Friday, August 26, 2011

Selling Your Influence

So I've been invited to the She's So Connected Conference Sept 29 and 30 in Toronto this year. When I pressed the "apply" button, I wasn't sure what I was signing up for but saw that several friends were going and wanted to check it out. Then I got the tweet saying, "This is your invite!"

Now I'm excited, partly because there are some really amazing local women going, partly because I'll get a night away from my house and partly because I'm hoping to make some new friendships and learn something new. However, as the time to the conference gets closer, I'm also getting a little worried that I've signed myself up to really just pimp myself out to the highest bidder.

I've been watching the tweets become more frequent, "Hey @______, want to sponsor me a new wardrobe for #SCCTO?" and "Wow, I'd really love to drive a @_______ new car to #SCCTO" and another, "The only thing that would make #SCCTO better is if I had a @_______ smartphone to tweet my experience from".

Now, I love a lot of brands. I swear by them, I talk them up to everyone I meet. So am I doing it wrong? Should I have been asking Kitchen Aid for a free mixer before I started talking about mine? Shall I be asking Baby G diapers for a lifetime of free flushable inserts before telling folks how much I love them? What about my Wilton food colours or my Iwata and Master airbrushes? Maybe even Kleenex brand toilet paper because it's just about the nicest thing on earth to put down there?

I don't want people to think that I am getting paid if I say something nice about a company and this is why this whole sponsorship thing bothers me. Now I don't know if someone is recommending me a certain product because it is truly awesome or because they are getting paid to do so. If I say something great about a company, they DESERVE it. They have earned my trust and my brand loyalty, by providing great products, incredible customer service and value for money. I'm not saying that Company A doesn't deserve great reviews as well but frankly, if they've paid you to say it, I probably don't trust the review quite as much.

So why was I invited to #SCCTO? I have no idea! I've never promoted a brand, I've never done a blog giveaway or review and my thoughts on this blog and in my tweets are not very PR worthy. I don't know how the selection was done and I doubt that I'm one of the top digitally connected women in Canada however, I am looking forward to the conference. I am looking forward to connecting with other women, I look forward to learning more about brand promotion and sponsorships. I'd like to see the presenters and brands prove to me why this sort of brand promotion works and why I would want to sell my (very small) influence. #SCCTO will be a learning experience for me and that is really the point of life, to keep growing and learning, then using your knowledge to affect the world.

*This post WAS NOT sponsored in any way by Wilton, Iwata, Master, Kleenex, Baby G or KitchenAid. I've name-dropped these brands because they are great and I love to use them!*


  1. Interesting and honest perspetive, thanks

  2. I do not "pimp" myself to the highest bidder but I do have a sponsor helping me attend the conference. We had a previous relationship and both benefit from it. I tweet about brands that I work with when i truly believe in them and enjoy using them. My posts are honest. When I have an issue with a product I talk to the company privately to find a resolution. If one is not met than I do not post.
    My understanding of the sccto conference is for women to meet with brands and connect. Brands are looking for honest feed back. I very seldom get paid to blog. My opinions are always my own. Having a blog sometimes comes with added expenses, domain name, business cards etc as well as transportation and accommodation when attending conferences. If a blogger can find a company that fits them to help with these costs than I think that is great. And if a tweet gets them the opportunity to test out a product and give their readers feed back I think it benefits all involved. The company, the blogger and their readers. I know myself I value the opinion of the unpaid blogger over a paid actor any day :)

  3. I agree with Mom vs the boys, very interesting perspective. I have been wondering if it is the "norm" to have a sponsor to go to a blogging conference? I have been to many marketing conferences in my lifetime and never heard of this approach before.

    Not that I am against it - if you can get something you love, for free, in exchange for spreading the love with others, I say why not?

  4. Thanks for the comments Mom vs. Boys, Gingermommy and Rachel...

    I don't know if I'm against it or not because this is really my first experience in it all. Even in all the time I've been on Twitter, it's only been the last 2-3 weeks that I've been seeing tweets like this so frankly, I didn't even know this kind of program existed. I look forward to the conference and learning more about it. I think what gets me the most is the plain out asking to the world to sponsor... but a lot of that probably comes from me not being comfortable asking for anything.

    Have a FAB day and thanks for reading!

  5. Here is the thing. There are people that do "pimp" themselves out. Any company I promote on my site that I say I like, is because I do like. I have been fortunate to work with brands that I already loved! Which worked great for me. I have posted about my love for my kitchen aid mixer, just because I love it. I didn't get anything from it. However thru my blog I have found many brands and small businesses that I had never heard of. If i like their product I want them to be shown.

  6. Totally agree, Shairbearg! I love promoting small companies I love... it's what others have done for my business, I just am unsure about the payment aspect of it. Although, I suppose that many people look at that like it's their job. A marketer, I suppose!

  7. I have been promoting a lot of smaller companies or mom brands that are mostly Canadian. I love to find products I love and help them get the word out to my readers. I am very excited to attend #SCCTO to meet with Brands and hear what they have to say along with meeting great women in the Social Media field. It will be a lot of fun, sponsored or not. Really in the end we ALL have been sponsored to attend #SCCTO.