You did it. You landed that amazing sponsorship deal you’ve been after… but you had to offer more product callouts and promoted posts than you wanted. Now you’re worried about looking like a sell-out.

Sponsors are a fact of life for influencers, but striking a balance between talking up a partner’s product and looking like a corporate mouthpiece is tricky. Your audience is your biggest asset; damaging their trust with a clumsy sponsored post can have a devastating impact on your channel. To keep yourself out of trouble, follow these guidelines for organically promoting brands.

Only choose sponsors you’re honestly willing to recommend

Followers will judge you based on the products you promote, so be certain you can genuinely support your partner brands. Test products before you agree to sponsor them. If you wouldn’t spend your own money on something, it’s not worth losing your followers’ trust by endorsing it.

It’s important to consider the company behind the brand, too. Spend an hour researching potential partners for culture inconsistencies with your brand. Allying yourself with a company your fans hate will damage your reputation.

Finally, allow yourself enough creative freedom in your sponsor-influencer contract to provide constructive criticism. Your review will be more effective if you point out flaws as well as advantages. Fans don’t need everything to be perfect; they just want to know they can trust you to provide an honest review.

Always tag sponsored posts

If fear over losing followers is holding you back from tagging sponsored posts, know that the exact opposite is true. Failing to tag can damage your credibility among fans.

Never hide a sponsor or pretend you paid for something you were given to review. Transparency is important to fans. They expect you to have sponsors and they’re interested to know what products you like, but they need reassurance that you’re more than a mouthpiece. Being upfront about partnerships protects the creator-fan relationship.

Skipping tags can also get you in trouble with social media platforms. There are common conventions for tagging paid content (#sponsor, #ad, etc) that platforms require in their terms and agreements. Some, like YouTube, even have guidelines about what kinds of sponsor content can be shown as well.

You don’t have to tag every single post where your sponsor’s items appear, but always tag sponsored posts. A friendly thanks to a partner at the end of a video is another way to organically disclose without seeming awkward.

Create compelling visuals

Remember that you want every post, even sponsored ones, to look good and be on brand for your channel. Visually appealing content will be shared three times more than unappealing images, which is good for you and your sponsor. A few notes:

  • Use the item naturally, in your own style that your followers enjoy.
  • Focus on features rather than labels. Followers don’t care about the label; they want to know how the product works.
  • Be sure to get action close-ups if the item is technical or hard to see.
  • Less is more when it comes to post-production (video editing, color touch-ups, etc) on sponsored posts. Fix any glaring issues, but let fans see the product as it truly is.

Watch your ad-to-content ratio

The Facebook Newsfeed algorithm ranks your content lowif you have too many sponsored posts relative to original content, and other platforms are following suit. Make a rule that no more than 1 in 5 posts can be sponsored content.

Don’t pack items into those posts to maximize their effect, either. Trying to include too many products will make your content look like an infomercial. Feature one, maybe two items unless doing something like a make-up tutorial.

Get Out and Practice!

Promotion can be intimidating, but like any skill it gets easier over time. Keep these guidelines in mind and you’ll be organically promoting brands like a pro!

Looking for more options when featuring sponsors? With a custom app, you can use engaging visual ads as well as sponsored posts. Contact FanHero to learn how!

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