Everyone wants to be an influencer, but few people actually master the game.
On Monday in Milan, the Micam and Mipel shows joined forces to present an eye-opening influencer panel discussion in partnership with FN and WWD.
Three leading ladies from the U.S. — Christie Ferrari, Lindsi Lane Watts and Marni Harvey — talked about their success stories with WWD fashion editor and FN contributor Alessandra Turra. The panelists discussed hot topics ranging from navigating the intricacies of Instagram to building strong brand relationships to finding a niche.
Here are edited excerpts from the conversation.
Standing out from the crowd:
Marni Harvey (@marnidanielle): “There’s a lot of men and women who are influencers. Commit to your value and stay super-authentic — that’s how you grow and have [your followers and brands] trust you. A brand not only connects with you because of your style; they want their brand to be organic with your brand.”
Lindsi Lane Watts (@lindsilanestyle): “You’re different, you’re individual — so show that. Everyone is eating food and drinking coffee and posting a mirror selfie. Get creative, brainstorm ideas, be proactive, have a voice and hustle.”
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Cultivating strong brand relationships:
Christie Ferrari (@christie_ferrari): “Focus on being serious. Be professional. Reply to emails within 24 hours. When you’re reaching out to brands, be cordial and don’t be shy about doing things for free in the beginning. Once they see that, they’ll be more likely to work with you. Focus on what your niche is. Because of my psychologist background [as a doctor of pyschology], I receive a lot of campaigns centered around professionals, the working woman and wellness.”
The importance of being accessible:
Harvey: “Email is my No. 1 [way of communicating]. I have clients that DM me, as well. I love reaching out through Instagram. It’s a powerful tool, and we should utilize it as much as we can.”
Navigating Instagram’s algorithm changes:
Watts: “The whole game has changed. Anyone who’s on Instagram knows we’re not in chronological order anymore. Instagram is choosing who we see, who they see, who brands see. When someone else is in control of your baby, that’s frustrating. We talk about this every single day and night.”
Why follower counts don’t matter as much as you think:
Watts: “There are like three bloggers with millions of followers who actually convert and drive sales. The microinfluencers really [fuel business]. If they have 800 followers but 800 people are shopping from their posts, that’s huge for brands.”
The power of great shoes and bags:
Ferrari: “Accessories can change your outfit. Who do you want to be that day? You can have fun and be glamorous. They’re versatile.”
Connecting with international brands at Micam and Mipel:
Harvey: “To be able to come into contact with these kind of brands has been an exceptional experience — between the handbags, shoes and people who represent them, everyone has been great.”