Do you ever just scroll by content that says #AD or “paid partnership”?
I like to think of ADs on Instagram as “squares for sale”. And the only time I ever really notice them is when an account has partnered with a brand that’s inconsistent with their regular content. A carefully considered partnership shouldn’t interrupt your enjoyment but instead introduce you to new things you’ll love. And while ADs and paid partnerships are different labels for the same thing, I accept work based on the idea of a partnership where the brand, influencer and follower mutually benefit from the collaboration.
HOW THE BRAND BENEFITS
Only when introduced to the right audience will the brand profit from sales generated by the AD.
HOW THE FOLLOWER BENEFITS
For the first two years of Beautiful by Breakfast I didn’t accept any paid partnerships because I was worried my followers might question the authenticity of my reviews if I was getting paid. But then I thought about how it felt growing up with acne not seeing spots on skincare ADs. I’m so proud today to be representing a community of people who don’t often get to see their skin represented in media. Without airbrushing and filters, my followers are able to form more realistic expectations from their purchases, rather than being mislead by someone who doesn’t understand what they are going through.
In addition to more relatable ADs, followers can enjoy discounts and giveaways that have been negotiated by the influencer.
HOW THE INFLUENCER BENEFITS
Besides getting paid by the brand for the collaboration, influencers can sometimes earn extra income from affiliate links. Like paid and gifted content, influencers should inform their followers if they earn commission from sales – no matter how small! Money aside, if the partnership goes well and engagement (if not sales) is high the account will continue to grow and reach a wider audience. This is especially good if you’re following someone who represents a minority or is trying to make positive change.
Can paid work still be authentic?
Creative freedom largely depends on the brand and the terms negotiated by the influencer. I’m fortunate as an esthetician that I get paid to say something I would have said anyway – I wouldn’t have accepted the collaboration otherwise. Of course there is more to paid partnerships than just saying something nice about a product and posting it to your squares. There are contracts, scope of works and deadlines you have to adhere to but it shouldn’t prevent someone giving their honest opinion. And at the end of the day – that’s what you’re buying into.
Remember, without paid Ads, social media platforms wouldn’t be free to use. It costs nothing to support your favourite influencers so don’t forget to save, share, comment and like their content.
And next time you see an AD on social media remember, those brands are paying your favourite influencers so you don’t have to – and that’s worth double tapping for!
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