Monetizing Social : The Bloggernauts

I hope you didn’t click on this post and expect to hear from a fashion guru. For the record, my fashion sense can be broken down very simply:

  1.  My most complimented piece of clothing (a down vest) was a gift from my Mom.
  2.  From 2006-2012 I was known for wearing one of the most dreaded fashion faux pas of the early 21st century. WARNING, picture below may be considered obscene and NSFW…

By now I hope you’ve concluded I won’t be starting a fashion blog anytime soon. Luckily, there’s an entire digital ecosphere of personal style bloggers at the touch of your fingers – and they are currently disrupting the fashion industry. I wish I took note in 2006, but I’m finally catching up.

Through massive social followings and brand partnerships, personal style bloggers are solidifying what marketers everywhere are experiencing; customers have stopped trusting traditional forms of advertising.

In February, writer Lauren Sherman posted an article ranking the 20 Most Influential Style Bloggers of 2015. They were graded on four different metrics:

  1. Online engagement – Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Pinterest Followers, as well as website traffic.
  2. Brand extensions – original products they’ve created that have developed mass followings
  3. “It” Factor – who is moving the most products via affiliate links and making advertisers very happy.
  4. Google News searches – because Google is still pretty powerful.

The #1 ranked personal style blogger was none other than Chiara Ferragni. With over 3.3 million Instagram followers, Chiara gets the same number of eyes on her photos as thethird largest Luxury Brand in the world, Gucci! According to Forbes, Gucci does a whopping $4.7 billion in sales.

30a-insta          30b-insta

But Chiara’s presence in the marketing landscape doesn’t stop with her massive social following or flowing red locks. Promoted links on her site actually drive traffic and conversions for brands.  According to a recent Harvard case study, she’s projected to earn$9 million in 2015 and her personal collection is projected to earn an astounding $11 millionin annual revenue by 2016.

Chiara is certainly the queen of the fashion blogosphere, but the top isn’t lonely in this case. Swiss model-blogger, Kristina Bazan, is only 21 and has already worked with luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, Hugo Boss and Piaget. Nicolette Mason, another bloggernaut, launched her own Modcloth collection last fall and regularly appears on “Today” and “Good Morning America”.

Fashion bloggers are leveraging their massive social outreach and actually bridging the gap between social and commerce right before our eyes. But why? How are they converting social media users to purchase? Because 92% of consumers trust earned mediaabove all other forms of advertising (Nielsen).

3.3 million people follow Chiara because they want to follow her. They trust her opinion because she’s an expert. These are painfully obvious statements, I know, but there’s a bigger picture for marketers.

31-juggernaut bar

Links provided by bloggers show the consumer someone they trust endorses a product, and whom else do consumers trust? They trust the opinions of real people. Coinciding with photos and videos on blogs, user-generated content is authentic and has no brand affiliations. When UGC is integrated into the e-Commerce experience industry standards show a 5-8% sales lift for brands. Just as personal style bloggers convert social media users to purchase, brands can now invest in software that will show real conversions from social.

But hey, don’t take my word for it, I did wear socks and sandals for six years.


Topics: UGC, Industry News, Best Practices, User Generated Content, Blogs