If you're an aspiring fashion influencer, or a current fashion content creator looking to level up your game, you've come to the right place. In this guide, we asked a selection of experienced Instagram fashion influencers to reveal all the insider secrets to help you turn your passion for fashion into a content business.
What is a fashion influencer?
First things first, what does it mean to be a fashion influencer in 2023? Simply put, it’s someone who creates fashion-related content and publishes it onto social media to attract new followers and engage their existing followers.
Some of this fashion-related content will be sponsored by brands, and some will be posted purely to provide free value and maintain a following.
Can I be a fashion influencer?
The truth is, anybody can be a fashion influencer on any platform if they’re willing to put in the work. It’s not just about taking a photo or video and posting it. It’s also about building a community that survives and thrives.
All you need is a passion for fashion and a free Instagram Creator account to get started. You can just use a Personal account but you won’t get the benefits of a Creator account. These include being able to tag brands in posts, use the Creator Studio Instagram dashboard for scheduling, and access detailed insights regarding your audience and post performance.
How to become a fashion influencer in 2023
Becoming a fashion influencer won’t happen overnight. That said, these tried-and-tested tips from the experts will get you there faster.
1. Know your niche
Firstly, It’s not enough just to specialize in fashion content nowadays, you need a USP to help you stand out from the crowd.
Anisha @fashionandfrappes says, “It’s important to have a niche within the general fashion scene.” This could be a personal style, like alternative fashion, or the types of brands you talk about, such as slow and sustainable.
Anisha also recommends staying away from advertising fast fashion: “You end up talking about the same brands as everyone else and lose individuality.” And it’s individuality that can be the difference between making or breaking it as an Instagram influencer.
Daniela @daniela.dkglowy agrees and adds: “There are two ways to succeed: be confident in your personal style, and be yourself.”
After all, people follow people. Having a connection with your audience and being relatable is just as significant as the content you post.
2. Know your audience
Speaking of posting on Instagram, be clear on who your content is going to be for before you begin to create it. Have an idea of the audience that you’re trying to target. This will help you to hone your message and the types of content you publish.
As you grow your followers, spend time interacting with them, gaining feedback, and understanding what content they like and dislike. Checking out your Instagram influencer Analytics on a regular basis can also be super handy.
For instance, if you’ve discovered that the majority of your followers are millennials, use language and references that you know they’ll appreciate in your audio and captions.
Likewise, if you’ve done a poll in your Stories and your audience has told you that they don’t like a particular trend, you can avoid posting about it in the future.
It’s all about pleasing your target audience and getting them to know, like and trust you so that you can draw in more followers and sponsors.
3. Keep up with the latest trends
Fashion is a fast-paced industry and you have to be able to keep up to nail it as an Instagram influencer.
Given that the digital fashion consumer loves fresh content, it may help to follow top fashion influencers across multiple platforms for inspiration. Look at their most popular posts to understand what’s working for them.
You don’t necessarily need to post about the latest fashion trends if this doesn’t relate to your niche. Just keep an eye out when it comes to what’s hot (like Reels) or not (like a specific brand with a PR disaster) to keep your Instagram metrics going in the right direction.
4. Create great content
Content is still king in the digital marketing world and Instagram is no exception.
Sure, one of the latest iPhones or Androids works well for capturing pictures or videos. However, if you’re serious about making a living out of your Instagram account, consider investing in a DSLR camera or microphone that will produce better-quality video or audio.
Similarly, there are some incredible editing apps that can be leveraged to help create excellent content across IGTV, Reels, Stories, and the grid—the most popular ones being:
- Adobe Lightroom
The biggest fashion influencers make the odd tweak or touch-up to their Instagram posts. Even so, Amy @the.style.mantra says that it’s vital to be authentic too: “Show the real you. Create and post content that you enjoy rather than what you think people want to see.”
Above all, it’s your Instagram account and you control what you do with it. Consider what your audience best responds to but don’t “sell out” for the likes. Otherwise, you’ll find it challenging to maintain a long-term business from being an influencer.
