I’m not even gonna start explaining why I haven’t blogged in so long, no excuses, just been busy with other things :) I’m still a very unexperienced blogger, haha! But I want to write about the poll I made on Instagram via my account @minimockspetra a while back. You can see the poll in my Story highlights.
it all started with Anna from @thenorrmans and a post she made about ads, sponsored posts, collaborations and commercials on Instagram (on the 9th of October). She was fed up with seeing all these inspiring people (mostly Swedish I believe) that made collaborations with brands, weekly. How can everyone make ads for the same big brands and waste their skills on commercials? She said that she wanted to have as few ads as possible in her life and here she couldn’t escape them. Anna asked her followers if they liked commercials. Many said no, of course. Who does like having their favorite shows and series interrupted with commercial breaks, reading a magazine and half the pages are ads for makeup and design, and when you follow 100 or so interior IG-ers and bloggers and they post a sponsored post once in a while, it feels like a lot, right? She felt concerned and wanted to ask around. How do we feel about that? The major question here was, but if you followers stop following you, is it worth it with all this advertising?
Totally legitimate question!
The reaction from the influencers did not hold back. Many got upset. Anna didn’t see the whole picture, this is a way of supporting oneself and one’s family, whilst doing something one really love. Considering how much free inspiration the interior bloggers and influencers shared, a few ads once in a while couldn’t be that harmful. Many of Anna’s followers pointed out that they had unfollowed many accounts since they felt that they posted too much sponsored material. And so on…
Since I also make sponsored posts (collaborations) on my private IG sometimes I first felt a little sad and worried about the harsh reactions of both sides. It was a very relevant subject and I think many of the 20K+ accounts felt very threatened. Therefor the loud discussion that followed. In a world of inspiration, esthetics, design and photography, the question about commercialism is always a hot potato. Tell me about it, I grew up with a photographer and an artist as parents. It’s very sensitive. There might be a tiny few that would think the same about the sports industry. But, we are so used to sponsored athletes and games and matches that we hardly react anymore. They work with brands (and get paid a lot) that suits their way of life (definitely not always, read Zlatan and betting companies) and we think it’s ok because we are so used of seeing them wearing the big brands and playing in a football stadium sprinkled in advertising. Nothing new there. No one cares. We are still inspired with their achievements.
But, when it comes to the arts (including photo and design), stay the hell out. No one should make money. At least not talk about it. It’s a struggle. Lets say that you’re an interior designer, IKEA calls and ask if you want to make a collaboration with them. It’s a chance of a life time for you. This is it! But you will always feel you’re betraying someone. Like you’re stabbing your own in the back.
Anywhooo, I felt that I had to ask my own followers (all 90K+) how they felt about me making sponsored posts and advertising on Instagram in general. I put together a poll in my Stories, didn’t take long and I was a little stressed to get it out because I didn’t want to sit back and do nothing. What would my followers think. So here comes the result (around 15K answered!) and my personal comments:
Have you recently unfollowed accounts because they’ve posted too many sponsored collaborations?
yes 55%, no 45%
Here many left a comment about the frequency of posts, it was only if they felt that sponsored posts took over from the actual everyday life of the IGer. The ‘every-day-spons’ rate was way too often. And if someone posted about things that didn’t align with the account’s interests and taste.
What is too many for you?
once a week 94%, once a month 6%
What can we read from this? Well when we put it against each other like ‘once a week’ against ‘once a month’, of course you pick the ‘once a week’. Many left a comment saying that even once a week was ok but if everyone does it, then yes, it feels like all the time. Once a month is a way better option here. It apparently feels more authentic and real, if you want to be trustworthy. We should also separate sponsored posts from ‘tips and inspiration’. Here is when tagging the photo comes in handy.
Is it better to sneakily advertise for something than to tag the post with ‘sponsored’?
yes 19%, no 81%
Many agreed on that if we are advertising for something we want it to show. Or it feels like a lie (as someone wrote). But still 19% that prefer it not to be ‘in your face’ . “I wouldn’t pay so much notice to the sponsored part if it didn’t show, and therefor not care so much now, and dislike so many accounts” (one comment).
Do you find it helpful when a photo is tagged with brands so you know where products are from?
yes 96% no 4%
Pretty clear response here I think. I tag photos so that the brands can see them and also for my followers to know where the products are from. Another take here, is to not tag photos to get more comments. Very sneaky! :) I didn’t receive any ‘no’ comments here so I’m not sure how to interpret those 4%.
Do you feel that if someone has tagged a brand in their photo it must have been a gift?
yes 26% no 74%
This is very interesting I think. Since I’m one of those accounts that receive quite a few free gifts from small and growing brands all over the world. I tag them in my photos so they can see that I’ve appreciated their gift and I tag them so my followers can see where they can buy them. It’s advertising yes. But the main part of my tagged photos are things that i’ve bought myself and want to help my followers to find. That’s the story. I’m not a big tagger, I’m really not, and I see it more as a guiding help than advertising.
