Who doesn’t love free products? (/crickets) Alrighty then, let’s do this:

Hello, my Darlings! I’ve had a few followers and friends ask me about Influenster, so I’ve decided to write up a little blog post give all of my thoughts and experiences with Influenster, thus far.I have been a member of Influenster since April 2015.  If you’re not familiar with Influenster, it’s a website/community that you can connect with fellow Influensters, read and write reviews on products, answer other Influencers questions about products and complete surveys (called Snaps) that can potentially qualify you for certain VoxBox campaigns. Some of you loverly readers are familiar with my VoxBox blog posts and reviews but if you’re not – here are some of the ones I’ve reviewed and participated in thus far. I only tend to post about Campaigns that I truly liked or flat out disliked. To date: I have been in 11 physical Voxboxes, but we will get into that in a sec.

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Influenster is free to join. All you have to do is sign up, fill out your profile information, and connect a few of your social media accounts (optional, but greatly encouraged – I’ll get more into that later). It is that simple. After that, you’re ready to start reviewing and exploring. You can read reviews about EVERYTHING; household items, makeup, skincare, pet treats, electronics, etc. The site gives me an epic Temptalia vibe.

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There are TONS of products that you can review on the site. If there’s something that you’re looking for and it’s not there, you can always email Influenster directly, and they will be happy to look into it and add stuff for you. It’s not just for beauty or geared towards lady-folk, several categories are men-centered. I will say that I have seen more Beauty and Food related campaigns than anything else, but again, I have only been at this whole Influenster thing for a little over a year now.

“Why can I get these products for free? Is there a catch?” Influenster is a site for reviewing. The reason why you can get products for free is so that companies can get feedback and reviews. Sometimes they do it so that they can get “review padding” on websites, like Sephora, Target, etc… Sometimes people give the products they get for free a glowing review just because that’s what they think Influenster wants. Influenster just wants your HONEST opinion. I have given several items less than ecstatic reviews because the products just flat out didn’t work for me, and that’s completely okay. Everyone is different.

Don’t expect to get tons of free stuff right off of the bat. That’s the one complaint I’ve heard the most about the site. It takes time, activity, and being in the right “area or demographic” for some of the campaigns. Individual campaigns require you to unlock one of the Expert or Lifestyle Badges (aka earn 100 points in the specific badges) to qualify. Again, I will get to that in a sec. Heh. If you are still having issues after doing all of that, you may want to email Influenster and ask them for a little guidance and assistance. You also need to make sure that you keep an eye on your email for messages from Influenster, because that’s where will receive pre-campaign surveys and the “You’re in the X VoxBox” emails. Out of all of my campaigns (both physical and virtual voxboxes), less than half were IRL products to test.  So, no. You don’t get tons and tons of free stuff – but sometimes you get awesome VoxBoxes from your favorite brands.

Before you are selected to be in a physical Vox Box campaign, you have to agree that you will review the product. There are a few tasks to unlock the campaign badge (more on that in a sec.) and at the end, you have to do a mandatory post-VoxBox survey. If you do not do the survey, you risk being kicked out of the community.

*What’s on your Dashboard*

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Here is my mostly-current dashboard. I have three current campaigns going. A Virtual Vox, a KVD #LockItRevolution VoxBox, and a silly ZzzQuil VoxBox (read more about that one here). To the left, you will see a little navigation menu and FIVE separate tabs. Here’s what those tabs are all about:

