Is social media influencer marketing a “sure thing” for fashion brands?
There is no doubting that, at least currently, social media influencer marketing is the go-to trend for building brand awareness and increasing sales in the fashion and beauty business.
In the end, the only metric that really matters is your return on investment from every social media influencer marketing dollar spent. This leads right into one of the major issues with influencer marketing: how much does influencer marketing cost? As a fashion photographer, virtually all my clients have discussed influencer marketing with me and asked my opinions on the subject and whether it’s money well spent. My opinion is yes, influencer marketing can work, however, I only think about 15% of influencer marketing actually works.
Who is considered an influencer?
Here is the biggest problem, how do you define an “influencer”? Often it’s assumed that the larger the follower base the influencer has the better. The problem with this approach is that instagram is filled with automation tools “bots” that play the follow/unfollow game or so-called influencers simply purchase their followers.
Because of this monstrous problem on instagram some believe that “engagement”, that is the measure of a influencers followers interacting with a post (e.g leaving a comment, liking, or direct messaging). But this may not be a true measurement because it’s just as easy to buy fake engagement as it is to buy fake followers.
In the end sales directly attributable to a social media influencer is the only metric that matters and is truly accurate. I am not marketing any type of service here but I strongly suggest running an “audit” before you use any influencer. These services are available for a low price and can give you insight into whether an influencer has paid for followers, likes, comments, uses follow/unfollow etc.
How to hire fashion influencers
Some brands use agencies to connect with influencers and others go directly to the influencer. We live in a digital age where many influencers are considered models and models considered influencers. Many traditional model agencies have added “influencers” to their boards or rosters of talent they represent. There are also agencies that only represent influencers.
My personal opinion, speaking as a fashion photographer, is that brands are best served using true models that became influencers because of their modeling career. When shooting a social media photography campaign you are going to get many more usable images and setups by using a professional model that knows how to work a set works and knows his/her angles in relation to the camera and lighting situation. Working with influencers that are not trained in front of the camera or how to work with art direction etc. can slow things down and mean fewer images in the end.
If you are a fashion brand and have any questions regarding social media influencer marketing feel free to contact me here