For some creators on Instagram and Snapchat, their followers are the real influencers. Their followers decide what they like, what they want more of and will voice any dissatisfaction with the influencer if they post something off-brand.
The relational dynamic between influencers and followers is something companies are starting to tap into, like /Nyden, an offshoot ecommerce and fashion brand from H&M that recently hired 10 influencers, like The Blonde Collective, Alyssa in the City, East Coast Fox and Catch Meeks If You Can, to ask their followers what designs they liked for a two-week campaign.
The end result: instead of /Nyden deciding what its next collection would be, it choose two dresses based on what people voted on (/Nyden declined to share what the final designs are or how much they will cost).
“At Nyden, we really believe in the power of the community and we think that’s way stronger than a smaller fashion design team,” said Stina Force, creative director of /Nyden.
The campaign started on June 27, with influencers in New York and Los Angeles asking their followers questions, like if they preferred dresses with sleeves or without using the Instagram poll feature.
Of the nine influencers, seven shared their engagement numbers with /Nyden and according to the fashion brand, the polls received more than 35,000 votes and the total number of campaign views numbered over 425,000.
/Nyden’s gimmick, since debuting in January 2018, is working with big-time “talent” like singer Dua Lipa, to come up with designs in collaboration with them. However, this was the first time the company worked with smaller influencers who only have followings of 10,000 to 125,000.
“It’s the core of what /Nyden does and it’s just about scaling it out and how you can democratize fashion, instead of being the one deciding,” Force said. “More brands should reach out to not just to their fan base but to the community and [get] them involved.”
Meeka Hossain, a Los Angeles-based fashion blogger and marketer with 45,000 followers on her account, Catch Meeks If You Can, participated in the /Nyden campaign. She liked the “novelty” of asking her followers what they wanted.
“I loved that it was so easy for them and they had a voice in the campaign as well,” Hossain said. “I think this campaign made you feel special and it made you feel like you have a voice in what you’re buying.”
Hossain thinks brands should do these types of campaigns more often and said it’s “the best way to grow [their] sales.”
This campaign style also gives brands further real-time insight into what their customers actually want.
For example, /Nyden found out that 60 percent of followers in Los Angeles and 62 percent in New York prefer buttons over zippers; 70.3 percent in Los Angeles and 75.2 percent in New York prefer plunging necklines over strapless; on average, 66.5 percent on both coasts prefer neutrals over bold colors. Each of these insights can inform /Nyden’s design strategy and most likely do away with the woes its parent company, H&M, faces with unsold inventory.
Amanda Oleri, a lifestyle influencer based in New York with 80,000 followers on her account, East Coast Fox, noted that in addition to the poll responses, she also received direct messages from her fans expressing how excited they were about the campaign.
“This campaign took it to another level of, what do you want to see and what do you want to buy?” Oleri said. “This is something tangible that they can go out and they specifically helped design.”