I don’t go on Instagram a lot. But when I do, I like looking at the pictures. I tend to follow travel accounts and photography accounts. The occasional funny meme shows up, too.
Some days, I’ll see ads for companies looking for brand ambassadors. I’d always been curious, but I never tried. The people these brands pick do fantastic things. I don’t think I do anything interesting.
At least I thought I didn’t do anything interesting on Instagram
One night, I went through my DMs. I often get random older men messaging me on my page, so I delete them once a month. I noticed a message from a different account. It had a woman’s name, but there wasn’t a profile picture.
The girl introduced herself as a representative from a company. She said she loved my content and asked if I wanted to collaborate with the company to be a brand ambassador. All I had to do was go on the company Instagram account and start messaging the owner.
Now, I don’t know anything about brand ambassadorship. I’m a woman in my thirties who rarely leaves the house. My Instagram content is pictures of my cat, selfies with whatever book I’m reading at the time, or the occasional picture of my China days. Compared to anyone else on Instagram, my content is boring.
But if someone wants boring, why not? If nothing else, I could get some information on an interesting company. Until that message, I’d never heard of this company.
And then the red flags started flying
The business profile had a lot of pictures of their products and models wearing everything. The company had a great message with it. Women are empowering women. The company says part of the profits goes to charities helping women.
The owner, Sophia, seemed friendly and enthusiastic about the company. She was happy to answer most of my questions about how brand ambassadorship with her works.
But she didn’t answer one of the most critical questions I had. I asked twice if I’d get paid for my troubles, and she side-stepped the question. The first time I asked about payment, she said I needed to buy the products myself, but I’ll get a discount. I asked a second time, and she gave me a promo code to buy the products. I told her I would place an order tomorrow.
I went on the website to look at the products. Some of the sweatshirts and hats looked awesome. However, I wasn’t too happy about the prices.
As I said, I don’t know much about ambassadorship. But I feel like a company that doesn’t answer your questions about payment and makes you buy the products doesn’t sound like a legit one.
So I started researching the company
Something about my conversation with the owner account rubbed me the wrong way. So I took to Google and started looking it up.
Is *company name* legit?
The first article that popped up was a negative review. The piece launched in September and the author posted an update in October 2020.
The author wrote about joining the ambassador program in August and buying a product. In the middle of September, she never got what she ordered. October came, and she still never saw her purchase.
The October article stuck out. Not because she still hadn’t received her product. It was how the company found her.
The author got contacted by a bot account with no profile picture, followers, or anyone following them. I looked up the account of who DM’ed me. It’s the same thing for me: no profile picture, no followers, and nobody following the account.
Then I looked up the company on the Better Business Bureau
The Better Business Bureau had some damning reviews of the company. And with them, the same story as the author of the fashion blog. The Instagram account contacted women, convinced them to be an ambassador, had these women buy their products on a discount, and never got their products.
The most recent review came from December 2020. It walked like a duck and talked like a duck. I had to accept this company was a scam.
I’m disappointed this company turned out to be a scam. It had a fantastic message of supporting women and their dreams. It came off like it would help women. But it’s another company looking to take advantage of people.
Research the company before you decide anything
There are a lot of places looking for brand ambassadorship. This list of companies would love to have you on their team. No matter what you pick, you need to research before you spend money.
Social media makes it easy for people to create fake companies. These companies prey on people eager for fame and a little extra cash. Experienced brand ambassadors know the red flags, but someone like me wouldn’t see them unless I researched.
It’s exciting to have someone approach you to help them on social media. Especially if it’s a company with a message you love or a famous company, don’t let your excitement get ahead of you, and you’ll find you can make the right decision for you.