Does the word ‘influencer’ mean something good to you?
Yes 43% no 57%
So incredibly interesting, omg! More than half of the poll participants think that influencer is not a positive word. Personally I wouldn’t call myself an influencer, because I’m other things, designer, shop owner, bosslady(!) haha, and more. But I can’t get around the fact that ‘influencer’ leaves such a bitter taste. I think it’s misused by media and also a dominant female profession. If it was mainly men who were influencers then it would probably be talked about in another way and more respected. I’m sure.
Where do you draw the line between advertisement and inspiration?
So many answered, and felt the need to do so I think. The comments here were all very similar! Adverts can be inspirational too, but they HAVE to align with the character of the account. We have built this relationship with our followers and I think that with some of the collabs, we break that trust that we have worked so hard for to grow. Inspiration for many is the everyday life but of course then also styled photos. We all know that many of the big accounts work really hard to make their photos stand out. A few mentioned @allthatisshe as a person they felt made something creative out of the collabs she has. When the actual brands she works with are presented in a fun and inspiring way. I take with me to think twice when I agree on sponsored material because they have to represent me too.
I do about 6 sponsored posts a year with obvious advertisement. The payed advertising will normally be for bigger brands, Google, Lindex, Zara, Afound, Adobe and others. Small brands, like my own Betón, won’t normally have the budget for these things. So how do I think when I say yes to these? First I go through what they propose. What does it include? I choose my collaborations carefully and like when they challenge me and my creativity and photography. I’ve always loved marketing so I find these jobs very interesting! I don’ mind to include the family, if they want to. There is always someone not up for it and I don’t make that into a problem, just have to rethink. I make sure they pay well for the amount of work I put into them cause I know how hard stylists, photographers, editors and producers work!
Have you noticed I make sponsored posts sometimes?
yes 41% no 59%
Also very interesting response. That more than half of the participants haven’t even noticed that I make sponsored posts. Either I should get better at outing that or take it as a positive reaction. I’m not sure. I feel that maybe the collabs I’ve done so far have aligned with my account maybe. Always very family oriented, children’s clothing brands have been a good one for me. Or even the Google products I’ve worked with has suited us as a city family.
Do you find my sponsored posts annoying?
yes 6% no 94%
I can see why 6% would be annoyed about sponsored posts. Like one person that asked me about the Zara Home editorial I recently did, because it didn’t fit with me owning a small business, and I totally understand her for asking. But the editorial was so much more to me. It was a styling and photography job, more so than a sponsored post. A real, real challenge and we had so much fun doing it. I am proud of that editorial, I worked hard.
But, and there’s always a but, I will get better on analyzing the few collaborations I do and make sure they always stand for what I represent and for what I love!
Would you rather see no sponsored posts in my feed?
yes 19% no 81%
This question was a little difficult apparently since many wrote me saying that they’ve put the wrong answer in. They meant to have said yes but pressed no. I guess the English was a little bad from my side. Sorry about that. But I can stil read that about 15% probably answered yes for the right reason. And those followers are the reason that I don’t do so many sponsored collabs. I would also feel it being too many if I did more.
What is, according to you, your worst/best type of sponsored post?
These two questions were answered by sooo many. And many more answered about the ‘worst’ post rather than the ‘best’! :) They really wanted to tell me what a bad sponsored post was and I thought that was interesting. A good sponsored post is one (according to the participants) that align with the account/person. A post that is made with humor, warmth and joy. Particularly one with a story to it. Not just “now 20% on all toys at my favorite place with code ….” that was a bad sponsored post. But more interweaved in a personal story or event.
A bad sponsored post (according to the participants) is one playing on the followers feelings, like you telling a sad story and than at the end you scoop in a product that you want to help sell. Not so tasteful. It would be more ok if it was for a charity though. Also a post that is too commercialized, like you doing a tadaaaa, standing infront of a dishwasher. Or when an IG:er or blogger talks about one brand for a month and then the next month is another competing brand that is hot. Like you would do Nike Nike Nike and then a few weeks later it would be Adidas Adidas Adidas!
I felt it important for myself to make this poll, just to see where my own followers stood in the matter. I will also share my demography:
Top countries of my followers are:
USA 14%, Sweden 9%, Australia 8%, Great Britain 6%, Spain 5%
Cities: London, Melbourne, Stockholm, New York, Paris
Age and gender: 94%(!) female between 25-45 years. No news there :)
I hope you found it interesting, I surely did! Congrats for reading all the way down here :)