Fashion is one of the biggest and fastest-growing niches on Instagram. With so much opportunity, you may be wondering where to start.
Thankfully, the influencer world isn’t about competition – it’s about community and collaboration. In other words, there is always room for another fashion influencer!
So, as you start picking your outfits and planning your content, here are a few things to keep in mind.
1. Recruit a Friend-tographer
Take a look at your favorite Instagram fashion influencers and you’ll probably notice something. “Selfies” (in the traditional sense, i.e. a photo taken of yourself by yourself) are surprisingly rare.
Why? Well, think about it: if your goal is to show off your style, a selfie of your face or a blurry mirror selfie won’t really do the trick.
You could try to use the self-timer on your phone, but propping the phone upright, timing your pose, getting good lighting … all these things can be difficult with a self-timer. But you also don’t want to drop hundreds of dollars on a professional photographer each time, either.
Instead, why not recruit a friend-tographer? Chances are you’ve got a friend who is ready and willing to snap a few shots of you.
Or, better yet, why not find another influencer? A friend may not fully understand why you need so many photos, but another fashion influencer will. And they’re likely to work harder at getting the perfect shot, especially if you do the same for them.
If you don’t know many influencers in your area, you’re in luck – Perlu can help you find some! On Perlu, you can join or create a Pack (kind of like a Facebook group, but better!) focused on your area, like this Pack for London Lifestyle Bloggers.
Then, you can create a Collab to find Instagram fashion influencers in your area who are willing to do a photoshoot – or any kind of influencer. You may find a food blogger who needs photos just as much as you do.
This is exactly what Perlu member Dominique Barrager did. She put out a Collab calling influencers based in New York or Jersey City to take pictures for her Instagram and blog posts. It’s an easy (and ridiculously fun) solution for getting photographs.
Remember: the quality of your photos does matter, especially as a fashion influencer. Luckily, you don’t need super expensive equipment to get a great shot! Instead, check out an iPhone photography course or check out YouTube for iPhone photography tips.
2. Get Creative
To stand out in your niche, you have to create some pretty cool content. Luckily, Instagram has so many content options from Q&As and polls to livestreams and video. Try everything out to figure out what works for you and gets the most engagement.
“Keep experimenting and learning,” says Perlu member and Instagram fashion influencer Aleksandra Gavazoff. “You have to constantly know the new trends not only in the fashion industry (since you are a fashion blogger) but also in the creative industry (photography, videography, entertainment). Because at the end of the day, you are creating digital content which should grab the viewers’ attention otherwise they will scroll right through you.”
One of the coolest things about Instagram is just how many ways you can display your content. Photographs, video, text, Boomerangs, livestreams, text, Superzoom, filters, music, highlights – clearly, Instagram isn’t just for photos.
Remember how we said quality photos matter? You want your feed to look nice, so then what do you do with those awesome photos you’ve taken that are either a little blurry or don’t quite match your aesthetic? Put them on your stories! Instagram Stories can help you get content out to your followers more frequently without cluttering up your feed.
Stories are also great for video. For example, model and fashion influencer Natasha Ndlovu posts videos of her travels, photoshoots and fashion shows. Sure, she might post a pic or two of each trip or event to her feed, but she uses Stories to keep her followers in the loop on her daily activities instead of posting a dozen pictures a day.
In 2017, Instagram also introduced Highlights. Instead of having your Stories disappear after 24 hours (much like Snapchat), you can save them to a Highlight so anyone visiting your profile can look through your old Stories. Most influencers categorize them, and some even make icons for each Highlight, like fashion influencer Hannah Bronfman.
Within Stories, there are plenty of filters, tools and settings to choose from. Share what music you’re listening to or write your current thoughts. Add stickers and widgets to your photos and videos to share everything from where you are to what the temperature is!
Instagram used to be just for photos, but now it’s used for so much more, so get creative!
Everyone has their favorite type of content, so the more diverse your content, the more people you’ll attract.
Here’s one surefire way to get creative with your content: collaborate with another influencer! Combining your creative superpowers will not only help you create better (and more) content for half the work. You’ll also get that content in front of two audiences – yours and your co-collaborator’s.
