Welcome to another edition of blogger chat! In these posts, I take a step back from makeup and beauty, to talk about the ins and outs (and sometimes secrets) of the blogging world. This one’s going to be long, so grab a snack, and join me as I dive into today’s topic!
In today’s super saturated blog world, it can be really hard to get noticed. Each and every day a new blog is created, with a new person who wants to rise to the top. Networks are only so big, and brands only work with so many influencers. We all know the top “elite,” the gals (and guys) being whisked away on fancy vacations, and showered with trunks of makeup. While, I think it’s incredible that bloggers and vloggers have had such an impact in digital marketing, envy and greed have caused some to cheat (or worse) to get ahead.
Blogging is quite different today, than it was when I first started. You can have the most amazing photos, and incredible content, but without numbers, you’ll see little reward. It becomes very stressful, always chasing that ideal number. But, still we work at it. We scrutinize our photos, find ways to improve, test different posting schedules, and hashtag the sh*t of out everything we post. On the flip side, some choose to skip the hard work, and buy followers in order to get noticed, and sadly it has worked.
WHY IT’S BAD…
I know people who have bought their followers, and now have brands sending them loads of PR. While that might make them feel great, it truly hurts the blogging community as whole. Brands aren’t just sending us products to be nice, they actually want to see a return on their investment. Obviously, we can’t feature everything we are sent, because 1) some products just don’t work for us, and 2) no one has time for that. But, companies still want to know their products are actually being seen should the influencer choose to feature it.
If you’re buying followers, your engagement isn’t there. What’s engagement? It’s likes, comments, interaction. If your audience is large, but not tapped into you or engaging with you, chances are they won’t invest in anything you’re talking about. From a blogger standpoint, we’re here to guide our readers. It’s not about sales, it’s about making sure you know what products work best and which products to avoid. From a brands point of view, they want clicks, sales, numbers.
When someone who bought their followers receives product, and fails to meet these deliverables, it tells the brand that it’s not worth their time. If more and more people do this, brands might pull out completely and stop their influencer programs. It ruins the trust, and questions the work ethic of every blogger out there. Please, if you’re considering buying followers, don’t. Instead, do some investing in better equipment. Get soft boxes, play around with backgrounds, get to know you camera. Growth can be achieved organically, it just takes time!
CONTROVERSIAL GROW METHODS
Now, onto those who don’t buy their followers, but still use a method that’s controversial in order to grow. That method, is referred to as follow/unfollow. Before I get into this, I want to say that I know and respect many bloggers who utilize this method. But I still wanted to touch on it, because it drives a lot of people crazy.
If you’re a blogger yourself, you’re probably well aware of folks who do this. I used to take it personally, until I found out it’s actually third party apps that do the following/unfollowing. As the saying goes, “it’s not personal, it’s business.” In recent months, I’ve talked in private with many fellow bloggers, and I can tell you although this method might work, it pisses off 95% of people affected.
If you have no idea what I’m referring to, it’s a method where an app seeks out like minded people on social media. You follow them, but once they follow you back, you unfollow them faster than they can spell eyeshadow. The purpose, is to find followers in your niche, without overwhelming your own feed by following a trillion people. I get it, I really do, but every person I spoke to about this really dislikes it.
WHY IT’S BAD…
People feel as if they are being tricked into supporting someone, who has no intentions of supporting them back. The blogging world is huge, so it’s nice to find others who share the same passions. Someone who will interact with you, like your content, and engage with you. I’m lucky to know so many amazingly supportive bloggers, who inspire and encourage me. When someone reciprocates a follow, it’s like a digital high five. So, you can understand why it would upset people when they’re used as a pawn to get numbers.
Now, onto the most frustrating part of blogging, someone stealing your content. When someone produces an image, and puts it on their social media or blog, they own the rights to that image. It’s not free to take, edit, and call your own. Still, so many do this and don’t realize it’s wrong. Or worse, they know it’s wrong and do it anyway, because numbers.
I’m sure someone quite big comes to mind for many of you. She’s on Instagram, she’s got a huge following, and she rhymes with “spend tune.” She has literally made her following stealing, cropping, and taking credit for other people’s work. Instead of being called out, many brands have embraced her. She has done collabs, gets invited to product launches, and gets PR from pretty much every major (and indie) brand.
She’s also responsible for leaking several hush hush blogger collabs, breaking embargo (discussing new products before she’s allowed to), and pissing off brands who have to scramble to figure out new launch dates. Still, she’s got an army who defends her, and is a force to be reckoned with in the beauty community. I’ve seen big influencers retract their statements about her, and a big time publication remove an article questioning her. Does she have some hot shot attorney at her disposable, threatening libel to these people? Who knows, but her behavior goes against every code of conduct us bloggers swear by.
WHY IT’S BAD…
Aside from the obvious, which is influencers not getting credit for their own hard work. It also sends a message that taking from bloggers is okay, because look where it gets you. Ironically, bloggers love when their images are shared. That flatlay isn’t just a bunch of makeup thrown on a table. It’s intricately laid out, with the perfect angles so textures, brand names, and props can be seen. It can take 100 shots to get one perfect photo. We work hard to produce these images, so please share away and show us some love! But, make sure you credit properly and link back to the person who provided the stunning photo.
Now that I’ve dived into the dark parts of blogging, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Have you been affected by any of this? Let me know!