July 21, 2020 Vanessa Niragira
How would you feel about growing your brand’s follower count, and promoting your brand all while spending far less than you usually would for an ad campaign? You’d probably feel pretty good about all of that. I’m sure you must be thinking there has to be a catch, and you’d be correct. While legally there are no issues, ethically is where you might struggle with this.
In case you haven’t been paying much attention to Instagram Influencers, there have recently been a lot of contest marketing type posts happening using cash giveaways.
During the COVID-19 mandatory quarantine, many crowd favourite Influencers wanted to help out their followers during these trying times, or so they made it seem with their giveaways. The rules were pretty simple, follow them and whoever else they mentioned in the post, like their post, and (for some) share the post.
Marketing firms like the ones listed above partner with top level Influencers to host giveaways, and sell spots on a follow list to brands/smaller Influencers. A follow list sounds exactly like what it is, you pay to be put on a list of brands to follow and said Influencer involved would mention your handle as one of the people to follow on Instagram in order to enter the giveaway.
In short, the firms are paid by you, the Influencer gets paid by the firm and you as well as the Influencer gain a lot of followers in a short amount of time. If done correctly, you can target your specific audience using the right Influencer. Unfortunately, if done incorrectly, you’ll quickly lose the very followers you’ve just paid for.
Though it may not seem like a big legal issue, depending on where you’re from there are different laws and regulations to be careful of. With that there’s also an ethical dilemma, many users in the past have voiced their want for transparency from influencers. To some it seems obvious that they’re getting paid for their time and post, but to some it looks like they’re using their own money for these contests.
Remember that although you only gain Instagram followers, these types of contest marketing or sweepstakes marketing style promotions can be extremely cost effective when comparing them to a traditional advertising campaign. To get on a follow list or become a “sponsor” as the firms would say, it currently ranges anywhere from $270 – $2,000.
Vanessa Niragira, Oakville, Ontario, July 2020