Spoiler Alert: It sucked.
Of the “influencer apps” that I downloaded last week (the kind that pair you up with brands for collaborations), three of them told me I didn’t have enough followers (I needed between 3,000 and 5,000 apparently), another got me a collab but just for “trade” and the brand never actually followed through with it and another was in a foreign language even though I was accepted to use the app.
All the previous campaigns that I have been lucky enough to work on with brands, they’ve all been through emails. I have contacted companies in the past or they’ve come through people seeing my Instagram, liking my content/images and reaching out to me. Not once have I used an app. I’ve never asked a fellow blogger for a PR’s email either or accepted a collaboration through Instagram DMs alone. This seems like the natural way to secure a brand collaboration/gifted opportunity. It also seems like a legitimate way to do things too.
I think one of the main things that annoys me about “influencers” is the word. I wouldn’t call myself one. I’m a blogger first and I probably always will be. I started my blog (and then an Instagram) years ago and it’s taken me a good few years to build up the number of followers I have on Instagram now, which is not loads anyway. Obviously, you should never start doing something if you’re just in it for the “free” stuff which is how I feel about “Influencer” apps.
I post to Instagram as I like the social aspect of it and it’s my creative outlet too. I have loved photography for years (and studied it) and this is a way for me to experiment and continue to do the kind of photography that I love. I like finding out new ways to edit, creating my own presets, trying new filters or apps and engaging with others. At no point have I done it because I felt like I had to do it or because I thought it would lead to “free” stuff.
I work hard at my Instagram, creating content that I love and I think you can see that if you have a little scroll through my feed, it’s forever changing. The fact that brands/PRs come across it and like my images is just an added bonus for me.
I’ve been lucky enough to work with some incredible brands yet according to various “influencer” apps I don’t have enough followers to secure paid collabs. There’s also so many of them out there now, all of them requesting “access” to our logins to find out how many followers we have, what other information are they accessing? How do we know which of these apps are legit?
I think it’s amazing how people can turn what they love to do into their job and the fact that people can make money from posting to Instagram is amazing. However, I think the raise of “influencer” apps seem a little bit shady and I’m not sure how I feel about them. I tried using a few of them for a little experiment but the experience hasn’t been an overall good one.
Followers aren’t everything (I would still be posting to Instagram if 20 people followed me) but that’s the main focus for these apps. If I had 3,000 followers and created an amazingly creative image and someone had 5,000 and took a photo with bad lighting, just on a table, for example, the apps would always favour the latter. Which is actually quite disheartening.
I’d love to know your opinion on these apps, do you use them?