  • Social Impact: This score is based directly off of your social media “outreach” – aka the number of friends, followers, readers, etc. that you have. You can link the following sites to boost your score: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Foursquare, Google Plus, Pinterest, Blogger, and WordPress.
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    There is also an option to add a widget/ link your blog as well as the option to invite your friends with a unique link. So if you want to check out Influenster, it would help me out if you used this link: #ShamelessPlug.InfluensterDashboard-screengrab-2-ohjaechaos
    Keep in mind, this Impact / Outreach Score fluctuates with your numbers (subscribers, followers, etc.), some months it may be lower, some months higher. This screen grab is from a two weeks ago. My score is now 15,200-ish.Your score hits the “High” reach tier after 2,000. While having a higher score may look awesome, it doesn’t guarantee you for all of the prestige VoxBoxes. Staying active on the site and participating across Influenster’s various social media platforms are key. Make sure that you are subscribed to their YouTube channel as well because sometimes they give those of us who don’t get into VoxBoxes another chance.
  • Snaps: Snaps are survey questions, with the occasional review option. Keep checking back to your snaps because these are the key to potentially getting into a campaign. If your interests and demographic purchases line up with a VoxBox campaign, you will then be sent a pre-campaign survey to your email. This part is very important and determines if you are in the campaign or not.
    There will be weeks where I don’t have any Snaps, but I still go back and check one or two days, just to make sure. If you do have snaps there will be a little icon that pops up on the Snaps Dashboard button, so that’s helpful.
  • Campaigns: Campaigns are the general term for Influenster’s Voxes or VoxBoxes since there are a few different types:
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    • Virtual Vox: These are purely internet campaigns that do not send you any product. Most just are broad campaigns that don’t have a specific product in mind; they just want you to be more interactive on the site by reviewing products, answering or asking questions, or create Lists of “themed” products, like Back to School or Winter Favorites, etc.
      I have had one Virtual campaign where it was for a sports bra, and they provided a 40% off coupon. I needed a new sports bra, so I participated in it and bought it.
    • Co-Op VoxBoxes: These boxes are physical boxes that you receive. They have a myriad of different products in them. Generally, all are new-ish, and the boxes have an overarching theme of some sort with a HowToInfluenster-ohjaechaos-3catchy VoxBox name, like Spice or Bella. I’ve received two of these types of boxes; one was the Bella VoxBox which was the first Vox Box I ever received, and the latest one was back in Fall, and it was the Spice VoxBox. They are nice because you get to try several different products out at once, and are mostly drugstore or supermarket products. These VoxBoxes cater to your interests. I stick to the beauty category, emphasizing on makeup – duh – but I also like to dabble in the Food, Tech, and Pop-Culture sides of Influenster. I have seen several themed VoxBoxes geared towards college students, mothers, etc.
    • Custom VoxBoxes: These are the ones that brands partner up with Influenster. HowToInfluenster-ohjaechaos-2These Custom VoxBoxes are one brand boxes, like KVD, Kerastase, Marc Jacobs, YSL, Bite, etc. like to use – and are the ones that everyone lusts after. Some are RIDICULOUSLY awesome! I am always grateful to be included in the prestige makeup VoxBoxes because as a makeup lover, I don’t always have the budget to buy the latest and greatest thing…because being an adult with a load of medical bills SUCKS! These give me an opportunity to try out trending products, and they make me happy! I just received the KVD VoxBox in the mail today – so keep your eyes peeled for that review.HowToInfluenster-ohjaechaos-1 On the other hand, sometimes the Custom VoxBoxes miss the mark for me completely. You aren’t told which products you will be receiving in your “pre-survey” email. It is vaguely worded and can be interpreted a number of ways (see: ZzzQuil VoxBox fail – which was just worded as a  “sleep-aid”) The Kerastase VoxBox would have been nice… but I kinda don’t have any hair anymore. Proud baldy here! I ended up giving the shampoo and conditioner to my Sister-in-Law, and she seemed to enjoy it.^^^That’s The good thing about Influenster. If you get a product that you cannot try, you can always give it to someone else and then just check in with them to see how they liked it. It does not affect your score or standing with them.
  • Badges: Badges are exactly what they sound like. You get them for completing a certain number of tasks. There are three types of badges: Expert, Lifestyle, and Campaign. You get points when you review products or ask/answer questions… and it’s generally around 5 points per review.
    • Expert Badges: There are 13 “Expert” Badges: Beauty Queen (makeup and beauty), Eco (sustainability products), Gentleman (dude stuff, duh), Fashionista (Clothing, Fashion, etc…), Decorator (Home dressings), Sweet Tooth (all things delicious and sugary), Pop Culture (movies, shows, magazines, etc…), Gamer (PC, Console, Tabletop, Mobile, and Card Games), Jetsetter (lots and lots of travel related things), Fitness, Techie (technology stuff: phones, computers, electronic devices), Happy Hour (beer and booze), and lastly, Tastebud (all things food).
      To unlock an Expert Badge, you must earn 100 points by reviewing, answering, or asking questions in the desired category. Normally, that means 20 or more reviews on various products. The badges must be kept active, aka don’t go over a month without interacting on the site. There will be a notification icon on your Badge display when you have let your badge status go “inactive” — so just go review a few things and then you’ll be all good again.
      FOR MOST PRESTIGE BEAUTY BOXES, YOU MUST HAVE YOUR “BEAUTY QUEEN” BADGE UNLOCKED AND ACTIVE. It sounds silly, but Influenster wants you to be active on the site.
    • Lifestyle Badges: These badges apply to life stuff. There are currently three Lifestyle Badges: Wedding Planner, Pet, and Wellness.  Sometimes, there are VoxBoxes that go out that are specifically aimed at people getting married, or with pets, and have healthy active lifestyles (and review stuff about it). I joined Influenster one and a half years after I got married so I never qualified for that stuff, but I am really close to unlocking the Pets badge. Go, go, Gadget, Dog-mom life.
    • Campaign Badges: These badges can only be unlocked by participating and completing your VoxBox campaign requirements. When you receive your VoxBox you will have a standard campaign badge and then a BONUS campaign badge. Completing these badges also puts you in the running for winning extra products from those companies.
      • To unlock these badges, you may have to: tweet about the product, do a video unboxing, take a snap or IG pic of your box, review the products on your blog, etc… I used to be kinda horrible at completing the badges, but since you guys seem to be interested more in reviews, I like to do what I can to review stuff. And you can bet your pretty floral bonnet that any time I review something, it’s my 100% honest opinion. If it’s one thing I cannot stand is for folks to give fake “gleaming” reviews.

