Today I finally decided to tackle a huge topic of controversy in the blogosphere. Whether or not you can trust bloggers/influencers. It is something that affects both readers and peers alike. Since I fall in both categories, I’m hoping I can give you a holistic view of the issue and how we can overcome it. And since I am a beauty blogger myself (I mostly speak for my own niche), you can browse around my website and my social media (links are at the top) and decide for yourself based on my recommendations below whether or not I can be trusted too.
They have fake followers
This is like a swear word in the blogosphere. You drop your jaw in shock and shake your head in disgust. It’s only in the few years or so that people realised it was a ‘thing’. It seems people have been buying followers since the inception of Instagram in 2010. For as little as $3 for 100 followers or 100 likes, fake followers are practically being presented on a silver platter. Some bloggers believe this is a small price to pay for brands to notice them and other Instagram users to follow suit.
Initially, it was easy to spot them. An account with more than 10k followers getting less than 100 likes on a photo. Obviously, the math doesn’t add up. But since you can buy likes too and companies offering ‘quality’ packages, it’s hard to spot with the naked eye. Now it’s up to companies like Fohr Card who audit accounts and issue a certificate for having an authentic following. It’s a manual process but one I think all bloggers and influencers should undertake if they value the opinion and support of their followers.
Only wanting free products
As I mentioned, one of the main reasons bloggers/influencers would buy followers/likes is to receive free products or services. That’s one of the perks of the job. Some people don’t want to put in the hard work to get credit and be recognised so they take the easy way out. On the other hand, bloggers that want to receive free products and don’t really have a passion for what they do, are a bit harder to pick out from the crowd. Over my years of blogging, here are a few telltale signs of how to spot them.
Everything they try is a ‘favourite’
Every single product they feature, they love. Now I’m not saying it’s not impossible to love all the products you try, but tell us why. How is it better than the previous ‘favourite’ of yours?
They compare the product to high-end brands
Everyone loves a good dupe. Myself included. But some people don’t even know the true meaning of a dupe (I’ll explain it in Friday’s post). Some bloggers want to seem ‘cool’ by writing about how they have a dupe for a Chanel lipstick or a Dior Foundation. Have you tried the high-end product? Have you even swatched it in store? Just because it’s the same colour doesn’t mean it’s a dupe.
See what they purchase themselves
I rave about brands like Glamglow, Clinique, Urban Decay, etc over and over here on the blog. I’ve received PR from these companies before but 80% of the products I own from them, I purchased myself. I don’t want to hear some BS about some bloggers are on a budget and are not by the means. I know those bloggers personally and if you love a brand as much as you claim, you’ll save up to purchase their products every now and again, even if it means buying it second hand.
Their blog contains a lot of filler posts
I have blogged in the past about travel, fashion and sometimes even new makeup collections being released I have not personally tried. We all get those times where we get writer’s block but still want to create content for our readers. Nothing wrong with that. I’m talking about the bloggers that write about products and how great they are but post only images from the internet. I understand some people’s photo and editing skills are something they want to improve, so do I, but I’m sorry, I find it hard to trust a review if I don’t even believe you own the product.
They write one-liner reviews
I’m all for favourite posts. It gives readers like us a chance to see what you’ve loved and used throughout the month. Almost always there is a backlink to a proper review before or after you’ve tested it out. I wish I could do more of those but I always find myself too late to the party. But an entire review on a product that’s practically 50 words? Most of which is the price and where to buy. Are you actually interested in reviewing the product for me as a reader or is it just to tag the brand on social media and email them that you’ve done a blog post?
They never say anything negative
This ties in with everything being a favourite and the media list below but one thing I do want to mention is that if a blogger is not telling you what didn’t work for them, how are they helping you?
They don’t want to be kicked off a media/PR list
This is a touchy subject for me but in a good way. I can count on my two hands the number of PR lists I’ve been kicked off of. And not for the right reasons. I understand if a company stops sending you products to test out if you A) never feature the products they send you and they don’t feel it is profitable for them or B) they feel someone else is more suited to promoting the products to suit their needs. However, I’ve been kicked off of PR lists for being honest. Apparently, there’s an unwritten agreement between brands and bloggers that if you don’t like a product then you’re not supposed to feature it. I obviously didn’t get the memo. So if you know and the world knows for a fact that a product is crap and a blogger still praises it, they probably don’t want to get kicked off someone’s list.
They get paid for advertising everything
Now I’m not saying this is a bad thing. I admire and aspire to be one of those bloggers who gets paid for every single thing I promote. For some blogging is a full-time job and that’s exactly how it should be because it takes a lot of effort. I’m referring to those bloggers who promote everything under the sun, completely unrelated to their niche. A ‘beauty blog’ with links to Chinese street food and an English tutor in Spain. And then it’s not disclosed that you got paid for your weird and strange content. If I see that, the trust is put out like a burning flame and I’ll never read any of your posts again.
So should you trust bloggers/influencers?
Well, that’s completely up to you. Based on the things I’ve listed above, you can decide whether or not your favourite bloggers should be trusted. Sometimes they might be guilty of all of the above and sometimes only one. And it might have been a lapse in judgement but now they’re back on the straight path so to say. I’m not calling anyone out and if you choose to run a blog or promote products in a certain way, that’s your business. But for all the readers out there, why not prompt your favourite blogger/influencer to get their following verified by Fohr Card so that can stand as a statement saying ‘I want you to trust me’. At the end of the day, it is still an individual human being on the other end.
Whether or not you should trust bloggers/influencers review is subjective. As a beauty blogger, my main objective is to provide you with what’s new on the market and provide you with as much information on that product as possible. I will always let you know what worked and didn’t work, what I liked and didn’t like regardless of whether it is self-bought, provided by PR, received for free or sponsored. I’ve run my blog for my readers and followers and because makeup and writing is truly a passion of mine. I also have faith that what is meant for me will be regardless of whether my review contains negative points or not.
I have always been of the opinion that whilst I do want to work with many brands under my belt, those that continue to send me products even after I review a product negatively, is one I love even more. Those are the brands that realise everyone is different and that all products won’t work the same for all. Similarly so, when you read my blog, always remember that we have different skin types, complexions, concerns and other physical and emotional factors (pollution and stress) that affect us differently. What works for me may not work for you and vice versa. All I ask is that you reach out so that we may learn from each other. I might even just change my tagline to ‘I don’t know everything but I want to know more’. I say that only in a beauty sense because my studying days are over.
FYI – My Fohr Card certificate is saved on my Instagram Story Highlights
BTW – This post is not sponsored in case you were wondering
PS – I disclose the status in every single post at the end of the review
Drop your comments below if you want to share your opinion! Thanks for reading.