Hi everyone! I have been meaning to write a post regarding sponsored posts (both here and over on Instagram), as it can be a bit of a taboo topic amongst Influencers and Bloggers, which results in confusion and mistrust from readers and followers.
Making money from Blogging and/or Instagram is still a relatively new job (I consider it a ‘real job’, yes! Especially for the big bloggers – so much behind the scenes work goes on before content can be published) and there is a lot of grey area when it comes to doing everything ‘properly’. Unfortunately, there are some people out there that give everyone else a bad name – you know the people, we all follow at least one – the ones that don’t disclose sponsored/gifted posts and will promote anything and everything for a bit of cash or freebie. This is not only morally unacceptable, but not declaring is a breach of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), and the AANA Guideline
I thought I would give a brief outline of how I approach sponsored posts, why I participate and why people shouldn’t be turned off them when they are done correctly.
I have been blogging for about 4 years now, and since I started I have been approached by companies to promote or review certain products. I would say yes here and there, but quite often turned down opportunities as they just weren’t the right fit. Fast forward 3 years and Instagram has almost taken over the Influencer Market, and opportunity for Bloggers (and Instagrammers) to make a career out of being ‘social’ became a reality. As my Instagram following steadily grew, I started to get more and more companies and small businesses approach me to help promote their products or become a Brand Ambassador. Again – I would turn down anyone that I didn’t think was a right fit. As it stands now, I am slowly getting more opportunities for paid work, both through the blog and Instagram. I am a member of a few different Influencer marketplaces (such as B-Directory, who focus on connecting Bloggers with Brands, kind of like a dating service for Businesses!) and also get approached via email. Although opportunities are increasing for me, I like to keep my feed at a 20/80 percentage rate for sponsored posts verses non-sponsored posts.
My Philosophy on partnering with brands is the same as it has been from the very beginning – I will only say yes if they are the right fit for me or something I already use and love, and if I think it is something my followers and friends would be interested in. My priority (both ethically and legally) is to always remain transparent about what I am posting. If anything is a paid partnership, I will declare it so as an advert or sponsored post. If a company has simply sent a product for my consideration with no obligation to post if I don’t want to, I will always declare that the item has been gifted, usually right in the comment section and not in the hashtags. I like to use the product for a few weeks before I decide whether to post about it or not. There are a few brands that I am loyal to (not because of a paid arrangement, but because I actually genuinely love their products!) that offer to send out their new products in exchange for images. If you follow me on Instagram you probably know what brands these are, and for example, I would never promote another baby bath care brand besides Mustela, as it is actually what I use and love, and can’t see that changing.
Children and Sponsored Content
I decided a while back that if Hunter was going to be used in any form of advertising material that I create, he too would be paid, no question. It is only fair and to be honest if influencers with children aren’t factoring this into their payments, they probably need to take a look at how their business is run!
Why I Create Sponsered Content
I am by no means at the top end of the spectrum when it comes to Influencers – in fact, I am right at the starting point. So, for now, this is just a bit of a fun hobby, with the possibility of it turning into a proper business if I am willing to put the work in. I enjoy the creative side of planning content, making sure my feed is cohesive and ‘on brand’, and building relationships with clients. If I am able to make a small income from doing something I enjoy and put a lot of work into, then why not? I read a lot online about how being a blogger, vlogger or influencer is not a ‘real job’. Is it a traditional job? No. And I think this is what scares people. But a real job? Yes, it most definitely is. There are deadlines to meet, emails and comments to respond to, IT work behind the scenes to ensure the blog runs smoothly and is on trend, keeping up with Pinterest, taking photos, editing photos, writing blog posts, the list goes on. It sometimes feels like a full-time job on a very part-time wage.
Why Sponsered Posts are not the Devil
Advertising is everywhere in our daily lives. From the moment we wake up to the moment we go to sleep, it is a constant. Over our morning coffee we are exposed to adverts on the TV or in the Newspaper, or on our Facebook or Instagram feeds. It is wherever we turn, and if Mad Men taught me anything (besides the fact that I was born in the wrong era and that Don Draper is everything), it is that advertising works. The thing about the advertising on the TV or in print, is that it is very broad. The networks and publication companies need to offer a wide variety of information to cater for the different demographics that may be exposed to at any given time. With social media, however, it is very different. We generally follow people that we have something in common with – be it a similar taste in fashion, children the same age or live in the same city, there is usually some sort of common ground that will make us click that follow button. So who better to get recommendations from, than someone who we have chosen to follow? I know some people have the ‘but I don’t want to see it on my newsfeed’ type approach to social media marketing, but advertising through these platforms is now the reality and there isn’t any amount of complaining that will make this go away. If an influencer or blogger is doing their job properly, they are aware of their target audience and will agree to sponsorships accordingly. Sure – every now and again you may see an #ad that doesn’t really interest you from someone you follow, but it doesn’t mean that that person is ‘selling themselves out’. I have been modeling for over a decade, and to be honest, the jobs in advertising that I have done through my agency are far less authentic and I get paid a lot more for those than any Instagram #ad I have done. I once did a shoot for a fast food chicken company in the Middle East. I had never tried the food, but had to pretend that myself and my fake family were the happiest we have ever been, eating this chicken. Just some food for thought. (No pun intended…)
Of course, as I mentioned above, there are always the people that ruin it for everyone else through misleading their followers and posting too many ads and not enough un-sponsored content. If an influencer is raving about a brand of yogurt one week, and then a different one the next, you have every right to call them out and not trust what they say! If they are posting sponsored content without a disclaimer, that would almost warrant an unfollow in my book, and a suggestion that they check in with their country’s Consumer and Advertising Laws.
Anyway, I hope this has given you a little insight as to why I post sponsored content, and also that I would never mislead anyone. Anything I post is something I genuinely love and want to share it with you. Anyone that knows me in real life will say that this is how I am regardless! Always recommending products to anyone that will listen! I must get super annoying, sorry friends!!
I hope everyone has had a great start to their week.