How to Authentic Influence With Sponsored Posts

Commissioned work

Commissioned work

Promotion on my feed for Nikon

Promotion on my feed for Nikon

Do you ever wonder how bloggers and food photographers work with brands on Instagram?

Do you ever felt uncomfortable marketing a sponsored post on your feed?

Maybe you'd considered doing paid posts, but you don't know if you can be authentic while sponsoring other brands and products. Or perhaps you are confused about pricing your work.

In this blog post, I'll talk about why working with brands can be as authentic as everything else you do. And, how you can still produce meaningful work that connects from your heart.

I'll tell you how it's legit for you to share sponsored posts with your audience for a living, and my experience of what works.

And I'll also share with you my bulletproof method to decide your pricing range, that all levels of expertise can apply.

So, first thing first.

Why sponsored posts?

Instagram has been my unique opportunity to do a creative job again, after relocating in a new country with two babies, no connections, and very basic English.

Now, there're many different ways to create an income through Instagram and blogging. And often we have to wear many hats to earn a living.

In my case, I mainly work from home. I produce content for magazines and companies. I give photography and cooking lessons and online consultations. And everything I do come straight from my passion.

But when it comes to sponsored content rises the question. How to promote genuinely and authentically on your feed?

I believe that whatever we do has more power and is more influential if we do it with an open heart. When we work from our heart there are no barriers. We become closer to our audience, communicating our passion and purpose more effectively.

Just being genuine and not pretentious, sounding like yourself is enough to set it right.

Also, if you work with random brands only for the sake of money, is going be hard to promote in the sacred space of your feed and genuinely connect with your audience.

And more importantly, you've missed the opportunity of creating meaningful content and connect at a deeper level with your audience.

The secret to produce paid content that connects with authenticity, is to create it with our incredible community in mind.

I like to be fair and respectful, clearly communicating that post that's is an #ad (following the current regulations) and creating a piece of content that is beautiful and useful. As to meaningfully influence, you need always to serve your audience with real value.

Last year, with Nikon we made a social campaign on food waste. A guide to saving food and create beautiful quick recipes with leftovers.

We gave a reason why we rise the campaign and some achievable solutions to our audience. The campaign was coherent with the brand and with my ethos. It felt genuine, valuable, and it was beautiful. As a result, I was proud to be part of it, and my followers loved all the posts.

commissioned work

commissioned work

So, to summarise, here're the ideas that can help you stay authentic and excited about creating paid content.

  • Believe in the brand you are promoting.

  • Put your audience first.

  • Give your promotion a why and/or create a simple solution to a problem.

  • Create with open heart and passion.

  • Deliver value for your beloved community.

  • And finally, know you have been rightfully compensated for your work.

And about the last bit.

There is a social conditioning that being paid for what you love doing is unnecessary. And let me say it, this is particularly true if you are a woman. There's a common assumption that creative and women don't need to work to make a living, leave alone being successful entrepreneurs!

I don't think I'm the only one to have been pitched many times by brands (boldly) stating that they wanted photography services without paying, but just in exchange of their products.

Now, just for fun, close your eyes and picture yourself stepping into a Snappy Snap shop (boldly) asking to have passport photo taken in exchange with tea bags or vegan mayo.

Yea, sounds too ridiculous. Even for a passport pic that'll NEVER look good.

So, why would you accept to exchange hours of your time for a mass produced low cost product? After a quick priority check, personally I'll rather spend that time with my beautiful children and devote my work to something more productive.

In general, you compensation can be based on 5 factors, most of them measurable.

  • The quality of your work.

  • The time you spend shooting. Pre production (mood-board, research), production (shooting the pictures) and post production (editing the pictures).

  • The sheer amount of time you spent creating useful free contents for your beloved audience. Creating a trustworthy relationship with your peers and community through a genuine conversation. And this relationship is that one that benefit the brands with an engaged audience.

  • Your expenses.

  • Your overall engagement (not the “followers”) on your social media.

The price for a campaign is sometimes based on the budget the company or the agency has set for that piece of promotion. Some budgets are negotiable some others are not.

Is true that if you're a beginner you want as much experiences as you can, and it’s ok! Just be aware of your choices, being ethically and financially savvy.

Ultimately the decisional power is yours. You can determine if a budget is appropriate based on the interest you have in collaborating with a company and your financial needs.

Althought I’m firm with my business bundaries, there're still some instances when I don'task a fee for my work.

If I decide to collaborate for:

  • Charities & non-profit campaigns.

  • Artists and small makers.

  • Highly committed brands that want to make a real difference in this world and cannot yet afford paid promotions.

Promotion on my stories

Promotion on my stories

I want to wrap up this post with one of my favorite authors, Todd Henry. He says:

"If we hold tightly to what we think we deserve, we are only looking to fill our bucket. But the people that have a mindset of abundance and generosity are the people we do want around us. Those make you always feel seen and welcome."

Meaning that is our attitude of givers or takers that determine how successful we are. And I believe this is especially true on Instagram.

If we are abundant and generous, all we create will be authentic and beautiful. If we only look into gaining followers, money, visibility, we'll soon detach from our ethos and loose connection with what we do and the people we serve. It will be more challenging to be and feel authentic and positive.

So whatever I do, paid or spontaneous, I like to be in the second group of people that Todd Henry mentions.

Now let me know here below your experience! Have you ever done sponsored work? How do you perceive #ad?

Since this is a slightly different kind of blog post than I usually do, I'd also love to hear what you think.

Do you like reading about the breakdown of how I work and make decisions?

I appreciate your shares and feedback in advance.

Thank you, as always, for reading my blog, following on Instagram and contributing to our incredible community.

Love

Silvia