tips and suggestions I got during my interview with renowned fashion blogger Daniela Ramirez.
Daniela is considered a veteran of the fashion blogging world. Her blog @nannysklozet is followed by hundreds of thousands of people. Daniela creates engaging content that showcases the latest fashion, beauty, and lifestyle trends.
1. Do some research and find a blogger that fits the style of your brand
One of the most important aspects of marketing is research. In order to properly promote your brand through a fashion blogger effectively, you must do some research first. You need to look for:
· A blogger with a visual aesthetic that matches the style of your brand
· A blogger that wears clothing similar to the clothes you want them to market for you
· Check which brands – if any – the blogger has worked with before.
“I would say reach out to bloggers that you really feel fit your brand and your aesthetics,” Daniela says. “You can get inspiration from different people, but reach out to the ones that you feel fit your brand better, so the collaboration makes sense for everyone. And I would say, never change your aesthetics to fit.”
When looking for a fashion blogger to promote your brand, you should find one who fits the profile of your ideal customer. You should have defined your ideal customer when developing a brand strategy. Ask yourself if you feel the blogger would actually buy something from you, and if your brands can stand on par with the other brands on their blog.
“I work with brands that I trust, that I would buy for myself. I always think, would I go into that store? Would I buy it myself? Why would I promote a brand if I would never go into that store? I try to focus on those types of things. Do I like it? Would I wear it? And then I try to make it happen.”
2. Create a short, easy introduction of your brand
The life of a fashion blogger can be intense; what with all the photoshoots, events, and travel they have to do. You can make things easier for them by creating a simple, 2-step communication system. The first time you interact with a fashion blogger, make it a short and simple introduction of yourself and your brand.
“I personally don’t like if there’s an e-mail with a whole story, a whole collection, everything that is available. It’s better to make it short – ‘This is me, this is what I do, I just started doing this,’” Daniela says. “Maybe I like a compliment or two; that will always help. For example, ‘I like your style. I feel like my handbag collection would go perfectly with your outfits or something. Is there any way that we can collaborate together?’”
After creating some interest with the fashion blogger, and they are interested in hearing more about the brand, that is when you can go into detail. Tell them the full story, show them your collection, and let them know any collaboration ideas you’ve come up with yourself.
“Then on that second e-mail, send me your story, how you started, maybe a press-release, a line sheet with the styles. And from there we can start some kind of conversation, and not like, ‘We want to send you a bag, give me your address,’ then you send the address and that’s it. I want to have that conversation with people.”
3. Make things personal and show your interest in that particular blogger
If you want to succeed in influencer marketing, then you have to be able to connect personally with the influencer. You’re asking them to sell your product to other people after all. They have to believe in you and your products.
Bloggers are adept at telling when brand managers have done their research on their blogs and sent personal emails saying why they were chosen to collaborate with. Sending an email like this makes the blogger have respect for you. The worst thing you could possibly do is send the blogger a template email.
What you want to get out of the communication is for the blogger to represent and recommend your product. You want them to do it because they actually like you, how you have approached them, and the effort that you have put into creating a relationship with them.
“I’ve worked on marketing, and I know that most brands have a pre-written e-mail, but try to make it personal,” Daniela notes. “I absolutely hate when I get e-mails and they copy and pasted it, and you can tell. Sometimes they forget to change things and I get, ‘Hi, Jessica,’ and I’m like, seriously? Come on. I know you’re copying, pasting, but at least make it personal.”
4. Share the story of your brand
I always reinforce the importance of brand storytelling on my blog and in my workshops. This importance was only confirmed in my interview with Daniela.
Telling the story of your brand helps you to engage fashion bloggers and get them involved in the world of your brand. When they understand what your brand is about it becomes much easier for them to support and promote it with their followers.
This is one of the most basic fundamentals of marketing and sales; knowing the product makes it easier to sell.
Daniela shared with me a story of when she collaborated with bag designer Danielle Nicole.
Several years ago, not long after first launching her career, Danielle Nicole approached Daniela and invited her to her New York showroom.
She spent time talking to Daniela, explaining more about who she was and how she began her journey in the accessory business.
“She reached out personally and sent me a couple of her bags. So, I met with her and she told me her story, which was fascinating because she was doing an internship with Bergdorf and Goodman.
And she was doing her internship and they asked her, ‘Do you know anyone who does makeup bags? So she was like, ‘I do,’ and she had no idea how to do them. So she went to her dorm that she was still in, in college, and she broke a makeup bag apart to see how it was done and then she did them. So that’s how she started selling them.
And then she told me how she was trying to make it affordable, and trying to make it look luxurious. And I love the whole story, I love finding things that are affordable, but looking good at the same time, and they were all vegan leather—not real leather. So I loved her story and I’ve worked with her a lot.”
