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Bloggers and brands

(1000 Posts)
homebythesea Tue 07-Nov-17 15:01:01

I love blogs, YouTube, Instagram etc but sometimes do wonder what's in it for the brands especially regarding blogger events.

Straight up reviews of things they get sent I totally get- they try things on/ use a face cream, wax lyrical about how great the thing is, people click through and buy said item. Straightforward advertising. No problem with that at all.

But when a blogger is invited to a dinner, or night away at a hotel, or a movie premiere by a brand I just don't get what is worth the expense? From the blogger perspective they get a night out and a goodie bag and maybe even paid to attend. But what does the brand get in return? A brief tag on an Instagram pic, some photos of beautiful place settings at dinner......but not necessarily sales?? These events must cost thousands to put on.

Hopefully someone with some knowledge about these things will enlighten us!

PNGirl Tue 07-Nov-17 15:08:09

It's just that. A tag on Instagram is seen by x number of people, and it legitimises the brand in the eyes on the consumer because most genuinely just think the blogger likes the product. It's the Kate Middleton dress from Reiss that sells out in minutes, but on a smaller scale.

If you invite 10 bloggers to NYC to the Glossier HQ, customers see 10 bloggers raving about it, then it ends up somewhere like here. "Has anyone tried..." and it snowballs.

homebythesea Tue 07-Nov-17 15:20:14

Interesting. So there's no way to actually prove how much income the blogger event generates (so no cost/benefit analysis) it's a lot less concrete than that?

Thetoothyteeth Tue 07-Nov-17 15:26:11

I used to watch the blogger Ruth Crilly. I don't anymore - have a look through her instagram which is ads ads ads and read how she complains how stressful her life is when she works from home, has nannies and attends realllly stressful brand paid for hotel nights / events with her kids and husband sometimes along too. Brands must get something out of it because she seems to be very wealthy and mostly gets given things which she uses for her "lookbooks" and her babies and it's very stressful apparently but someone somewhere must get paid.

Other bloggers who I actually follow either work directly with brands as consultants or have enough youtube viewers they make money that way.

Thetoothyteeth Tue 07-Nov-17 15:27:54

Oh sorry meant to say: the brand events I don't think they make money directly but they get the most influential bloggers on board - and then if that blogger is interesting enough when they talk about the brand their viewers will go and buy it.

homebythesea Tue 07-Nov-17 15:38:59

toothy my point is that the people I follow don't talk about the brand that's hosting the event or their products. They just post pics of the food or instastories of drinking cocktails or whatever. The host or the brand that has invited them gets a fleeting mention (I'm specifically thinking of Kat Farmer here, who recently has been to the opening of envelopes or so it feels)

Ruth Crilly makes no bones about her sponsored work and for that I can't fault her- it's her job and like any other can be stressful with tiny children (childcare or no).

botemp Tue 07-Nov-17 15:41:59

It's about building brand awareness. Bloggers will have X amount of followers but only a small percentage clicks through to buy something in the immediate aftermath of any given post. It may also just remain a single sale, especially if the product doesn't match up to overhyped expectations, pulling the brand as a whole off the consumer radar indefinitely. Certain bloggers are very strong converters of sales in that sense but it varies highly and it's difficult for brands to anticipate which bloggers are good converters and which aren't as it's not tied directly to number of followers.

For certain brands it pays more to be associated with certain bloggers to emphasise similar values, aesthetics, look and feel, etc. Things that are harder to build organically for a brand on its own, like being perceived as edgy or cool.

Those blogger events are sort of a carpet bombing event of brand awareness through the endless repetition as most people will be following several bloggers with a similar USP so the next time you as a follower see the brand you will automatically have more favourable associations with it through familiarity compared to competitor brands positioned directly next to it, making you more inclined to buy into it. That's the theory anyhow, personally, I'm sceptical about it all in the long term as the more educated consumers are about these sales and PR methods the more disinclined they become to fall for these 'easy' sales.

ChardonnaysPrettySister Tue 07-Nov-17 15:44:42

There must be something otherwise the brands wouldn't be doing it. Coverage, of course.

Personally, it puts me off the brand.

WipsGlitter Tue 07-Nov-17 15:59:11

I knew you were talking about Kat Farmer!! I saw those posts but I couldn’t tell you what the brand associated with them was.

