As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, many still find themselves strapped for cash, unable to go to work or laid off from their previous jobs. Instagram influencers everywhere have claimed to have the solution.
A select group who have gained social media fame are using their platform and following to give away free money in exchange for engagement in the form of followers, comments, and tags.
Some of these influencers giving away cash include "Too Hot to Handle" star Harry Jowsey, lifestyle influencers Caitlin Covington and Laura Beverlin, and rapper Bhad Bhabie, the New York Times reports.
And while many have sought comfort in these posts, hoping for a "miracle" or some sort of aid in paying the bills, these gestures are being seen as growth schemes. They're just a way for popular influencers to gain an even larger following.
Social media marketing firm Social Stance was the driving force behind fitness influencer Paige Hathaway's $5,000 giveaway. The firm paid Hathaway thousands of dollars to promote accounts that sponsored the giveaway by paying a fee. Hathaway then encourages people who enter to follow this series of accounts before they commit.
Nathan Johnson, a 19-year-old who helps YouTube and TikTok stars orchestrate giveaways, says, "If you tell someone they can gain 50,000 followers in three days, they're going to do it."
"Entrepreneurs buy spots to gain followers in order to sell their courses or ebook. Models will do it to gain followers to increase engagement and charge more for brand deals. Doctors do it for credibility and to grow their personal brand," he continues.
Additionally, since these firms will pay influencers to host the cash giveaway, many are jumping at the chance. "Corona has been tough on influencers and if you get told you can make $20,000 for posting a giveaway on Instagram, you're probably going to do it," Johnson said.
While these giveaways seem like a great way to earn quick cash, experts warn to proceed with caution, as many of these giveaways end up being fake.