Do you know how much models with followers in thousands charge? FYI – Obviously not, a fashion shoot with model + photographer + assistants + professional camera, stylist, dressman the entire shit starts from 50-60k or lesser even. Cost of production is getting cheaper to produce professional content + brands maintain editorial voice. If a blogger can command a price – its only on followers but again that’s highly debatable – since their audience cannot be completely termed as qualified. Bloggers that charge Rs. 5000. Don’t. – is such a ridiculous statement to make! How much business has a blog delivered to a brand? If a blogger is charging for ‘campaign’ where are the results or returns? Likes don’t translate into money.
This was a comment someone posted on my YouTube channel on this video. I’ve since blocked them and deleted this comment. They also pointed me to this Forbes article titled, “Are Fashion Bloggers Able to Convert Followers into Buyers?”
Starting with the headline of this article, there are several things wrong with their premise. When there seems to be no clear definition of a “fashion blogger”, critiquing what a fashion blogger is able and unable to do, can be a step toward clarifying a possible definition.
Having spoken at length with brands and PR agencies about how best they can utilize a blogger’s skills / abilities, I’ve often said that the purpose of engaging a blogger is not convert their followers into paying customers of a brand. At best, a blogger who is employed by a brand, can deliver a campaign that helps in “brand building”. The “campaign” creates awareness about the product/service and the brand.
If a sale or two happens because of a recent blog campaign, that’s a bonus. ( I’m deftly avoiding the subject of how such sales would be measured. There can be a general idea but there’s no direct metric unless you specifically ask the customer where they heard about you. )
I would have liked to address the commentor’s concern because I got a vague feeling that they were on to something. But between their anonymity, bad language usage and tone, I decided to block them and use their comment to spark a WTFNaina piece. Their comment is all over the place, so it’s hard to address it, which is why I’ve chosen to stick to the primary accusation that bloggers don’t convert followers into sales.
At the outset, a blogger has the responsibility to educate a potential client about how this “blogging thing” works. We must set clear expectations. We are able to do that only when we ourselves understand what we do, which many of us don’t.
Does a luxury brand expect to sell products on the basis of one two-page advertisement in a print magazine? The ad might produce a spike in enquiries about the product in the ad. The brand then has the opportunity to connect with these potential customers.
A blogger sends her viewers to a brand’s website / social media channels. What the brand then chooses to do with these new “Likes” is not my fucking problem as a blogger.
The Forbes article includes the following sentence in the last paragraph, “Even if the goal of blogger partnerships is solely to raise awareness, that awareness should eventually lead to a transaction.” They’ve admitted there’s no way of tracking where a transaction came from in the earlier part of the article. The blogger or the TV campaign that the brand runs, builds awareness about the brand. What the brand chooses to do with that awareness, is as much a problem for that actor in the TVC as it is for the blogger.
The Forbes article has a lot of holes. It doesn’t talk about the Indian / South-East Asian markets at all, which operate differently from Europe or America when it comes to how brands work with bloggers, if at all. I’m sorry but I am currently not inclined to address all the holes. Maybe at some point.
“Likes” do translate into money – but only if you know what to do with them. And if you’ve built them organically. I choose to blame bloggers ( because I’m one ) for spending money on buying followers but brands are equally guilty of doing this. They buy hundreds of thousands of followers and likes because it feels inferior somehow to have what is considered a “smaller-than-our-competitor” following.
I’ve got my blog, podcast, social media to make ridiculous statements. You go start your own podcast or blog and write about this if you feel so strongly about it. Creating an anonymous YouTube profile to shit in my comments section is clearly way more easier. ( I’ll allow myself this little assumption – that they created the profile only to post a comment on the video. )
More anecdotes and stories in the #WTFNaina series. ( These are all inspired by true stories. Some written emails, some from face-to-face meetings. They have all been piling up for years now and I’ve decided to put them to use! )