So much is now sponsored or gifted I browse past it.

mrsmildred Tue 07-Nov-17 16:19:46

It's not exactly new per se. Swanky breakfast/lunch/dinner launches for products, premiere or event tickets, goodie bags, posh hotel stays..they've existed as a way for brands to promote and sell themselves since the beginning of advertising in the 50s. The difference is before it used to just be print or TV journalists, editors, marketing departments who were courted. They would then go away and create the advert or whatever for us humble Joes.

Now, people in those roles are still invited, but alongside social media "influencers" or "content creators" boak as well.

Don't forget in between the brand and the blogger (well any blogger/'grammer/YTer with a decent following) will be the PR. e.g. Kat is represented by Gleam who look after most of the bigger social media names.

PNGirl Tue 07-Nov-17 16:36:05

Gleam will send their "talent" down the mines if they think it'll make money. Their owner also has a share of any offshoot businesses that they create - I looked one up and he owns 20% of one of them's fashion line.

homebythesea Tue 07-Nov-17 16:37:35

what prompted my musings was seeing Mrs Farmer on Instagram this morning - she went to a dinner sponsored by Body Shop. Lovely for her. But she has not mentioned any of their products (was the event to promote something in particular?) and I doubt she ever will. I would be amazed if any of her followers (who will all be of a certain demographic) are not hitherto unaware of the brand, or would be influenced to walk through the doors next time they are passing just because someone on Instagram had dinner at their expense. I just don't get it!!

botemp Tue 07-Nov-17 16:56:47

I think it's in direct response to that overt ads no longer work. Followers are immediately suspicious when a non sponsored post feels like one, especially if multiple bloggers are talking about the same brand/product. The blogger model just isn't working like it used to so they're attempting different things with a softer approach until they find the next big lucrative method that catches on.

Dark social is heavily invested in currently, that's people you know directly making recs in WhatsApp, FB, etc. incentivised in various form from direct payment to discounts, free swag, etc. You see it here on the S&B boards a lot if you look out for it, innocent sounding OP will come on asking about experience with product X (full product name usually in the title but no links in post) in a very short time several socks will pile in emphasising positive qualities that speak to the MN demographic (a lot of saves me so much time in the mornings busy mum crap). Occasionally you'll get more negative or positive feedback from actual long standing posters whose name you actually recognise, or they'll be complimentary of other products in the range but not of the promoted item. Once you've seen it it's a lot easier to spot but difficult to signal as spam to MNHQ as it's mere speculation at the end of the day as the T&C aren't necessarily being broken.

chloechloe Tue 07-Nov-17 17:10:01

I guess it's a bit hit and miss for the brands as to which bloggers who have attended such events will bring them sales and the conversion rate is very hard to quantify. But i guess on the whole it must bring the brands revenue.

I don't have any issue with bloggers doing ads if they are open about it. The difficult thing is deciding whether their opinion has in fact remained unbiased. At the end of the day I find I still get something from blogs - e.g. Styling advice or make up application tips - without having to buy anything promoted.

Thetoothyteeth Tue 07-Nov-17 17:13:12

@chloe that's my issue - fine if they write ad / sponsored post but when they do nothing but ads and you don't believe they would have used that product unless they got paid to use it, that irritates me because it translates to them thinking their readers are thick. In my mind anyway.

ChardonnaysPrettySister Tue 07-Nov-17 17:19:42

I didn't know who Kat Farmer is, so looked her up and had a bit of a look around other accounts as well.

One thing that I noticed is that most instagrammers/influencers seem to have a very similar hairstyle.

onemouseplace Tue 07-Nov-17 17:22:34

I knew you were talking about Kat Farmer as well, as I thought exactly the same thing today.

I first noticed it in the summer when she went to a posh night away and was saying how much she was looking forward to a night away with "the girls" and I assumed that she meant her actual friends. But no, it was in fact a brand event with some other industry types, and I just thought her attempt to portray it as a chance to get a break with friends struck a bit of a bum note. And, I couldn't tell you for the life of me what the brand was now!

I get why bloggers do it (the freebies, the chance to be seen at the "right" events, the glamour, the networking etc etc) but it just gets a bit boring for me, especially when it is the same old round of people at the same events, in the same venues.

