An analysis of the influence of two different categories of fashion bloggers- one who share more of their personal lives with their followers and the second who blog strictly professional content. In the first part of the study, the content curated on Instagram by the world's top ten fashion and lifestyle bloggers was examined to study their following. The second part was a survey to collect primary data.


The transformation that social media has made in the field of communication has been commend-able because of its relatively more conversational nature. It has brought people together to share their experiences, activities and behaviours with other like-minded users. Instagram is now a huge stage for showcasing audio-visual content, including fashion, lifestyle, photography, art, couture and gourmet. Social media platforms are not only used to publicise and market major brands and celebrities, these have also given people a different profession: blogging and v-logging.  More and more users are using social media to promote their services and interact with their followers to maintain and increase their following.

We conducted a study to analyse two different categories of online bloggers-professional and personal. Professional bloggers were categorised based on the content they share with little or no information about their private lives. For example, a strictly professional beauty blogger will share great reviews about the latest make-up launched by the industry and post  make-up tutorials of-fering inputs on quality, feel, finish, price and overall liking of the product, but does not give extra inputs of personal day-to-day life information while shooting the video or writing a review. Per-sonal bloggers are the ones who not only share their private lives with their followers, but also re-spond and interact with them on a daily or weekly basis while making their v-log or while writing their captions or stories. They talk about their respective field and may share life hacks, 'story-times', self-help tips, real life stories of mental illness, depression, bullying and other details of their personal life.

As a result of the content analysis, it could be found that while all bloggers posted both personal and professional content, 7 out of 10 posted more professional content. Only 1 blogger was found to post more personal content and 2 posted an equal amount of both. Also, 8 out of 10 bloggers used personal content to promote other brands or creators.

This study was conducted to analyse which category of bloggers have a more loyal following based on their online content. The primary objective of the study is to analyse professional versus per-sonal content in establishing audience loyalty.

Framing the hypothesis

Social media stars are increasingly sharing more and more information about their personal lives, and this kind of inside-look at the lives of others seems to be a subject of great intrigue for netizens. There are YouTube, Instagram and other social media blogs created with the sole pur-pose of keeping tabs on and informing the followers of influencers with details of controversies and happenings in their personal lives. YouTubers like Jeffree Star, Trisha Paytas and Tana Mon-geau regularly post videos in which they sit down and 'speak' to their followers about their per-sonal lives, labelling it 'story time' or 'life update', and admittedly a lot of their fame comes not from the professional work they post on social media, but from the controversies and scandals that they had been involved in. The popularity of such videos with the online audience also cannot be overlooked. People speak of these influencers and their lives with a sense of familiarity. Big-ticket celebrities like the Kardashians have constructed an entire empire out of broadcasting their personal lives for audiences around the world to see. The new generation of online influencers and celebrities seems to believe in being more connected to its followers. Pictures 1 and 2 below are examples.

Pic. 1 Jeffree Star is a make-up artist and beauty influencer (Source: YouTube)

Pic. 2 The Kardashians are a family who share their life in a highly publicized TV show called 'Keep-ing Up With the Kardashians' (Source: Instagram/@krisjenner)

It is also observed that brands that build their identities around or lead with emotionally charged content or narrate the real-life stories through their advertising campaigns tend to incite more people to buy their products or services. Bearing this in mind, it is necessary to ask whether sharing your personal information on a public platform is a pre-requisite to engaging and gaining the loyalty of an audience? This study tries to answer this question.


Fashion bloggers who share more personal content and con-nect with their audiences on a more emotional level will incite a larger and more loyal following.

While fashion bloggers' do find a place in the hierarchy of fashion media, and more widely within the structure of the fashion industry, the phenomenon is increasingly attracting the attention of fashion scholars. Prior research has studied how bloggers obtain social capital, negotiate with the fashion industry, create and define markets and influence consumers by creating electronic word of mouth. Though these studies highlight the significance of fashion bloggers, there have hardly been any investigation on the difference in impact of their content on followers based on whether the information shared is personal or strictly professional.

In the past, we have seen the effect of emotions on the mind of consumers. But in the fashion industry, which is a largely professional and impersonal industry and where emotions rarely play a role in marketing and selling, it would be interesting to study whether the same rules apply.

One of the main factors behind the rise of the fashion blogger as a youth icon in today's times has been the relative accessibility and the perception as a more relatable figure than celebrities like designers and movie stars, who have traditionally been the trendsetters. Fashion also seems to be developing a conscience with the advent of all-inclusive clothing lines, sustainable fashion and cul-tural appreciation rather than appropriation as well as talks about body positivity.


