So I’ve been spending some of my free time looking into ways to make money without working very hard. The internet seems to have tons of ways to do this. The current rage seems to be a “Social Media Influencer” on Instagram or Facebook or YouTube. Apparently you can get free stuff, free travel, fame, fortune, and do not have to work much to get all this wonderful stuff.
Cool, where do I sign up?
I did a quick google search (since google knows all) and found 71 million web pages that tell you how to be an “Influencer” and get free travel to exotic locations. The Maldives, Fiji, and the Philippines seem to be hot locations – that the Philippines was on the list surprised me, but it’s cheap and has good surfing. Now I’ll admit I only read one or two of these pages, but the process seems to be to email a hotel where you want to stay and promise to do an Instagram post featuring the hotel to your followers.
Yup, just send an email promising to take pictures of yourself wearing a bikini, a towel, or hotel robe on the beach, in the room, getting out of the shower… Then promise to post these pictures to your account(s) and magically thousands of people will want to stay at the hotel. That would be worth a free room, drinks, meals, diving lessons, a massage …
Honestly, I don’t think that’s going to work for me. It might, but I can’t think of many people who want a picture of me in a bikini. But there are tens of thousands of people who think that hotels and restaurants are just dying to have the privilege of having a “Social Influencer” wandering around the place, taking pictures, and drinking the good liquor for free.
Of course, it’s all a fantasy. The number of people who can actually pull this off is very small and as hotels and brands get hit with more and more people asking for free stuff, these business are starting to question the value. A hotel room may be free to the influencer, but the business still has to pay for the staff, electricity, beverages, and toilet paper. The question being asked by hotels is, “How many people are going to see your post and then actually pay for a stay at the hotel if we give you a free room?”
The answer is: Somewhere between none and not many. A net loss to the hotel.
Recently there was a New York Times article about a beach club in the Philippines that is being flooded with emails from influencers requesting free accommodations. The owners of the club are being flooded with requests from “wannabe influencers” who have no clue about the value proposition. A single Instagram post to your 3,000 followers does not earn you a $270 a night hotel room with free meals.
Darn, I was so hoping.
I did a little more digging and found that there are many, many businesses who are starting to officially hang out the, “Influencers Not Welcome” sign. It seems that many influencers who go down this path have no clue how business works and real businesses are stuck explaining it to them.
Sadly, I do have something of a clue how business works so I won’t be sending your hotel an email offering to post bikini pictures of me in exchange for a free room.
You can thank me now.
So, I guess that means it’s back to the old fashioned way of making money – working.