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Here Is How Easy It Is To Scam Your Way Into Becoming An Instagram Influencer
By Izza Sofia, 09 Aug 2017
Marketing agency Mediakix has conducted an investigation into the murky world of online “influencers”.
The website created two fake Instagram accounts: a lifestyle and fashion-centric one and a travel photographer's feed. For the first account, Mediakix hired a model and created content through a one-day photo shoot; meet Santa Monica local, ‘calibeachgirl310.’
The second account, ‘wanderingggirl’, went one step further and was composed entirely of free stock photos. Amid snaps of the Eiffel Tower and whatever other picturesque vistas they could find, Mediakix peppered the feed with vague stock photos of blonde girls that showed only the back of their heads.
Last month, they were offered campaigns worth about $100 each, in a mix of cash and product gifts, by a protein drink company. However, both accounts did not go through with the campaigns.
Shocking? Not to the influencer agencies who work to match brands with real people on Instagram. “This is not surprising at all. As the hype around influencer marketing has grown, the number of brands throwing money into the space has grown exponentially,” said Brendan Gahan, founder of Epic Signal, a creative agency known for its work with brands.
Advertisers may be spending more than $1 billion per year on influencer marketing specifically on Instagram, according to a study by Mediakix released earlier this year. Simultaneously, there has been a “rise in automation and blasting out requests versus forming thoughtful partnerships. That rise in scaling influencer marketing is leading to a lot of sloppiness,” Gahan said.
Sure, ‘wanderingggirl’ has more than 30,000 followers and her Instagram post received 1,067 likes and 26 comments. However, if you were to take a look at the comments, you would quickly become suspicious.
Instagram is not unaware of these problems. They are against the company’s terms, and Instagram has not been shy to delete spam accounts in the past. A so-called “Instagram Rapture” took place in December 2014, where celebrities lost hundreds of thousands of followers on the platform.
“There’s a difference between having a platform and then having an actual team managing the platform and ensuring that the data is correct,” said Justin Rezvani, founder of TheAmplify. His company has a proprietary technology that determines who an Instagram user's followers are and can therefore help detect spam.
Instead of relying on platforms to weed out all the bots, Mediakix suggested more work should be done by others in the industry.
[via Mediakix, opening image via YouTube]
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