5. Publish content consistently
Heads up, the Instagram algorithm is like a baby—you have to feed it to keep it happy. When it’s not happy, it won’t show your content with as many of your followers, affecting your number of likes, comments, and saves.
That’s why it’s important to be consistent and post regularly.
If you’re struggling with content ideas, Katie @trendytouristuk says there are plenty of places you can find inspiration: “I get ideas for my content from pretty much everywhere—high street stores, luxury fashion magazines, fellow fashion content creators on various social media platforms, people I see on the street. The list is endless!”
However, when you’re creating content all the time, it’s normal to have a mental block. Katie explains: “There is a certain amount of pressure that comes from having thousands of followers. Sometimes you feel like you have to post even if there’s nothing in particular that you want to post.”
Like many other Instagram content creators, Katie defines herself as a perfectionist—but times are changing. “Lately, it’s not about being perfect on social media. Audiences understand that perfection isn’t real and appreciate more authentic content. It’s actually more important to have consistent rather than perfect content nowadays.”
Amy @the.style.mantra adds that you can boost the success of every post even if you only have the capacity to post once a week. She recommends “finding optimal posting times based on when your followers are online and engaged.”
You can uncover all this information via Instagram Insights accessed from your profile. Once you’re clued up and have a posting frequency in place that works for your lifestyle (like once daily or three times weekly), you can start scheduling posts for easier management.
The Creator Studio for Facebook and Instagram users was launched in 2020. This is a handy dashboard where creators can manage their Facebook and Instagram accounts, as well as view crucial analytics.
Other well-thought-of Instagram scheduling tools include:
Alternatively, you can create content in advance and save it to your phone library or desktop before posting it as and when the mood feels right. It’s completely up to you.
6. Mix up your content
Gone are the days when you could just throw a photo on your grid and your engagement level would soar. Nowadays, the Instagram algorithm favors the accounts that use their most up-to-date features, such as Reels and the Link Sticker.
New Instagram fashion influencers will need to test different features and kinds of content to see what provides the most traction.
Anisha @fashionandfrappes claims that posting Reels is helping her account to gain more followers than any other strategy at the moment. Amy @the.style.mantra is inclined to agree.
“Reels have the ability to reach a wider audience so use trending sounds and hashtags to get your content boosted.” Amy also suggests sticking with videos no longer than 10-15 seconds: “Longer Reels tend not to get as much engagement (from my experience!).”
What works for one fashion influencer on Instagram may not work for another, which is why you need to pay attention to (and focus on) what brings you success.
7. Show your face
Empathetic marketing is set to be huge in 2023. This involves putting yourself in the shoes of your target audience and talking to them in a way that’s relatable and makes them feel understood.
"People want to follow people, not brands."
The most successful creators on Instagram are very personal with their audience. They get on Stories, they do Lives, they post Reels with voiceovers. Essentially, using your voice makes a video much more intimate and can build an emotional relationship with your followers, leading to enhanced loyalty and engagement.
8. Build connections with other creators
Remember that Instagram is a community above all else. If you don’t show up for other users, they’re not going to show up for you.
In other words, you can’t expect your followers to keep liking and commenting on your posts if you don’t return the favor. One of our top tips for how to get more followers on Instagram is to nurture the ones you’ve already got. Answer your DMs, like their pictures, reply to comments, etc.
If your existing followers feel cared for, they won’t go anywhere. Actually, they will likely spread the word about how wonderful you are and this will allure new followers.
9. Don’t forget about the caption
Instagram is visual-based, meaning a lot of creators end up focusing on their photos and videos and leaving their captions as an afterthought.
Try not to do that. Your caption is an opportunity to add further value to every post. It should go hand in hand with the associated video or image.
You can also include hashtags in your captions to increase the chances of your posts getting seen via the Explore tab. The best influencer hashtags for 2021 were descriptive, niche-relevant, and had a smaller number of uses.
