My blog post Everything that Glitters sparked so many exciting conversations about the faux side of Influencing.
Via my Instagram stories (where I post daily, be sure to join me), I shared that I receive beaucoup offers for gifted or paid posts, yet I have not gone the #ad #sponsored route.
When I started my blog two years ago, I had no plans of monetization. I simply wanted to share glimpses of my life and luxury. Now that I am aware and have been approached for sponsored posts and videos, my integrity level has been tested like never before.
I HOLD MYSELF TO EXCEPTIONALLY HIGH STANDARDS
My blog and social media are a reflection of me because I am my brand. With Cappuccinos and Consignment growing faster than I could have ever imagined, my sense of protectiveness has increased tremendously. Anything that I recommend is a direct reflection of me. Having this self-awareness has prevented me from being sponsored by tampon companies while seven-months pregnant. Oui mes amies, I was asked to do so by a notable brand.
In my quest for constant monetization standards, I can genuinely say, companies have made it so easy pour moi to say “non.”
Here are the top cinq reasons I refuse to settle for sponsorship:
Mes amies, you’d be surprised just how many brands target nano-influencers with the promise of “exposure” via a mention in their Instagram stories or the infamous #sponsored hashtag. Because nano-influencers have such un petit following, companies prey on one’s desires to appear grander than they are online. It was once the blue check (verification) by a screen name that translated to success; now it’s sponsored, i.e., “paid” content.
The reality is, many nano-Influencers are not being paid for those #sponsored #ads. More often than not, brands offer – nano-Influencers the “opportunity” to work for free. Nano influencers are asked to use their time to create content, possibly spending money on props, photographers, makeup artists, etc., in exchange for an #ad hashtag and coupon code. A coupon code that a simple Google search can find.
Within the last dix-ans companies have begun to establish entire departments (or one person depending on the company’s size) to handle social media marketing and branding. With that, companies have total budgets to allocate for “Influence-Marketers.”
So why are you not being offered pay?
There are many factors why a company will choose to pay one Influencer and not another Influencer with the same amount of reach and following, but the most apparent reason I have experienced is race. I’ve been asked to complete extremely time-consuming, specific tasks for a brand, all for the promise of a voucher or my personal favorite “exposure.”
When I asked the marketing/brand representative to discuss payment, the “opportunity” was suddenly “unavailable.”
Shortly after I was informed that the “opportunity” was “unavailable,” I noticed a non-minority nano-Influencer completing the “unavailable” project. I did not waste a moment inquiring whether she was getting paid or not.
Sadly, I was not surprised to discover that while I was supposed to be “grateful” for a voucher (that wouldn’t cover the cost of anything the brand sold), a white influencer with less engagement than moi was paid.
I am not a “grateful” minority nano-Influencer.
I will not allow any company to make me feel that I should be honored to work for free for them while they have allocated funds to pay whomever they choose.
In the case mentioned above, the brand would have capitalized off the nano influencer (moi) and gained access to the community they’ve (I) built for free.
The only (free) exposure I’m interested in is the setting on my brand new camera.
Deux. It’s not you; it’s me.
Mes amies, if one day you logged on to Instagram or the blog and saw me promoting a quit caffeine pill or patch, you’d probably think that my account was hacked. And why would you believe that? Oui, cappuccinos, i.e., caffeine, are apart of my brand. Why would I sell mes amies but most of all myself out for something that doesn’t represent me? I often see nano-Influencers advertising products and services that have very little to do with the platform they are attempting to create.
I am beyond fortunate that I was secure with myself before beginning this blogging journey. Knowing who I am and what my brand represents makes it so easy for me to say no to “opportunities” that will not add richness to what I am building.
So when a brand promoting an anti-caffeine addiction elixir offered me sponsorship (paid, might I add), I eloquently replied, “It’s not you, it’s me.”
Trois: It Has to be Real
The few times that I openly endorsed a brand, I did so because it felt right. Vintage mes amies can attest, j’adore pre-loved luxury. So when an opportunity to collaborate with Fashionphile presented itself, it didn’t take much convincing. I’ve been shopping with Fashionphile since 2015. Everything about this opportunity was and is authentic.
Another example is nail polish. Again, vintage mes amies can attest that outside of a short stint avec acrylic nails, I’ve always indulged in at-home manis. When a woman-owned company contacted me and offered to send me a kit, I was thrilled. I accepted the product, and I shared my thoughts avec mes amies via Instagram.
I have vowed only to endorse businesses that I support wholeheartedly, even if that leaves me #ad-less.
Quatre. It Doesn’t Cost to Be the Boss.
When I first began blogging, I can recall receiving messages from brands wanting me to become an “ambassador” for their brand. I was thrilled. I couldn’t believe that my short stint on social media was already producing results.
But when I clicked the link that had been provided to me by the company, I soon realized that I was being asked to pay for merchandise at a discounted rate. After making said purchase, I’d be provided an “opportunity” to extend the infamous discount code and #ad for mes amies. I surmised that this “ambassador opportunity” was questionable, but I was so new to the world of blogging/social media that I was uncertain.
I phoned my dear cousin, who assured me that my intuition was accurate.
Mes amies, you should NEVER have to pay to be a: Brand Ambassador, Associate, Affiliate, or whatever synonym the company uses.
You are working. You are sharing your platform. You need to be paid.
Cinq. I Don’t Want to Be “Anything.”
Mes amies, I’d like to think that I am EVERYTHING.
“Anything” used as a proper noun ran rampid in D.C during the mid-2000s. To be referred to as “Anything” was equivalent to the baring the scarlet letter of the early 19th century. To be “Anything” is to go along with, well, anything: zero standards, pride, or obligation. Mes amies, I’d like to think that I am everything.
Those exceptionally high standards that I mentioned above are set for a reason. I want to only position myself with people and brands that support and value my craft. I only want to be affiliated with what I deem is the best.
When the brand(s) of my dreams approach me (or I pitch to them), I want to display that I have held out for greatness. I want to show that I have not associated myself/brand with every company or service that has offered me an “opportunity.”
After all, I have no desire to align myself with just anything.
To all of my nano-Influencer you are enough, and you are where you need to be.
Do not feel less than because your counterparts are (seemingly) where you want to be, online.
You will get sponsored.
You will get the collaboration.
But most of all you will get paid. I beg you to stop allowing big (or any) brands to gaslight and manipulate you into believing that they are providing you with an “opportunity.”
Quality content creation requires us to spend something we will never get again; time.
My time is precious, and my time is valuable.
Trust me mes amies; you will get all that you want, officially,
There aren’t many guarantees that one can receive on social media, but I can assure you mes amies I have and I will continue to only deliver authentic and trustworthy content. Even if that leaves me far behind my nano-influencer-blogger-vlogger counterparts.
Has a brand contacted you to work for free?
Ciao for now 💋