Pet Product Reviews You Can Trust
Natural, fun and entertaining Pet Product Reviews for the Engaged Pet Parent
Can You Trust Social Media Influencer Reviews?
What a great question! I love that my readers and other readers are asking themselves questions like this. Today, I will talk a little bit about influencer marketing, and more importantly, my personal reviews on Raising Your Pets Naturally.
Why do I love that you are asking this question? Because you are really thinking about the products you use for your pets and yourselves. You should. You should question and research every product. I know that can be a daunting task, but your pets only have YOU to make their choices, so that is a big job and responsibility.
I’ve written and spoken in the past about reading the ENTIRE INGREDIENT PANEL if a product you are using or are about to purchase has one. It’s about what’s inside a product, not just what the front of the box says, or a company’s advertising campaigns.
How does an influencer fit into a brand’s circle? Well, an influencer is a kind of advertising for a brand or product. A brand hopes that if a person sees an “influencer” as recommending or using a product, then that will lead to sales or brand awareness. In other words, it’s an advertisement. There isn’t anything wrong with an advertisement, just remember that is what it is: an ad.
Who are influencers? Everyone! Your friends, your vet, public figures, you name it. They may or may not be getting a paycheck, but they are influencing your buying decisions. Some influencers are paid by a brand to promote a product, review a product, talk about a product, advertise a product, distribute information, or even sell a product. If a person receives payment via money, discounts, services, or free product, then they would be considered a paid influencer and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires that they state their recommendation is a paid endorsement. Yes, free product would require this disclosure.
Are influencers bad, and can you trust their reviews?
Well, that depends. Every person, blogger, or company has different opinions and different ways they run their lives or companies. I can only suggest that you always do your due diligence when someone recommends a product or you see another form of advertising.
The other thing to think about is that brands and products change. A product that may have been reviewed or recommended by a blogger last year may have sold to a larger company or changed their manufacturing practices or ingredients. This happens all the time! This is why it’s so important to evaluate your pet’s products each and every time you purchase. A quick read of the ingredient label is a great start.
How does Raising Your Pets Naturally with Tonya Wilhelm choose pet products, services, or dog-friendly hotels to review?
“It’s all about Dexter.” That is my personal philosophy. Yes, Nutter The Cat has also been part of my review process these days. But my life truly revolves around Dexter. When I’m doing a pet product review, I must feel totally comfortable using the product with Dexter or Nutter. Honestly, this wipes out the majority of pet products!
I personally tend to approach brands that I already am familiar with and have already produced good results before I review something from their product line. Before accepting a review or advertisement, I do some digging. If the product has ingredients, I read their ingredient list first. Once again, if I wouldn’t allow my pets to use it, I won’t review it or promote the product. Period.
I do want to clarify what I mean when I say ‘allow.’ Take dog collars, for an example. Dexter has a neurological condition, so he cannot wear a dog collar. I never recommend walking a dog on a dog collar and leash; I prefer harnesses. However, I wouldn’t have a problem reviewing a dog collar, and many pet parents have dog collars on their dogs for identification and decoration. So I would happily review a dog collar. However, I would not review a choke collar since I do not believe in choke collars. Does that make sense?
What about a brand’s other products?
When I’m doing a pet product review, it’s a specific product. For example, I may love a brand’s natural calming aid, but not love their dog joint supplement. That’s just an example. I can say the same about pretty much everything. I may love and follow another dog trainer, but not agree with everything they say.
Remember, it’s important to research each product from a brand, and not just assume since one product is great that all their products are just as great. And never just take my word for it, continue your research. 🙂
What do you use for Dexter? What’s your favorite x?
These are a few other questions I get asked a lot. Really, it sort of depends. Each pet and client are individuals with individual needs—there is rarely a ‘one size fits all’ solution. No, it’s not a cop-out, but the truth. The other thing is that I’m a firm believer in rotation. I rotate my pets’ foods, supplements, chews, toys, etc. Every product has its own benefits, and nothing out there takes care of them all, so by rotating between products I love, I feel I’m providing the best for my pets.
ALL ingredients are listed in my reviews.
That’s right—all the ingredients are shared in each of my product reviews. When I’m evaluating a pet product, I always look at the ingredient panel first before accepting a review. Once, I had a company tell me it was proprietary and they would not disclose this information. Of, course, I turned that one down! If I’m on the fence about an ingredient being the BEST, but feel it’s still a safe product and everything else looks good, I discuss this with the brand prior to accepting the review. I advise them that I will present this information to my readers in the review.
Below is an example of such a review.
I felt this was still a good product that readers may benefit from using. The other thing I keep in mind is that every consumer has personal price limits that can enter into their buying decisions. Purchasing decisions are influenced by a lot of factors, not just recommendations. It’s better to find the best purchase in your price range, rather than seeing a recommendation for the most expensive product and deciding, “I can’t afford that, so I guess I won’t get one of these at all.” It’s like seeing an ad for a Porsche and deciding that since you can’t afford the Porsche, you can’t afford a car at all. Instead, look for product reviews on car models in your price range, and select the safest and most reliable and fuel-efficient model from choices you can afford.
What if I don’t like a product?
I won’t lie. Nope, just can’t do it. I’ve been in the pet business for 20 years because I love pets, and I want pet parents to receive information that is helpful and that they can trust. I also won’t omit information. I try to do a lot of research on a product. Remember, I’m looking for products I would like for my pets! If I thought I’d love a product, but it just didn’t perform like I had hoped, I contact the company with my concerns. If they cannot be resolved, I give the company an out and do not publish the review. I won’t lie about the product if anyone ever asks me, but I’m not out to just bash brands who are trying to do a good job.
This has happened in the past. I remember trying a pet towel that looked and sounded great, but just did not perform. I emailed the company, explained my results, and we just terminated the review. No biggie.
I hope this eases your mind a bit when you read my reviews on Raising Your Pets Naturally. But as with my reviews or other reviews you see online or advertisements, it’s always important to do your own research. I’ve always felt that reviews and advertisements are a way for me to learn about a new product or service, but then I follow up with looking for myself to see if it’s something that I can use with my own pets. This goes for articles you find online too, but that’s another post for another day. 🙂
Why I get paid for a review.
First, I’m not going to recommend a product I don’t like. I’m not getting paid for my opinion; I’m getting paid for the work I put into posting a review. Here’s a little behind the scenes on what I do for each review I publish.
- I find a product or brand that I feel would be a good fit for my readers. This involves either past experience with a product or research on a product: ingredient reading, other product reviews, etc.
- I reach out to the brand.
- I use the product with my own pets or myself.
- I take numerous photos and/or video.
- I edit photos and/or video.
- I write a review, including ingredient research pros/cons etc.
- I send my review to my editor.
- I design social media share images and images for the blog.
- I upload review and images.
- I schedule the review to post across all my social media channels.
- I boost and follow and respond to all comments on the social media posts and blog.
Should I get paid for this work? You bet!
Are you looking to collaborate on product review? Contact me today.
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