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Why I’ll Be Adding #Ad…

The online influencer market is changing. All over social media we’re seeing people – like myself – posting products of things they are supposed to like or support, and in an ideal world it’s all legitimate and authentic.

As the influencer market grows, so does the pressure to police it properly and make sure that those supposedly being influenced, are not being taken for a ride.

While South Africa is yet to adopt rules (as far as I know) regarding the way influencers conduct themselves online, the Federal Trade Commission in the United States is cracking down.

Basically put, the rules state that any person posting paid-for content on their social profiles must disclose their relationship with the brand. For the most part, they’re asking you to put #ad #sponsored or #affiliate in your tweets, Instagram posts etc. For a proper breakdown, download this Webfluential ebook.

I know my role as an influencer, and I’m sure there will be nobody out there that doesn’t know that I am often paid to be involved in campaigns for certain brands online. However, that doesn’t mean that everything I ever talk about is paid for.

If you’re embarrassed to admit that a specific brand is paying you to help promote them, should you really be working with them at all?

For me, one of the most crucial aspects of what I do is making sure that my campaigns are authentic and actually sit well with me. In the past I’ve turned brands down, not because the money isn’t good, but because it doesn’t resonate with my audience or myself.

Just as an example, my followers are football crazy. I don’t mind helping promote a brand that is doing something cool in the football sector because it’s something that I am passionate about. If someone asks me to promote their latest golf clubs though, I’ll take a pass.

It is for this reason that I’m happy to adopt the #ad #sponsored rules, because I am not ashamed to be working with the brands that I work with. If you’re embarrassed to admit that a specific brand is paying you to help promote them, should you really be working with them at all?

As influencers we owe it to our followers to be authentic, transparent and trustworthy. Disclosing our paid campaigns is something that goes a long way to doing this.

To be honest I’m writing this post because I want my followers to know that I will be adopting the rules that are being implemented worldwide. Firstly because there will become a stage when it is law in South Africa anyway so I might as well start now, and secondly because I’m picky with who I work with, so I have no qualms in disclosing that I’m being paid.

If I am promoting something then I want folks to know that it is genuinely something that I believe resonates with either myself on a personal level or with the audience I’m speaking to. If I’m being paid, I’ll be adding #ad. It’s that easy.

8 thoughts on “Why I’ll Be Adding #Ad…

    1. Yeah, 100%! It’s better for everyone involved if it’s something you actually care about. Influencer feels more genuine, and the brand gets better coverage.

    1. Hello Robert (and Joe) I just came across this post and see that I’ve been mentioned in the comments… I’m not quite sure what the above comment means or is referring to? Are you unhappy with the way I am sharing my sponsored content on my blog or social? I have always aimed to be as transparent as possible with any paid content I publish and make full use of Disclosure levels at the end of all my posts that feature product or places plus I have a Sponsored category that tags all sponsored content on my site. At this stage I haven’t been tagging posts on social media with #ad as I wasn’t aware it was a requirement but I am very open to your suggestion to do it anyway and will be doing so in the future. Feel free to email me any other feedback you may have. I’m always open to learning as the blogging industry is an ever-changing one. Thanks, Kathryn

  1. I agree that it’s better to turn away a sponsor who is not a good match for you or the blog than to accept them and be embarrassed. I’ve gone with a #Sponsored on the blog but will likely start using #ad on twitter for space reasons.

  2. This whole “influencer” marketing thing is an interesting space.

    I think it’s good that some norms are established from a transparency perspective just like Google and Facebook ads are differentiated from regular content.

    Long term it would be very interesting to know if people are actually converting as a direct result of content posted by “influencers” or if it’s only helping with overall brand development for the advertiser/sponsor.

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