Do you love a good recommendation? Because I know that I do! But you know who else knows that I do? Companies looking to promote their products through social media for dirt cheap, and the social influencers looking to make money or receive free products.
A few months ago I needed a new backpack, so did I go to the shops and choose something off the shelves? Of course not! I’d much prefer to get some personal recommendations. So I posted on Instagram asking for help and before I knew it, I had over 40 tried and true suggestions from people on which backpack to buy! If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen me then raving about the backpack that I bought and how much I loved it (which I genuinely do, if you’re a baby bag kinda mama you really have to try switch to a backpack, the free hands is liberating haha!). But, what you DIDN’T see, was that I chose a small business who had commented on my post, sent them a DM asking if they would like to collaborate, the company accepting and selling me the backpack at a discounted price, and in return me posting photos to my account recommending it! It’s a win-win situation. I received a product that I needed, and the company was able to use my photos for advertising rather than paying the money for models, hair and makeup, photographers etc.
Do I think that what I did was wrong or deceitful? No!
Do I genuinely love and get good use out of the products? Yes! I use it every single day, and am constantly recommending it to my friends.
However, is this always the case with collaborations and paid promotion on Instagram? Unfortunately not.
If you’re a regular reader of TKRK, you would know that I’m not one to beat around the bush. So this is a topic that I wanted to address very early on, before things got awkward and I felt like I was deceiving you all. As my humble little blog (slowly) grows bigger and gains a wider audience, I’ve started to become approached by companies asking me to promote their products. As exciting as this is, because who doesn’t like saving money? I am constantly reminding myself that I need to stay accountable to my readers and remember why I’m here in the first place. And this is what helps me to do so…
My goal with starting Two Kids Raising Kids was to become a BLOGGER and CONNECT with women all over the world, giving them a space to come to laugh and cry and feel like they can relate and belong. My aim was NOT to become an INFLUENCER. Whilst there is absolutely nothing wrong with that title, it’s was not what I was here to do.
Long before I started TKRK, I thought very differently about the Instagram world. I thought things were happening a lot more organically than they were, and honestly I was a bit naive to what was going on. Even as things started to progress, I had friends asking me whether I was getting things for free now that I was blogging, and I was literally like “huh?”. I had no idea! But now that I’m a little more involved I can pick a paid post or collaboration from a mile away, and I want to help you to be able to do so also, in order to make more educated future purchases.
As you read through this post please don’t get me mistaken and think that I believe paid promotion to be a bad thing, because I don’t! In fact I would much prefer companies to be advertising through social influencers than adverts on TV or in magazines. It means that the money is going to every day people, rather than big corporations. Many of my friends are paid to promote on their pages, and I know for a fact that the money helps to put food on their table. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – raising children is expensive! So who would want to turn down free clothes, baby wash or teething toys when they are items you would be spending your money on regardless?!
What I don’t agree with are people who promote products that they don’t genuinely like or use, purely for monetary gains.
So here is some tips for spotting a paid post or collaboration, so that next time you are making a purchase based on an Instagram recommendation you’re a little more clued on:
- The hashtags #sponsored #spon #sp #ad etc. are included in the caption. This is the easiest way to tell if they have been compensated for their post, and are actually a legal requirement, however a lot of social influencers “forget” to disclose this.
- If someone is advertising three different ‘skin care’ companies in the same week, claiming that they’re all the best thing that has ever happened to their ‘skin’, they are more than likely being paid to post or have received the products for free.
- If they’re offering a coupon code, more often than not they have an affiliation with the company and may also be getting paid each time someone uses the code to make a purchase.
- If they are continually posting about the same brands, they may be receiving the products for free as a brand rep.
- If someone is advertising toilet paper, they are definitely being paid to post. I mean come on, who in their right mind actually advertises what they use to wipe their arse unless they’re being paid to do so?
So keep an eye out when you’re scrolling through your feed, and before you know it you’ll be able to tell which posts are collaborations too! And like I said, this doesn’t necessarily mean its a bad thing – just something to keep in mind before you click “checkout”. I hope this helps, let me know in the comments or on Instagram if it has!
Note: you will be seeing more paid and collaborated posts on TKRK in the very near future! But this is my promise to you – I will ONLY ever promote companies and items that I would spend my own money on, genuinely like and would recommend to one of my best friends. I won’t promote something for the sake of it, just to earn some extra cash. Okay? PHEW! I’m glad I got that out in the open, we’re still Insta-besties, right?
Feature photo credit: HERE