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  • InfluensterDashboard-screengrab-4-ohjaechaosLists: Lists are simply lists. Most of the time you create lists to hopefully get into campaigns. They’re really simple to create, just fill out the title and a little info about the list you are putting together and just search for products to put in it. I have had times where I go to put an item on my list, and it’s not there on Influesnter. When that happens, I just email Influenster and ask them really nicely to add the products for me. Most of my lists are created because I’m trying to get in a certain VoxBox. If you keep an eye on Influenster’s YouTube and Facebook posts, they sometimes say that “HEY! We have X number of spots for this box, and we are opening it up to you guys, so just make a themed list, include the hashtag and voila! Your name will be in the running.”

 


*****Tips and Tricks*****

Alrighty, here are a few things that I’ve found to be super helpful when dealing with Influenster.

1) Stay active in the community. I have had months where I just don’t have the time or the energy to keep stuff current on Influenster and as a result, I don’t get included in a lot of things. More recently, I have been busting my butt to try and stay as active on there as I can. Every day I go and check my Dashboard to see if there are new snaps, and I like to review or answer a question. Most of the time I just check my Dashboard, but when I get bored and fidgety, I will go on a reviewing spree. During the weeks and months where I am most active, I do get included in more Voxboxes. I think my highest number was five campaigns at once, two were Virtual Voxes and the other three were physical VoxBoxes.

5) Keep your eyes peeled for Snaps and Emails from Influenster. Influenster will send you pre-campaign survey links to your email inbox, most of the time. You need to participate in these surveys to move to the “final round” aka the final list of folks who will end up getting sent the products. When you are selected, they will send you another email so that you can enter in your mailing information and “agree” to review the product and participate in the campaign. After that, you will receive one more email at the end to do your MANDATORY survey. Do the survey and don’t forget about it. Otherwise, you may be kicked out of the program. InfluensterDashboard-screengrab-10-ohjaechaos

3) Pay attention to their social media – especially Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. On Fridays, Influenster goes on Facebook and does a live video broadcast. Sometimes they show upcoming voxboxes or just their favorite products. If I know ahead of time that they will be talking about upcoming campaigns that I am interested in, I will try my best to attend. YouTube is a little easier because I am already subscribed to their YouTube channel and get the notification that they have a new video up. Half of the time it’s a product video or something along those lines but other times it’s to show off upcoming campaigns. They like to showcase Influencer photos on Instagram, so be sure to tag them on campaign stuff. TAG ALL THE THINGS.

