Are young Bookstagrammers taken advantage of?
The Bookstagram world is dominated a lot by young people; I mean, I’m only 21 and I feel old and I think because of that we are often taken advantage of. We are passionate, excited and also desperate for people to say we are worthy (although I’m getting over this).
Which is why I think when we are approached by companies to showcase their products and not pay us, and a lot of people accept these offers, jumping for joy.
But should we?
Yes, it nice to be loved, it makes us feel like we are doing a good job and the “Oh my, they are approaching little old me!” syndrome makes us say yes far more I think than we really should.
Let me put it this way, we have spent hours of blood, sweat and tears to get our accounts to where they are, be it 100 followers or 100,000, everyone of our followers has been earned and they love us, following us to see what our next book recommendation will be, what our next picture will look like, they trust us and we have built a relationship with them that is two way.
We shouldn’t damage that relationship for free products with or without payment.
Every time we post a product given to us, do a sponsored or advertorial post or rave about the latest watch so and so has sent us we risk damaging that relationship. We risk losing our followers, upsetting them or at the worse annoying the hell out of them. And is a free pair of sunglasses really worth that.
Think of what you say yes to on the ‘Gram’ like dating; you wouldn’t date anyone who asked, would you? You would be more discerning, see if you liked them, see if their idea of the world matched ours and if they were worth your time. Why don’t we do that when people offer us free stuff?
There is something called social equity and when we post a sponsored, advertorial or gifted post we risk burning that. I’m lucky in that I have my mum constantly reminding me of this and she can be brutal. My account, my followers, my creativity is worth more than any freebie you might offer me.
When I started we made a list of brands and products we would love to have and work with and slowly we have got them or are starting to attract the kinds of brands we want.
We also set a few rules.
- Do I love this product? If it’s a no I don’t do it.
- Do I need or want this product? I recently turned down some lovely glasses because I needed them to be prescription and they wouldn’t do it. What is the point in me having a pair of glasses I can’t wear?
- Would my followers be interested in this? If no, then I say bye. Let’s not mention the toothbrush that someone wanted me to post in my feed.
- Have I already promoted a similar product or is there a better one that I want? I said no to some watch deals because I only wanted a Jord watch and turned one down recently because I had already featured a watch.
- And for me, can I make a creative post out of this? I try so hard with my sponsored/advertorial posts to make them even better than my normal posts so if I can’t think of an idea that wows me I generally say no, Because if I’m putting sponsored content out there I want the brand to get the best engagement they can and I want my followers to love the content.
Oh, and with books there is only one criteria really – would I read this book? If so, generally I will have it. I won’t always feature it though.
So next time you get one of those e-mail that starts, “We really love your feed and think it would be a great match…” think twice and ask yourself some deeper questions, decide if that product is worth any possible damage you featuring it might cause.