When you decided what to wear this morning, did you pause to think what might have influenced your choice? Logistics outstanding (weather, activity, professionalism), was your look inspired by someone you saw wearing it, such as a model, celebrity, influencer, or maybe a friend you whose style you admire? Considering that most sartorial choices are guided by an example presents an incredible opportunity for influencers repping sustainable fashion on Instagram to truly amplify their impact to make fashion a force for good.
But the most inspiring detail is that quite likely, you are already an influencer and your platform can be a force for good. Hear this: emerging research consistently validates that a small, highly engaged audience is more likely to take action based on the values, habits, and purchases of someone they follow. If you have a social media following of just a few hundred, mostly close friends, but they actively comment on your posts and you reply and offer feedback on theirs, then you are influencing their perception of the things you chose to post and talk about.
Now that your influence has been validated, ready to learn how to use that influence to create a more just and sustainable planet through fashion? Read on remakers!
Consistency leads to credibility
Repeated exposure to a brand, idea, or action makes it familiar. Familiarity makes things more comfortable and lessens the fear or challenge of adopting it into your own life. Rather than one-off posts that are perceived more as advertisements, influencers can use the consistent representation of brands and products they believe in to show how they are an integral and authentic part of their every day. Also key: showing consistency in your values. In other words, if you advocate sustainable fashion, you would also show how you are mindful of your consumption in other areas, like recycling, reducing plastic use, eating a more plant-based diet, repairing and repurposing, and generally reducing your overall consumption as a consumer. Increased familiarity to consistent values builds trust over time.
Credibility leads to authenticity
In the age of staged photos and perfectly curated profiles, the simple truth is that credibility can be more easily gained by simply being relatable. We all know that celebrities can afford stylists, trainers, chefs, and personal assistants, but when someone just like us supports a brand or message, we trust that they are personally invested in their hustle and we feel their motives are more authentic. A Collective Bias study found that 70 percent of millennials prefer non-celebrity endorsements, a clear paradigm shift in recent years. Realistic purchases, practical approaches, and helpful education can make followers more inspired to act. Our friend and co-founder of Role Models Management, Val Emanuel puts it this way, “It is much easier for me as a mom and busy business woman to share in an organic in-the-moment kind of way, rather than curate content for my feed. For me, being consistent about my struggles to make conscious choices really works for me.” If followers can relate to you and see their reality reflected in your content, then they will believe you, and believe in you.
Authenticity leads to engagement
In today’s social media landscape, influencers are looking to each other not just for inspiration, but for education on how to build their own “brand.” Sharing not just the final photo that made it into your feed, but also the behind-the-scenes, consistent, hard work that goes into the everyday hustle is what is setting authentic influencers above their peers. What does this look like in practice? Sharing your unique story of how you make your money, why you chose to partner with brands, what struggles you have faced, and how you have overcome them. Be yourself, be honest, and show vulnerability. Don’t leave the real picture of your life off your feed, but rather use your reality to foster connection, because there are a lot more people just like you looking for inspiration and guidance and that is your tribe!
Engagement leads to influence
For those really looking to make a difference, the power of influence lies not in the number of followers, but instead in the level of engagement with those followers. A Markerly study found that engagement rates (the number of engagements on a piece of content divided by the number of followers the influencer has) peak at around 1,000 followers. With increased followers comes drastically reduced engagement rates (1,000 followers equal average like rates of 8%, while users with 10 million + followers only received likes 1.6% of the time). The truth is that quality engagement wins over quantity exposure. When you post about how you #wearyourvalues and followers ask what that means, tell them what it means to you.
Offer tips and tricks, and direct them to resources that will make them feel empowered and educated! When you engage your followers you make them feel heard and supported in taking the actions you are recommending to them. That engagement is reciprocal, the more your followers see you responding to comments, the more likely they are to comment on your posts and ask questions giving you a chance to spread your message further and gain another advocate for your cause.
Eco fashion and green living has attracted a few big names like Jessica Alba and Gwenyth Paltrow who can sell organic linen dresses and toxin free beauty products to the masses, but you don’t need those numbers to make an impact. It is far more important to have an audience that actually believes in and supports your mission and therefore will trust and get behind the brands an influencer is promoting. – Val Emanuel
Influence leads to behavior, action, and advocacy
Here is where all of this hard work pays off: you have a platform of highly engaged followers who trust you and who are ready to take action! Sustainable fashion isn’t just about purchasing from sustainable brands, what influencers are effectively using their platform for is to also influence behaviors – buying second hand, mending, repurposing, swapping, renting and mindfully purchasing to name a few. As Remakers we want to empower a diverse audience of consumers to speak up and ask brands “who made my clothes?” We know that we can vote for the kind of world we want to see with our wallet. We practice and embody our values in all areas of our life so that we are always authentic and credible. We engage with those that are curious and help them find answers and ways to wear their values in their lives.
Ready to make fashion a force for good? You can….
- Share an outfit post showing how you #wearyourvalues and tag @remakeourworld
- Check out our Beginner’s Guide to Sustainable Fashion for helpful tips to get started
- Get your friends together to make sustainable fashion fun by hosting a screening, a panel, a clothing swap, or a workshop.
Cover Image: Alice Moore/Unsplash