This is Please Like Me, BuzzFeed News’ newsletter about how influencers are battling for your attention. You can sign up here.
It’s my virtual reality, and I can put on a chunky sweater if I want to
When the clock strikes Oct. 1 on Instagram, reality is suspended and the magic of fall takes over. Regardless of the actual temperature.
Many influencers will put themselves, and sometimes their kids, in chunky sweaters. Cider will be sipped. Leaves WILL CRUNCH, goddamnit — even if the chlorophyll is not ready to be broken down yet, and it’s 85 degrees out.It’s the cardinal rule that cardigans rule in fall.
Take this Oct. 1 post by NYC mom influencer Naomi Davis aka @Taza (462K followers on Instagram) featuring her family at an apple orchard two hours north of the city. The temperature on the day Davis was there was in the high 60s. It’s a bit brisk, but not exactly thick-knit weather. Naomi, girl, aren’t you hot?
Since I have way too much time on my hands, I decided to check the temps during a few of my other favorite fall-themed photo shoots and OOTDs from Tuesday.
One: This #mommyblogger is from Poplar Bluff, Missouri. When she posted this on Oct. 1, it was 92 degrees.
Two: This #miamiblogger showed off her #fallvibes. It was a high of 86 at the time of her post. But don’t worry — it cooled off to a low of 79 in Miami.
Three: A woman who listed “jet setter” and “lifestyle influencer” in her bio draped herself in a full-length COAT. She was in Portola Valley, California, where it was in the mid-70s.
In conclusion, a valuable lesson: Even if the climate has not yet caught up, we can still use social media to perform the festivities of fall. Happy sweating!
How to write an effective sponcon caption
Sponcon is an art form, and there’s a format for the captions. Here’s how you can write your own.
I’m going to use this recent one from a Dallas-based mom blogger (324K followers on Instagram) as an example.
You want to invite your followers into your shill with the gentle tug of something heartwarming. In @janenecrossley’s case, it was a cutesy photo of her family captioned with the story of her and her husband’s meet-cute.
“We were set up on a BLIND DATE and married 3.5 months later!” she writes. “SUCH. FUN. MEMORIES!”
The transition into the actual shill is often clumsy, and you can easily botch it. There are really two options: You can make a slow, wide drift, or gun for a sharp turn. It’s rare you see both together. But here, Crossley combines them nicely.
First she introduces some nice imagery.
She writes, “The kids had fun playing ladder ball + corn-hole games and wearing their sport’s gear” — and suddenly, we've arrived at the shill — "that I snagged all from @Walmart."
Of course, the post can’t end with the sponcon. No one likes to be taken on a scenic drive where the final destination is Walmart.
So she slowly navigates followers out of the shill. Her kids “watched a bunch of videos of BYU’s mascot ‘Cosmo’. Their eyes lit up when I told them my Grandpa Moon was ‘Cosmo’ when he was a student many years ago!”
And then, sharply, we’re at the big announcement: “NEW BLOG POST TODAY,” she declares. You can imagine it from there.
It’s a great example of a promo twofer, all loosely threaded together by a sports/family theme. If you’re writing the caption, you can stop here, or you can add even more mentions of other things you care about. Because why not. If I were writing an Instagram sponcon caption for this newsletter, it’d go something like: “My kids are playing in their @Walmart jerseys as I’m writing this @buzzfeednews newsletter — please continue to like and subscribe. There’s apparently an additional 15% off sale on Overstock.com today — tell a friend. Adopt, don’t shop. And Ukrainian officials were still checking the country’s bank account for US aid for a month after the now-infamous Trump phone call.”
How did I do?
Until next time,
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