Image Design and Graphic by Shannon Schaefer for FATMO Media Group

By: Sami Chazonoff

As a whole, influencer culture has had a far-reaching impact on society and today’s digital economy, with social media contests and giveaways experiencing increasing popularity with younger generations and with corporations alike. While the phenomenon of Instagram contests and influencers in the fashion, lifestyle and beauty space may seem like the new normal, this contemporary way of getting your brand’s message across has revolutionized the business world in just a few years.

On a more personal level, I am guilty of liking, commenting and sharing posts by my favourite influencers, along with entering Instagram contests for everything from coffee to furniture. A typical Instagram contest usually consists of the entrants or Instagram users liking and commenting/tagging friends in a photo and typically following the account promoting the contest, or multiple accounts if there is a brand collaboration. Of course, everyone has their eyes on the prize- and is entering for a chance to win some sort of reward as a result. Many brands and corporations are also outsourcing their contests to Instagram influencers, who have a high following and are known for their ability to set trends and bring popularity to products.

An influencer is someone who is capable of impacting people’s decisions because of his/her knowledge or authority, typically via social media. There are micro-influencers, macro-influencers and celebrity influencers that all typically have upwards of 5,000 followers and some up to millions. According to an InfluencerDB article, Instagram today has more than 1.4 million accounts that have over 15,000 followers and 39 per cent of those accounts are active influencers (the rest are brands, meme accounts and other fan accounts). In truth, the influencer lifestyle has created so many (well-paying) remote jobs for the world’s trendsetters, tastemakers, beauty gurus and leaders in lifestyle. It also offers a platform where social media users are able to draw their opinions on products and brands by following popular strangers on the Internet.

In an Instagram giveaway, the influencer or brand has typically one prize to gift to a lucky winner, which is a small loss for them. However, in return, they gain thousands of followers and interactions and engagements on their post.

For example, the Toronto nail salon/cocktail bar, Her Majesty’s Pleasure, has promoted multiple Instagram contests/giveaways on their account over the last few weeks – in collaboration with some other local brands. I entered the Instagram giveaway promoted by local Toronto influencer, Jaclyn Forbes, who has a whopping 43.5k followers. The only way to enter the contest properly was to also follow Her Majesty’s Pleasure’s account, which in turn benefits this downtown salon as a brand.

This is just one of many examples of how much Instagram contests can help brands gain more exposure and promote themselves on such a large platform. Today’s digital citizens love the opportunity to win something and simply following a new account and liking a post is a very minimal task for a society which is continually on their smartphones to begin with.

As Toronto’s fastest rising media and communications group targeting luxury and entrepreneurial brands, FATMO Media Group sees the value and importance in social media, influencer culture and contests and giveaways. After all, you only need to take note of our most recent contest, which featured a $100 gift card to Toronto-based swimwear boutique Coral Coast Swimwear. Instagram contests can boost your follower count in a short amount of time. We see the power and sheer influence that these brands and influencers have on people, and have concrete facts to prove their effectiveness. If this power can be used to spread awareness or even help small local companies gain a platform, we can certainly support that.

I will never quite get used to admitting how many “strangers” I follow on social media, or how many times I’ve tried to win a year-long supply of pasta or granola bars. However, one thing is for sure- we had better all keep embracing the rise of social media, as this is our new reality. We thought we’d have flying cars in the future, but it seems that we got an abundance of influencers instead!

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