Fashion Consumers Don’t Trust Influencers Anymore; Here’s How to Fix the Problem
A recent survey on the effectiveness of marketing via social media influencers has officially burst a long-suspicioned bubble: The facts are in, and nearly 90 percent of consumers are no longer willing to buy what influencers are paid to sell. Such unnerving data indicate a particularly dramatic shift in the marketing landscape for fashion retailers, which in recent years have relied heavily upon influencer sponsorships to reach consumers.
Is the fashion industry meant to abandon influencer marketing, then? Of course not, but the numbers make it clear that something needs to change. Below are three principles fashion retailers can adopt today in order to rescue their influencer marketing programs and re-establish them upon authentic, fruitful relationships that will last well into the future.
1. Utilize both micro- and macro-influencers.
It's common practice for fashion retailers to focus their marketing efforts on a small number of top tier, “macro-” influencers as a way of efficiently maximizing reach. There are serious advantages to be had, however, in collaborating with both micro- and macro-influencers.
While macro-influencers are invaluable for the breadth of their audience, the oft neglected micro-influencers are equally vital for the engagement that their relatively smaller audiences tend to offer. A study by Trend.io indicates that micro-influencers exhibit seven times higher audience engagement compared to macro-influencers. It's imperative, therefore, that fashion retailers tap into these authentic influencer-consumer communities as well as the broader audiences of large-scale influencers, maintaining a balance which optimizes both engagement and reach.
2. Leverage data-driven influencer selection.
To direct resources toward the correct audience is perhaps the most essential factor in determining the success of a retailer’s marketing efforts. The very best marketing campaign is rendered useless when it's not aimed at the target demographic. And finding that demographic can be challenging, to say the least. A report by Influencer Marketing Hub revealed that 39 percent of marketers cited finding the right influencers — and thereby the right audiences — as their most significant challenge.
The solution: data-driven selection systems. Utilizing tools that analyze engagement rates, audience demographics, and content quality of potential influencers can ensure that fashion retailers effectively reach the specific fashion consumers who are in the market for their products — and avoid marketing resources going to waste.
3. Cultivate long-term partnerships and empower creativity.
Finally, fashion retailers must allow space for organic relationships between the company and the influencer, as well as between the influencer and their audience. This is where diminished trust can really be won back, but retailers must be willing to offer up both time and creative control. Here’s how.
Fashion retailers must begin by building enduring relationships with influencers so that they can gain genuine familiarity with the brand and its products. This will allow influencers to talk authentically about the product, as opposed to merely reading from a provided script. Sponsored content can assume a more genuine and relatable quality that will engage their audience, rather than alienating them.
This, of course, requires further that fashion retailers offer influencers greater creative freedom, enabling them to seamlessly integrate the brand's message in a manner that resonates with their audience. A survey, also conducted by Influencer Marketing Hub, revealed that 71 percent of influencers consider creative control vital for producing authentic content. That authenticity, in turn, makes the difference between influencer fatigue and sustained audience engagement.
Influencer marketing is a racehorse that the fashion industry has quickly driven to its breaking point, and yet every day more companies are trying to claim their share of the action. Retaining the same methods that have led to the current situation will do nothing but ensure dormancy. The statistics leave no doubt; now is the time to change marketing strategies and win back the trust of fatigued consumers. Following the guidelines detailed above will ensure that fashion retailers rise above the trend and establish genuine relationships with influencers and audiences for years to come.
Lyara Lobo is a senior e-commerce specialist at X Agency, with expertise in search, social account management, data-driven revenue strategies, and channel growth.
Related story: 4 Tips for Using Influencers to Build Brand Loyalty
Lyara Lobo, a first generation American from an all Brazilian family, is a highly skilled and accomplished digital marketer specializing in the realm of paid search advertising and channel expansion integration expert. With an impressive track record spanning over five years, I've demonstrated my expertise in driving targeted traffic, optimizing conversion rates, and maximizing ROI for businesses across various industries.
My journey in the digital marketing landscape began with a passion for data-driven strategies and an insatiable curiosity for understanding consumer behavior. What truly sets me apart is her analytical prowess. Armed with a keen eye for detail and armed with a knack for interpreting data, I consistently refine strategies to ensure optimal performance. My data-driven approach, coupled with my innovative thinking, has enabled me to overcome challenges and exceed performance targets consistently.
My career experience showcases not only my technical competence, but also my unwavering commitment to staying at the forefront of the industry. With my proven track record and relentless pursuit of excellence, I continue to shape the landscape of paid search advertising, and channel expansion growth making me a valuable asset to any organization aiming to thrive in the digital arena.