Sponsorship: A Tale Of Two Sides

One of our industry’s most trending topics as of today is the story on Influencer Sponsorship. Let’s just call it like it is, it’s a newer form of advertising and a lot of people still cannot comprehend it.

The idea for this post came about when my boyfriend, Alex, came to me one day with a text link for a story on Lord & Taylor. The FTC commissioned charges on the Fashion retailer for “deceiving customers using native advertising”. For those of you that didn’t read the article, take a look at it HERE. To sum it up “Lord & Taylor paid 50 online fashion “influencers” to post Instagram pictures of themselves wearing the same paisley dress from the new collection, but failed to disclose they had given each influencer the dress, as well as thousands of dollars, in exchange for their endorsement.” That’s a little snippet taken from the article I linked to you.

It’s an interesting story isn’t it? Consumers being deceived that the Fashion Bloggers they follow didn’t all go out to buy the dress. In an uproar that they were paid to do such a thing! This is something we have never seen before!!….. Oh, nay nay. In my opinion this is no different than celebrities wearing designers on the red carpet, in magazines, during interviews, etc. etc. Why is it okay for them but not for a blogger tryna to make a living? Don’t tell me you believe all celebrities purchase their own clothing. In my opinion, Lord & Taylor was used as an example for the FTC to finally say their two cents on to what has been happening in the last 5 years.

I won’t get into the story of how Bloggers need to make a living and that sponsorship is how they run their business, so I’m going to let my friend Jill tell you on her blog HERE.

I have an interesting view on how sponsorship works. On one hand, I’ve been a blogger since 2008 and have been taking on sponsorship since the first year. I spent 3 years working as a Lifestyle Blogger full-time which meant I’ve been contacted by an array of companies and worked with a bevvy of brands in Fashion, Food, Decor, etc. Let’s flip to my other hand, it’s called the “Influencer Marketing” hand. When I work with my clients, we strategically implement campaigns through Influencer Marketing. This means that I am now the one outsourcing the Influeners and asking them to promote my clients products.

It’s to my understanding that Influencer Marketing, primarily on Instagram has more grey area than it does black and white. It’s not all so clear and we’re writing the rules as we go. Do we note that our post was sponsored? Do we tag the brand in the copy or just in the photo? Can I delete the image after I’ve been paid? There is a lot to keep up with. Let’s touch on a few important key points and to help you visulaize, I’m going to use my own Instagram account.

The Photo

When a brand has provided you with gifted or non gifted product, you must use your best efforts to highlight it. We as a client can tell when  you’ve half-assed your photo and we can guarantee you that we will not be working with you again. We like to see a story behind your photo and one of the most important factors is a quality image.

Besides keeping the client happy, another reason to have quality images and for your best interest is so that the client will re-gram your photo. Re-gramming is when a brand will use your photo on their account. This will allow you to gain exposure from their followers.

To learn more about creating a beautiful Instagram feed, check out Meagan’s post HERE.

The Example: 

This bottle of VSOP by Remy Martin is beautiful, but was never intended to be my focal point of the photo. To me, the focus is the actual liqueur and making your mouth salivate! I took the time to create floral ice cubes in the colours of Remy Martin and took professional photos of the creation of a cocktail. The VSOP bottle acts as a prop. When you’ve been given liquids as your product, keep in mind we won’t know what it looks like and to the viewer, it’s just a bottle.


The Copy

This is where you can really make your mark! I always enjoy reading copy that I can feel the personality through. Better than that, I love when it’s informative! Straight to the point copy is best when you’re touching on one particular product and always tag the brand in the copy. Keep in mind, when we provide you with product, it’s not only because we adore your style, it’s because we want your followers to become our followers. Rarely, does someone click on the photo to see who the product is by. Placing the brand’s name in the copy can provide us with a higher ROI.

If the brand has their own hashtag, please add it to your copy.

In my opinion, if a company has not asked you to inform your followers that it is a sponsored post, you DO NOT have to let them know.

The Example:

I was gifted this black crew neck tee from KOTN. Their account has been tagged in the copy and a little something about the product has been mentioned.


The Engagement

Your followers are smart and the brands are even smarter. We no longer pay the majority of our focus on how many followers you’ve racked up. For all we know, you paid $5.99 to shoot up 2000 followers. Having more than 20K followers is great and we applaud you on your success but what we truly pay the most attention to is your engagement.

Your engagement is summed up by how many likes and comments you can get on a photo mixed with your feedback to other users. To add to this, we also know that Instagram is messed up place and sometimes you just can’t get enough likes for the amount of followers you have. I myself have 11.6K followers and sometimes struggle to hit 150 likes. That makes NO sense! BUT, my comments are high and I spend the time to like and comment on other accounts in my community and most importantly I comment back to those that have commented to me.

Brands do notice this. We check up on these pointers before we connect with you.

The Example:

This photo was a sponsored photo by INTERAC. I have followed the rules for photography and copy and have engaged back with my followers.


A few things to remember:

  • Always post genuinely.
  • Say yes to sponsors that your brand aligns with.
  • NEVER delete the photo. This is a massive faux-pas and we will inform other agencies of what you’ve done. When we pay for a post, we expect it to stay up. As a brand, if you are worried about this I would suggest inserting a clause into your contract.
  • Don’t be lazy, engage with your community.

I hope this post helps you up your IG game and you get a tooooon of sponsors! If you’re looking to be sponsored, take a peek at my clients tab above and send me an email if any spark your fancy! I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section.


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