I have been asked many times whether I am always honest in my posts and reviews and whether other bloggers are too. I guess it is hard to know who to trust and who not to, if someone is paid to write about something as I often am then does that change the content and truth in what you read? Hopefully in this post I can share with you what I do and my experiences of what others do without naming any names as that’s just not my nature!
The picture above is actually taken on wallpaper and obviously posed however the dust and marks on the laptop are all mine!
Social media is such a minefield and the reality is that someone is online every minute of the day but no blogger or business can do that easily so there are going to be issues here but how we overcome that is different from one blogger to the next.
What I do…..
- I schedule posts on my social media such as “have you read my post of slow cooker meal ideas yet? Take a look here“
- I do not schedule posts such as “we are having great fun at the beach today” with a photo. Those kind of pictures, my meal pictures are all the here and now (though sometimes I forget to share my meals on Instagram until later I do tend to say this was yesterdays dinner I forgot to share!
- I feel that if I say I am doing something I should be doing it and feel Instagram is about photos of the instant and Facebook and Twitter updates should be current updates. Whilst I appreciate the first point are not these are still things I feel my readers would like to see and lets face it no one wants to retype the same things often!
- Whilst I have occasionally joined in on groups following each other on social media this isn’t that often and predominantly it is threads where you like those you chose to not all. I have never bought followers, encouraged followers who don’t actually have any interest in my feeds or in any other way faked my following.
What other bloggers do…..
- Many other bloggers are the same as me and generally schedule repetitive things but update the here and now as it happens.
- There are bloggers however who do schedule posts and plan posts even things like “look at little one having fun this afternoon” when it is a picture already taken. Personally this is something I don’t agree with but you may feel different as a reader or follower.
- The likes you see on a post on Instagram are not necessarily genuine! There is a group I joined and tried out where basically you post the link to one of your Instagram photos and everyone else on the list likes it. Around 500 people join this thread each day and there is a Google Chrome extension which can like them all for you easily. Some of the bloggers you follow may use this. I tried it for a couple of days but I soon stopped as felt like I was cheating my followers and readers. I know many bloggers people believe are popular who actually do this so the reality is their likes are fake. I wont name names but I know many would be surprised at some who do this!
I write a lot of reviews and have done for a mixture of big and small companies. In my opinion the whole point of a review is to give your honest opinion of a product or service. If there are negative points I include them because I wouldn’t want my readers to buy something I said was great if it was absolute rubbish.
What I do…..
- I always disclose if I was given an item in return for a review so that you know this however whether I am given an item or buy it myself the contents of the review are always my own opinion.
- If a brand sends me an item to review and they are unhappy with any particular wording of the review I am happy to change it but to keep the sentiment the same. For example I recently was asked by a brand to change the word disappointed to something else and if I recall I used unhappy instead. The point is the same but I allow them to have a little opinion if they have an issue with something like that.
- I will tell you everything and not just leave out the bad bits.
- I will refuse to write a review for a product if it really isn’t any good or doesn’t work for me. I would use this for example if I was offered a hand cream I was allergic to if I couldn’t try it on someone else to review.
- I take photos on backgrounds, wallpaper samples and flooring samples, use props and sometimes use filters to brighten a photo I took when it was gloomy. I am human and it is what many do, they may not tell you that but they do!
What others do…..
- Whilst I am aware from chatting to many other bloggers that most bloggers do the same as myself it isn’t always the case. Some do not always make readers aware if they were given an item for the purposes of review. Something that is a legal requirement but also in my opinion a moral one.
- I am aware that it can be difficult to word a review if you have problems and was pleased when I recently asked in a blogger group to discover almost everyone said they would be honest even if it included bad points, the few that said otherwise said they would ask the brands contact if they still wanted them to post the review.
- That said I have also chatted privately to some bloggers and was told by one (who I noted had said she was always honest in the above public question) that she missed out bad bits of a review as she “didn’t want to upset the brand”. Personally I do not agree with that but I guess the choice is down to each individual blogger.
- Many also do not have perfect houses and also use wallpaper, the only plain wall in the house or other peoples gardens for photos.
Paid for content…..
Many brands use bloggers or social influencers to get their product or service seen by more people. This could be a new product coming to market, a new range of product or just brand awareness of a new or recently expanded business.
What I do…..
- Legally it should always be disclosed if you are being paid to post something, this on my blog is marked as either collaborative or sponsored post. This could either mean the content was sent to me to share to I have written the post myself and included a link I was paid to include. If I think something is rubbish I wont share it whatever the payment offered. However I should add I have never been offered £1000000! So i am not sure what my response would be then. I think that is unlikely though!
- I will never say something is my opinion that is not.
- I will never disclose actual payments received for posts or links. I do however disclose that it was paid so you have that choice whether to read it on that basis though in my opinion paid or not I share great stuff!
- I often use stock photos of thing like cars and people chatting because I am a little rubbish at taking a huge variety of photos to use in posts. Some of the posts talk about things I don’t have but would love (like a massive garden!) so it just makes sense – never presume my house is as amazing as pictures included in all my posts!
What others do…..
- They should all stick to the law also but whether they do or not I am not sure. I should add this is law here in the UK I am unsure of laws abroad relating to this.
- They may use different wording for paid for posts but it should still be clear to the reader, if not they are breaking the law.
- Most also use stock photos too.
I am probably sometimes too open and honest with you guys about my personal life but I am happy with that and feel it is always appropriate thing I share that may help others. I have talked about my experiences of domestic abuse openly, my experiences of depression, and my weight losses and gains. Of course there will be bits I leave out because they are private but I will try to always be as open and honest as I can because I see you as friends I don’t know yet and people who may need to see they are not alone in the ups and downs of every day life.
So, does this help you feel more inclined to trust bloggers in general? I cant speak for others but I hope that this post has helped you to see more about how I write my blog and the things I do and don’t share with you guys. If you are a blogger and want to comment your thoughts please do.
Here are some other bloggers opinions I sought.
Fran from Whinge Whinge Wine says “People actually read reviews and trust them. I know that friends have bought things on my recommendation. If something is crap then saying it’s good is going to bite you in the bum when someone else has a crap experience and blames you. If it was mostly negative I’d give the PR a heads up and see if it’s something that could be fixed. If it was terrible I’d probably offer to not write it, although I would absolutely if pushed to. But I definitely wouldn’t recommend something that I found to be awful.”
Katie from Living Life Our Way says “I am diplomatic and tactful, but still honest. I ignore the fact it is a review and just write what I think. I would rather be truthful to my readers than impress a brand.”
Leigh from Dad Geek says “Your value to brands is based on your ability to influence your followers into potentially buying something because you say it’s good. Your followers only trust your opinion because they believe you’ll be honest about whether something is good or bad. If you sing the praises of something irrespective of quality, you break the trust that your followers put in you. You can be constructive and balanced but you have to be honest.”
Eva from Captain Bobcat says “I think if we’re not honest, that will ultimately kill the whole micro influencing review industry. It would definitely effect negatively the bloggers seeing only good biased reviews on their site. The majority of my reviews are positive because I only take on things to review I’m excited about and I only work with brands I share their ethos.”