The research design, done on a popula-tion of avid followers of fashion bloggers in India, was descriptive in nature. Con-venience sampling technique, a non-probability technique, was performed, to arrive at the required sample of 70 respondents, among which were stu-dents of five centres of the National In-stitute of Fashion Technology-Kannur, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Del-hi. In addition, non-fashion students from colleges in Hyderabad, Mumbai, Jaipur, Bhopal and Delhi were also sur-veyed as part of the convenience sam-ple. ,

According to a 2013 study, the major phenomenon in the success of fashion bloggers is the Mega-phone effect, which is the situation of the web making a mass audience potentially available to ordinary customers. The concept of fashion bloggers is just one instance of a larger phenomenon involving online reviews and user-generated content that is becoming increasingly popular with people. Another research found fashion bloggers are important because of their micro-celebrity status and their influence on their followers. The increased personal connection and one-on-one interaction of fashion bloggers with their followers could be a huge factor in their popularity and potential marketability..

Data Analysis and Interpretation

Qualitative data analysis: For data collection, 10 of the most followed fashion bloggers on Insta-gram were identified and content analysis of their Instagram posts was conducted. For each blog-ger, every 5th post on their Instagram feed was selected and a total of 10 posts per blogger were taken for analysis. The posts were analysed based on whether:

     The content shared was personal or professional

     Whether the bloggers responded to their followers' comments

     Whether personal posts were used to promote brands or for endorsements

The 10 bloggers and their number of views are given in Table 1.

Table 1. Number of views per blogger

The findings of the content analysis were as follows:

  • Out of the 10 bloggers, seven were more into postingprofessional content. Only one was found to post more personal content and twoposted an equal amount of both.

  • Every blogger posts both personal as well as professionalcontent. However, most fashion blog-gers post more of professional content(outfit posts, fashion week reports, paid promos with brands etc.) thanpersonal (life hacks, photos with family and friends, personal write-ups,candid pictures and selfies, travel posts etc.)

  • Eight out of ten bloggers used their personal posts to promote brands or other creators.

The findings are represented in Chart 1, where X-axis depicts each blogger and Y-axis depicts the number of their posts in personal and professional categories:

Chart 1: Personal vs. Professional content

It could be observed that eight out of 10 bloggers used their personal posts to promote brands or other creators. None of the bloggers responded to the comments of their followers under their posts.

Quantitative data analysis: A simple percentage analysis of the data collected through question-naire was performed to obtain the following results:

Fig. 1 Gender distribution of respondents

The majority of the respondents were females with a 1:9 male-female ratio. Many male fashion students were not followers of fashion bloggers.

Fig. 2 Age distribution of respondents

The majority of the respondents (74 per cent) were of the 20-25 age group, primarily because the study focused on students.

Fig. 3 Respondent's place of domicile

Most respondents (81 per cent) belonged to urban India.

Fig. 4 Respondent's preference of fashion bloggers

The majority of respondents (62 per cent) preferred international bloggers to national bloggers, largely attributed to the content of their posts.

Fig. 5 Respondent's preference of fashion blog content

In the case of fashion and lifestyle bloggers, the majority of the respondents (82 per cent) pre-ferred to read fashion content (such as outfit pictures, fashion show reviews, fashion photography etc.) in the blog as opposed to knowing about the personal lifestyle (their travels, life hacks, self-care routines, etc.) of the bloggers.

Fig. 6 Respondent's interest to read personal posts

Even though professional fashion content is preferred over personal lifestyle content, a good number of respondents appreciate when bloggers post about their private day-to-day lives. This could be well gauged from the above graph, where 42 per cent of the respondents were interest-ed in personal post whereas 52 per cent were not.

Fig. 7 Respondent's aspiration to follow personal lifestyles similar to bloggers

An equal number of respondents aspired as well as did not aspire to have similar personal lifestyles as of their favorite bloggers. This is pertinent information for the fashion bloggers as half the mar-ket was enthusiastic about emulating their favorite bloggers. This is an equally valid finding for marketers as non-paid advertisements through these bloggers can fetch decent revenues in the long run.

Fig. 8 Influence of product choice of fashion bloggers on respondents' preferences

For 80 per cent of the blog readers, product choice of their bloggers had a major influence on their buying behaviour. When connected with the findings of Fig.7, this is an optimistic bullish input for the market.

Fig. 9 Respondents' perception of receiving personal attention of bloggers

A whopping 91 per cent of the followers highly appreciated the fact that bloggers paid personal attention to their queries and took the time out to interact well with their followers. This means that the personal connection of bloggers to their audience might serve as an important way to build audience loyalty.

