Hashtag Ad, Hashtag Spon.

It’s that Instagram Suicide topic isn’t it? And as usual, little miss opinionated has something to say.

Raise a hand if you have brought something on Instagram that we didn’t really need because an influencer told us too?  Raise another hand if months later, you’ve used it once or twice if at all? Keep your hands in the air and lay on your back if you’ve used a discount code that an influencer has offered you? Now raise a leg in the air if you still brought the product even though it was still out of your budget even using the discount? Raise your other leg if you’ve got into financial difficulty because you brought an item on the hastag spon post just so you would fit in with the crowd? Lift your head off the ground if you’ve hidden your purchase from your partner because you knew he /she would be pissed off at “yet another bit of crap you’ve brought”? And finally, stick your tongue out if you like practically free money? For a bonus, you can cross your eyes if you don’t actually give a shit because here’s the thing…nobody forced us to do it!

Now imagine whilst you’re lay there looking like a knobhead, how a tortoise feels when he flips over onto a shell!

Grab a cuppa tea and read on.

I have strong opinions on sponsored posts, opinions I am going to obviously share with you in the most honest capacity.

We all need money right? We need money to pay our bills, to keep the roof over our heads, to keep ex spouses in luxury holdiays, to provide for our children and put food on the table yes? How do we do that? Do we go to work? Do we rely on government funds? Do we live off our parents? Do we go to carboot sales and buy pure shite for 50p and flog it on ebay for £25?

Whichever way we earn our money, we never feel we have to justify it to the public do we? Lets face it, when Sally brought her new yellow armchair from Loaf, did anyone pipe up and ask her how she earnt her money to buy it? No. Because it’s rude. So why do we feel we have to justify ourselves for earning money from Instagram?

Instagram is free, it costs us nothing to set up an account, post our photos and follow accounts that we relate to, and, an even better perk, you make friends without even stepping outside your front door.

Instagram is the only place where you make a friend whilst your farting in the bath and nobody knows but you. Instagram is also the place where we worship the ground people walk on without really knowing them and assume that a nice photo with a funky caption, makes them the next mutts nut. And, because we hang on their every word, we believe them when we should they say how we should go out and buy linen sheets and wicker baskets. Instagram is free, but those baskets are not.

Now I have pros and cons of the ad posts.

Me personally, I’m abit of a live and let live, I can either choose to buy something I’m seeing, or I can choose to scroll past and like a photo of Derek and his canoe instead. But, if I can make money for my family from a free platform that I love, then I’m not going to say no.

However, I am always going to mindful that not everyone can afford or need what I’m promoting, some may even get into debt, so, if I genuinely don’t believe in the product I’m asked to promote, then I will say no.

Now I’m not going to sugar coat shit here, I’m going to start using my platform for advertising occasionally, I am currently not earning a wage, we have three children to feed and Christmas is around the corner, if someone wants to offer me £50 to shoot a product for them that will take me five minutes,I’m going to do it. That money is half a days work for me and we aren’t in a position to financially say no. I am only ever going to do ads for products I genuinely have a use for, products I think others will like too and products that I probably use anyway.

Now, if, I was ever offered an opportunity to promote something big that I genuinely enjoyed and liked but have no use for later on, it’s not to say I won’t, because if I believe in it, then I know someone around me will too and I will happily gift it on.

My heart recently melted when I saw a blogger (Blossomingbirds to be precise) influencing some beautiful statement jewellery and despite loving it and wearing it all weekend, she gifted it to a follower as a thank you for her support. I thought it was so touching and a lovely way to show appreciation, paying forward kindness with kindness. And, I have to say, it’s not the first time I have seen her give away something she was gifted. Obviously you’re not going to see me give away a pack of Babybels but if it was something of value that I know will brighten someones day, why not gift it to another follower or even, donate it to a charity? Set up a bidding on it and donate the funds to a Go-Fund me page or even go out and buy sandwiches and coffee for the homeless. What you won’t see me do is tell you how much I love it and recommend you all go buy it to and, whilst your adding it to your basket, I’m popping it up on eBay to sell on. Ads don’t have to mean filling your boots with free stuff, (in fact, I am actually paying for the products I will do posts for some of the time) but it also means you can do good things with the items you are gifted.

Gifting something you’ve given away doesn’t mean you don’t believe in it, it means you believe in it enough to think in a selfless way and let someone else enjoy the perks of your job.

Recently, I saw a sarcastic comment on the same bloggers post after she was working for a kitchenware company, it was an uncalled for comment and I felt a little irritated by it. Someone had picked up that several accounts were promoting the same thing, at the same time ( the comment wasn’t very nice at all and even if it wasn’t meant the way it sounded, she didn’t come off very well.) This is called selective marketing and having a deadline. Brands will choose accounts with a good following and high engagement, they will send a product and set you a deadline to getting it posted. If you don’t meet that deadline, you don’t get paid. And let’s face it, why should they not get paid? Like us, they are earning for their families, take the time out of their days spent away from their families responding to emails and messages and there you have another full time job.

Look at it this way, just because Brenda works in Aldi, doesn’t mean you have to buy the whole shop does it? You just buy what you want. It works the same online, just because we recommend products, we aren’t forcing you to buy it, you can ignore the picture completely or just engage with the person behind the post in relation to the text content. What you do is your choice but don’t knock someone just for trying to earn a living, be honest with yourself, if you were given the same opportuinty, I bet you’d take it.

I have recently shot my very first ad and I must admit. I feel nervous about having to post it, will I be judged for it? Will people think I’m being false? The fact is, you’ll make up your own minds, and, as I said previously, if I don’t think I’d geuinely use something or like it, I won’t lie. What matters to me more, paying the water bill or risking Tracey and Tina unfollowing me?

What I have discovered by starting this new advertising game, is that it’s giving me an opportunity to learn new ways of taking photos, to adapt my skills and have fun doing something I enjoy. In fact, once I’m back working, I’m going to try and do a photograhpy evening coure so I can become a hobby photographer per and maybe, just maybe, earn money from that too. And, I finally feel like after being out of work for a while, I’m putting food on the table and that is doing wonders for my mental health.

I do feel like some of my favourite accounts are now one stop shops for constant branding and discount codes but that’s up to them ,it’s the direction they have chosen to take their account and earn some money so I’m not going to worry, but nor will I stop following them because I have that ability to scroll past and ignore the 10% codes. Instead, I take enjoyment from the rest of their content and feel pleased for them because they have extra money in their pocket to enjoy the extra things in life.

What we must also take into account is that some of the promotional work is for small businesses that give away products to be promoted, so they are giving away profit in the hope that the advertising works, they gain custom and covers their losses.

Lets just all support each other, live and let live, lets enjoy Sally’s armchair and Derek’s Canoe.

I’m off to sniff my armpit again because the brand I’m advertising later this week, has just brought out the worlds best smelling deodorant ever and I’m scared I’m never going to come up for air!

Emma