Instagram and the fashion industry go hand in hand, and this has been especially notable as of late, due to consumer-based social media outreach from brands, and the acknowledgment of the platform as being integral to the industry in fashion news outlets. But there is still an undeniable fault with the system, in that it is difficult to link products directly from the feed, without paying up a fee to purchase ad space on the site. This is particularly problematic for fashion bloggers, who tend to suffer in the social media-driven age of technology due to the attention being diverted away from their personal blogs. This reduces the money the bloggers make for their services, while they are still putting in the same amount of effort. Commission is often earned by stylists linking users to products; without these direct links, there is no way to link the stylist to the purchaser. It’s a serious problem.
ShopStyle, however, launched a tool similar to LiketoKnow.It on Tuesday, a widget made to complement Instagram use for retailers and those in the fashion industry. The tool will help bloggers and other influencers earn their revenue from the affiliation posts.
ShopStyle is well known for its shopping search engine, and over the last six years, it has continued to grow via a “Collective” that contains 1,400 retailers and 14,000 fashion influencers; those 15,400 users create affiliate relationships much in the manner of RewardStyle. The “Looks and Collections” widget, as it has come to be called, sits permanently on the influencers’ Instagram pages, in the link slot. This now serves as a landing page for followers to see recent posts to Instagram, including actual links to get to the product. It’s simple, easy, and should prove to be successful if used correctly. When trying to solve an issue of such a scale, a simple solution can often fly under the radar, but this being picked up might just solve everything.
There have been many other attempts at relieving the gap caused by the lack of links due to Instagram’s policy, yet none has proved to be totally foolproof. Some have proven to be quite successful, even, but found limitations of their own. One of the most popular simple solutions thus far has been adding a product link to the bio page and referring viewers to go find the link if they are so inclined (with the obvious limitation of having to frequently switch the links in the bio). But, LiketoKnow.It offers a less hectic solution of its own to users who subscribe to the service, where if a photo has “LiketoKnow.It” in the caption, all a viewer has to do is like the post and they will receive an email with a link to the product. There are clearly going to be some bugs to work out in the process, but it does seem promising from an outside point of view. The process seems rather straightforward and simple, despite being limited to those who sign up to use the service provided.
Vice president of ShopStyle’s business development Lee Anne Grant mentioned expanding Instagram in a monetary way has been a long-standing priority for members of its Collective. A similar process to LiketoKnow.It has been in the works for quite some time within the company, but pulled away for a while. “We had heard from some bloggers that it was impacting the number of likes they were getting… and because engagement is so important to these bloggers, we didn’t want to do that.” Essentially, viewers were less inclined to tap the like button, so as to not receive emails. Clearly the concept resurfaced, and we are here to see how it plays out in its early stages of release.
Photo courtesy of @vivaluxuryblog