This blog was written by guest blogger Ashley (Andrews) Alderson, Miss Rodeo America in 2007, after representing North Dakota in 2006. She is the Founder of The Boutique Hub (www.theboutiquehub.com), a media company that features boutique fashion from around the world, while connecting the industry behind it via collaboration, events and training. She currently resides in Wisconsin with her husband Eric, and three children Hadley, Easton and Jayde.
I will never forget the feeling. Walking through an airport in full head-to-toe rodeo queen gear, rockin’ my Wranglers and hat can in hand. I’ve never gotten so many questions about fashion in my life.
“Is there a snake in that case you have?”
“Are you a cowboy?”
“Is that a hub cap?”
Jokes aside, society is enamored by the legend of the American Cowboy, it’s fashion, and it’s culture. Ten years ago western fashion was quite different than mainstream fashion, but today, they are close to one in the same.
Across runways and mainstream apparel shows, hints of the American Cowboy are very present. From suede and leather fabrics, to fringe accents, and a very strong presence of turquoise and southwest influence. These two style genres have crossed over in all product types.
There has NEVER been a better time to be western.
What does this mean for Miss Rodeo America and the women across the country who represent the sport of rodeo?
Social Fashion Influence.
Miss Rodeo America has several very important roles to fill as a mentor, role model, public relations professional, spokesperson, and style thought leader. If you consider her role as a business, one key to success is bringing attention to those sponsors who help provide her the opportunity to fulfill her role, many of them related to fashion.
With the explosion of western bloggers and Instagram Influencers today, there is a real opportunity for Miss Rodeo America, and all rodeo queens to be key influencers themselves showcasing their individual style tastes while also supporting and showcasing generous sponsors just as any professional blogger would.
Yes, bright arena wear has it’s place, but modern western trends should be key to a rodeo queen wardrobe, leading any member of the public to ask, ‘where can I get that?’ That’s what the sponsors love to hear!
How can any rodeo queen become a social media influencer?
Here are 8 tips for success
1.Choose a professional social handle.
Sure, ‘CanChaser99’ sounds cute, but it tells me nothing. Use your name and give your followers something to remember you as an individual by. As you grow and mature, you want your social accounts to mature right along with you.
- Consider yourself as a brand.
Who are you as a brand, and what do you represent? Choose your photos and content accordingly and keep your message and brand image consistent and clear. Silly faces are fun once and awhile, but make sure you are using high quality or creative images as often as you can. Social media (whether we like it or not) has staying power, and one wrong choice can stick with you for years to come.
- Keep your image cohesive.
If you choose to showcase your daily outfits or fashion inspiration, make sure your photos and your feed have a similar look and feel. Stick to one filter and one filter only so the tone of your images becomes recognizable to your brand.
- Weave your sponsors into your story.
Keep your post descriptions fun and descriptive, take people along on your journey and experiences you’re having along the way. At the end of your posts (and in the post image itself), tag the boutiques, brands and sponsors you are currently wearing. Keep this at the end to avoid coming across like a sales pitch, but rather as if you’re telling a story!
- Ask questions.
One of the biggest keys to social media growth is knowing how to activate engagement. Your fans are curious about your adventures, so get them involved. Ask them questions, ask them to help you choose what you’re shopping for, get their opinion on trends, and make them feel important! This concept not only creates a more loyal following, but it increases the circulation of your content via any Facebook or Instagram algorithm. Sure, ‘likes’ are great, but comments, conversation and engagement are much more powerful. Quality over quantity.
- Follow key influencers.
The best way to learn how to be a great social influencer is to follow those who do it well. A few of my personal favorite western influencers of the moment are Fallon Taylor (her snapchat is amazing), The Bleacher Babe, Fashion Posse, The Turquoise Teepee, Rodeo Vogue, Buckaroo Girl and so many more! Instagram is a hotbed of social influence, find those who resonate with you!
- Leverage your social influence with another.
The only way to reach a new audience is to share or be shared with another. Team up with other influencers, rodeo queens and fashion influencers to cross promote one another. This is great for your personal brand, but this also gives you the opportunity to further leverage reach for your sponsors. Team up with sponsors to offer a joint giveaway, asking fans to follow both of your accounts, and comment below with an answer to some question regarding the item you’re giving away.
For example – Follow both Miss Rodeo America and Greeley Hat Works, and tell us which of these hat styles are YOUR favorite below – winners announced on X date!
This provides an ROI to your sponsor which builds a much more valuable opportunity for both of you!
- Be you.
In the social media influencer world, those who are most successful are so because they are an individual. They are no replica of another, they’ve simply defined their own personal style, values and message and give no thought to ‘being like the rest.’ As with anything in life, those who are most magnetic are so because they are different. It all starts with knowing (and loving) who you are at the center, then letting your light shine.
Remember, fashion is following a trend. Style is creating one.
It’s time to step up with an opportunity to further share the western industry and western fashion through social influence. Your sponsors, your fans, and your industry will thank you.