The Dangers of Paid Instagram Posts & Influencer Driven Marketing Content

Instagram is one of the fastest growing photo sharing social networking apps, which has received a lot of attention from online marketing companies and brands as a successful and more natural way to promote their products and services.

So what does this mean for the everyday user of the popular platform? Most people know that their online persona is a carefully curated version of themselves that doesn’t accurately represent their everyday lives. Recently, blogger Larissa May spoke out about her experience and would like to change that. As an influencer who is paid to promote products and services, if you look at her account, you’re likely to see her attending cool events wearing the latest outfits, and promoting the latest “life changing” beauty enhancement.

What you won’t see is her 12-hour working days or any of the stressful scenarios she finds herself in with pressure to take and post the perfect picture. Why the pressure to portray a perfect life? More followers; and more followers eventually leads to social media influencer status and brand sponsorship’s.

Lack of Authenticity With Influencer Driven Marketing

While an influencer’s reach is important, Wendy Toh, the founder of Singapore-based marketing company March Media, says the size of a bloggers following is not always a priority for sponsored content. Wendy’s main role is to recommend campaign ideas and influencers to the brands they are working with; and has recently noticed that companies are also now interested to pay less to work with “micro-influencers” a phrase bloggers are being called who have a following of less than 2,000.

This is because brands feel that they have a more authentic voice compared to people with larger audiences. Of course, higher influencers with an 100,000 following or higher will always be paid more for advertisements. One thing is for certain: Instagram marketing is a profitable business for those with large followings; however, it also brings into question the authenticity of any recommendations on that platform or any others for that matter.

In other words, you never know if a recommendation, an outfit or even a food photo is an authentic share rather than a paid promotion. Even Instagram users that are not influencers are not showing their true, authentic selves.

“In a world driven by instant success, we are hiding more and more behind our social media identities; sharing only the happy moments when life is naturally filled with ups and downs.” Larissa states.

While there is nothing wrong with sharing your very best self with your social media following; Larissa has coined a hashtag #HalfTheStory which is a think-tank aimed to mitigate these false online personas. The hashtag creates a space within the app where people can relate to the ever-developing technology and marketing trends; and at the same time can also discuss and share the unseen and often untold parts of themselves.

So far, people have shared stories about their social anxiety; insecurities; on-going internal fights with mental health issues and more.