With the exponential spread of social media and the blogosphere over the last decade, people are more and more often taking fashion tips and inspiration not from friends, families and glossy mags, but instead from posts shared on Facebook and Pinterest. Of course, not forgetting influential ‘Insta-glamours’ as well as fashion bloggers.
Almost 800,000 people log in to Facebook each day; 300,000 new Twitter accounts are created daily; and YouTube reaches more 18 – 34 year olds than any television network. The opportunity for these platforms to be used as a marketing sphere for large brands is irrefutable. ‘Social’ is to be the marketing buzzword for some time to come.
So what does this mean for brands? Well, in 2012 it was calculated that 92% of consumers trust peer recommendations, meaning that companies are gagging for their posts to be Liked, Tweeted and Pinned as much as possible.
Brands have begun to reach out to influential bloggers with significant followings, collaborating with them on sponsored, guest, and native posts. Nowhere is this more prevalent than in the world of fashion. The image-centric nature of social media platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram only feeds into the hands of fashion bloggers. The savvy scribblers have quickly seen that a huge following gives them hefty firepower to monetise their blogs with fairly little effort.
Webpages are awash with banners and side advertisements to such an extent that today visitors not only do not trust these ads, but actually barely register them at all. A blog post written by a person one feels they have a connection with is a wholly different matter.
To sustain this relationship, bloggers are careful only to work with brands where they feel there is a natural synergy. If followers believe that a blogger has sold-out, well, there are scores of other bloggers already vying for their attention. Finding a web host like 1&1 with enough webspace to support a daily flock of photos is no longer difficult or expensive. As more people begin to set up their own blogs, it won’t only be brands fighting to keep the attention of social media users.
The trust built up between blogger and follower is what the blogger must foster and what the brands crave. Although some companies have mastered the seemingly simple art of appearing human when tweeting or sharing Facebook posts, many find it hard to avoid sounding like a great clunking robot constantly pitching their product over and over again.
Social media is fundamentally that: social. It is in forgetting this that large brands most commonly stumble and fall. As the influence of social media continues to grow, fashion lovers can only expect to come across more sponsored articles, more guest posts and more brands attempting to cash in on the success of bright young Insta-glamours.