5 Influencer Marketing Tips From the Fashion Industry

Jordan Feise
January 21, 2016
How to

96% of marketers agree influencer marketing can be used to increase brand awareness-- and the fashion industry is no exception. That’s because social media has created a level of transparency into the fashion industry that was never before possible.

The runway isn't the only place the fashion industry is setting trends. Take for example the video content now produced from Fashion Weeks’ runway shows all over the world. At one time this content was only distributed in fashion magazines but now Fashion Weeks are live streamed via Snapchat and fashionistas can see the latest looks moments after they were on the runway via Instagram. By integrating with technology, fashion brands can provide their audiences with unique and enticing experiences. The fashion industry has aggressively pioneered within the influencer marketing space as well.

When it comes to influencer marketing, high-end fashion brands and ready-to-wear brands alike are getting it right. (On the other hand, there are a fair amount of fashion brands who miss the mark when it comes to influencer marketing. Learn why influencer authenticity is important from a former lifestyle blogger.) From selecting influencers to engaging influencers in unique ways, there are many fashion brands who can teach us a thing or two about influencer marketing. Here are the top five influencer marketing tips from the fashion industry.

Create influencer experiences to build mutually-beneficial relationships

By providing influencers with an experience, brands can create an avenue to not only build relationships but also secure organic online mentions. Rather than paying influencers to post about your brand once, invite them to a VIP event. For example, Revolve Clothing, a popular online fashion retailer, sets the bar with its influencer events. Revolve hosts regular getaways where influencers can attend, have a good time, kick back and relax, and post about the experience using the hashtag, #RevolveAroundTheWorld. Through organic relationships that the brand has developed with fashion bloggers, these events have been wildly successful for the company. The influencers get a VIP vacation and Revolve benefits from endless posts and relationship building opportunities.

Lesson learned: 

Think about your industry. What unique experiences could you provide to your influencers that would add value to them (first and foremost) and also your brand?

Leverage your most influential employees to form influencer relationships

Often times the CEO is the most influential employee in a company, but in the fashion industry it is often the creative director who snags this title. In fashion, an iconic example of this is Balmain’s Creative Director, Olivier Rousteing. Olivier has built relationships with top models like Gigi Hadid and Cara Delevingne who not only model for him but consider him a friend and promote anything and everything related to Balmain in an organic way.

Lesson learned: 

Depending on your industry, identify the people within your company who have the most influence and look to them to help build relationships with your influencers.

Boost influencer relationships at an event to create valuable exposure for your brand

Events are the perfect opportunity to connect with influencers in person and create a more meaningful relationship offline. Luxury jewelry brand, de GRISOGONO leveraged the Cannes film festival and focused on live content surrounding the event. The results were significant, as fourteen selected influencers generated over 19 million impressions for the brand.

Lesson learned: 

Your brand should have a presence at attention-grabbing events that your audience will notice. It’s important to strategically think about how to partner with influencers at these events. For a more low budget option, focus on industry conferences, summits, or tradeshows-- and try to connect face-to-face with influencers.

Give influencers things that money can’t buy (and they will return the favor)

While some brands pay large amounts for influencers to post a picture wearing their clothing, this is not your brand’s only option. Building relationships over time is a more favorable option; and, the fashion industry provides a unique opportunity to offer custom pieces to top influencers. For example, Dior recently signed Jennifer Lawrence to be a brand ambassador. The perks of being a Dior ambassador include Lawrence getting a custom-made dress and an exclusive selection on all gowns. While the perks of your brand’s ambassador program might not be this lush, make sure to add value to the influencer and you’ll be successful.

Lesson learned: 

Translate this into your industry, what custom products can you offer to your influencers that will spark a conversation? Exclusive first looks, custom designed products, and personalized products can require more effort initially--but it will pay off indefinitely and help elevate your influencer relationship.  

Partner with influencers to produce content that resonates with your audience

Integrating your content marketing strategy and influencer strategy is a great way to maximize and scale impact for your brand. In the fashion space, GQ is leading the way for integrating these two strategies. GQ and their media company, Condé Nast, have paired up with influencers to create story-telling video content. Matching the influencers story with GQ’s talented production team and integrating third party brands into these videos as well is sure to be a winning combination.

Lesson learned: 

Ask your industry experts to partner with you to create something unique. Not only does the influencer get their message amplified but they will most likely be happy to promote the content to their networks. For partnerships like this, select your influencers with care and ensure you both are aligned with the same message. The best influencer-brand relationships happen when both the brand and the influencer are rallying behind the same cause.

What are other keys to getting influencer marketing right? If you have an example from within the fashion industry or outside of it, we would love to hear your thoughts. Let’s talk, comment below!

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