How To Become A Part-Time Fashion Influencer This Summer

Sarah Ratner

These days it seems like everyone is trying to become an influencer. It’s easy to see the appeal: You can be your own boss, get sent on lavish trips, and receive products and clothing to test out and review for your followers. The influencer life may appear to be built upon one perfectly staged Instagram photo after another, but there is actually a great deal of work that goes on behind the scenes in order to be a successful influencer.

So, how can you dip your toes into this world? It may surprise you to hear that many of the fashion influencers you see on your feed actually have full-time jobs, and write blog posts and create videos outside of their nine-to-fives, myself included. Even if you’re able to devote 30 minutes of your day to do something for your business, you’ll be amazed at what you can build over time. Read on for action-based tips on how you can make the best use of your time spent outside of your office, share your personal style, and grow an engaged and loyal following.

Do your research

Who is a fashion influencer who inspires you? What is it you like about their content? Maybe it’s the brands they work with or their style of photography. Take note of what you like, and think about how you would interpret those things in your own unique way.

Make a plan

Write a list of your big picture goals for each month of summer and figure out exactly what you need to do to reach them. If your goal for June is to grow your Instagram following, think about hosting a giveaway, preparing a live video about styling tips that people can tune into, or find other similar accounts to yours and reach out to them and see if they’d be interested in collaborating so your content can reach a new audience. Or it could even be something small — maybe on each Wednesday you comment on five new YouTube channels.

Use your time wisely

Having a full-time job means that you don’t have all day to build your influence. So it’s all about finding pockets of time that you can use to your advantage. Listen to relevant, informative podcasts on your commute, respond to Instagram comments on your lunch break, or devote a Saturday morning to going to a coffee shop to write blog posts. Even if it’s a small amount of time, pick one thing to focus on to help grow your brand.

Get creative about taking photos

One of the biggest questions I get asked is, “Who takes your photos?” The answer is ... everyone! I love when I get the chance to work with one of my talented photog friends, but when I’m off on my own, I often ask anyone who happens to walk by! If I’m really in a pinch, my camera has a remote shooting feature so I’ll set up my tripod outside of my apartment and take a few snaps. Plus, everyone loves a good #OOTD mirror selfie!

Dip your toes into video

Video is one of the biggest parts of the fashion influencer space right now, and even if being on camera is not your thing, you should definitely find some way to utilize this all-important medium. It can be as simple as taking your followers shopping with you on Instagram Stories and pointing out items you like, or live-updating during an awards show to share your red carpet commentary. If you want to take it a step further, get a camera and a ring light and upload some videos to your YouTube channel.

Engage with your audience

While it can be hard to not obsess over numbers (been there, feel that), engagement is becoming even more important than your follower count. Brands are more likely to work with someone who has an engaged following than someone who has thousands of followers who don’t interact with them. So ask questions in your captions, start threads on Twitter, and use polls on Instagram stories to invite your followers to share their opinions with you.

Keep it real

A word that gets thrown around a lot in the influencer space is “authenticity.” This means allowing your audience to see more from you than just the perfect photos. Don’t worry, those can still live in your Instagram feed — but use your stories to show them your fitting room fails, call out parts of the industry that bother you, or explain why a popular trend just doesn't suit your personal style. People will appreciate the insight and the honesty.