Kristy McNamee recently wrote this post about social media in beauty – and it got me thinking. She talked about reading blogs and reviews to research beauty products she was thinking of buying.
Now I don’t know about you, but whenever I read that a product has been ‘gifted for review’, I am immediately less likely to trust the opinion of the writer. I understand their desire to receive some benefit from the undoubted effort required to write a successful blog. Who wouldn’t want to be gifted products that are relevant to their area of interest??
But therein lies the problem: are bloggers more likely to give favourable reviews to increase the chances of the bounty continuing? They probably wouldn’t be human if they didn’t. And I wouldn’t expect a company to gift product for review to a blogger that gives negative reviews.
Under Australian Consumer Law, failure to disclose paid endorsements is considered misleading and deceptive conduct, and penalties can be serious. The law is less clear about bloggers disclosing when they have been gifted products by companies, although various stakeholders have pushed for such a requirement ( read more here and here).
I would hope that any ethical blogger would disclose any sponsorship or gifts, and that any company using bloggers would require that they do so. But is this enough?
I wrote at the start of this post about my scepticism regarding sponsored posts – and I suspect this sentiment is growing among consumers as more and more marketers jump on the ‘sponsored post’ bandwagon. So how should marketers respond? With caution!
Here are my suggestions:
- Don’t do it to often. Familiarity may well breed contempt in this space. You don’t want to appear desperate!
- Choose your bloggers carefully. Up and coming bloggers that may not have been blogging for long, with a rising readership, may be a good target. With luck, at least some of their readers won’t be readers of lots of other blogs, and they might find the idea of a sponsored post intriguing rather than passe. However they are less likely to have a loyal following of readers, who will trust them due to the relationships that the blogger builds.
- Make sure that the product aligns with the bloggers area of interest/expertise. No point giving a beauty blogger a vacuum cleaner! Also be as sure as you can be that the review will be positive. Is the product of good quality?
- Maybe try to think of a new way of getting your product in front of the target audience. If your product is relatively cheap and can be sampled, what about offering a sample to the first 50 or 100 readers that sign up?
What do you think? Are you automatically suspicious of a sponsored post? Or does it depend on who is posting?