4) Participate in the Twitter and Instagram parties. This one makes me cringe a little because I do not want to spam my followers with Influenster stuff, but participating during those parties helps you win additional products. I recently participated in the Marc Jacobs GlowStick Influenster Party and ended up winning a Velvet Noir Mascara for my photo! Which was totally awesome! The Twitter parties are less than an hour long, and they ask you questions, and you can join in in the conversation. The more interactive you are during the Twitter parties, the more likely you are to win stuff. I feel like participating in the Twitter parties annoys my followers, so I prefer not to participate in those, but to each his/her/their own.

5) Take the time to take PRETTY/QUALITY photos and then post them on social media. This one is me coming to you as a professional photographer, btw. Your photos will more likely be noticed and hopefully shared by Influenster’s social media team if they look decent. This means clear, non-filtered-to-hell-and-back photos that display the product beautifully. When you take the photos, make sure you have good lighting and that your backgrounds aren’t cluttered/messy. Tip: Go to the craft store and buy some 12×12 scrapbooking paper and lay your products on that. Work in INDIRECT or DIFFUSED sunlight: aka by a window with a white sheet in front of it, if you don’t have access to decent lighting. It works like a charm. It’s okay to use props, just make sure that they either have something to do with your product or that they compliment it.

*VERY IMPORTANT: YOU MUST DISCLOSE ANY AND ALL POSTS RELATING TO INFLUENSTER PRODUCTS THAT YOU RECEIVE WITH THE PROPER HASHTAGS AND THAT YOU GOT THE PRODUCT FOR FREE. The FTC gets cranky about stuff like that, and you need to play by the rules. After the campaign is over and you are just posting makeup hauls, collection shots, etc… you do not have to say that you got it for free unless you’re doing a blog post or video. If that’s the case, then just put an FTC blurp down at the bottom stating that you did get certain products for free for reviewing purposes. Nowadays, the FTC has started to crack down on Influencer posts via Influenster so if you are participating in a campaign and are doing one fo the Badge tasks you need to include the #Ad hashtag.

If you ever have any questions, you can always check out Influenster’s Support Page or email them directly. For the most part, I get speedy responses from them but, if we are being completely transparent, I have had a couple of times where I had to check back in on a support ticket because it wasn’t answered. That’s a fact of life when you are a big company who deals with MILLIONS OF PEOPLE from all over the world, every day. Just be sure to follow up if you haven’t heard from them in 4-5 business days.


Okay, Dah’lings! That is what I know so far. If you are a member of Influenster and noticed that I forgot something, let me know about it in the comments below. If you would like to know more, or have me explain something better, go ahead and leave me a question in the comments as well.

 

FTC Disclaimer: I am not being sponsored to write this post but I am talking about a few products that have been sent to me in the past, for reviewing purposes.

5 Comments

  1. Great write-up! I’ve been a member since 2011 and it has changed and grown so much since then. Sometimes I really dislike the products that come but I’ve also found some favorites. In this day and age word-of-mouth is the way to get a brand out there so it’s nice to get tapped to be part of it, especially with new products and brands.

    • Rhi, you are the best! I didn’t realize that Influenster has been around for as long as it has! I’m so so happy that you are a member as well and I totally can commiserate with the whole “sometimes you get products you dislike.”

  2. Question! Does it cost money on WordPress?? I noticed you have this website…is it from them or how which blogging site did you use? WordPress seems too make your social impact higher…would you recommend doing this?

    • WordPress is free- but I bought the domain and built up my own website so it’s not actually a wordpress blog, it’s a website that has a wordpress engine – if that makes sense… It takes a lot of time building up content and a viewer base. If you like to blog, I would say go ahead and spin up your own blog on WordPress, but keep in mind it will take time…and it also fluctuates from month to month depending on how much content you publish and how much traffic you have going to your site.

      My impact score also hit the “high” benchmark before I connected my WordPress account. I think it hits high at 3k.

  3. Pingback: Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer – Influenster VoxBox Product Review #ElevateYourFoundation // @ohjaechaos – JaeCHAOS

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