How to harness the power of influencers

How to harness the power of influencers
“What to do in one hour a week? Focus on engagement and make sure that the followers you have are interested. Start conversations and be a human”

How to harness the power of influencers

This week I was at Pure London running Inside Retail’s live presence at the show. And while I was there I managed to nab some time with this fine array of fabulous menswear bloggers whose brains I merrily picked on behalf of you good people.

The gents good enough to share their opinions with me were: Mitchell Webb Rowan Row Ben Heath Jamie Cullen

Aside from being lovely people with terrifyingly good outfits and dazzling hair, they had lots of good ideas for those looking to do a better job of promoting their businesses online.

First off: How To Be Better At Social Media!

This is the most-asked question at most live events we run so I asked Mitchell to share his advice, learned first-hand when building up his own online following. He also works at the London College of Fashion where he got his degree in fashion marketing. He is, in short, the knowledge.

file-2-a91981.jpegMitchell Webb

What are the key steps to building an online community that care what you do?

  • Target people who are likely to be interested in you. Look at accounts who are already successfully appealing to your market and encourage those people to follow you as well. Go to to find some likely candidates

  • Once you’ve found an account with great followers, comment on their content. Like, engage, introduce yourself, be brave. Even if you don’t get followers, you still get awareness which is half the battle

  • Make sure your own content is good quality. You can use your phone, try out apps that make the pictures look great – they need to be clear, visually appealing and consistent. Be sure to edit your photos in a similar way so that they look good together.

  • The content needs to be interesting. You know your customers best, what do they enjoy? Don’t post ‘New shirts delivered today’, instead, ‘How to style our new shirts for work and play’ if you know you have a professional clientele. Or try ‘looks for the beach’ if you think your customers are about to jet off on exotic holidays. Get your staff involved, try on your stock and create some great outfits! You can use product images, lifestyle pics taken by you, and ideally content contributed by your lovely new followers!

  • Make a video, it’s the best possible insight into your business. It can be 30 seconds long and be of your dog wearing your latest delivery of hats. There’s no need to be serious

  • To convince your followers to get involved, create an incentive eg: ‘£10 gift card for the best photo of you in your latest purchase from us’

    Mitchell Webb_headshot.jpg

  • Focus on Instagram because it translates very easily to Facebook – you can duplicate the content in a straightforward way (not the case with twitter)

  • What error have you made that others should avoid?

  • “Thinking I could buy followers and engagement”. You can buy a package of followers but these are bots not people so it’s pointless.

    Who to look to for inspiration?

    1. @Weekday_stores do a great job at both user and brand-generated content – loads of engagement.

    2. Cos is always very consistent, you can easily identify them.

    3. Parknqube, influencer, great content, really creative.

What to do in one hour a week: Focus on engagement and make sure that the followers you have are interested. Start conversations and be a human.

So you want to advertise yourself beyond your own following?!

all-pic.jpg Ben Heath, Rowan Row, Jamie Cullen

Some tips from Ben, Rowan and Jamie on how to work with bloggers if you decide that you want to expand your reach outside your own social accounts.

5 steps to success!

  1. Choose your blogger carefully. Does their style reflect your product, really? Does their tone, photographic style, and personality fit what you’re trying to achieve and is your product going to fit seamlessly with their other posts? If not, they’re unlikely to work with you and it wouldn’t serve you well even if they did.

  2. Once you’ve made a shortlist, call them, or send a structured and well thought through email. Detail what you have in mind, and outline any key deadlines or objectives right at the start. Then arrange to meet for a coffee.

  3. If you send gifts, make it clear who you are, what the story is with the product and why you’ve sent it. Some bloggers receive a huge number of gifts and yours will need to stand out. Let them know you’re sending it. Follow up to check it arrived and ask what they thought.

  4. The advantage of using influencers rather than traditional media is the targeted nature and track-ability of your spend. Your blogger will help you interpret the success of the posts they’ve done for you - incredibly useful feedback both for your business and your marketing strategy.

  5. Working with a blogger long term means you can create a strong narrative around your shop. Perhaps choose a smaller, local influencer and create an ongoing relationship.

To sign off, I would also add that despite their exceptionally sauve-looking Instagram photos all these guys were friendly, fun and very approachable. Retailers have nothing to lose by getting in touch and potentially a lot to gain.