The Ultimate Fashion Influencers: Can fashion bloggers create that sort of influence?
With the announcement of the new Vogue alliance with bloggers, there's been a lot of criticism of Vogue's use of the word “Influencer”–both in choosing that term to begin with, and with the blogger's they have deemed influential. Very easily, I find myself asking– what makes a blogger influential in the first place?
Many critics of the program have pointed to numbers– that a fashion blogger with 400 Twitter followers or 37 Google Reader followers can't be influential. That a fashion blogger with 1500 Twitter followers is more likely to be. These arguments indicate that influence has more to do with reach– the number of people that a blogger is sharing her message with at any given time. In an ideal world, an influential blogger would have both the trust of her readership and a large reach.
I believe a blogger is influential if their readers (remember, bloggers are NOT your only readers) trust the blogger's voice. If they trust, value, and most importantly, believe their opinions. A blogger would have influence if she shared her favorite mascara & beauty products on her site, and her readers valued her opinion and trusted her integrity enough to try the products. With the trust from her readership a site will grow and often have a substantial following (giving them more reach), as both bloggers and readers alike will share the content. For me, it all falls back on to trust– and whether or not the readers have it towards the blogger. What do you think makes a blogger influential?
Using our mascara example, we can do a little math: Blogger A has 400 followers and 50 purchased a mascara when they needed it after she wrote about it. Blogger B has 4,000 followers and 150 bloggers bought mascara after she wrote about it. Blogger A had 13% of her followers buy the product after she wrote about it, while Blogger B had 3% buy it after she wrote about it. Blogger B has more reach, but Blogger A seems to have more trust built in to her readership. So which blogger becomes more influential?
It depends on whether the company want the product's name to cross eyes or to result in dollars spent. (Signature 9 discusses this to, saying “We know that quantity isn’t everything in social media – an account with 1000 engaged followers/fans can perform as one with 10,000 passive users attached. Needless to say, on the web we’re firm believers that influence isn’t just about which fashion blog has the most traffic.“)
Influence, like many things in the blogosphere, is a relatively qualitative idea. Without numbers like traffic, followers, and rankings, bloggers and companies alike have difficulties in tracking it. While more companies are looking at things like comments as a means of gauging influence over stats, it still remains to be seen the best way to determine influence.
Which fashion bloggers do you think have influence– large or small? And contrasting that (or perhaps complimenting it)–which fashion bloggers influence YOU? Do you feel like you have influence as a blogger, regardless of your site's size?