Have you seen the Netflix or Hulu FYRE Festival documentaries? If not, you really should check them out. It’s a really interesting train wreck to behold. Essentially, a company co-founded by Ja Rule tried to promote their talent booking app with a huge, glamorous music festival in the Caribbean. It was promoted as the party of the century on Pablo Escobar’s private island with gourmet chefs, luxury villas, and even private yachts. 


People paid thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars, just to be flown to a different island and find out that their thousands of dollars had bought them bread and cheese sandwiches and soaked FEMA tents. There wasn’t even enough housing for all the attendees. The guests were flown home, the show was canceled, and the promoter was charged with fraud. 


We can take a couple lessons from this incident: first of all, do a little diligence. If it looks to good to be true, it is. Also, we can see the power of social media influencers. The reason the festival spiraled out of control so quickly was that the response on social media was a fire storm of excitement that immediately tempted FYRE to overpraise and book more guests than they could actually accommodate. How? Through social media influencers. 


We have another guide on social media influencers that explains who these individuals are, and you should definitely check it out. FYRE used influencers and Instagram models to drum up excitement in their massive fanbases. It gave the festival the glamorous, exclusive vibe. It also got them HUGE reach online. 


Now, we’re not telling you to grab a private island, but if you’re looking to promote your brand, send t-shirts to social media influencers or consider sponsoring them to wear your tees. 


This is nothing new: celebrity endorsements have been part of the branding and apparel game forever. Roman gladiators had sponsors. David Bowie’s classic Space Oddity includes the line “and the papers want to know who’s shirt you wear.” The difference now is that instead of just movie stars and musicians, the average person who builds a social media following has become a valuable endorsement opportunity. 


They also have niche audiences. Chances are, whatever audience you’re trying to target, there is an influencer who fits your brand like a glove. Do some research, and expand your reach.

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