UPDATE November 5, 2012 at 10:49 A.M. : Multiple fake company pages have sprung up on Instagram claiming to issue giveaways to the first few thousand followers. This includes AirTran, Delta, Lucy, Greyhound, Amtrak, and other companies. Watch out for companies with the name giveaway in their Instagram name.
I’ve been seeing businesses doing a good job with promoting their clients on Instagram such as Women in PR and The Luxe PR Group. Posting relevant pictures about their industry or clients is a great way to gain more exposure through the people you follow.
I’ve also seen some of the people I follow re-post things in order to win contests. One of my PR mentors re-posted from an Instagram account fraudulently claiming to be JetBlue Airways. It said to follow, repost, and tag using a special hashtag and to be within the first 5,000 to do so to win a free airplane ticket. A FREE AIRPLANE TICKET, OF COURSE I’LL DO THAT. I couple of hours later my mentor replied and said it was a hoax, a fax, a LIE. That was a big let down for me because I was in the hundreds and would have been sure to get it.
I went back to check out the same Instagram account, and it changed it’s description from saying and I’m paraphrasing this, “be the first 10K to follow, tag, repost…” I see what they were doing. They are trying to gain followers and more exposure until they reach 10K only to change it yet again.
Two days after the JetBlue scam, I see another follower post about a free cruise via Carnival for the first 10K. Oh boy here we go again! JetBlue has come out publicly on their Twitter and said they do not have an official Instagram account, nor do they do anything with Instagram. I hope that Carnival Cruises are aware of what’s going on. They have not addressed this issue on their website nor on social media.
There is a possibility that this fake Instagram account will have a negative affect on Carnival for not responding in a timely manner to address the issue. Based on the situation thus far, it does not look their there is someone at Carnival monitoring the social-sphere 7 days a week. If there is, there should have been some sort of statement issued, whether it’s through their website, blog, or social media accounts, stating if this is a hoax or not. It will be interesting in how this will all unfold and how it may impact the brand’s reputation.