Bloggers are like the older sisters you may or may not have had growing up, they are who guide you through the beauty and fashion trends as well as the beauty and fashion ‘faux pas’. They are thought to be the ones you go to if you want a real opinion on a foundation, a designer bag or a pair of jeans. Bloggers write to talk about hobbies, to meet others with similar interests but also many blog in an entrepreneurial way too! Essentially the majority of blog posts made online are an attempt to secure the trust of the readership and persuade others to buy something you really love, because you believe others will love it too!
People read blogs for a number of reasons; to learn, to research, to connect with others, and to be inspired are just a few of these said reasons. An important example of why people turn to bloggers, is to make a difficult decision about buying something that they believe a blogger will be able to guide them on.
Yet, here is the big but, how far can you really trust a blogger who is getting paid to promote the item? Do they really “live for this lipgloss” or are their opinions swayed by the profit they gain from every purchase a follower makes? It’s hard to know whether a blogger is truly in love with an item, or whether they’re in love with the money being put into their bank account.
You of course can’t rule all bloggers as gold diggers because there are so many who I would personally trust, yet the problem is knowing who the trustworthy ones are. Trust and honesty is such a big thing for a blogger who wants to sell an item that they truly love even if they are being paid to promote it. Good bloggers stick to certain basic ‘rules’ when posting, such as producing consistent output and high quality copy; these are factors which, over time, will lead to your readers’ loyalty and trust. So of course, being open and honest is the best way to gain a reading trust in your authenticity.
Don’t get me wrong though, as this post is by no means saying ‘don’t trust bloggers’. I regularly read posts from a selection of brilliant bloggers who I honestly trust. Whether I’m right or wrong to trust them, who knows. I am just trying to make you aware of how easy it is to fall for untruths and inaccuracies online; sometimes accidental, and sometimes purposeful deceit. Remember that online is just like offline in terms of people; there are good ones and there are bad ones, and sometimes the bad ones look like good ones. Stay alert.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with making money. These bloggers work so hard, they are dedicated to their followers and add a unique voice to the fashion dialogue from a ‘real girl’. Many companies have caught onto the idea, that in order to market a product, who better to turn to than a blogger who has a following of 100K plus and an audience of impressionable girls and boys who trust the blogger and will be willing to buy it if the said blogger says it’s ‘good’. But, as blogs make the transition from personal style diary to profit-turning businesses, some readers have begun to feel that original and unbiased content, once the principle of what made blogs so relevant, have taken a hit.
Some people complain that now so many of the ‘top’ bloggers are sent clothes, shoes, bags and are flown all over the world for press events, that the authenticity of the blog post that they will write in return is biased due to their worry of upsetting the brand after they have gifted them with so much. This whole idea takes the ‘pureness‘ out of blogging, the blogger is no longer doing it for pure love of fashion or beauty, but is now a shill for a brand.
Of course receiving free gifts isn’t exactly a secret; most bloggers (have to) disclose what products they were “gifted” in their posts to avoid confrontation. But not all of them do, which causes a lot of controversy. Moreover, some bloggers feel pressure to wear or write about a certain product in order to maintain a good relationship with a brand which again defeats the object of going to a blogger (who is renowned for their trustworthy image) to promote a product if they are going to feel bribed!
But overall, I think whether you can trust a blogger or not all comes down to how they engage and interact with their audience. It is also all about who you trust as an individual!
Words by Maija Lily