Written by: Regina Carter, AAE of Bluestone Academy
Between the rise of social media and use of social media platforms to help propel businesses forward with today’s time, I’ve noticed a new marketing and promotional trend, specifically on Instagram.
Do you ever log onto Instagram and think, “Cool …. Another detox tea.”? Maybe you don’t follow accounts that promote the trend of drinking tea to lose weight, but they’re definitely out there. And by the number of likes and comments on these posts, they’re definitely making an impact. And companies like MateFit, Flat Tummy Tea, and Fit Life Tea Co. are benefiting generously from these posts alone.
It’s not just tea though. If you look hard enough, “Instagram models” and celebrities publish promotional posts for apparel, jewelry, books, juice, cosmetics, and hair products—the list goes on and on! Now, I’m not completely naive. I know for a fact, that these companies are paying a majority of people making these promotional posts for them. If not, it’s more than likely these Instagram users are getting these products for free and are posting them to give the company some sort of publicity.
There are a few thoughts that come to mind when I think of this recent trend of paid, promotional Instagrams. One, I think it’s great that companies have this additional outlet of marketing and advertising to their audience, especially if their target market is the younger generation that actively uses social media. I am also intrigued that you can get paid for just posting a photo online. On the other hand, I also think that the people who decide to promote for these companies, not only impact their personal PR, but also become a direct reflection of the company they are representing.
A few weeks ago, former Instagram model, Essena O’Neill, gained traction by many when followers noticed her editing the captions on her Instagram posts to tell the truth behind why she posted these photos. “SOCIAL MEDIA IS NOT REAL” was her main theme as she tries to open the eyes of followers who constantly call her “perfection” or “goals.” O’Neill wasn’t posting these photos to show how amazing her life or her body was, what she really was doing was posting these photos to make money. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to make a little bit of extra cash by posting photos on social media, but deep down this was something that didn’t make her happy and she needed to share that with the world.
I enjoy social media just as much as the next person. Getting connected with your friends and family. Hearing about current events happening around the world. Following some of your favorite artists or actors or musicians or athletes. I think it’s all fun!
It wasn’t until I started thinking about social media from a business perspective, that I realized how important social media can be in regards to self-branding—your personal PR. I could understand why businesses try to build their brand through social media, but I’ve completely overlooked using social media to build a personal brand too.