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Fake Instagram Account Takes the Social World by Storm

Louise Delage


Fake Instagram Account Takes the Social World by Storm

In today’s social-crazed world, brands across the world are having to use platforms like Instagram in creative, shocking ways. This is ever-more true with the recent news that Parisian ad agency BTEC created a fake Instagram account and persona of a beautiful, young woman who has an alcohol addiction to bring awareness to alcoholism among young people.

The key move in this campaign was that the ad agency never told you that the woman had a drinking problem. Instead, they posted photos for a month in which she is pictured in various stages of drinking, always holding a glass of wine, a beer or a champagne bottle. The theme is built over time as Instagram users follow the account — hopefully noticing a woman who has developed a dependency on alcohol and is lonely in the midst of outwardly orchestrated happiness for Instagram.

The move was a brilliant and creative one that deployed many of the tactics you’ll need to learn to launch an Instagram campaign for your cause. Read on to get four quick tips for developing a similar Instagram campaign to bring awareness to your cause:

Tip #1: Make a content plan

Your first step — beyond creating the Instagram account — is to create a content strategy plan. You’ll need to post a photo at least once a day for a month — so prepare for at least 31 photos. If you have more time and resources, you can post between two and three times a day.

But you’re photographs need to be really good. Because Instagram is a photo-sharing site, you’ll need striking, beautiful photos that appeal to a Millennial audience. That means they need to evoke fun, parties, socializing, happiness and friends. Hiring a professional photographer to do this is key.

You’ll also want to experiment with short videos and Instagram apps to further develop the content. For example, Boomerang is a free app that allows you to take a video while the app “plays” it back and forth for you in the matter of seconds. This is a fun way to layer video into your content strategy.

Each of your photos and videos should carry a common theme that will underscore your campaign. In BTEC’s campaign, the unifying object in each of the photos was a glass or bottle of alcohol.

Tip #2: Use trending hashtags

This is where you’ll need to do some research before posting. For each post, you want to include a series of hashtags — between 5 and 10 — at the bottom of your post. Research the hashtags currently being used by groups and brands that also are attracting your target audience. For BTEC, those overlapping audiences came in the form of hashtags related to parties, fashion, food and nature. Deploy a similar strategy to use hashtags because this is actually how Instagram defies what photos pop up in a user’s feed of accounts he or she is not currently following. Instagram serves up content that user’s may like, based upon the photos and hashtags they are clicking on within the app.

Tip #3: Post at optimal times

You’ll need to post an optimal times for your audience to see your posts and have the best chance of interacting with your content. For Instagram users, that’s usually going to be during lunch or late at night. These are optimal times because many people are on a break during their lunch hours — and they are stalking other Instagram accounts late at night. Follow classic social behavior, and you’ll reach the largest audience.

Tip #4: Develop a team of social ambassadors

In the social world, this is called a team of Key Opinion Leaders (KOL). Your KOL team needs to be large to really drive promotion on your behalf. BTEC had about 20,000 teenage social users who offered their opinions into the content and direction of the campaign, and then used their accounts to drive more users to the BTEC’s fake account. This works well in two ways: First, you really do want the opinions of a sampling of a target audience. You want to know how they think, what they sound like, how they behave on social. Their insights and voicing is critical to your success.

You also cannot pull off a campaign like this on your own. You need the natural and native reach of your ambassadors to drive your messaging and to put new users in contact with your Instagram account. This is classic marketing at its best. Social users trust sources from trusted friends.


In conclusion, after you’ve developed your Instagram campaign, you’ll want to make a splash at the end of the campaign by revealing that the account was fake and pointing people to your cause. BTEC did this through a short, haunting video with music and all of the photos from the campaign. It was powerful, effective and included a call to action to get more information on addiction and awareness.

If you have a cause that your organization would like to bring more awareness to in a subtle yet powerful and creative way, creating a fake Instagram account and a persona could be a very effective way to do it. Brands constantly are trying to gather more followers and push out messaging about their products with overt, traditional posts.

But if you can get behind a cause that will generate energy and emotion among your target audience, then you will capture more than just followers. Your social users will continue coming back to your Instagram account because they are seeing, experiencing and feeling something of value.

Keep these four tips handy as you are developing your super-sleuth Instagram campaign, and use them as guiding principles as you launch.

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