A Brisbane company has vowed never again to engage with self-proclaimed Instagram “influencers” after being stung once too often by big promises of positive reviews and exposure that never materialised.
CEO of Funerals R Us, Paul Berra (main picture), said that soon after his firm started its own Instagram account in January this year, he was contacted by numerous “influencers” who convinced him to provide them with free funerals in exchange for publicity through their Instagram accounts.
“I didn’t previously know this until we got our own Instagram account, but these ‘influencers’ are a widespread problem,” Mr Berra said.
“They claim to have large numbers of online followers and they ask business operators for free goods or services by offering to promote the business by uploading photos and positive reviews to their Instagram account.
“The truth is that often they have a lot of fake followers, and many of their followers are ‘robot’ accounts they have bought. They are not real people genuinely following them so the whole exercise is costly for the business and gives little or no return.
“Unfortunately, and call me naïve, but I found that out the hard way by giving away half-a-dozen funerals to ‘influencers’ who claimed they’d give me a good review which was supposed to generate new customers for my firm.
“That was way back at the start of the year, and I haven’t seen any of their accounts even mention the funeral I put on for them for free and no mentions of how well it went.
“In fact the accounts of all of the ‘influencers’ I helped bury or cremate haven’t been updated at all since their funerals.
“This really is a scam I think. I spent a fortune on their funerals and it’s genuinely turned out to be dead money,” Mr Berra said.