What happens a lot is influencers are like, "I love the product. I'd love to have it. Just to be upfront, I can't promise anything coverage-wise." The brand says, "Totally understand. I just want to get it in your hands and let you know the thoughts."
Again, back to point one, you shouldn't accept the product if you don't think you're going to post about it. Then you're just stealing. It doesn't help the brand if you just use the product and don't talk about it. In my email to brands today, I did say that I don't think brands should be doing gifting without opting in. I think that the brand sending you guys a bunch of shit without talking to you and having a relationship with you is a big part of the problem. I'm structuring this on when a brand does the right thing, they reach out to you first and you say, "Sure, send along."
In that scenario, they send it along. If the product doesn't meet your expectations, if it doesn't fit, if you don't like it as much, if you use it, it's skincare, use it for a bit and you're just not feeling it, I would honestly reach out to the brand and say, "Thanks so much. Used the product and it didn't fit, or the fit was a little off. Keep me in mind for future things." Proactively giving a reason if you're not going to post it for a specific reason, and that reason is you didn't like the product. I would reach out to the brand and try and gracefully tell them that because they are going to follow up with you.
Your options are lie or just be a shithead and ghost them. Option three, which is saying something difficult of like, "I didn't actually like the product. It felt cheap." Or something like that, not it felt cheap, but like, "It wasn't exactly what I thought. It didn't fit," whatever, is a much more graceful way to get them off the trail. Now, if you accepted the product, you have to expect that brands are going to follow up, "Did you like it? I hope you got it."
Again, you can preempt a lot of this stuff by being professional. When you get the product, reaching out to the brand, "Hey, I received the package today. Looking forward to trying it out." Again, what your goal is here is to build a relationship because you can turn relationships into money. In building a relationship, you want to be overly communicative because it will also show a level of professionalism that just generally doesn't exist in the influencer space. You communicate.
Understand that the brand, even if they say they're not expecting you to post, they're expecting you to post. You will have to either have a reason why you didn't post because if we accept the fact that when brands send something and you say, "Sure, send it through," they're expecting you to post and you don't, no matter what, they're coming out of that feeling like you're an entitled brat, and they're never going to work with you again. You really need to be strategic in the stuff that you take and then managing those relationships.
Again, if the product is decent and you like it, giving them at least a story is not that hard. Here's the reality of adulthood, even if you feel like people's expectations are unfair, they exist and you're being held to them. Know that and react to it. You can really set yourself apart in the influencer space in being communicative. If you say, "Sure, send me a product," make sure to incorporate it in some way into your feed.
- Everything you need to know about gifting campaigns start to finish