In an attempt to take this blog to the “next lev,” I recently met with a legit blogger agent. Yep, those actually exist for bloggers and digital influencers. Quit laughing, you naysayers! Agents basically broker lucrative endorsement deals for top influencers with leading international brands for a piece of the pie. My particular meeting with said agent went something like this…
“Your blog numbers look great. You consistently get media attention. You were voted #1 Miami Fashion Blog by several outlets. You’re witty. Zany. A bit crazy at times, which is a good thing. Your pictures are aspirational. But there’s a BIG problem here. HUGE. You only have 15,000 Instagram followers. You need to buy at least 35,000 for me to even touch you.”
“Buy? That’s so inauthentic! My followers are organic,” I pleaded.
“Most brands don’t care about that. They just want to see higher numbers.”
I was nonplussed. Gobsmacked. I was completely surprised by this agent’s alarming advice. I mean, who PAYS for followers? I kept telling myself that I wouldn’t never buy followers from sites like Fiverr.com because it’s against my morals. Besides, it’s cheesy AF.
But this little shitty voice in my head said, “Well, don’t buy Instagram followers, just install one of those robots that ‘likes’ other like-minded individuals’ Instagram posts” via a platform called Instagress.com. I tried this for a month and gained 1,000 followers (yay!) — but at a humiliating price (boo!). You see, my robot was merrily clicking hearts on pornographic images of fleshy vaginas, watermelon-sized tits and gnarly dick pics. I DIE. Two friends called me and said, “Maria! You’re such a pervert. Quit liking raunchy porn on Instagram!”
Um, can you say, “mortified?” I mean, porn isn’t even my thing. I felt like a loser.
So that plan clearly bit me in the ass. Thanks, agent! While I didn’t outright buy 35,000 followers, the mere notion I utilized Instagress to “like” other images made me feel really shitty. And worst of all…inauthentic. That’s so not me. I really pride myself on being honest and real. And here I was being the complete polar opposite: A fucking fraud.
Here’s the thing — if one buys followers on Instagram — and Lord knows so many bloggers and digital influencers do — it’s deceitful. They’re duping people into believing they have this massive following when their actual audience are plethora of ghost accounts with zero value. It’s a sham.
And these cheaters ain’t fooling anyone. Brands and people who do their homework can see that their Instagram accounts are a hoax because there’s a lack of genuine engagement. For example, I know a blogger with over 100,000 Instagram followers and a recent video of hers received 1,350 views. I, on the other hand, boast 15.4K followers and a recent video of mine garnered 3,411 views. How ‘bout them apples?
So my point is: It’s appalling that leaders in the industry beckon bloggers to pay for influence. And when I bought 1,000 followers, it was deceitful and embarrassing. And I’m profusely sorry. As for those of you thinking of buying influence, don’t do it. Be you. Stay credible. It’s about quality over quantity. Because authenticity is priceless. Besides, being a sellout is LAME!
Photo by Karla Garcia