Firstly, let me clearly state that there is in fact no “versus”. It’s not black and white because there are so many factors and no true defined lines but at the end of the day it’s about who is actually looking at an influencer/blogger and going out and purchasing the products. Who is creating actual influence.
Not all bloggers are influencers and not all influencers influence. Just because you have a blog doesn’t automatically mean featuring a product is going to have any influence. That’s where trust comes into play. With millions of blogs out there what makes a reader actually take the time to read what you have to say and trust your opinion? There are countless reasons for instance being authentic, honest, transparent and many, many other factors.
Blogs are definitely not dying but the way in which readers connect has certainly changed. Some PR companies look at a blog and think “oh she only has a few comments, it’s not popular”.
Firstly, look at the stats and you’ll see many are and those stats keep growing. Secondly, the whole comment section has slowly disintegrated. When blogs first started people would get 100s of comments and it created a community aspect. The comments were insightful and questions. Then as more and more blogs appeared popular blogs were drowned in generic comments like “Great Dress, follow my blog xyz” (on a post with no dress featured). The true readers stopped commenting and starting emailing and direct messaging.
In my case I might get one comment on a blog post but over my social media platforms I’ll get 50 messages and emails. That trust is still there but it’s personalised. Readers are encouraged to ask perhaps more personal questions about a product than in a public space like the comment section. No one wants to admit to hair loss or struggling financially and wanting to purchase a foundation in their price range etc. Countless readers are standing in Clicks/Dischem with images of the product they’ve wanted and researched on a blog or several blogs and are now ready to purchase it. That’s influence.
Millennials especially crave information. A flashy advert on TV is not going to work anymore and endorsements by celebrities are also sliding away. Just like a model with 50k followers doesn’t translate into sales of a new face cream.
Lets get to the term “influencers”. What PR’s often consider as influencers tend to have high followings on social media, Instagram in particular. With such high numbers surely they must have great reach? Well, with Instagram’s lovely new algorithm most have decreased as have we all but that’s not the point of this.
With beauty products in particular one needs to make sure that the influencers chosen have a readership that’s actually interested in the products and what the influencer has to say. If there is a pretty picture of them in a bikini holding the product, I can guarantee you most people viewing aren’t even seeing the product. There are definitely great beauty influencers out there who do engage with their audience especially through Instastories and direct messages. If they don’t have a blog with plenty of information on the product then hopefully when featuring the product they will give information. Knowledge is key, especially with skincare.
I had a reader contact me saying she used some silver mask that she’d seen an influencer used and purchased it but it was completely wrong for her skin type and damaged the skin barrier.
She’s now sworn off the entire brand because of mis-information. Now again I’m not saying there aren’t excellent social media influencers out there but taking a selfie with a product and a caption that’s totally unrelated or “This is great” isn’t going to influence anyone and if it does it can have major repercussions for the brand.
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