3. Think in Batches
Taking a well lit, on-brand, creative, styled photo every day isn’t realistic. Some days, you just want to stay in pajamas with bedhead, a cup of coffee and Netflix. And even if you have a friend-tographer, you likely won’t be able to meet up every day.
Instead of getting up and getting dressed for a photo on the daily, many Instagram fashion influencers take photos in batches.
If you’ve recruited a friend or fellow influencer to be your go-to photographer, why not schedule a photoshoot? Set aside a Saturday, pick out a half dozen outfits, pinpoint a few different locations and start shooting.
Lauren Norton of Glitter and Grandeur does just this. And she also has another piece of advice for making photoshoots even easier: plan your content in advance.
“It’s important to plan your content in advance – not just to maintain a consistent aesthetic, but to make sure you can publish regularly,” she says. “When you’ve done the proper planning, it can be more efficient to take your photos in batches. This way, you won’t scramble to edit your photos right before publishing or risk getting behind due to bad weather or lighting. As long as you use different outfits, props and locations, no one will know you took the photos in one day.”
You would never know most of these photos were taken on the same day!
4. Be Consistent
This applies to everything. From when you post to what you post, consistency is key.
For example, posting once or twice or three times a day may get you a lot of followers, but will you be able to post that often week after week? Maybe not. And that’s okay! The important part is that you find a schedule that works for you and allows you to post consistently, even if it’s not all that frequently. You might even consider using a tool like Later or Buffer to automate your social media.
Some Instagram fashion influencers post twice every day, like Mary Lawless Lee. Others post only a few times a week. Decide on a posting schedule that’s sustainable for you.
“Try establishing a schedule or routine about how many times you will post per week and even at what hours of the day you will post and stick to it,” says Aleksandra. “It might seem intuitive and obvious, but once you start posting on Instagram, you will realize how easily life gets in the way, and it gets harder to stick to the schedule you have established for yourself. However, being consistent is important because it establishes a sense of reliability and in exchange … your followers will thank you with their loyalty and support.”
Consistency is also essential to what you post.
So, if you’re a fashion influencer but all of a sudden you start posting about, say, corgis and food, your followers will likely be very confused. You may have some dog-lovers in your audience who are pleasantly surprised by the corgis; however, you’ll probably also find that you lose a lot of audience members who followed you for your fashion posts.
Unless you’ve branded yourself as a “lover of fashion and corgis,” switching up your content just might give your followers whiplash! So, once you’ve found your niche, make sure your content is in alignment.
5. Be Authentic
Consistency is key, but you shouldn’t sacrifice authenticity for the sake of consistency. In recent years, people have started to give more attention to influencers who seem sincere and authentic.
Even if you’re working on campaigns with brands, you can still advertise their products or services in ways that are honest and transparent.
Your audience doesn’t follow you just for your fashion, after all – they follow you because they like you.
“Staying true to your personal style, message, and aesthetic are really important,” says Perlu member and Instagram fashion influencer Carla Ortiz from Sparkling Carla. “As is having good images that are clear and share not only your outfit but give insight into your personality and surroundings. People want to be inspired by your fashion finds and styling, but also get to know you and what your energy is all about.”
So, if they want to get to know you, the next step is to…
Whether you respond to comments on your posts or livestream Q&As, engagement is essential to growing an audience.
Engaging with your audience not only helps you cultivate a loyal audience, but it can also boost your posts in the Instagram feed. The newest Instagram algorithm judges the value of content based on engagement. So the more you engage, the more your followers will engage, and the more likely your posts are to be seen.
As an Instagram fashion influencer, it’s also a good idea to engage with brands. For example, if you post a photo of you wearing a pair of Madewell jeans, tag Madewell and use the #damngooddenim hashtag, they might just share your post to their feed. Madewell has over a million followers … imagine all the exposure that one post could bring!
Tagging brands and using their hashtags can get you featured, yes. But it also puts you in their line of sight as a potential brand ambassador or partner.
Follain is just one brand that has been reaching out to micro-influencers and offering free products in exchange for becoming a #FollainAmbassador and sharing discount codes in their Instagram Stories.
The gist? Engaging with your audience, brands and other influencers can lead to partnerships of all sizes!