Influencers have carved out an interesting space for themselves in the advertising world. Often, brands will give people with large audiences free stuff in exchange for ads, which is all well and good until influencers start expecting free things wherever they go.
Reddit user Chamallow81 writes that their family owns a restaurant on a Greek island and that they are constantly getting requests from influencers for free food in exchange for coverage on their social media. Lots of the requests look like the below message.
These people think that because they have a large audience, restaurants will fall all over themselves to give them free food. They think that a post about the restaurant on their Instagram page will be worth so much to the restaurant owners.
But wouldn't you be supporting a restaurant even more if you paid for your own meal and then, if you enjoy it, post about it anyway with no expectation of getting anything in return?! These requests are disingenuous because anyone who really wants to support this restaurant is going to pay for their own meal.
The owners of this restaurant know that, so they've devised a perfect response to these influencer requests that manages not to dismiss them but also to reveal their true colors at the same time. And those colors are usually not very pretty. For the last three years, they have been responding like so...
They say they're flattered that the person wants to feature them on their page and explains that they have "launched a social responsibility policy with Instagram foodies and influencers."
They explain that for every meal they sell to an influencer who posts their food on Instagram, they give a meal of the same value for free to someone in need. So while the influencer would be paying for a meal, really they'd be getting their meal for free and paying it forward to someone who really needs it.
"In that way we gain publicity from your posts, and you improve your brand image by showing that you return something to community," they write. "We always post the influencers that join the initiative and usually receive 100s of positive responses."
That last part, OP explains, is a bit of a lie since "NO ONE has ever accepted to come under this condition. That is, to pay for his food even if I will then offer free food of the same value to people in need." They write that most people never reply to their very thought-out message and some even delete the original message they send.
"Dear influencers," OP writes, "You are just making a food out of yourselves by trying to create a fake cosmopolitan lifestyle based on begging."
Obviously, these people don't really have any desire to help out a restaurant or boost a community. If they did, they'd jump at the opportunity to pay for a meal for someone in need and share what they like about the restaurant with their large audiences.
While this behavior may not be the norm for influencers across the board, this restaurant has been trying this tactic for three years to no avail. As one commenter put it, "Wow. Really shows how the influencer culture is full of utterly selfish narcissists. These people really think that because they have an arbitrary amount of followers on social media, they're so important that places will give them free s--t? My god, it's mind-numbingly pathetic."