WHY BLACK INFLUENCERS MIGHT NOT EXPERIENCE GROWTH ON INSTAGRAM + OUTFIT POST

Estimated read time: 6 minutes.

DISCLAIMER: Views expressed by author are solely opinions and observations and in no way attempt to represent said views as truth/facts. My opinions do not apply to ALL people of color, most things are not absolute and so is this post. I do not want to be misinterpreted, the people I mention are just used as examples, nothing more, nothing less. I actually admire them, so.

I am not sure how this blog post is going to go. I may be coherent or just all over the place. However, I will attempt to express my opinions as eloquently as I possibly can. And the word fashion blogger/blogger will be used interchangeably with influencer to avoid undue repetition.

This post was inspired by an instagram story I saw last week on @sadesolomon (instagram handle), where a speaker was voicing uncertainty as to why black instagram fashion influencers might not be as successful as those from other races. After a discussion with a blogger friend of mine, this post was brought to life.

  1. INTERESTS: Before I elucidate, growing on instagram requires consistent posting of pictures that is of interest to people. So with that being said, the formula for growth is pretty basic. Post anything that is of interest to you and people who are interested will follow and interact on your page. I do not need to go further than this because most of us know about quality content and blablabla that further fosters growth. On to black interests, I have observed that the classic kind of fashion is not a successful niche for black bloggers/influencers. Why? I am not sure but I can say for sure, that if you post “fashion nova” kind of outfits, you are more likely to have an increased following than if you posted say, a loose fitting mock neck sweater and below the knee leather skirt. Might I add that the fashion blogger niche is grossly over-saturated, so succeeding regardless of a race is tough, add being black and you get tougher.

    On interests, black followers have a preference for makeup over my type of fashion. Hence, why black make-up influencers get quite successful on instagram. We love makeup. Most top influencers of color are make-up artists with a knack for fashion. That is why they get invited to fashion events with likes of song of style and Camilla Coelho. Case in point, Jackie Aina invited to a revolve getaway or Draya on a revolve tour. We know it is about the numbers.

    Dance (entertainment in general): We(blacks) love to follow people who can dance or entertain us. Black comics have a huge following also. It makes sense, people want to laugh and be happy and this reason cuts across all races. Back to dance, I mean I watched an instagrammer go from 47,000 followers to 104,000(currently) in 4 months because she dances occasionally on instagram. Not to say she couldn’t have done it without dancing, but doing the #kekechallenge launched her into limelight and boosted her following. And because I follow her I have been able to track her growth after each dance video she posts. So if you wanna grow, dance, be sure to be pretty, and do it in “fashion nova” prototype outfits..lol.

    Hair: How could I forget hair? Hair, especially natural hair is a big part of the black woman. Therefore, a page about hair is likely to garner more following, PERIOD.

2. NUMBERS: This is common sense. Bigger bloggers are more likely to experience exponential growth than smaller bloggers. Reasons being, most brands pay them to advertise products which in turn grants them exposure to said brand followers. Also, if your post is popular enough, you are more likely to end up on the explore page which in turns opens you to more audience. Numbers is why big brands choose larger influencers who are mostly cauc(asian) to promote their products. I know we decry it and scream diversity but to be fair, they need to make their money back and a black influencer with 300,000 following WILL not yield as much profit as a lighter skinned blogger with over 4,000,000. It sucks but that is the reality of these things. Plus, there are very very few big influencers of color and that is why brands like revolve will pick Draya and Jackie Aina who are not fashion influencers as their diversity quota.

3. QUALITY: This is mostly unintentional and even I just began learning what qualifies as quality fabric. I hate to say it and might get chewed out for it but we do not seem to value quality. And that is why brands like fashion nova and pretty little thing appeal to us than say Nordstrom. This is understandable as such stores caters to the black woman’s body (curves and all). I am not super into eco-friendly fashion but during my research on this topic on youtube, I did not come across one black youtuber who talked about quality of fabrics we wear and so on. Not to say they do not exist, I just did not find any. It boils down to why people who wear such clothing from the above listed brands get more following too. We like it slinky (read: stretchy polyester) and body-hugging. There is nothing wrong with that, I would do the same if it was my taste. Matter of fact, I do when I hang out with my friends for a night in town. Let’s leave it here, fabrics and sustainability is a topic I will write on later.

4.WHO KNOWS?: This part is a mishmash of likely reasons that can be applied to anyone and everyone.

  • Quality of posts: People, including myself like high-quality photos. I, like everyone else am striving to improve on my quality. Therefore, post quality photos and edit it. Most people do not like unprocessed photos, we like it edited. A good percentage of bloggers have a particular aesthetic to their feed that people have come to enjoy and expect, so if it is your cup of tea, I say go for it.

  • Timing of posts: I have very limited knowledge on this topic but I would say posting at 9pm on a week day is less likely to get more interaction than if you posted on lunchtime on that same day.

  • Instagram ALGORITHM: The dreaded word on instagram…lol. This definitely affects everyone. Ain’t nothing we can do about that.

I hope you have enjoyed this blog post. This is veering away from my usual, however, I am open to discussing my thoughts on here. Let me know what you think in the comments below. Has this been your observation? What do you think is the cause of stunted growth? Or are we successful and I am just talking nonsense? I love a good monochrome and I went on a limb with this outfit and I do love it. My outfit is thrifted save for the shoes which are from catofashion. I have linked similar items below.

Shoes (similar), Top (similar), pants (similar), bag (similar), Scarf (similar), bag (similar)

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