You know when you’re scrolling through Instagram and see your favorite bloggers with a super cute picture, but then you look closer and see that it’s actually promoting a product. But then you see a bunch of people promoting products and you start to wonder…maybe I do need this product. This is the power of sponsored posts. And with the current Instagram climate, you’re probably going to continue seeing them. I’m sharing my thoughts on sponsored posts, why I decided to start doing them, and a bit about what I think the future of sponsored posts will be.
Why Bloggers do Sponsored Posts
When I first became a blogger, I started blogging because I had a lot of thoughts I wanted to write down and share. And then it turned into something different—I learned that there was this whole big world of influencing and I considered whether I wanted to be a part of this world. At first, I didn’t go into blogging expecting to make money. I was having fun doing it, lots of fun actually, and it started to become one of my passions. But then my passion, started to take up a lot of time, effort, and some money. And pictures from a professional photographers. And then I realized why other bloggers say yes to these sponsored posts because they do indeed take time, money and effort. So my thinking started to change about them. Basically, bloggers who are trying to have a business, whatever size it is, use sponsored posts as a way to sustain their business, or to get products/services that they need. For example–see posts about meal product kits, diapers, or mattresses? Those are all necessities that we all need and can get expensive. (Note: I’m saying food for your family is a necessity, not necessarily just meal kits : ) ).
Personally, I am someone who gets really passionate about sharing products, services, or restaurants I love with others. Even before I became an influencer, my friends and family knew that I was the “go to” person for reviews on a myriad of things. I even used to be an avid Yelper! As my Instagram following began to grow, I realized I could make recommendations of products or services I love through Instagram as well.
I’m not going to go into the specific details of how exactly bloggers get paid because it varies, but basically, the more followers you have and the higher engagement rate (engagement=followers, likes, comments), the more the you gets paid. Other companies exchange a product or service for a review. Some companies do both. Bloggers typically have to sign contracts to follow certain requirements that the companies have for claims about their products. Per FTC regulations, bloggers have to put #sponsored in their instagram post and sometimes #ad as well.
It’s Okay to Say No
My blogging guru, Jenna Kutcher, talks a lot about the power of saying no and the importance of staying true to your brand, Even though you see me promoting a number of different products on my feed, know that behind the scenes, I am actually saying no to opportunities. Why? I want to stay in line with my values and what I post about on Instagram and on my blog. For example, I talk a lot about body acceptance and body positivity, so I will NEVER agree to promote diet products, especially any type of “skinny tea” because I don’t agree with the message that this sends to my followers. I only agree to post about products that relate to my life, that I truly like, and that I think my followers would like too. If you are a blogger, I encourage you to think about what you say “yes”, to identifying your blogs/instagram’s values. If you are not a blogger, keep in mind that for all the ads you see your favorite bloggers post, there are probably a whole bunch they say no to, they’re just not going to publicize that.
Here to Stay
I learned recently from a blogging workshop that there is a big market for influencer marketing and experts predict that it is going to get even bigger. It will probably change and fluctuate as social media fluctuates, but how it will change is difficult to predict. So my advice…find influencers that you connect with as a whole and accept that you will see some sponsored posts in what they post. If you really don’t like those posts, ignore them! But before you say something negative, remember what goes on behind the scenes and that you are talking a real person with real feelings.
So tell me, after reading this–what do you think of sponsored posts?