Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the last few years you would have seen people on Instagram using hash tags that read gifted and ad.
I hope this does not come across patronising but I know some people do not get why and how these occur so I wanted to collaborate with Steph (@Stephtruman) to address some the misunderstandings.
Gifting is quite self-explanatory. You are gifted something for yourself, or the kids maybe.
Now sometimes you are gifted something and the company does not ask for any pictures but more times than not you are given the gifts for return of photos.
Now initially, when I started my Instagram I jumped for joy when people asked to send me gifts in exchange for pictures. However now, two years down the line, I have realised that actually when I am gifted things I usually am expected to do more work than when I am required to do an Ad post.
I know that may sound a little bizarre but it is so true. I am all for supporting new brands and small shops and I love and speak to a few small brands on a regular basis. But at times, some people who contact me actually expect so much.
And some even suggest that they want to help me gain more followers by sending me things. Which to be honest I know is not true.
When people message me now. I will often say no thank you to gifts unless I really love the brand. I can not stand it when people’s Insta stories are constantly their received gifts. And quite often toot. Of course, I do receive some gifts but I am very selective now.
If I like the product I will ask if they have a budget for influencers (if you don’t ask you don’t get). Some will suggest that they genuinely have nothing to give, but some do have budgets. I will decide whether I want to go ahead with or without a fee. It just depends on how much work I have on and how much I love the company.
I think it is important to remember the companies are usually sending you stuff because they want advertisement. Advertisement is not free. Exposure is not a currency. My photos take me time. This is my job. I do not like to work for free. Why should I?
When it comes to Ad’s. If you see the hash tag Ad that means for me that I have been paid money to post. I know some people write Ad if they have been gifted something but I do not.
Again, I only accept Ad jobs if I feel passionate about the brand of if I genuinely like it or already use the product. I ain’t here to fake liking some dead bracelet or something you will never see me using or wearing.
Down to the nitty gritty. Payment. Yeah, it’s usually late. Only kidding. I know a lot of people who do not want to discuss their rates but how are we meant to know if we are receiving enough. What is the problem with discussing it?
How much? Well it all depends on how much work is required. Some companies have bigger budgets and I always ask for more. Because why not.
If they say no, they say no. That’s cool. You do not need to word it in an arsey way. Just word it like this
“ Hey, I am so thrilled you have contacted me to work with you. I would love to hear a little bit more about the project. Just out of curiosity is there any movement on the budget as I usually take a bit more than the proposed fee?”.
Now that isn’t saying you don’t want to do it. That isn’t saying you are not going to take it if the budget doesn’t move. But always ask for more!
Just for a insight into what you could earn when blogging and influencing. Last summer I was offered £150 for a job. However, after sending through my impressions of my Instragram (before I had a media kit) I managed to agree on £800. If you don’t ask you don’t get!
Speaking of media kits. If you don’t have one. Get one, they are so much more professional when speaking to clients.
Lastly, I would say do not be afraid to say No to someone. I would say I say no to at least four companies a week into collaborating or working with them. Purely because it would be false and not true to myself working with them. You do not need to say it in a rude way. “Thank you so much for contacting me but at the moment I just do not have time to dedicate to the project. I wish you all the luck”
Lets see what Steph has to say on the topic…
What does the #ad and #gift mean to you?
Whenever I see the hashtag gift on a post I know that the person will be promoting a product that was sent as a gift by a company to them to promote on their social media platforms.
The hashtag ad tells me that this is an advertisement and someone is being paid money to promote those products in their social media platforms.
When you are gifted something are there any terms and if so what are they ?
I consider myself to be lucky that I have been gifted quite a lot of products from various companies . Some people think you get an item, take a photo with a caption “bigging up” the company and product and that’s it. But it really isn’t that simple. It takes a lot of time and patience especially when it comes to photographing the product with your child. It takes extra time to even manage to capture a half decent photograph of a toddler who lets face it just wants to be a toddler and play and run about.
