Scammers Are Coming for Influencers!

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.

It read:

” 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.

  1. Do your research on the brand- the brand itself, the quality of the product, and reviews given from customers.
  2. 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.
  3. Judge the email- spelling, grammar, format, EVERYTHING. Real brands won’t let things like that slip when they are representing themselves.
  4. Check Facebook pages- some people make pages to alert other people about scams that they’ve fallen victim to.
  5. 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!

https://www.facebook.com/MegannLouiseDotCom/

 

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Behind the Scenes of Blogging

Hi everyone!

I hope you all had a great week and are ready to tackle another one! The past week for me was pretty eventful. My family and I did some more yard work and I finally got to unpack some more of my things from the apartment. There’s still a ton left to do in preparation for my sister’s graduation party (in 25 days) so it’s been a race against time.


Today I wanted to go into depth about blogging and everything that goes into it. I’ve been wanting to do this for a while but I’ve always brushed it off hoping that one day it would just write itself. But here I am, bundled up and comfy in bed, ready to take on this topic once and for all.

Making a Website

There’s a bunch of different ways that you can make a website for your blog. A lot of people think that making a blog is expensive, but that’s not always the case.

The first thing to do is to choose the hosting site you want to host your blog on. You can either self-host or use a free hosting option. A web hosting provider is basically a helpful hand for making your website. They provide their own tools as well as templates to create your website. By self-hosting, you can have much more of a say in what your website looks like by coding.

My very first blog was through Blogger. As a newbie in the blogging game, 12-year-old me didn’t know much at all. Blogger was super simple for me, so even though the site wasn’t that special content-wise, it still looked really neat. Now I’m using WordPress, which has given me so much more control over my website. I pay annually for my website, but don’t worry frugal friends- there’s a free plan too!

Another important step is figuring out a name for your blog. This shouldn’t be taken lightly. The name you choose for your blog is what people will recognize you as. You want it to be easy to remember and preferably short, sweet, and to the point. Think about it- when was the last time you remembered a long URL and typed the whole thing into the address bar correctly? It’s a rare occurrence.

Post Planning

Planning posts ahead of time is a great stress reliever. I like to use Google Calendar to schedule my posts. I love the color coding and overall layout of the calendar. It helps a lot to be able to jot down ideas and then drag them around until I find the perfect fit for the month.

I usually try to plan my posts around pre-existing categories that I have for my site. These categories are what I want my blog to be centered around. When I’m scheduling posts for the month, I like to look back at the recent categories I’ve written about. I monitor which do well with my audience as well as myself, and most likely those will be the categories I base my new posts around.

Whenever I can’t think about anything to write about, I ask other people for their advice. Sometimes I go to my Instagram story to ask my followers for ideas directly, and other times I will ask random questions that inspire a post.

Making Money

I don’t recommend blogging to people whose main goal is to make money. There’s a lot that goes into making money from a blog. If you aren’t motivated by putting out great content for people to enjoy, your fire will die out quickly when you see how much time and effort it takes to make even a dollar from blogging.

I run ads on my site in order to pay off my yearly subscription to the plan I use to keep my domain and host my website. With the plan that I have through WordPress, I cannot use Adsense to my blog, but I can allow ads through WordPress’ ad system. These ads don’t pay much at all, unfortunately, and their rates are always changing. I know it’s taboo to talk about your earnings, but I want to be transparent about this. I can’t even calculate my average income through ads because it fluctuates so much from month to month. One month, my site displayed 1,041 ads and I made one cent. The next month, my site only showed 322 ads and I made one cent again. If you’re hoping to make better money through ads and you use WordPress, I suggest spending the extra money for the Business plan, where you can connect Google Adsense to your site and make more money at a steadier rate.

Another way you can make money through your blog is with brand deals. Brand deals are usually presented to blogs with a good online presence. Some brands will do deep dives into your site to make sure you are a right fit to represent and promote them. Before reaching out to brands, it’s important that you have a media kit to provide them. As we speak, I’m working on my media kit to be able to present my blog to brands. There’s a lot that happens behind the scenes of brand deals, so if you’re interested in the process, let me know and I can write a separate post all about that!

Promoting

It’s important to promote your blog, especially if it’s a source of income for you. Social media helps a lot with promoting your site. I personally like to share links to my new posts on all of my social media platforms after they’re posted. That ensures that different people will see the link and some will even see it more than once.

I get a lot of traffic through Instagram stories, Facebook posts, and tweets when I share links to my posts. Another way I share my posts is through Snapchat stories with a swipe-up link embedded. But each person is different and I encourage everyone to take a stab at promoting on social media. It’s a shameless plug.

Networking

One of my favorite parts of blogging is meeting new people. I’ve met a lot of fellow bloggers through WordPress, and their support is amazing! It’s so fun to talk to people who share the love for writing that you have. It’s also nice to bounce ideas off each other from time to time.

Like I mentioned earlier, you make money through networking with brands. Media kits help a lot in the networking process by providing stats and other important information regarding your blog to brands to show them who you are and whether or not it’s worth it to collaborate.

Never Turning Off Your Brain

This is one of the hardest parts of blogging at first. You can never turn your brain off of blogging mode. At first, you have to teach yourself to keep your brain turned on for ideas. You have to train yourself to be constantly listening to conversations, watching the news, and monitoring social media trends to draw inspiration for posts. Now it’s a habit. It happens naturally. My brain won’t shut off even if I try.


Out of all of this, I’ve learned that nothing with blogging is set in stone. Things are always changing and evolving, and it’s my job to ride those waves.

If you’re interested in starting a blog or you’re in the early stages of blogging, I’d love to help answer any questions you have about the platform. Message me and let’s get your site going strong!

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!

https://www.facebook.com/MegannLouiseDotCom/