Max Chafkin, a writer for Bloomberg Businessweek went from posting photos of his family to high fashion images posing as an “Instagram influencer” pushing men’s fashion. Chafkin went undercover working with a marketing agency to see what it takes to become an influencer where people are using their taste in things like fashion and their looks to generate income. Many believe brands are wasting their money on so called social media influencers. One marketing exec even went as far as calling “influencers” talentless. Chafkin goes into detail from start to finish and reveals what may have been secrets for many of today’s Instagram influencers that many of their followers probably weren’t aware of. Like for example, many of the high quality pics posted by IG influencers are professionally done and not some random selfie taken by the individual. Nevertheless, getting dressed up and posting images on Instagram and other social media platforms has become lucrative for many.
There are thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of influencers making a living this way. Some make a lot more than a living. The most successful demand $10,000 and up for a single Instagram shot. Long-term endorsement deals with well-known Instagrammers, such as Kristina Bazan, who signed with L’Oréal last year, can be worth $1 million or more. Big retailers use influencers, as do fashion brands, food and beverage companies, and media conglomerates. Condé Nast, publisher of the New Yorker and Vogue, recently announced that it would ask IBM’s artificial intelligence service, Watson, to take a break from finding cancer treatments to identify potential influencers.