Hi everyone! I know today isn’t my regular posting day- and yes, there will still be a new post on Monday- but I wanted to share an experience with you that I had today. It’s one that I’m sure many influencers have had in their early stages.
First and foremost, if you are a micro/nano influencer with no management team or agency, it’s easy to become a target by scammers. I recently created a business email for my blog and other social media outlets. In doing this, I came across several scam emails offering free products in turn for promotion. Who wouldn’t jump at the offer of free things?!
Something that influencers and personalities without representation must remember is to do research before agreeing on deals and signing contracts.
Before I go into specifics and explain an experience I’ve had, I want to make it clear to everyone that I don’t automatically agree on sponsorships because of the payout. I refuse to promote any product or service that I don’t approve of myself. So when brands that I’ve never heard of reach out to me, I take the offers very seriously and do my research before making any sort of agreement with them. However, I am still very welcoming to any brands willing to collaborate.
An example of a scam experience I have had is of an athletic wear company (which will be referred to as AWC). Firstly, I have yet to review or even be seen in proper athletic wear on my social media. That immediately was a red flag to me. Why would a brand reach out to me if they had not seen any indication that their products would be of interest to my demographic?
After checking their website, I saw every pair of leggings was one sale. They were originally marked for roughly $60 and were on sale for $22. More than 50% off? Every pair? Are you sure?
So AWC had their “representative” get ahold of me. The subject line read “Collaboration Proposal!” Right away I noticed several grammatical errors in the email. I was told that this woman was in charge of ambassador applications and thought that I would be a good fit. Remember that I never posted any athletic wear on my social media. I also never applied to be an ambassador (I mean, I never heard of AWC to begin with). I was told that today only they were giving free products to new ambassadors so I would have to jump quickly at the opportunity.
Something I always do when I get an email from a brand is ask for more information if I don’t feel enough has been provided. I said I was interested in the brand and wanted to know more about the ambassador program.
The reply was sent from a different email, no longer from their rep. The email was also obviously a scam email so I knew right away that this was someone who wanted to con my followers and myself out of money. The email itself was formatted fairly unprofessionally (using emojis mid-email and poor font) and looked like it was translated from a different language, copied and pasted, and sent to me. If no red flags were flying yet, that one was a dead give away.
” We have our brand new summer collection.
All you have to do is drive traffic to our Instagram and promote our leggings in you page! We will give you a Personal code which you have to share with your followers. Fore very sale you generate us with your Personal code, we give you a *0% commission. We expect you to take pictures with our leggings and send them to us, they will be featured in our page and website”
Then there was a flexing emoji… yeah…
And yes, that was copied and pasted. I did no alterations to that other than replacing the percentage with an asterisk. They definitely disclosed a number.
Then it gave me a link to a private page that showed items for “$0” before I would be scammed into paying for shipping. I had to laugh. How are you guys making any profit if you’re selling every item for more than 50% off WITHOUT ambassador discount codes and also giving ambassadors free items? If you’re going to lie, at least do it well! Your financial department must really hate their jobs…
After I finished up my research on the brand and their products, I discovered that they were most likely dropshipping. This means that they do not have any items in stock. They simply order them from a cheap producer and stick their label on it. I had a hunch when I read a review that said they waited a very long time for their order.
That’s just a little bit of what smaller bloggers/influencers/personalities go through with sponsorships/ambassadorships/etc. If you’re dealing with similar situations, I have a few tips to make sure you and your followers are safe from these nasty money grabbers.
- Do your research on the brand- the brand itself, the quality of the product, and reviews given from customers.
- Look at the emails used- sometimes it’s easier than other times, but always evaluate the email address they use. Sometimes it won’t even look professional or appropriate for their line of work.
- Judge the email- spelling, grammar, format, EVERYTHING. Real brands won’t let things like that slip when they are representing themselves.
- Check Facebook pages- some people make pages to alert other people about scams that they’ve fallen victim to.
- GOOGLE- always google the brand and rely solely on reviews that are not on the brand’s website. Also try looking up the name of the brand with the word “scam” after it to find any additional information.
These are just a few tips that I’ve used to look into unknown brands. Keep in mind that accepting sponsorships or ambassadorships from companies that you don’t know much about could ultimately look bad for you and put your followers at risk as well.
If you missed it, I made a Facebook page! It’s where I’ll be sharing behind the scenes work, life updates, and other fun things you won’t see here! Check it out and drop a like!