What I learned most from this example is that Danielle was able to reach out to Daniela on a personal level. She dedicated herself to sharing time and sharing her story, values, and principles with Daniela. This made it much easier for her to connect with the designer and her brand.
“I feel that I have to feel related to the brand somehow,” Daniela says. “I have to like the style, the story, the background, the designer.”
5. Define what you need from the fashion influencer
There is a misconception out there that fashion brands need to have a lot of money to collaborate with the biggest bloggers on the market. The reality is that there are plenty of different options available to fashion brands. You just need to be willing to use them.
The first thing is that fashion bloggers understand what it means to start from square one. They understand what it is like to be a beginner in the field. Fashion bloggers are often willing to extend their hands and help support younger brands, no matter how large or small their business is right now.
“I’m very open to new, emerging designers. I love supporting them. I obviously know that they don’t have a budget as big as Target, for example, so I try to be flexible and see how we can make it work for both. If your work is good, the size doesn’t matter at all.”
Secondly, there’s no such thing as a pre-defined price. The price depends on the brand itself, the size and scope of the work, and the number of production people involved in the project.
“I don’t have a set price for anything. I personally would never charge the same to a little boutique in Miami and to a huge international brand. I feel that doesn’t make any sense,” Daniela notes.
“I take into consideration, not only the brand, but what they ask, the scope of work obviously, production, how many times it goes on Instagram.
Let’s say, if a brand only wants an Instagram post, and it’s like a flat lay or something very simple, I would not charge the same thing as if it were a lifestyle or video shooting.”
Third, there is a range of services to choose from in the influencer market. You can get sponsored posts; paid product integration; and organic product integration. A sponsored post is a post fully dedicated to – and paid for by – your brand.
Paid product integration involves the blogger finding a way to mention your brand alongside other brands. This service typically costs less, but it places more restrictions on time and the blogger’s obligation to make the most.
An organic product integration is one of the most attractive forms of influencer marketing. The only price you have to pay is that of sending samples of your product to the blogger.
The downside of this is that there’s no guarantee when the blogger will post it. It could be tomorrow, or it could be next month.
Daniela advises that emerging brands should go for the second option and choose paid product integration. She says that this option gives the brand owner some certainty about when the post will be paid, while still giving the blogger some monetary compensation for their time and effort.
6. Be flexible and trust in the taste and style of the fashion influencer
The reason that influencer marketing has become so popular is because bloggers have become a trusted point of communication with audiences. People enjoy the style of bloggers. They want to live their lives and so they follow their recommendations.
Sometimes brands forget about this, and they try to dictate how bloggers should behave and what they should write. This is a major mistake and it’s one you should avoid.
People will be able to tell that the post wasn’t written by the blogger. They will be able to tell that it seems different and it’s not the same. This turns them off and makes them ignore the post; damaging the reputation of the blogger and the brand they represent.
“I like campaigns where I can be me. If you’re a brand and you trust the influencer or the content creator, give them a little bit of flexibility. Why not ask them what they think would work better? Let’s think how can we make this effective for both parties so everyone is happy.”
7. Look for creativity in your collaboration! The fashion influencer should become your Brand Ambassador
Even though most brands opt to take the “quick and dirty” approach and go for standard paid posts, the biggest winners in fashion influencer marketing are the ones who are willing to be more creative. They are the people who recruit trusted influencers and make them part of the branding team. The case of BonLook is probably the best example of how to creatively collaborate with a fashion blogger.
“BonLook is a Canadian company. They reached out to me, offering to participate in blogger collaborations. And I said, ‘Of course!’ So they sent us sketches, then I created an inspiration mood board on Pinterest of what I like: colors, details, shapes.
They sent me the materials to choose, then the prototypes. I felt that I was designing a product. It was like real work, a real collaboration. It wasn’t like, ‘Put your name on it.’ It was fun. I had a blast. So that collaboration was very planned. So I think it’s cool.”
Daniela promotes BonLook on her social media pages and gets commissions from them when something is sold, but it was the entire collaboration process that turned her into a real ambassador for the brand. She became a loyal fan that is recommending the product from the bottom of her heart. This connects with her followers. They feel her passion for the brand, and it makes them passionate about it too.
Influencer marketing is an effective promotional tool in the fashion industry. If you use it carefully and strategically choose your partners then it can give you a major boost to sales. If you do it wrong, then it could end up doing more harm than good.
I’d like to leave you with some words of inspiration Daniela has for all emerging designers:
“Do what you love. What we hear all the time, just enjoy every step of the way. Never give up. If one blogger doesn’t answer, don’t think that’s it. Keep reaching out; always try different things!”
Photo credit – www.nanysklozet.com