The TL;DR answer to this is I think they're insane. I think it's insane that it's happening, but I guess on a level I understand it. I think that there is again so much attention put into this space, and I think being legitimized and validated by a brand is a big part of it, and so there is a trend now where people are pretending to do sponsored posts. It's crazy. They're giving free advertising hashtag, doing hashtag ad on posts that were not sponsored. This actually happened to us in a campaign. I won't say for what client, but we had a few influencers jump in and hashtag sponsored hashtag ad.
They executed on the brief, they made the post to look like the other posts, and I believe we reached out and had them removed that. The brand did not think it was cute or funny. Certainly, brands are anxious to get a lot of organic content from influencers. I think that it is one of the best ways to get attention from a brand you want to work with is to do free posts for them and to do posts that are interesting, compelling, and tell a good brand story.
I think maybe the worst way to get their attention is to pretend to be on a fucking campaign that you're not on. That is in no way shape or form going to do any good for you. It potentially is just going to lead to some embarrassment. I think any influencer doing that-- If I'm an influencer and I'm watching it, it could be frustrating that I would just shake your head and move on. I don't think that the people doing this have much staying power in the industry because you have to think about it from the brand side.
Let's say someone says they do a sponsored post for a brand but don't, and that post or that person has a post on their account that creates some sort of uproar, and now people are like, "This brand is advertising with this influencer who just said this really insensitive thing a week ago," and it becomes a big story, and they say, "Wait, no. We never advertised with them."
Then this is a big deal for brands, and who they pick as their brand ambassadors is a big deal for them. We do fairly thorough checks for brand safety to make sure that our brands aren't working with influencers that are caught up in some controversy. I encourage anyone who's ever thought about doing it, thought it would be funny, thought it would get the brand's attention to stay as far as humanly possible away from doing fake sponsored posts. It is pathetic, it is dumb, and it will do you no good.
I don't think people are doing it as a growth tactic, I think they're doing it to try and like spit in the eye of other influencers and say, "I got this campaign." This is what I think. I think it's more about flexing and pretending you have a relationship that you don't than it is trying to get the brand's approval or attention, which is even more pathetic. If you're faking getting campaigns to flex on other influencers, that's just so sad.
- Understanding What Brands Want, Fake Sponsored Posts, Opening Up