If you don’t meet the terms what may or may not happen?
It isn’t easy and there are certain terms and conditions that can be involved when getting gifted by companies .
Personally I have had a few companies where the terms and conditions was just to take one photo with the product and post it to my social media and that was it , no time limit or anything.
I have also had items gifted when I had to post a photo with a certain discount code once / twice a week for a month on certain set dates and times and (up until the discount code ended). If these terms was not met in anyway shape or form I would have had to have sent back the product and / or been charged the full value for the products received. It can be quite stressful as life with a toddler can vary. Every single second of the day, one minute Corey would be happily playing then then next …
He has bumped his head and we are off to A&E. Life can just get in the way and of course our children ALWAYS come first so sometimes these things just don’t always work out. It can be very demanding at times .
Do you like receiving gifts?
I would be lying if I said I didn’t like receiving gifts. I mean who would turn down a freebie? Especially if it was a product that you genuinely love and rate and it was going to benefit you or your child then why not .
Would you like to do ad jobs?
I never say never, if the opportunity came up and I was asked to do an #ad then Yes of course I would totally do it.
If you would work with 3 companies what would they be?
Hmm that’s a hard decision, there are so many different types of companies that I would love to work with. I think for me personally I love working with children’s brands, like anything from children’s toys, to children’s room decor and even clothing brands. This is because I love that sort of genre. it is so versatile due to a huge range of products and brands in each genre that you can work with and the possibilities are endless . If it was for me personally to work with I would love to work with beauty , fashion and hair brands. All my personal favourite things.
I’ve noticed that a lot of people on Instagram dislike the gift hashtag. Why do you think this could be?
To be completely honest Lauren I have no idea as to why people dislike the hashtag #gifted or #ad. For me personally I think it’s great to see the hashtags being used. I think it shows people that they are being honest and showing that they did not purchase this product. The power of Instagram and a bloggers promotional post can really help grow a small business and Instagram is full of amazing small businesses that with the help of bloggers can really boost their business from one post alone.
Do you think some people are over gifted?
No not at all, I think it’s down to the companies who want to work with certain people and sometimes companies tend to go for the accounts with a larger following (15k + followers). Of course from a companies perspective this is a great idea as it’s getting to more and more people to view their product. Although, in my opinion I feel there are so many amazing accounts on Instagram that have a smaller following and their feeds get more interaction than some of the much larger accounts .
It would be nice to see some diversity and not see the same people over and over again with ads or gifted. After all every one who wants to work in this type of industry has to start somewhere and start with someone . Whatever the following.
Can you say no to gifts? If so, how?
Yes 100%! Never feel obliged to say yes to each and every single company that approaches you offering you a freebie. You will end up inundated with gifts which will give you a backlog of items you still have to review and post about on your feed. Also, I think it’s crucial you only work with and accept products form companies you genuinely rate and love , purely because I find that if you don’t 100% like that certain product or brand it comes across on that post especially compared to the previous posts you totally rate . You can see you’ve made more of an effort with that photo over the one you don’t really like and I also find you struggle to caption your photo to promote that product and company. So never feel obliged to say yes because they are a dangling a freebie on front of you .
Lastly, have you ever asked for money in return of coverage?
No not at all. I don’t have a large enough following to ask for money. This doesn’t mean I won’t ever ask in the future though. After all the larger the following the more I feel you will inundated with companies wanting to collaborate with you and you will get very busy so I think if I had a larger following of more than 20k or so then yes I would ask for money for coverage & why not isn’t that why bloggers start to be bloggers to eventually turn it from getting freebies and learning the ropes to finally being a successful blogger and getting paid to do what you love ?
Thank you so much Steph for giving your take on the gifting and ad business on Instagram. I would like to just say I feel that everyone should feel comfortable asking for money for coverage. If people message you to send you things in return of photos they want you to advertise their product. Never feel embarrassed or that you do not have enough followers.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog.
Lots of Love.