Digital influencers are charging for their followers to access the Instagram Best Friends list. The monetization strategy is to charge monthly subscriptions for users to be accepted into the Stories. This way, only subscribers receive exclusive posts and interactions that are not publicly shared. The method has been gaining membership worldwide and is already used by Brazilian celebrities, such as influencer Virginia Fonseca, who charges $ 14.90 to accept people on her list.
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Digital influencers are charging monthly subscriptions to exclusive content posted on Instagram's best friends list Photo: Marvin Costa / TechTudo
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In addition, the initiative has been used by artists who sell a place on the list as a way to collectively fund their projects. YouTube channels and podcast producers have embraced strategy for monetizing behind-the-scenes videos, production tips and exclusive subscriber conversations. The initiative, however, has been generating acid criticism of what would be a fake friendship trade on Instagram.
One of the most successful cases to American influencer Caroline Calloway. With over 797,000 followers, she has 342 people as best friends. To participate in the list, I need to pay $ 2 per month. It may seem little, but there is yet another monthly subscription option that costs $ 100 ($ 414 in direct conversion). The package, called Best Friends, entitles you to a one-hour Skype call with Calloway. Some subscribers, however, say that influencer's content production has been drastically reduced after the new model. In addition, many complain that exclusive videos are later publicly posted to the profile.
Digital influencer Caroline Calloway's Patreon page Photo: Reproduction / Marvin Costa
The monetized use of an interaction tool is hardly new. On Snapchat, for example, erotic movie actors sell access to private accounts to offer intimate photos and videos. Like Instagram, Snapchat does not offer a native tool for making money with privacy features.
To The Atlanctic, an Instagram spokesman says the company has no plans to include payment options in the feature. As an alternative to charging for exclusive posts, content producers use services such as Patreon to receive monthly subscription fees.
The initiative to sell a space on the best friends list has been causing controversy. The photo network feature was initially created as an option for profiles to share stories with a select group of friends. The tool also works as an alternative to the Instagram algorithm that may not present Stories to some friends.
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In Brazil, the strategy of raising customers for content has been winning out. Virginia Fonseca, blogger with more than 4.7 million followers, charges $ 14.90 per month. In her account, she states the promotional value being valid only for the first 500 subscribers. The influencer promises to post to content subscribers with physical activities, social media tips, video production tips on YouTube, exclusive promotions and live videos.
Systems such as account managers are already adapting to the billing initiative. Services such as Bume registered a significant increase in users, of about 160%, compared to numbers in the same period in 2018. The platform offers management for Best Friends subscriptions. It is up to the account owner to only take care of the payment system and the creation of content, leaving the confirmation of new list members to the automated system.