Being transparent when promoting products

There has been a lot in the news this week about celebrities and influencers not being clear enough when they are being paid, or receiving the product for free to promote it. Now as a blogger who does product reviews regularly, this is a really interesting topic for me.

There have been calls for people to use the hashtags #ad or #sponsor when they are promoting a product on social media and Blog Posts and YouTube videos should have a clear message stating that this is essentially marketing material aka an advert.

I can understand why people think this is important. If you are being supported by a company either as a sponsor or by being given products to review, you are unlikely to say bad things about it in order to preserve your working relationship. So as an influencer, you could be encouraging your followers to buy a product which isn’t actually as good as you have led them to believe. So I can completely understand why people think it is important for influencers to be clear about when they are promoting a brand and when they are genuinely excited by a product.

However, if you don’t trust an influencer not to lie to you, should you really be interested in what they have to say?

Last month I wrote an article about reviewing products as a blogger and how when I was in a meeting with a company they asked me how I keep my reviews honest when I am receiving the product for free.

I don’t think I change how I write about a product just because it was a freebie. Okay, so if I’m not too keen a product I will try really hard to find some positives and suggest who it might be better suited for if it’s simply just not for me. But I am also very honest about the problems/issues I have with the problem. There are 2 reasons I do this, 1, I don’t want to lie to my loyal followers and 2, many companies want to hear any negative feedback so that they can look at solving the problem. A great example is when I reviewed the Horse Dialog app and ran into a few technical problems. My review was then passed onto the developers within the company to address the issues.

I also think that a good blogger will already be being clear with you which products they decided to review and which products they were given to review. I start nearly all my product reviews starting with how I got the product, whether it was a spontaneous purchase, a gift from friends/family or from a company.

The point I am trying to make is that if you really trust a blogger, vlogger etc, it shouldn’t matter whether or not the products they are showing you are promoted. A good, responsible influencer will not try and sell you something they don’t believe in.

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