Date Posted: Monday 3rd April 2017
DIARY directory recently caught up with Charlotte Jones, blogger and social media professional. The influencer covers hair, hauls and health, dabbling in lots of beauty too, while sharing tips on how to style outfits and push the boundaries in fashion but in a wearable way. Charlotte only started concentrating on her blog at the start of 2017 but currently balances this with managing all content and social media for L’Oréal Paris.
|Date of birth:||14/07/91 - age 25|
|County & country of residence:||United Kingdom, Essex|
|3 main areas of focus:||Hair, Hauls and Health|
|5 specific areas of interest:||
Fashion, beauty, hair, travel, lifestyle
|Skin tone:||white and fairly pale|
|Hair colour:||(currently) Unicorn it changes colour every 2-4 weeks|
|Shoe size:||3 (with insoles in every pair of shoes I own)|
Listed in DIARY directory in the digital influencers subsection, along with 1000+ categorised influencers for PRs to work with, Charlotte tells us how brands and influencers can work better together, how she balances a day job with blogging and why it's important to stay true to yourself.
Coming from a social, content and digital PR background, is this what inspired you to launch your blog?
My background in social/PR/content didn't inspire me to set up my blog to be completely honest. Blogging actually came before all of this. I’ve been in the beauty & fashion industry for around 4/5 years now and started blogging before it was even a thing, roughly 7 years ago when I was at University. I was determined to be a journalist during university, so I set up a personal blog. I also landed a role at more! magazine, blogging online for them. However the magazine blog never took off. It’s interesting, because they were ahead of game, but I don’t think consumers were ready for it and they heavily invested in the magazine vs. online. The magazine closed down and I fell into PR, however I knew I wanted to go into digital eventually, but PR gave me the best platform for the role I’m in now. I set up charlottejonsie.com last year because I’ve always been passionate about blogging and missed it, because I put my career first. I needed a platform to share my tone of voice and release my creative side. I also feel positivity is missing from the very negative social media world, so I’m hoping to bring more positive vibes through my Instagram stories and eventually YouTube.
You have the unique insight of seeing things from both the brand and blogger perspective - what advice could you give?
My advice to brands is to stop being obsessed with reach. Of course it's important, but it’s more important to understand what influence the blogger has over their audience. Many brands forget about the audience that they are speaking to through the influencer. Who are you talking to? This influencer may be incredibly beautiful, but do they have a connection with their audience, enough influence to make their audience buy the product/fall in love with the brand? Engagement is so important today. Look at what comments the influencer is receiving. If an audience is engaged they will ask questions. If the comments are "this is great, well done, great post" this isn't real engagement. I have seen more engagement from some micro influencers and influence over their audience than some top influencers.
My advice to bloggers is to collaborate with the brand. There are too many bloggers these days who are one sided. From a brand POV, I want to work with people who are as passionate about the content creation for the campaign as much as we are. Build a relationship with the brand via PRs/social managers. Please do not expect payment for everything, there always needs to be element of organic from your side. We're more likely to work with you if you do both organic and paid.
Have you had any difficulties that you didn’t expect when launching your blog?
Yes I did. I tried to be "that blogger", taking shots in front of white walls in Chelsea. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that and I obviously love the aesthetic, hence why I tried to recreate it. However I soon realised it wasn't me. I'm colourful and bright. Only until I started being me and creating content that was my own style and creative vision, my following/traffic increased. The hardest part is finding you and your niche in a cluttered and competitive industry. Also just throwing it out there, coding is the hardest part of building a blog. It’s hard work!
How do you balance your day job with your blog?
I have to laugh at this question, balance is something I struggle with. Admittedly I haven’t found balance yet. I work hard and long hours in my day job at L’Oréal, but I'm committed to my blog and social media. Honestly passion drives me to do both. My blog & Instagram gives me an outlet to unleash my creativity in a different way that my day job doesn't allow me to do.
What are your top social media tips for growing a following?
• Stay true to yourself
• Carve out your niche
• Connect with your audience
What would be a dream collaboration that hasn’t yet presented itself?
I reckon my followers could actually answer this. It would be Missguided! I’m obsessed with their clothes and branding. It’s a great fit with mine ;-) If I was to choose a beauty brand it would be spectrum collections or Tarte cosmetics. Anything that promotes unicorns, mermaids, sparkles or holographic I'm there
What are your thoughts on influencers buying followers & is it getting harder to establish whose following is genuine?
No I don't believe it is harder to establish this. I just think brands need to take more time to look at engagement and in particular comments. A like is important, but it’s very easy to like something. A comment that is genuine is someone who has taken time to respond. People who have bought followers don’t have the level of engagement. I work for a brand and I have to make sure who we are using for campaigns has a genuine connection with their audience. It's why I champion micro influencers because I believe they can sometimes be just as or more influential than those top influencers who don't connect with their audience. I know some bloggers who have fewer than 10k yet their engagement is incredible! They influence purchase decisions. Being a blogger myself allows me to think like this. I see how I influence my audience by the comments I receive and the continuous engagement. However don’t get me wrong, people with a huge following can really influence.
How should you declare a sponsored post & do you feel that engagement for a post is lessened by declaring it as such?
There are ASA rules everyone has to abide by when it comes to sponsored posts on any platform. If you’re a blogger you must read them. I know all about it working for L’Oréal, I have to be very tight on this and ensure everyone is declaring their paid posts. I’m really passionate about pushing lifestyle content vs the really branded content at the minute. A good example of this is the #BabyRoll launch at the pink house recently. That was the first big step for L’Oréal Paris in terms of lifestyle content, but I feel it worked better than other launches. We shall see. The content works much better than heavily branded content. The consumer engages far more when the product is integrated into the content in a creative way vs. being pushed.
From a personal POV, I've only ever done one sponsored post, which was last year. I only started focusing on my blog properly at the beginning of this year and have started being contacted by brands. However I think it’s important to only work with brands that really compliment yours.
What, if any, metrics do you provide to a PR after a sponsorship campaign to help them measure success?
With your day job, you attend social & digital marketing conferences & talks - where is the industry heading?
Video and live content is becoming huge. Brands and influencers need to focus on this. It allows you to connect with your audience more. People love the editorial look because it's aspirational. However blogging became successful because it was honest and connected to the consumer on a deeper level that traditional media wasn't able to do. Some people are losing this. I think the industry has gone too far with the idealistic view of perfection; people are craving more raw content. Ever since I started doing Instagram stories, my engagement and following started to increase.
How do you think brands/PRs can work better with influencers?
What would your advice be to someone who wanted to launch a blog in this busy arena?
Don't follow in anyone's footsteps, create your own.
What other bloggers /influencers do you follow and why?
This answer could be pages and pages long! I literally follow so many and have a lot of love for so many!
Here are some my fave influencers:
Charlotte Jones in 'digital influencers'
The DIARY directory platform provides fashion, beauty and lifestyle industry news, interviews, dates, vacancies and contacts. Our huge database of contacts includes thousands of digital influencers, media titles (UK and overseas) and their editorial teams, freelance journalists and creatives, PRs and brands and representative agencies. Live and sortable social media stats for entries allow comparative analysis and insight within filtered sections, plus additional engagement metrics for industryINFLUENCERS.
Get in touch to discover how DIARY directory membership would benefit you.