Getting free shit is so cool!
Couriers know my name and life story already, the packages pile up in my office some days and the amount of paper and packaging i have recycled is mind blowing! Getting free shit is so cool man, it must be so awesome being an influencer for a brand/company. I must be living the high life right? Never have to pay for anything and all i have to do is post a photo or two of the stuff i get given to (FOR FREE!!) on Instagram and Facebook.
Ok if you didn’t sense some sort of sarcasm in that first paragraph, just know i was being sarcastic about some of it. Yes it’s nice receiving goods for “free”, but it’s not just that simple. I have seen some harsh comments going around about brand reps/influencers, where people think we live this amazing life full of free shit. No, seriously, we don’t.
Let me break it down for you : This is our job. Our profession. Our hobby and our dream. We have worked our asses off to get our following where it is now (some of us still working hard at it) and most of us are doing this as an “extra” and we actually have day jobs as well. (I’m a full time wedding photographer for those who didn’t know). We have worked our asses off to grow our community. To get our opinions valued to others. To create content that you all will enjoy. How does all of this happen? We don’t have some magic fairy doing it all for us. (although, that would be great if you know any fairies looking for jobs…)
So as brand influencer/brand rep we have the following duties PER BRAND :
- Photograph DECENT pictures of the kids using the products or wearing the clothes. (PS : Can take anything from 20 minutes to 3 hours depending on your light, kids mood and pretty much your mood too)
- Sort through the pictures to find the best ones at perfect/complimetary angles.
- Edit these pictures to look even prettier for the companies.
- Post these pictures in a way that looks appealing to our followers.
- Write about these products and our opinions on them – good or bad.
- Send all pictures to the company for their personal use as well.
- Load pictures and post on our website (a website that WE pay for, no one else – i spent R6000 on our website and pay hosting per month as well)
- Schedule these posts for times we have learnt that Facebook/Instagram gets the most viewers. (It’s such a skill knowing WHEN to post and when NOT to)
- Promote, promote, promote.
- Engage with every person asking questions about it.
- Do it all over again PER product.
I work from a list. As the goods arrive at my door, i write it down. I work down from the list and make sure i give my full attention to each one. You cannot half-ass a brand that sent you goods – you have to give it your all! Good or bad review, you have to handle each brand with the same amount of effort and professionalism.
People see us posting these pretty pictures and think “wow – that’s all they do and they get shit for free?”. Well, if you think all the above mentioned takes 5 minutes out of your day, you are horribly wrong. The retakes, the lighting, the content creation, the styling and the planning (oh-so-much-planning). Especially when you have a full time job, being a brand influencer takes up what little time you have left. And most of us definitely don’t do it for the free shit, but for the passion we have for what we do and the love we have for the companies we work with.
What we do is a job. You can see this “free stuff” we get as our payment. And guess what? If we want something that the company doesn’t need us to promote – WE BUY IT! With our own money. I have spent thousands on goodies from local companies that i feel will look great in a shoot. Our aim is to SUPPORT local. Support by promoting and purchasing from them. In the same breath, we cannot put in all this effort per company, and receive nothing in return. Do you work for free? WOULD you work for free? We spend money, time and crap loads of effort on what we do, receiving “payment” for that (may it be in products or monetary) should not be seen in this negative way. Like i said, i am pretty sure you will not work as hard as we do, for free.
I am quite saddened by the fact that so many moms out there just think what we do is a joke. That we do requires little to no effort. Can you style the way we do? Can you write the way we do? Do you know what is currently trending like we do? Do you even know what a flat lay is? Probably not, and that’s okay! It’s not your field of expertise. But it is ours – and companies “pay” us for our knowledge, creativity and photos. Your job pays you for your field of knowledge and expertise, right?
I believe we are the targets because we lack respect in the blogosphere. I believe that within our community, we have been vigilant about holding each other to high standards. Most of us started blogging not to get the latest product sent to us, but to join a growing community where we have each others’ backs in this crazy world called motherhood.
Don’t get me wrong : I KNOW there are “mom bloggers” scavenging for free products everywhere. I do not agree with that – all these companies we promote are usually small companies that do it all themselves and exploiting them is just so sad. The good bloggers SUPPORT and don’t exploit.
Us influencers form relationships with the companies. They have become like family. Heck even the other influencers have become like family. We enjoy each others posts and we uplift each other – it’s such a beautiful sight to see.
Walk a mile in our shoes, you will see – it’s not as easy as it looks. You might go a little insane some days and feel totally overwhelmed but the difference is : Our passion reaches far higher than any trouble that might come our way doing what we love. A big thanks to all our followers that respect what we do and admire us for it too. We love each and every one of you!