The 2018 Amara Interior Blogging Awards were nothing short of spectacular. The influencer guest list, glowing lanterns and the exquisite One Marylebone venue. As headline sponsors for the past two years, we’ve had the pleasure of being part of the glittering celebration before.
However, this year, there was a notable change in the world of interiors. Watching the awards ceremony from the comfort of a plush Sofa Workshop sofa (which we donated to treat bloggers to a luxury rest at the event), it was apparent that the world of interior blogging had shifted for both bloggers and brands alike.
The blogging community has ultimately become a pivotal part of future-proofing the British design industry. Outside of their social platforms, interior bloggers have shared their insight and expertise about the industry, and brands are now beginning to take their lead on trend forecasts.
Interior brands have embraced the influencer community; and why wouldn’t they? Influencers grow a following by sharing their personal life from an intimate lens. It’s real, and it’s raw. They may be just as beautiful as the glossy photographs in Harper’s Bazaar, but they seem much more authentic because, as followers, we have built a relationship with the influencer. Just by following their profile, we know their likes/dislikes, their family life, their interests, and we follow them because we can relate to one (or all) of these. Melanie Lissack, a home stylist and colour expert blogger, was certain that the effects of influencers are definitely advantageous for brands.
“I think that bloggers have huge benefits for brands, because you may have beautiful lifestyle images in magazines, but they don’t relate to a real home. Whereas if you see a blogger use this product in a real home environment, they can tell you what they love about the product, why it’s a great for a family home, how it works with kids/pets – that’s not something you get from a magazine.”
In an article for SocialMediaToday, author, Irfan Ahmed says that “94% of marketers who use influencer marketing can generate up to 11x the ROI of traditional advertising.” More brands are becoming comfortable with influencers as their brand representatives, especially since a study by Zine , a platform for influencer marketing campaigns, showed that 50% of consumers were more likely to purchase an item from someone with a smaller following than celebrities but was considered a specialist in that area.
Former editor-in-chief of British ELLE-Decoration, and this year’s Amara IBAs host, Michelle Ogundehin, is completely supportive of this newfound digital movement.
“The interiors industry is moving so fast! I think it’s fantastic to have a platform where people can respond so quickly and get news out there, because it forces the industry itself to respond just as quickly.”
Keeping it professional
Due to their reach and following, influencers are attempting to establish themselves increasingly as serious professionals.
Juan Sandiego, Interior Decorator at Boreal Abode, talked to us about the shift in the role of an influencer.
“The role of influencer is changing from less influencer to more expert, because influencing is all about the numbers.”
Even Karen Clough, marketing manager and owner of her own award-winning interior blog, ‘Well I Guess This Is Growing Up’, stresses the amount of skills required in order to pursue a career in blogging:
“You can’t just be a blogger – you need to be a photographer, you need to be able to promote yourself well, you need to take it seriously as a profession. Blogging for a lot of people is a passion project, but if you want to take that further, there’s a lot of things to juggle and it’s hard work!”
However, many influencers, including Melanie Lissack, are concerned about bloggers’ maintaining their passion during a transition from blog to a business.
“Some people blog because they love what they do with a passion; some people start to run it as a business because it’s growing as such an industry. Brands are becoming so much more aware that this is a fantastic way to market their products. I think a balance of both is really good to make a really good blog – to showcase great products, but also write about something you love.”
Influencer marketing may be on the path to becoming increasingly saturated, but statistics show that it is becoming a vital part of growing many businesses. 59% of marketers have increased their influencer marketing budgets in 2017 (according to the Influencer Orchestration Network) and this statistic is predicted to continue growing. Whatever your opinion, it’s undeniable that in 2018 and beyond, influencers growing in importance as one of the most effective ways of brands to truly bond with consumers.