For example, a post that features a hashtag with millions of uses (like #fashioninfluencer) is less likely to be visible compared to a hashtag with tens of thousands of uses (like #casualoutfitideas).
The fewer number of uses, the less competition there is—and the more chances that potential followers will find your account when they’re scrolling through each hashtag page.
Instagram also allows 30 influencer hashtags, so be sure to use all 30 for maximum reach.
10. Reach out to brands and PR agencies
Whether you’ve been an Instagram fashion influencer for two weeks or two years, you don’t have to wait for sponsorships to come to you. You can go looking for them.
Follow your favorite brands (or PR agencies that represent your favorite brands) and send them a DM. Not all brands check their DMs though. Therefore, if that doesn’t work, find the name of the PR manager on the company’s website or LinkedIn and approach them directly.
Either way, learning how to earn money on Instagram can be tricky. Daniela @daniela.dkglowy advises “not to be afraid of being picky with collaborations.”
Choose brands to work with that align with your niche and content. Stay true to yourself. And don’t accept less than you’re worth.
It may be tempting in the beginning to accept gifted opportunities or sponsorships with minimal monetary compensation. Having said that, this isn’t going to pay the bills, at the end of the day. Think about:
- How long it takes to produce a post
- How long it takes to edit a post
- The size of your audience
- The value of your post (are you tagging the brand and sending your followers straight to their profile? Will the post be up permanently? Is it one post or five?)
Then price each project accordingly.
Sure, it’s difficult to know where to start when coming up with sponsorship fees as a newbie. Katie @trendytouristuk suggests the following: “Social Bluebook and equivalent tools can be great for helping you to work out how much your content is worth, taking into account your follower number and engagement rate.”
Connecting with other creators is also useful. “I’m part of Facebook groups and Twitter communities exclusively for Instagram content creators”, Katie adds. “These are ideal for asking questions and gaining feedback on rates and collaborations.”
You can even find benchmark reports for creator earnings online to get a general idea.
On a side note, keep in mind that too much sponsored content may turn off your followers and come across as inauthentic. This can then result in a loss of trust and followers - so try to find a healthy balance between paid and unpaid content. It may help to keep track of this by building a content plan through a project management app like CoSchedule or Trello.
11. Treat your account like a business
Lastly, if you’re a fashion influencer, you’re a small business owner. Therefore, an account that you’re making money from should be treated like any other business. One example of this in action is investing in Instagram insurance.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, there was a huge increase in social media scams in 2021. More than 95,000 people lost money to social media-related fraud, which amounted to $770 million.
Amy @the.style.mantra knows about this all too well. “I got hacked a couple of years ago,” she explains.
“They changed my password and started posting images with links to dodgy sites—it was so stressful! I also know someone who was hacked and the hacker deleted their followers. Security breaches like this are such a concern when you work hard to grow a following and it can be taken away so quickly.”
Protect your account against threats like hacking by setting up two-factor verification, using a password manager like 1Password, and getting Instagram insurance. A tailored insurance service like Notch can:
- Monitor and alert you to hacks
- Pay you every day to cover lost income due to a hack
- Assist in retrieving your account following a hack
- Dark web scanning for data breaches
There are so many fashion influencers on Instagram these days that it can be difficult to find your competitive edge. Identify your niche and run with it, experimenting with several Instagram features and varieties of content to discover which perform the best.
Katie @trendytouristuk adds:
“One thing I wish someone would have told me when I was getting started as a fashion influencer is that it doesn’t happen overnight. Most of the success stories you see on Instagram are the result of years of work nurturing accounts from scratch.”
In short, you get out of Instagram what you put into it. Users don’t just give anyone their follow. Once you know why you keep gaining followers and getting the current ones to stick around, continue to do more of the same.
Perseverance and consistency is the key to having a long, happy and flourishing career as an Instagram fashion influencer - so be patient, and have a long-term outlook!