Late last year, Bloomberg reporter Max Chafkin hired a marketing agency to transform him from an Instagram 'nobody' into a fully-fledged influencer.
While this is a very cool (and very scary) piece on what goes on behind the scenes in the world of influencer marketing, it also makes clear the role that automated, pay-for-services play in artificially creating 'influencers'.
This quote, in particular, is a must read:
"That night, I signed up for a service recommended to me by Socialyte called Instagress. It’s one of several bots that, for a fee, will take the hard work out of attracting followers on Instagram.
For $10 every 30 days, Instagress would zip around the service on my behalf, liking and commenting on any post that contained hashtags I specified. (I also provided the bot a list of hashtags to avoid, to minimize the chances I would like pornography or spam.)
I also wrote several dozen canned comments—including “Wow!” “Pretty awesome,” “This is everything,” and, naturally, “[Clapping Hands emoji]”—which the bot deployed more or less at random.
In a typical day, I (or “I”) would leave 900 likes and 240 comments. By the end of the month, I liked 28,503 posts and commented 7,171 times."
In our view, Bloomberg don't go far enough in exploring these automated services and just how damaging they are to the social networks and the influencer marketing industry.
Still, it's a good to see recognition of their existence in the media, accompanied by detailed stats of the effect they have on engagement.
(Read the full piece on Bloomberg)