My relationships with brands as an influencer

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Earlier this month, the UK government shared guidelines to help the general public understand when influencers are being paid to mention a brand or specifc item.  This is to help people recognize any advertisement or endorsement that the influencer was paid to share, mention, or attend.  While I realize my reach is much smaller than the cast of Love Island or a single Kardashian, I wanted to explain the current relationship I have with brands and how I indicate this on blog posts and social media.

In no particular order:

Decathlon Bloggers Community: Occasionally, I receive complimentary items to review.  This has been a big help in managing the expenses for my adventures in 2018.  With each product I receive, I test it out in various conditions, photograph it, and write an honest review here on my blog.  I may also share the photos on social media while testing them to let people know a full review is coming.  I will use #gifted on social media to indicate items given in exchange for a honest review.

Simplyhealth: We have worked together in the past when I was given a complimentary race entry.  Simplyhealth was kind enough to sponsor my 4x4 challenge by covering one flight and race registration in exchange for ten blog posts about the Active Plan over six months, social media shares and a few workout videos.  I also have received one year premier level plan of their new active plan.  The link I share to their active plan is to help Simplyhealth monitor how many people I am referring to their site.  I do not receive any monetary compensation for sign ups.  You can read about my experiences with the plan so far here, here and here.  These posts will be tagged with #ad.

Function360 Physiotherapy: I receive two off-peak appointments a month in exchange for social media shares and blog posts documenting my treatment plan and progress.  I also take pictures during each appointment and send them to Function360 to use as they see fit.  To help monitor Function360's ROI with me, I have a custom referral code that gives people 15% off their first apppointment (F360MM15).  I do not receive any monetary compensation for each person I refer.  I genuinely love the team at Function360 and would recommend them to anyone who will listen.  For this, I will use #gifted.

Run Hungary: I was introduced to this new company by mutual friend who works at ON Running.  They are offered me a complimentary trip for the Budapest half in April if I am able to refer a certain number of runners to the trip. I will be going on the trip no matter what, so please join me!  (I will buy dinner for those who sign up as my referral as a thank you).  I will tags these social media posts as #affiliate.

Run Bulgaria: I applied to be an ambassador for this company after seeing an advert on Facebook.  It is so exciting to have been chosen! This summer I will attend their five day running camp on a gifted basis.  I will be promoting the brand by tagging them on social media and wearing their branded t-shirt on some runs when it arrives to help build brand awareness.  I also receive a monetary reward for each person who uses my referral code (AMB19MOL) which gives the user £75 off summer camp registration.   I will tags these social media posts as #affiliate.

Photo by Will Patrick

Product reviews: I am often sent product samples to try out and then review on my website.  As I am more pressed for time these days (and now there is all this #ad tagging confusion), I tend to choose kit I will genuinely use or am very curious about.  I will always be honest with my feedback.  If I have nothing nice to say, I will let the brand know and offer to return the item rather than write about it (this has only happened once).  If I product isn't necessarily my cup of tea, I will still post about it and suggest people who might be interested or other uses.  I always declare at the bottom of the post of an idea was gifted.  I will now include this info in social media shares too with #gifted or #ad.

Future Fit Training: Offered me a complimentary nutrition diploma program in exchange for blog posts and social media shares.  I have been working on it for over a year and am determined to finish before 30 June 2019.  I considered this to be #gifted.

MyCrewApp This is a new free app which aims to connect runners in their local area.  I receive a very small fee for each new sign up of their app using my referral link.  They also offer incentives depending on how many people attend your runs and how many runs you host.  Unfortunately, no one has attended my run club this year, but I am actively promoting my runs and the app in the hopes of helping new runners.  It also ensures I am running more often too and meeting new people in London.  Social media shares that include my sign up link will be labelled #affiliate.

Amazon affiliate link:  I will sometimes include links to specific products available on Amazon in my blog posts.  A disclaimer about these links is always included in the post letting readers know that if a purchase is made through the link, I receive a small fee which helps cover the costs of running this site.  Amazon now has influencer stores and you can visit mine here.  I will curate different themes throughout the year so keep checking back.  As previously mentioned, these are #affiliate links.

I wrote a post sponsored by Sunnto to highlight their new Spartan watch.

Sponsored posts:  Very rarely will I accept sponsored posts.  However, if the content in inline with my brand and the message I am sharing, I will occasionally allow for them (they help pay my bills a lot better than exposure).  I always declare these as sponsored and will tag as #ad if I am sharing links on social media.

As you can see, I end up having to do a lot of work for the items or experiences I am gifted.  Let's call it a labor of love as I acknowledge how blessed I am to be able to experience all of these things.  I also pay for a lot of my own stuff but may tag the brand to help my readers identify kit and to let the brand know I am a fan.  In these cases, I will not tag with #gifted or #ad.  Maybe #iboughtit will start trending too?

If I am not being paid, I don't think #ad is appropriate.  To me #ad means I received money for something and #gifted meant I was given a product or service.  IN addition, the recommendation is also to tag a post with #gifted, #ad, #affiliate if I am wearing/mentioning something that I was gifted within the last year.  I will put these at the top of my hashtags but at the bottom of my blog posts.  Feel free to scroll down before reading my articles to get the appropriate context.

Do you think #gifted is transparent enough?  How do you think I have done so far in making my brand relationships clear?  Leave a comment below and let me know.

Please note, none of the brands mentioned paid me to mention them in this post, but I have included links to their site.  The only affiliate links included in this post are with MyCrew, Run Bulgaria, and Amazon.

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