#Sponsored: Uncovering the Real Deal

Let’s face it, social media has turned into one big advertisement. Everyone is selling something: gummy hair vitamins, makeup palettes, 21 day fitness programs, cleansing tea… anything and everything is up for sale. I don’t have Facebook, but from my experience with Instagram, social media is becoming even more commercialized than ever before.

Many posts I see on Instagram are labeled sponsored, this happens on blogs too. A blogger or influencer (or those with a mass following) will be given a product and paid to endorse the product and post about it. We are sometimes given the caveat “all opinions are my own.” But are they?

“Material connections between an endorser and marketer of a product or service that would affect how people evaluate the endorsement must be disclosed clearly and conspicuously.” –Federal Trade Commission

Let’s think about this, if I was mailed a product, given it for free, would I have the gall to write a bad review or blog post? I probably would not. Especially if I was being paid to endorse it. Influencers are now being required to state the content is sponsored, however many still are not.

With many celebrities we know they are getting paid millions to sell Maybelline mascara or Nike running shoes, but with Instagram, any normal person could be selling you something without you even knowing it. Many influencers and social figures are getting paid big bucks to post. This saves the advertisers time and money and goes right to the source. This method typically costs a lot less than an actual paid social ad. Yet some influencers are flying under the radar and are not disclosing the endorsement, this is a no no!

“The guidance for digital influencers advises to: disclose clearly and prominently whether content has been paid for; be open about other commercial relationships that might be relevant to the content.” –Federal Trade Commission

Personally, I like to control what I see as far as advertising. I will typically opt into certain retailer emails regarding new products and sales. I also love a 20% off coupon, however, being bombarded with ads on Instagram has been a bit disheartening. Everyone is trying to sell me a 20-day fix and flat tummy tea, it is like one giant pyramid scheme. So I did what any normal person would do – I purged. I purged anyone trying to sell me stuff I didn’t want.

“When I visit a blog I look for solid content, thoughtful opinions, observations and great insights; which lead to trust and respect for the blogger. Put ads there, and that blogger becomes some barker on a corner selling ginzu knives. –Susan Martin, blog comment

I am saying “yes” to what I want and “no” to whatever I don’t. As consumers, we can still take control of our feeds. Personally, what us normal folk must remember is most of the content we see is meticulously curated, positioned, and photographed to sell us. Just like a perfectly airbrushed magazine cover, the content is purely marketing.

This post was not #sponsored, all opinions really are my own!

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