My Take On Sponsored Content
Sponsored posts and ads seem to be flooding Instagram, especially with the rise of "Influencers" and "Brand Ambassadors." Though I do have a following on social media (which I am unbelievably grateful for), I don't consider myself to be an Influencer, and I've yet to become an ambassador for any brands. (Probably because I curse too much.) While everyone has their own opinion on this Instagram "phenomenon", I thought I would share my own honest thoughts, as I have been approached by different brands - some of which I've declined, and some of which I've agreed to partner with. (Before you immediately write me off and unfollow me, please give this a read first.)
So, what's my take on sponsored posts and ads? Let's dive in:
First and foremost, I think there are a lot of Influencers, Instagram models, and celebrities that post about products or brands for one reason and one reason only: they're being paid to do so. Do I think that's a bad thing? Yes and no. If the person posting about the brand or product doesn't actually use that product - I'm looking at you "skinny teas" - then I think it's at worst dishonest, and at best misleading. Now, does the person actually use, wear, or eat the product they're promoting? If the answer is yes, then I don't find it to be problematic. If you went to the grocery store tomorrow and some of your groceries (that you intended to pay for) were given to you for free, wouldn't you accept them? If your grocery bags were filled with things you already ate on a regular basis, wouldn't you love to be gifted them for free? I mean perhaps you would turn them down, but let's face it, I think life is expensive as is, and as humans beings, we love free sh*t.
This being said, I believe that if someone is to post about a product that they: 1) Were paid by the company to post about. 2) Received the product free of charge from the company, they should be transparent about this in their post. This is why you'll see some Influencers using #ad or #sponsored when they post about a brand or product that they did not purchase themselves. I believe that if you're going to post about a product that you were paid to promote, or gifted by the company, you owe it to your followers to make them aware of that.
So, how do I intend to approach sponsored posts on my own account? First and foremost, I can genuinely say that I have NEVER made a SINGLE CENT from Instagram. I have never been paid to post about anything, nor do I have any future paid posts in the works. I have never been offered money to use Instagram, and that's okay - because that's not why I have an account. The people I've interacted with, and the discussions I've been able to have with my followers (who I consider pals) are immeasurable. And please know that I truly mean that. Now, in some fluke scenario I'm offered money to post about a product that I sincerely like - I will let you know. And not by hiding the word "ad" among a pile of hashtags, I will let you know explicitly that the sponsorship was a paid sponsorship. But again, I have not been approached with any paid partnerships.
Now, how do I intend to approach posts about products that I did not pay for? Here are a few of my thoughts: From the moment I started this account I've always aimed to remain two things - authentic and vulnerable. I've always aimed to help as many people as I can by sharing things that people often feel too ashamed, or fearful to speak about. I have talked openly about difficult things and vulnerably put myself out on the line. I've shared as much advice as I can, I respond to as many emails and DM's as I can, and I engage with as many people as I can. Do I think that makes me some kind of hero? LOL NO. But do I think that if certain brands (that I like and believe in - not you skinny teas) want to send me some products to try, that I have a moral obligation to say no? No, I don't. I think perhaps that's a "perk" that comes with social media, and I don't feel obligated to turn down every single offer that comes my way. Perhaps the Universe sometimes thinks "You know what Steph, you've aired out your dirty laundry, shared fat photos for all the world to see, and talked about things that will probably ruin any and all future relationships for you - so Imma make sure this brand sends you a free pair of leggings as compilation. You're welcome girl." Thanks Universe! All jokes aside, I DO however feel a moral obligation to let you all know if/when I post about a product that I received for free. So, I promise to do just that.
So, why did I go on this big spiel about sponsored and paid posts? Because I honestly care about what you guys think. I am grateful every day to have a platform to talk about important things, and I feel truly blessed to be able to engage with incredible women (and rarely but sometimes men LOL) from all over the world. Which is why it's important to me that you know that I'm not on Instagram to make money or get free shit. I'm never going to "sell out" for money or attention. And I'm NEVER going to partner with a brand, or post about anything, that I don't genuinely like. My account started with honesty, authenticity, and vulnerability. And my goal is for it to always remain that way.
***I should probably let you all know now that this blog post was sponsored by the official Skinny Detox Colon Explosive Diarrhea tea As Seen on Instagram. JUST KIDDING y'all. Thanks for reading this, and if I get any discount codes for you guys, you know I will them your way.