Having worked with the likes of Natalie Roser (915K followers), Charly Jordan (1.1 Million followers), and Renee Herbert (970K following)… just to name a few – it’s fair to say that when it comes to influencer marketing, Ark Swimwear founder Renée Kirby knows a thing or two.
Launching Ark Swimwear in Manly Beach, Australia in January 2016, it’s not just been influencers the brand has caught the eye of – with celebrities and models including Emily Ratajkowski, and Victoria’s Secret Angels Taylor Hill, Sara Sampaio, and Chanel Iman all also becoming fans of the brand’s luxe silky fabrics and ultra clean lines [wow, now you’ve made me a fan].
And what collaborating with all that star power means is that Renee is very well versed when it comes to what actually works (and what doesn’t) when it comes to collaborating with influencers. But rather than take our traditional angle and ask her how brands can best work with influencers, we thought we’d switch it around – and chat to Renee about how influencers can best work with brands.
Here, the founder talks us through her five top tips for influencers to ensure they become a brand’s next best asset (and get that always alluring repeat booking).
1. Be mindful of the brand’s own aesthetic
“An influencer is, in essence, a brand. Like a brand, they have a following based on their ‘brand personality’, which appeals to audiences for their authenticity and relatability. When brands collaborate, there needs to be a synergy that has the potential to engage both audiences. We love to repost our influencer’s content, but sometimes can’t do that because the product is not being worn in a way that will appeal to our audiences or a way that fits with our aesthetic, so I would urge influencers to really be mindful of wearing the product the way the brand presents it themselves if they want to be reposted.”
2. Track growth for future opportunities
“When an influencer starts collaborating with a brand, it’s a really useful exercise for them to keep a record of their following at that point in time. This provides them the opportunity to see if the collaboration is working for them – if their followers grow as a result of their engagement with that brand. Similarly, it is a productive exercise for the influencer to wait until their following has grown significantly before it approaches that same brand for a subsequent collaboration. If their following has grown, it offers the brand an opportunity to build awareness to new audiences, which is a compelling proposition.”
3. Show respect to reap the rewards
“Paying – and even gifting to – influencers is an expense that must be justified with a return on investment for a business. Plus, there are a large number of influencers in the market now, so it is more important than ever that they demonstrate their value to a brand. To me, there are some guiding principles that should be considered by influencers hoping to stand apart from the crowd: 1. Make the product front and centre – and make it look as good as you can. This will maximise your repost potential and audience engagement, and will drive sales for the brand. 2. Be true to yourself and to the brand. If you wouldn’t normally wear the product, don’t ask for a collab or accept a free gift. If the sizing or colour is not right, exchange it. At the end of the day, the success you have with brands comes down to a matter of respect. If you demonstrate respect for what the brand is trying to achieve, they will show you the same respect back.”
If you wouldn’t normally wear the product, don’t ask for a collab or accept a free gift.
4. Spend time researching what already works for a specific brand
“It may sound counter-intuitive, but often our classic colours such as black and grey totally out-perform our bright colours like red and orange in terms of engagement, yet many influencers are drawn to the colours they feel will stand out more. For us, the classic colours are more inclined to go viral, so my advice to influencers would be to really spend time on a brand’s feed trying to decipher what seems to work and what does not.”
5. Mix organic with paid content
“The concept of the influencer has exploded in the last year, to the point where influencers are approaching/being approached by any number of brands, which influencers then feel obliged to promote in posts tagging multiple products. Under this pressure, it’s important for influencers to maintain their connection with their audiences (and prevent them from feeling suffocated), plus keep their content looking authentic. To do this, I would suggest mixing it up by doing a few posts with products then one without.”