Having helped to set up social media at ASOS.com (way back in the Victorian times in 2009) through to a two year stint as Digital Fashion Editor at Cosmopolitan UK, and currently Social Media Editor for Etsy in the UK, as well as being a (bit of a) blogger meself, I like to think I’m au fait with what’s hot in the world of social media and engagement online.
So I thought I’d stick my neck out and identify seven ways the digital landscape may well change with regards to brand and blogger collaborations in 2015. Behold!
Going back to bogging basics
moaned wrote about this here, a while back. While certainly remaining professional and polished in terms of appearance, blogs will start to read less like glossy magazine shoots and a bit more like real life. The content will be more stripped-back and honest. Bloggers may well be more choosy about the projects they accept, and not feel the need to say YES to every offer that comes their way. Many fashion bloggers are already starting to shift into more lifestyle-led posts, reflecting the evolution of their own lives as they grow up, or realise there’s more to life than blagging a free handbag.
I think this ‘realism’ will also spread to other platforms like Instagram, which was designed for capturing everyday moments, and we will start to see less manipulated, perfect shots. Capturing real life moments, the beautiful in the mundane. Not staging the shit out of something so it loses all sense of reality – and feeds into the dark side of social, constantly portraying a so-called perfect life. Dangerous territory to be part of, whether jumping into the fire or fanning the flames. The blogging community needs to put on a united front against this.
Advertorial will morph into editorial
Of course, bloggers have been running sponsored posts for, like, EVER now, but it’s still too easy to sniff one out at fifty paces, whether it’s disclaimed it or not. This content just seems to stick out like a sore thumb, because no matter how much a blogger doth protest, it is usually a product they haven’t got a TRUE affinity with. I think the onus will start to shift onto the brands to become much more selective about the bloggers they work with, choosing to collaborate with those who are existing consumers or engaged with the brand, to make the partnership much more authentic, and thus beginning to blur the lines between editorial and advertorial.
Plenty more bloggers in the sea
The bloggersphere is vast, but in 2014, brand collaborations became over saturated with the same ol’ blogger faces. I am sorry to say but I became a bit bored of this, tbh. I think with the previous point coming into play, we will start to see brands think more carefully about the bloggers they choose work with, and, instead of blindly going for the usual biggies ‘just because’ or to ‘tick a box’, will consider collaborating with up-and-coming or more niche bloggers, where appropriate. Of course, bigger, more established bloggers still have their place, especially where influence is concerned, but it’s time for a change – there’s plenty of room for everyone, after all.
Specialist areas on social
I feel like people will start to specialise on specific social media channels this year. Instead of being a ‘blanket blogger’ with all of the main channels ticked off and a fairly healthy following on all of them, we will start to see experts in each field. We’ve already seen it with YouTubers, but brands will start to realise there are superstars on each platform – someone may have tens of thousands of followers on Instagram, but only a handful on Twitter, or whatever. Brands will (hopefully) finally start to realise that it’s not just about the number of page impressions (which people can embellish) but about the influence a person has, as well as the quality of the engagement. Visual channels will start to have as much importance as blogs now, if not more.
Less lists, more prose
I totally think we have reached ‘peak list’ – hellz; we were doing lists right here on Le Blow waaaay back in 2011 and they’re starting to feel tired in 2015. Yeah, Buzzfeed, I’m looking at YOU. And yup; well aware that even this post is a sort of list (IT’S TOO DARN EASY!).
Readers are growing tired of ‘link bait’ simply not delivering and are looking to click through to thoughtful, informative or enlightening posts. Off the back of this, I think there will be shift towards more ‘wordy’ posts, if the blogger is so-inclined; ones that share real life anecdotes and/or advice. Or just well-written pieces of prose; maybe even poetry! Brands can tap into this by sharing their own story; of their heritage or the people behind the brand – or by inviting influencers in and allowing them to share their story for them.
Public Vs private sharing
Newsflash: Not everyone wants to share EVERYTHING online. Scandalous, I know. So we may well see brands turn to more ‘private’ platforms, like Snapchat, Google Hangouts or closed Twitter accounts, to tap into this – and also create the feeling of exclusivity, like a members-only club. This approach won’t be for everyone, but I think certain brands will experiment with it.
This is also true of interactions with blog posts; many bloggers have observed a decline in the number of comments their posts get. People often do a ‘read and leave.’ I certainly find that people often want to comment back to me personally, on the place I’ve shared the blog post, as opposed to underneath it, so this may also mark a step change in how we consume and share content, too.
Personalisation is everything
Personalisation has been a buzz word for a while now, but with good reason. People bloody love it. They want a bespoke experience online. They want someone else to shift through the shit and serve up a digital smörgåsbord tailored to their unique tastes and needs. With this in mind, I think we will see brands using influential individuals as a way of realising this experience, especially where their own websites may not be able to deliver on the personalised content front. I also think we’ll see less of the ‘let’s send the same dress/bag/shoes to all the top bloggers so you see it everywhere and it all gets a bit bloody boring’ to brands being a bit more creative and letting the influencers themselves lead the way by driving the content and feature ideas themselves.
What do you think? How will bloggers and brands continue to work together in 2015? AMIRITE – or waaay off the mark? Let me know in the comments below, or tweet me @NatWallers.