I follow a lot of influencers. Big influencers. Side hustlers. And everyone in between. Some influencers I follow are exclusively focused on no-spend and diy-ing their products. But the majority are people who either collaborate with brands to promote their products in a mutually beneficial way or purchase brand’s products and use their platforms to review them.
So how can you promote brands in a sustainable way? Is it possible to promote new products & still exist in this community? Obviously, the answers to these questions are subjective. But in my opinion, the distinguishing factor comes down to thought and intention.
PROMOTE GOOD BRANDS
If a brand reaches out to you to collaborate, take the time to do research. Do they check all the boxes of an ethical brand? Are they receptive to questions you have? What other influencers have they worked with in the past? If you’re simply purchasing to review on social media, ask yourself, do you really need this product or item? Are you buying into a trend or supporting a brand that aligns with your values? The key to making sustainable decisions relies on being critical of your intentions as well as a brand’s.
TO TAG, OR NOT TO TAG
I do not tag Everlane. I do not tag Public Goods. I do not tag Package Free. If you don’t agree with a brand, even if you were gifted the product or purchased it second-hand, I repeat, DO NOT TAG THEM. Tagging a brand is social media’s form of endorsement. Once you tag an image, a brand can easily go and share that content with more people. So if you wouldn’t tell your best friend to purchase from a brand, keep it anonymous.
WHY BLEND IN?
I’ve seen so many Cocokind and Glossier posts that my vision is permanently tinted pastel pink and green. Sure, they’re both brands that I would purchase from, but I often question whether everyone buys them to achieve results—or followers? If you use an ugly but effective product (i.e. my bentonite clay mask), be loud and proud about it! Just because something doesn’t have the sexiest packaging or name doesn’t mean it’s not worth sharing. And if you’re thinking about posting a trendy product, distinguish your content through commenting on its results, quality, or another feature that makes that product truly superior.
Nobody’s perfect. If you partner with a brand or purchase a product that turns out to be scummy, tell your followers! Sharing your story can prevent more people from going out and following or purchasing from that brand. It also shows strong moral character and a kind of authenticity that can be hard to find amongst all the filters and hashtags.
SUPPORT FELLOW SUSTAINABLE INFLUENCERS
Making it on social media is hard. So it’s all the more important to be mindful about who you’re following. If you notice a “sustainable” influencer is promoting new products left and right, consider that they may not be the best investment of your likes. Search hashtags like #nothingnew or #wearwhatyouhave to find influencers using their power to lower followers’ consumption and reduce waste.
A friendly reminder that influencers are people too. Inevitably they will make some mistakes but it’s the follow-up of those incidences that can really show a person’s true character. As a follower, be aware of the messages influencers are sending and seek out accounts that are truly sustainable. By increasing the following and engagement of responsible influencers, you’ll be better able to learn about ethical brands as well as ways to conserve and reuse what you already have.