beauty blogging and transparency: a moral dilemma

As some of you may know, a recent rule change now requires Australian social media influencers to disclose in the caption if the post they are making is sponsored. New Zealand doesn’t have a rule like this – unlike America, Australia and the UK, we can pretty much post whatever we want and the transparency is at our whimsy.
I think that chances are, we will not be far behind them. But I personally believe that my readers (that’s you guys!) deserve honesty and transparency – whether it’s the law or not. For a while now, I’ve been posting the following disclaimer at the end of all my reviews:

“As always, this blog post is entirely my own opinion and I do not represent anyone or anything. Nobody paid me to write this post and everything I have written here I believe to be true. “

But aside from declaring all freebies and paid posts, there is another moral dilemma: can you trust what influencers are telling you?

The main problem with big internet stars and youtubers like NikkieTutorials and Shannon Harris (Shaaanxo) is that they’re so big, their reach is so huge, that people just can’t trust that what they’re saying is true. It’s estimated that Shannon Harris makes up to $2000 per video on youtube, and instagram users with more than 500k followers can earn more than $1200 per post. You really have no idea if they’re being honest or if they’re saying what the brand wants them to say so that they keep getting paid.
It’s a business, like any other, and we can’t expect big influencers to turn around and say “no thank you, I won’t have your $2000 as I don’t really love your product” because they have to pay their bills too. As a business owner, I’d also be pretty upset if I commissioned a sponsored post and the influencer trashed my product.

Perhaps this is why attention is being or should be turned to smaller influencers, with less followers. At just under 2000 instagram followers, my reach is so small and insignificant that no brand is going to pay me to promote their product. However, if I may toot my own horn, I do create beautifully styled images that the brand is then able to re-post onto their own channels. Because of this, I have been contacted by brands I was already posting about (because I love them) to “say thanks” with a gift of free product. There have never been any strings attached and they have never said to me: “We’ll give you these products if you post them online.”

I think that these days, most people are already aware of how monetized big social media accounts are. There’s nothing we can do about that. But as a smaller influencer, I feel that it is my duty to tell you guys what’s up and to always be honest.

Do you guys agree? I’d love to know your thoughts in the comment section.

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