Posted By

Buying fake Instagram followers to boost your social status is hardly a new thing – it was revealed way back in 2013 that 46 per cent of Katy Perry’s Twitter followers were spam accounts – and there are countless sketchy sites out there which will promise Insta-fame in exchange for a small fee.

Taking it even further though, is a vending machine in Okhotny Ryad shopping centre in Moscow, which sells instant social media validation in the form of likes and followers. For just 50 Roubles (about 66p), you no longer need to be staring anxiously at your phone waiting for the prized 11th like on your latest picture – you can relax safe in the knowledge that 100 likes are coming your way. Or, if you really need the instant gratification, you can splash out the equivalent of £1.32 for 100 fake followers. It’s like a real life episode of Black Mirror.

In a ‘fake news’ era where we have to have a certain degree of cynicism about everything we see or read, the sources of information we can trust are decreasing by the day. Instagram started out as a way to keep your friends updated with overly-filtered snapshots of your day-to-day life, but has since evolved into a hugely effective marketing platform, through social media influencers and sponsored product posts. You can pretty much guarantee that any user whose follower count hits six figures will soon be pushing detox tea, or a discount code for a fast fashion site. But thanks to the prevalence of high-status Instagrammers, it’s a saturated market – and people are starting to realise that. There’s no authenticity, so there’s no trust between influencers and audiences.

That’s not to say that influencer marketing is totally dead, as it’s still a go-to for many agencies, but the trend is starting to shift to micro-influencers instead. A micro-influencer is someone who may not have millions of followers, but has an engaged, targeted audience and social media content directly related to their particular niche. It’s part of human nature to look for guidance in our choices, and micro-influencers have an authenticity that connects with consumers. It feels believable.

If you ever find yourself in a mall in downtown Moscow, the choice is yours. If you want to craft an enviable social media façade and live out your #lifegoals, go ahead. I’ll be waiting for my 11th like on my criminally underrated cat picture.


If you’re looking for a social media strategy that doesn’t come from a vending machine, talk to us to see how we can shake up your brand.