Working with influencers on Instagram
Last week I launched a new InstaLive series called The Fashion Heads, and will be interviewing fashion Instagram experts, editors and fashion influencers on the latest trends, insights and tricks of the trade. This week we were talking about working with influencers on Instagram.
My first ‘in-conversation’ was with Zoe, the founder of The London Influence, discussing how to work with fashion influencers on Instagram. The London Influence is a leader in fashion influencer events, influencer trips and brand collaborations, working with leading influencers such as Kat, Does My Bum Look 40, and Pascale, Style-Mum.
Work with an Instagram Influencer who’s a natural fit with your brand
I work both as a fashion PR and Instagram fashion influencer and have a unique knowledge and understanding of both sides of the fence. As a fashion influencer, working with brands is core to your business. This can vary from paid for campaigns, influencer trips and experiences, attending launches and events and receiving gifts to review products.
Being authentic to your audience is key when you’re an influencer, therefore be aware many will only work with brands that resonate their own USP and values. You can meet Instagram influencers by attending events and networking opportunities. This is a great way to build relations and discuss strong content creation ideas and opportunities.
How you can pay Instagram Influencers
Brands and PR need to be aware that for more and more influencers this is becoming a full-time job and they will require payment. Where brands have limited budget, look to offer affiliate schemes, giving influencers a percentage of sales they have generated.
Also always remember that influencers want to grow their profile and build their brand. So sharing their content and tagging them on your grid is of great value to them.
Hiring Instagram influencers for your campaigns
As a fashion PR, when you are building an influencer campaign for clients its important to build relationships with the influencers first. Check out their Instagram feed and content and consider if your brand is relevant to them.
Offering gifts can be a great way of starting a dialogue, and organising coffees and lunches are always effective. When you do have a budget its essential to view media packs, consider their audience demographic and ask for any case studies of campaigns they’ve worked on before.
What to expect from working with Instagram influencers
Managing your business’ and your client’s expectations are key. What are the objectives? Do you want sale, followers or brand awareness? Perhaps you want all three. Instagram is tricky and its fast. You have 3 seconds to make an impression on the grid and stories only last 24 hours.
To make an impact for your campaign consider a group of influencers as a whole. Together they will create the momentum. Look at their communities, their engagement and content.
Investing in at least one A-list influencer is always effective. Remember the press will also follow them and the momentum can build from here. Check out the launch campaign MLPR did for Palones here.
For more insights I’ve listed the top takeaways from The Fashion Heads InstaLive series below. Use these to help up your fashion influencer game and boost your business!
Top tips for becoming an influencer on Instagram
Zoe, founder of The London Influence
- Create your own brand identity: Fashion influencing on Instagram is a very saturated market now. It’s important to create your own brand identity. Create your signature look so you are known for something specific such as great dresses, a high fashion magazine aesthetic, or a great sense of humour. You can also use a filter to uniform a colour theme across your grid. Some influencers focus on a minimal look and feature neutral colours with a paired back aesthetic such as Erna from Mercer7, and Denis. Alternatively you can make a statement out of a unique feature such as @thesilverkat and her fabulous hair.
- Find your tribe on Instagram: From the #stylemums, #femalefounder business women to the #over40 and high-street fashion influencers. Follow the right accounts, start engaging and become part of the community. Instagram is an open community. Don’t forget it’s a social platform and the perfect space to make new friends and connect with like minded people. Consider who your content will appeal to and really dig down deep to find your tribe. Another good trick is to follow relevant hashtags to your tribe so you can see what content is being published and find new accounts to follow.
- Don’t pester fashion PRs or brands: When approaching fashion PRs, brands and influencers, introduce yourself via direct messaging on Instagram or email. If you don’t hear back, try again and if still no joy, it’s best to leave it. Don’t pester and don’t share your rate card immediately. It’s about building relationships. Try and get a coffee in and obviously make sure you follow the fashion brand on Instagram. It’s always most effective to meet in real life and with Covid quarantine almost over, everyone will be keen to meet up.
- Create a strong media pack: It’s important you create an impressive media pack for yourself if you want to work with top brands. Make it as professional and slick as possible, with great imagery and all your stats on followers, engagement and any case studies of brands you have worked with. This is your opportunity to really sell yourself!
- Don’t spam tag your Instagram posts to get noticed! This can be very irritating to the recipient. Always tag the brands you are featuring though and if you do want to get noticed by a brand, why not share their grid posts on your stories. This is a far more effective way of building a relationship.
- Think about what success looks like to the brand/influencer you want to work with: It could be more sales, more followers or beautiful content they can share to their audience. Create your own case studies from past work to share with them to get them to consider working with you.
Top tips for working with influencers on Instagram
Marie Louise, founder of MLPR + @MrsMLMode
- Identify your top 20 Instagram influencers and create a group of ambassadors with followers that match your target customer (tip – check out who your competitors are working with too). If you are a brand manager consider the influencers aesthetic and look at other brands they are working with. Consider if their community have a similar demographic to your customer and with brands that I work with.
- Always aim high: There is no harm in targeting some leading influencers and offering them a gift. If they love the product, often they will be delighted to receive something. It’s also key to create a diverse and inclusive tribe of influencers to work with, so make sure your group of influencers don’t all look the same.
- Ask to see media packs and case studies: If you have a budget, ask to see their media packs and case-studies of brands they have worked with. Always look at their audience demographic. For example the bigger bloggers will have a global audience and if you only sell to the UK, this will be a waste of your time. I also ask to see any case studies of brands that they have worked with and if they have any stats on driving sales through their stories.
- Expect additional costs for ‘swipe up’ function: Bigger bloggers will ask for additional fees for swipe up on stories which can be expensive and also be effective for sales. If the campaign has not driven the expected results, feed back to the influencer and agent and ask for further support. You can but ask.
- If you only have a budget for gifting, you need to be respectful with your approach: Instagram Fashion Influencers tend to accept gifts if they love the brand however, creating strong content is an art form and takes time, and there is no guarantee unless you have a contract with a budget. Having said this though, by accepting a gift it is payment in kind and they do understand this. Crafting a polite and gentle email is key to starting a relationship. Goodwill and great manners goes along way.
- Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help from influencers you have worked with in the past – especially during this difficult time. If you are running special offers, you can ask for support on their stories. Influencers will often support on their stories. They like to keep the relationship going
- Be strategic with the time you post: Make sure you post on your grid at a time your target audience and influencers are online. When you have posted, stay on Instagram for a least an hour to really drive that post. Remember that many influencers spend at least 4 hours a day on Instagram driving their content, responding and engaging.
- Invest in your Instagram channel: Instagram is free to use and the only cost is time. Content creation, engagement and building relationships take a lot of time, however the more you put into Instagram, the more you will get out of the platform. Train your team on how best to use this powerful channel. It really can grow your business!
Working with influencers on Instagram Training
Learn how working with fashion influencers on Instagram can boost your business
If you need help with your brand on Instagram please do get in touch. I am both a communications expert and also a fashion influencer @MrsMLMode, and have been running Instagram training sessions for over two years.
Before lockdown, they were in groups of 14 but now I have been hosting over Zoom. I can also create bespoke programmes and train teams.
I hope you enjoyed this article and if you are interested in fashion brands nailing it on Instagram, have a look at my recent post Expert Guide to Instagram for Fashion Brands
For more details on Instagram training for all brands including fashion businesses click here.
To find out more information about the InstaLive series The Fashion Heads follow MrsMLMode on Instagram.