Fig. 10 Influence of bloggers' day-to-day activities on respondents

Although the majority of people appreciate knowing about the personal day-to-day activities of fashion bloggers, most of them (59 per cent) were not influenced into incorporating similar activi-ties in their day-to-day life.

Fig. 11 Respondents' perception of strictly professional content on blogs

Four-fifths of respondents believed fashion blogs with more professional content and less person-al content consumed less time of the readers, and provided necessary information within a shorter span of time.

Fig. 12 Enhancement of brand loyalty while bloggers share own experiences

Eighty three per cent of the respondents felt they were likely to be more loyal to a brand, product or service if bloggers shared personal stories and experiences relating to it, for example talking of their own struggles with skin problems while endorsing a particular cosmetic brand. This indicates that a personal or emotional connect could be an effective marketing tool.

Fig. 13 Follower loyalty and blogger category

Overall, majority of the respondents were of the opinion that strictly professional bloggers who share their personal information only occasionally as opposed to those that are regular sharers of personal content, incite more audience loyalty.

Each question was framed to understand whether the respondents were leaning towards person-al or professional content from bloggers. The results are summarised in Table 2 below.

Table 2. Blog content

Results of Hypothesis Testing

  • Qualitative analysis: The content analysis ofbloggers posts shows that the majority of them post more professional contentthan personal information and their interaction with their followers is alsovery minimal. This disproves the assumption that having a personal connectionwith your audience is a pre-requisite to engaging them and gaining theirloyal-ty.

  • Quantitative analysis: The results of the questionnaire survey reveal that those who fol-low fashion bloggers are inclined towards more professional content from them.

Thus, the results of both disprove the hypothesis that fashion bloggers who share more personal content and connect with their audiences on a more emotional level will incite a larger and more loyal following.

Findings and Discussion

  • The majority of the respondentswere females (74 per cent), even though the top earning fashion and lifestylebloggers in the world include a considerable number of male bloggers. Thiscould be because of a general disinterest of men in experimenting with fashionchoic-es or that the posts of male fashion bloggers are made to cater to afemale audience. The fashion blogger world is still considerably female-dominated.

  • Even though cent per cent ofour sample respondents were from India, they still followed internationalbloggers more than national bloggers. The top 10 highest earning fashionbloggers did not include any bloggers from India. This indicates that theemergence and in-fluence of fashion bloggers in India is still a fairly new andgrowing concept. This could however, also indicate, that the content by Indianbloggers may be lacking in global appeal, and that opens doors of opportunity foraspiring Indian fashion bloggers.

  • Most people follow fashionbloggers for the professional content they post.

  • While the sharing of personalcontent is also appreciated, it is preferred that they do so on-lyoccasionally.

  • The product and fashion choicesare a huge influence on their followers' buying behav-iours, but the bloggers'personal lifestyle choices do not inspire the same effect in them.

  • Although strictly professional bloggers are preferred because they provide more relevant content in a short span of time, it cannot be ignored that personal stories and the intimate connection of a blogger with a particular brand that they are endorsing may be used as a marketing tool and help build brand loyalty.


The study shows that professional content related to fashion is more popular than personal con-tent in the case of fashion bloggers. While most, if not all bloggers, post a mix of both types of con-tent, social media users following their profiles, do so more for the posts relating to outfits, fashion news, and information on brands.

The posting of personal content is appreciated only occasionally. However, a lot of bloggers use posts sharing personal information to promote or endorse a product or service. This shows that the effect of emotions in building a connection with a particular product or brand cannot be over-looked.

Also, in today's times, people are very quick to decipher the genuineness of bloggers' claims and connection with a particular brand or product. A number of celebrities have been called out for endorsing products such as FitTea and appetite-suppressing lollipops that contain laxative agents without any basis for the claims on the effects of such products. Therefore, if brands want their products or services to be endorsed by a blogger, they would have to be ready to prove the genu-ineness of their products to the bloggers they are paying to endorse them and to the people.

Nevertheless, the resulting voice of an influencer who endorses a brand with his personal stories of having a good experience with a particular service or product is hugely impactful for followers. This type of endorsement is appreciated only if it is presented in a very subtle manner without be-ing too obvious or preachy in fashion.

As the respondents of this study were either fashion students or those related to the fashion field, that could have caused the results to be biased.

About the Authors: Fezeena Khadir is an assistant professor at Christ Deemed to be University in Bengaluru. She has an MBA and PhD in marketing management. Her areas of interest are fashion consumption, sustainable fashion, luxury marketing, and customer complaining behavior. Apoorva Bhardwaj, Anchita Potumanchi, Paromita Thakur, Priya Kaurav are students at the Na-tional Institute of Fashion Technology's Kannur campus in Kerala.


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