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Characteristics of Fashion Bloggers and their Effectiveness

Identifying the most suitable fashion blogger that promises significant returns on investment is a major challenge to many marketers and organization. While, it is evident in literature that fashion blogging may be a better marketing strategy than traditional forms of marketing, clear findings have not been presented on its exact impacts on product and service marketing (Segev, Villar & Fiske, 2012; Zietek, 2016; Glucksman, 2017). Again, knowing and differentiating between a bad and a good fashion blogger is a daunting task for many marketers.

Different studies that focus on evaluation of the quality of blogging have emphasized the characteristics of fashion blogger as major determinant of their success in fashion blogging. Lungeanu & Parisi (2018) in their study identified three main characteristics desired of a fashion blogger. According to the scholars, opinion leadership, trendsetting, collaboration and authenticity are the major characters that should be exhibited by a fashion blogger. Similar sentiments have been echoed by Segev, Villar & Fiske (2012) who argued that opinion leadership persona is concerned with the creation of an interpersonal influence within a trusted social network. Opinion leaders receive information from media and interpret to their followers. Similarly, Uzunoğlu & Kip (2014) have asserted that the scholars fashion bloggers exhibit the trait of opinion leadership because they play a role of filtering fashion trends by their own verdict and passing the information to the consumers. Opinion leadership is thus a role that should be exhibited by any fashion bloggers to effectively execute their blogging roles.

Collaboration and integration is another role that is considered significant in fashion blogging. According to O’Reilly (2005) the highly connected networks in social media platforms makes collaboration a vital trait for any individual who desire to reach a large audience. Laurell (2014) postulated sharing information of information in an integrative and collaborative manner does not only guarantee the passage of the content to a large audience, but also results in the development of trusts amongst the persons in the networks. Fashion blogging requires the followers to develop a strong relationship and trust with the fashion blogger (O’Reilly, 2005; Laurell, 2014). A high level of influence can be achieved when the fashion blogger is highly collaborative.

Marwick (2013) in his study explored the concept of authenticity in fashion blogging. According to the scholar, Potter (2010) has defined authenticity as a moral obligation to be true to oneself. Authenticity in the context of fashion blogging has been defined as the art of self-presentation or self-branding using the various fashion brands that are desirable to an individual. Authenticity entails the differentiation of an individual from other forms of marketing based on the personal content that they present (Marwick, 2013). According to Lungeanu & Parisi (2018) actions such as purchasing and wearing a specific fashion brand outfit portrays the blogger as an intermediary between the brand and the consumer. Authentic fashion bloggers do not just copy or imitate fashion from other spheres but focus on filtering them to foster self-branding and avail a personalized content. Agreeing with the sentiments Jenkins, Ford & Green (2013) has argue that sincerity in the presentation of the content must also be assured for the fashion bloggers to win the trust of the followers. As much as the provision of personalized information is essential in linking the blogger with the targeted customers, sincerity in the presentation of the content to ensure accurate information is conveyed is mandatory in maintain the audience trust.

The new media avails platforms that can be embraced by fashion bloggers to accomplish their self-branding role. Authentic content can be easily presented over the social media platforms to allow the social media platforms, giving an opportunity for fashion bloggers to connect to a wider audience. According to Lungeanu & Parisi (2018) fashion photography that is supported over the social media platforms, especially Instagram enables the fashion bloggers to present authentic content and act as a link between the brand and the consumers. Also, through lifestyle blogging fashion bloggers are able to offer immediate fulfillment to their followers (Rocamora, 2011). As reported by Marwick (2013) lifestyle blogging is achieved when the fashion blogger showcase different fashion trends and outfits that are inspired by their daily activities, experience and interest. Fashion bloggers will communicate their life events while communicating a fashion content that is unique to the activity or event being showcased. Lifestyle blogging is a way of achieving maximum authenticity in the presentation of fashion blogs, making it an important strategy in fashion blogging.

From another perspective, Zietek (2016) has postulated that besides the desirable characteristics of a fashion blogger, ability to influence is another factor that must be considered in evaluating the effectiveness of fashion blogger in fashion brand marketing. According to the scholar, fashion bloggers can be classified as salespeople, mavens or connectors depending on their level of influence. Mavens are regarded as highly informed persons that are likely to solve the problems of many people, while connectors are defined as highly integrative people that get favors due to their connectedness (White & Matthews, 2014). Lastly, the salespersons are individuals who are good in promotional activities but are only motivated by the monetary returns (White & Matthews, 2014). Based on the findings of Zietek (2016), fashion bloggers are more likely to be highly influential when they embrace the maven and connectors traits.

Traits such as opinion leadership, collaboration, maven or authenticity attract followers depending on how well they are executed. However, Zietek (2016) has postulated that the effectiveness of the blogger should not just be determined by the number of the followers, but also by their level of engagement and reach. The number of views and likes provided in the Instagram pages are vital determinants of the effectiveness of a fashion blogger in communicating various fashion contents (De Veirman, Cauberghe & Hudders, 2017). The nature of the comments availed are also significant in the evaluation process. Fashion bloggers are more meaningful to the fashion brands if they are more engaged in their posts and receive many likes and positive comments (De Veirman, Cauberghe & Hudders, 2017). The effectiveness of a fashion blogger is not just dependent on their traits and the role showcased, but also on their reach and extent of engagement.