I don’t know about you, but more and more when I scroll on Instagram I’m feeling like I’m constantly being advertised to. I can’t tell you how many bloggers I’ve unfollowed because I just don’t feel like they are being authentic with their posts anymore. (Note: this post isn’t to bash blogging/Instagram as a business. I think it is a brilliant business venture where a lot of money can be made but this is addressing the parts of it that I don’t like.)
Today, big bloggers means big business. Those who’ve garnered a large following are able to make a considerable amount of money from affiliate links, sponsored blog posts and sponsored Instagram posts. I’ve done a ton of research about affiliate links and sponsored posts with my own website & Instagram. Last year I also attended a Create & Cultivate seminar in NYC that was geared towards social media business.
You see - when bloggers (and myself) post shopping links to their outfit as I’ve done at the end of this post, they can get paid per click or paid with a sale is made. This is called an affiliate link. Because my following isn’t that big yet, I haven’t really made that much money at all from these links. But, if you’ve got 200K followers that are clicking on your shirt link - the money really starts to add up! And bloggers should get paid for this - they are showing you where an outfit came from and providing you with the exact link to make your shopping easier. I think it gets excessive when bloggers link several options though - for example - I may link this jacket I’m wearing and then link 5 other jackets. To me this is time wasted for the viewer but it delivers more clicks. I could link 5 jackets that *look* the same but how do I know what the quality of the jacket is? I haven’t worn those other jackets so I’m not going to be okay linking a jacket that may be shitty quality just to get more clicks.
Look at Instagram posts and you may notice hashtags such as #spon #ad #sponsored #paidpartnership - these are signs that the blogger is being paid to post about the product. I know a lot of bloggers who are ethical who really only do sponsored posts with products they either currently use or have tested for a few weeks before sharing. However, there are a lot of bloggers who do sponsored posts for items that, in my opinion, they don’t use. Even though I don’t have a lot of followers, I have gotten a ton of emails offering me paid posts. Examples include: teeth whitening kits, cheap jewelry & sunglasses, and Jord watches to name a few. I have refused these partnerships because 1. I got my teeth whitening kit from my dentist 2. I don’t wear a lot of jewelry and 3. I have one vintage watch that I love and I wouldn’t necessarily buy a Jord watch because it’s not my style.
Another topic I’d like to discuss is that I’m sure you’ve noticed when bloggers get free stuff. Of course that is a pretty fun perk! Who wouldn’t want to receive free skin care, makeup & clothes? Sounds like a dream to me. BUT - these full-time bloggers are then able to wear 4-5 different outfits during a day, photograph them all and then have so much content to share with you several times a day. They are of course using affiliate links for these free items - affiliate links that they are getting paid when you click on them - and they didn’t even have to pay for the sweater or accessory.
The excessive NEW NEW NEW that we are being force fed is exhausting. Normal people don’t have 2 different outfits for every day of the month. What happened to someone showing you a sweater that they absolutely LOVE and not only that - but actually photographing it and posting it more than once? I don’t know about you - but when I invest $200 in my favorite pair of jeans - you better believe that I’m going to wear them 3-4 times a week and be photographed in them constantly. After all, that’s why you invest in a closet staple, no? I love having my go-to jeans t-shirts. That I can wear over and over again and feel confident and beautiful in.
I wouldn’t say that I am obsessed with following fashion trends, but I do appreciate fashion and I like to have a certain aesthetc when I dress every day. I choose to invest in staple items like jeans, shoes & bags and then buy a few trendy pieces to fill in the gaps. It’s not normal to buy *50 must - have items for Spring* (literally the title of a Shop Style Instagram Story link that truly pissed me off). 50? Fifty? How about FIVE trends you should try for spring? This link is pressuring you to feel like you need 50 items for spring when truly you don’t NEED any of it.
I know this post is getting lengthy but I just had to get a few things off of my chest. I will always be honest and authentic with you guys. I wouldn’t turn down sponsorships or paid posts if it was something that I really like and would purchase anyway. But I also wouldn’t have every post I put on Instagram be sponsored, you feel me?
Please avoid the feeling that you don’t have enough or that you need more. True style isn’t about how many shirts you have - it’s about how you wear the shirts that you do have.
What are your thoughts on all of this? Do you think the sponsored content is getting excessive or have you not even noticed it? I’d love to know!