Instagram: “Let’s Collaborate” : The Instagram Influence Marketplace

Instagram: “Let’s Collaborate” : The Instagram Influence Marketplace

In profiles across Instagram of blossoming Instagrammers you’ll see in their bio lines:

  • “DM for collabs”
  • “Serious business inquiries only”
  • “Email for collaborations”

But what does collaborating actually mean?

  • I’ve gotten several inquiries on @zoraflorasays and through my Amazon account to test out products or produce branding content – This is something that helps companies advertise themselves better and helps me continue to produce content 
  • I’ve been reposted both on @jonesdoeslife and @zoraflorasays by larger amalgamation accounts (sometimes they ask permission, sometimes they don’t) with my photos or with a request for additional content – This give them content to use and persist* their profile as well helping expose me to their followers
  • Occasionally people who are starting up a social website will email saying they want to “collaborate” which means they want more people to sign up for their website – This is a marketing tactic which I haven’t quite decided how I feel about as it seems to mostly benefit the website
*Persisting an account means that the account has increasing engagement and is attracting more followers. For an Instagram account to maintain an audience it has to be posting content on a regular basis (sometimes multiple times a day) both to get exposure to new followers as well as to keep the people following the account engaged.

When I got an email in the early hours of the morning talking about collaboration, I wasn’t surprised.

UPDATE 2/3/18: Commenter jerzeezmorena brought to my attention that this specific account is no longer operational (which also means that all the pictures and exposure people paid for has now gone up in smoke)

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This email refers to my @zoraflorasays account which has less than 300 followers, so while I thought explaining what seemed obvious (“we have a lot of followers and this can help you”) was overkill, I sensed that there was something more to this than “Can we post your picture?” I noticed that in the midst of the flattery and explanation she put in the word “sponsored”.

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Shortly after (Celina is great customer support) she responded:

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From the perspective of an Instagram user the prices and statistics she’s selling feel like a scam. Both because of the amount of money, and because there’s no way that they can guarantee any kind of natural follower growth. Based on what I’ve seen from the lifestyle/fashion/beauty community of Instagram, they are much less likely to engage than the computer/programming community. I would rather save my money and continue to organically target potential followers. Additionally, I’ve looked at some of the accounts they’ve posted and engagement (likes on their photos) doesn’t seem to have drastically increased over time even if the photos on the @FashionvLuxury page garner 1000+ likes. I would chalk this up to something I posted about a while ago.

From a business perspective I’m impressed. I’m sure that it took quite a while to build up a base of 106k followers, but the account isn’t required to produce their own content (which is arguably the most time consuming part of a social media account). There are no costs per se – many users will allow amalgamation accounts to use their photos for free in exchange for exposure – and users will apparently pay the account to post their photos. Selling influence purely to promote influence is an interesting concept.

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What’s astounding based on their rates (which have no doubt changed over time) is that if even 1/2 of their posts are sponsored (around 1,050 posts) this means they would have made over $37,000. If all of their posts are sponsored this number goes above $70,000. Talk about a great return on investment.



24 thoughts on “Instagram: “Let’s Collaborate” : The Instagram Influence Marketplace”

  • Thank you! for posting this. I just received the exact same email, exact company and person. I was a little excited because it would have been the first time anyone has asked to collaborate with me, but its ok cause you just saved me the time of responding.

  • Thank you, I received the same email today. You saved me time. I was happy and excited…but Look at God, he has something much better in store.

  • I got one of those emails now and all good and stuff but even after reading your article I still have no clue if this is a trap or an opportunity.
    And the weirdest part is I don’t even host a fashion account, it’s crafts. Go figure.

  • Hey Ana!

    It can be either depending on what you’re trying to get from it. I would look at whatever account is offering you the deal and see how the accounts they’ve reposted are doing. If the reposted accounts have a huge spike in likes/engagement since the repost then it might be worth it. If it doesn’t look like there’s been a huge change in their account activity, then it might not be worth your money.

  • Thank you very much for the information gained from your site, I also get an email from him and lead to the same instagram, I think this is also their trap

  • Hi just got contacted also by the same person/account for the same reason, let the door open in the meanwhile but for sure it is good to check if its worth it and needed or not. Thanks a lot for your comment here it helps for sure.

  • I have been bamboozled, I don’t know why I decided to search up this account after paying. I mean I am gaining followers but after 15 mins, I have gained about 40 followers. But a lot of these followers seemed a bit odd for a fashion account to have. Well After I have gained the guaranteed amount and posted a few pictures, I’m gonna start weeding out the non active ones which I suspect is gonna be at least 70% of them. ah well you live and you learn.

  • Thank so much for sharing this! Just got the email from them and thought I’d Google to see how legit they were. Turns out not very…

  • Thank you so much for this I received the exact same mail. I’m a 11th grader and was excited after I received this email since i have less followers on my photography account but then I wanted to ensure that it was legit. Thanks a lot for saving my precious study time.

  • I haven’t received any emails about my IG account and a collab. However, I keep getting comments from “fashion” IGs, for me to DM them so we can collab. I never reply because I’m worried it’s just a scam.

  • It probably isn’t a “scam” in the illegal sense of the word, but I’m guessing that they are running a business. If people want to repost your picture they’ll often just ask outright “Hey, can we repost this?”

  • It seems not like a scam. This is what sponsored shoutouts, they are paid shoutout. I grow my followers in my business account by collaborating with influencers and big brands, I use influencer marketing platform to reach out to them. What I do is I usually offer free service and products in exchange for a post, shoutout, or tag.

  • Hi! What you’re doing and what this company are doing are a little different. Firstly, you’re not cold calling people if you’re using Phlanx for exposure (so everyone on the site knows what the deal is and agreed to the terms) whereas this company seems to specifically target people with less than 1000 followers who may be “new” to the idea of the influence market.

    Secondly, when you hire influencers it’s for exposure and an understanding that you want their followers to see you. This company is trying to sell followers to people who don’t have them. They aren’t just selling exposure, they’re selling specific numbers of followers. No influencer can guarantee that unless they’re doing something a little bit sketchy.

  • Well as of 2/2/18, that IG account is no longer there. I received the same e-mail in my spam folder that I just so happen to check today, and this e-mail was sent 1/19/18.

  • Unfortunately, the company actually still exists but they’ve changed their handle to @luxvfab. I received an email from them with the exact same template just last month :/

  • It looks like Chickaberry does the same thing. But what makes worse is they are a clothing company, so it makes it look like they are selling the clothes that the “model” is wearing, even though those are just their own clothes.

  • Well after further looking. They have similar items to what the women are wearing and then not at all listed. But a lot of the modeling poses dont even make sense.
    Also there are lots of generic instagram names but when you click them they tell you to go to
    I looked at another website that lists clothing store that scam and in the comments several women posted that it was a scam.
    It just seems kinda sketchy.

  • There are also collaboration portals anyone can make use to make the collaboration process easier. “phlanx collaborations” is a platform that’s definitely worth looking into.

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