• It's a two-part question. One, should I buy followers if I'm close to 10K's to get the Swipe Up? Two, is the Swipe Up really that effective? Is it going to really be a game-changer? Let me answer part two first. On average we see about 5% of a person's following watching their story, and when they post the story of the Swipe Up we see about 1% of that.

    For example, if you've got 100,000 followers, you might have 5,000 people that see your story and 50 might Swipe Up. Swipe up is not driving a massive amount of traffic in general. There is certainly a convenience factor to it but it's not like we're seeing Swipe Ups driving tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of visits and huge percentages of who is viewing it.

    In general, they're not massively effective. Now again, there is a convenience part to it. Part two is should I buy followers to get the Swipe Up? No, you shouldn't. You shouldn't ever buy followers. Obviously you guys know that I'm not pro buying followers. We were the first company to come out with a tool to help detect people that were buying followers. It's been a big part of our business. It continues to be a huge part of our business.

    We are incredibly focused on making sure we reward influencers who have built an organic following. Now, I do know people who have bought followers to get the Swipe Up. They weren't actually influencers and so they're just like, "Screw it. I want the Swipe Up. I'm going to buy these followers." It feels like in the short term it would be worth it, but let's say I think the person who asked the question is at about 5,000 followers.

    What she was saying was like, "I don't have a huge amount of followers, but my account is growing. People are really engaged. My audience is asking for Swipe Ups. I'm getting reposted by brands." All in all things are going well for this influencer. It's like, "I just want the Swipe Up show, I just buy it." If you did that, now half your following is not real. I don't think that does good things for the algorithm now because your percentage rate looks so much smaller.

    Your engagement percentage again doesn't look as good for brands who are evaluating you, and even with hiding likes, brands are going to be able to find out how many likes someone is getting so don't think that just hiding likes means brands are never going to see how many likes you get. They will, we will still see it. Our clients will still see what engagement you're getting.
    More than that, it creates a debt in your account. It's just this dead weight that you're going to carry around with you. While buying 5,000 followers doesn't really matter if you get to 300K. When you're below 20 or 25 or even 50K, it will still be a large percentage of your following that is fake and you would be tempted to maybe charge brands based on your following account. Now you're defrauding brands.

    You're charging them for followers that you don't really have. The way your contemporaries and other influencers look at you is going to change because your following is going to jump by 5,000 in a month and your engagement is not going to follow. People are going to start saying you bought followers, brands are going to know you bought followers. That will spread around the industry.
    There is just so much bad that will happen that it could never counterbalance the good in allowing a tiny, tiny percentage of your audience to be able to Swipe Up on something in Insta stories. There are other ways to get links to people. Obviously you can use one of those things in bio that has the articles and is pointing people to what you were talking about. You can also have people DM you.

    If you're under 10K just say, "Hey DM me, if you want a link to this I'll DM it to you." Or run a poll and say, "Do you want a link to this?" Go through everyone who said yes and DM them the link. There are other ways to get that information to people than buying followers for Swipe Up. There's another point of just like cheating begets cheating. If you look at most criminals, the way it probably started is like something small that they got away with, and then kept getting away with, and then a little bit bigger and a little bit bigger and a little bit more. Once you buy the followers to get the Swipe Up and then you say, "Shit, I hate I'm not growing anymore. I feel like I just need to get to 20K and I'm at 18," and you say, "I'm going to buy 2K more."

    It just like, it becomes a thing that you do and it pollutes you and you can never look people in the eye and say, "I haven't bought followers."

    Integrity is so important in your life. It's incredibly important for me and for our employees and if you lose your integrity, you can't really get that back. You can try and tell yourself all the excuses that you want, but you have just cheated and that is now going to be a part of your story that you can never erase. Whether it's to get a Swipe Up or whether it's because you feel frustrated because you're not growing. If you're at a point where you're willing to cheat to try and get ahead, I think that like the space's turned toxic for you. It's time to step away because if you're at 5,000 followers and you're thinking about buying followers to get ahead and to change your prospects, it's not worth it. I would argue that your relationship with the space has [unintelligible 00:20:35] and it's time to step back or step away, because if you start having that unhealthy relationship with it, it gets bad really quickly. I don't know who saw Christina Cardona, who's been a friend of the companies for a long time and she's moving to Paris and she did an IGTV. If you haven't seen it, you should. It was short and very simple.

    She was talking about how she's lost her passion for the space and how she would try and reinvigorate herself and focus on it. That would happen for a couple months and then she would lose interest again. I think that if this is going to be your job and if your relationship with it turns toxic like Quigley said in the last episode as well. If you start having a bad relationship with your art, it can ruin you and that's what happened to her while singing. It's okay to step away and be like, "This isn't for me anymore. It is turning me into a person that I don't recognize, a person that cheats to get more followers, to be seen in a different way. It's not worth it."
    Episode #166
    - On the Streets of NYFW, Influencer Responsibility, Swipe Up Feature