Thetoothyteeth Tue 07-Nov-17 17:27:39

Why do they all post the same self-depreciating style "inspirational" messages like instead of the gym before my holiday im off for cocktails with the girls, ok we get it you don't work at staying in shape. And why when babies are in posts is it tagged constantly with: mumlife, send wine, send help, being a blogger mum is so much more stressful, i hate peppa pig. On and on and on and on.

HighburyHattie Tue 07-Nov-17 17:31:39

Exposure - bloggers have unlimited amount of potential influence on their audience. It’s a genuine connection with their followers. Products trend on social media & sell out. Brands like Anastasia Beverly Hills were CREATED from social media exposure- they started out as indie and by posting ‘fleeky’ videos from popular beauty Instagram accounts eg someone with amazing eyebrows using ABH products - now they’re cult classics and sold in Sephora. Social media influencers are very, very useful and important - you are completely underestimating the potential of them. I can only imagine you don’t work in the industry or are very familiar with social media - it’s a marketing machine and very significant in 2017.

It’s the reason why people like Kylie Jenner/Kim K or even YouTubers/other social media influencers can make a $$$$$ career out if this. They have a significant relevance to their audience - people follow them, have a genuine connection and trust their opinions, buy their recommendations. It all comes down to influence.

Also yes companies & bloggers can see their influence / reach. EG Instagram / YouTube analytics which show the views, average audience demographics, clicks, reach, time spent on their content. If someone puts a link in their Instagram story, they can see how many people clicked it, browsed it etc. Hence on instagram it shows ‘Paid promotion with X company’ on sponsored posts now - the company can directly see the analytics on that post.

And YES it is in a brand’s financial interests to send a handful of social media influencers on brand events, expensive holidays, send them massive press packages etc. They will have a ridiculous amount of people that are influenced to try the product in return. The amount of money they spend on these influential individuals pales in comparison to the amount they spend on creating adverts (which can run into millions) and which isn’t necessarily as effective

It’s a different market in 2017.

homebythesea Tue 07-Nov-17 17:48:31

Highbury as I said I totally get the methodology of bloggers using a specific product, wearing a specific dress etc and then writing /posting a picture about it. That all seems very straightforward to me. But inviting someone to dinner or a smart hotel in order to sell stuff just seems a bit, well, wanky to me and assumes a sheep like tendency in potential future customers that puts me off.

onemouseplace exactly! Although to be fair her instastories in hotel rooms I find quite useful so from the hotel point of view that's good marketing 😀. But of course it won't have been the hotel that paid her....

WipsGlitter Tue 07-Nov-17 17:48:45

It is fascinating and evolving so fast. I used to love Instagram now I only really watch the stories.

WipsGlitter Tue 07-Nov-17 17:51:01

Part of the problem I think is that I follow mostly the same demographic so when they all start touting the same thing eg seven boot lane boots or whatever I’m very confusedhmm

Kat Got The Cream is interesting as she seems to stick to pure blogging and struggles with the insta stories. She put one up today in the wrong order!

littleredpear Tue 07-Nov-17 21:53:31

Do they send the products back after they blog about them? I've noticed a few are now selling the stuff on eBay etc that they were raving about over the summer hmm

CountFosco Tue 07-Nov-17 22:20:52

I think they keep the freebie prodicts, MidlifeChic has a blogger sale every year and raises money for charity that way.

I think the days away works for everyone. The Fashion Lift recently had a trip to a naice hotel paid for by Hush. I've bought stuff from there before but as a shortarse it's really useful to see the clothes on someone the same size as me so I'm more inclined to buy those items.

But then I saw where she was staying and the name looked familiar so I googled it and discovered it's about 15 minutes away and they do loads of events. We went to the Bonfire Night there and it was fab, saw a few friends, found out a friend of a friend owns the place and will definitely be going to some of the upcoming events and the restaurant. So not only will Hush have sold more clothes but Middleton Lodge has some new customers as well.

WipsGlitter Wed 08-Nov-17 07:14:29

I doubt the send the products back. Annele Harte (I think that’s her name) showed shedloads of beauty products recently.

Anelli Bush had a baby recently and got so much stuff she could never use it all. I guess she could donate the stuff she doesn’t use. The amount of “bits” she got sent (she did unboxing) was staggering.

They get so much it’s hard to imagine them using or wearing it all.

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