Live Oak Management
How Bumble Uses Job Applications as Free Influencer Marketing
Updated: Nov 13, 2019
By Grace McGuirk, Media Analytics Executive
In the middle of last summer, I saw an Instagram post from a friend advertising Bumble while she was in Australia. I’d never seen my friend partner up with any companies in the past, so I knew something was up. She posted a video describing a feature of Bumble where you can meet up with people in foreign cities to become friends or even act as a tour guide. She tagged the post with #globalconnectorbee, and at first glance, the post looked like classic influencer marketing, but the catch was that there was no #sponsored or #ad in the caption that would prove this. She later explained that she was applying for a job on Bumble, and this post served as her job application. I was pretty blown away by this idea. Bumble was hiring someone to travel the world and advertise their platform, and to apply, you had to post a video on Instagram about how you use Bumble in a new place. And for this single position, 976 people posted on Instagram with the hashtag. That’s almost 1000 unpaid brand influencers, some using drones, some designing beautiful moving graphics with Adobe After Effects, and even many others with less video experience using just their phone camera. But at the end of the day, 1000 people posted about Bumble to their individual circles of Instagram follower to possibly 100,000 or more individuals.
This idea is genius because unpaid influencers are competing against each other for the job and therefore can use each other’s content to leverage their own in better ways. This leads to large quantities of extremely high-quality content. A single, highly coveted position at the most popular dating app today where people are paid to travel? I mean, it sounds pretty good to me, but 968 other people also applied, so what are my actual chances if I'm only mediocre with videography? I’m sure that thought passed through the heads of thousands of other applicants too who decided to close the tab on their computer.
This idea isn’t unique to Bumble either. Last spring, there was a viral post offering $10,000 to live in a chateau in France and become a Rosè All Day influencer. All you had to do was post on Instagram and tag the brand with Rosè content. This alternative application involved an entire feed transformation, leading those interested to put in even more work than the Bumble application.
The primary driver of becoming an unpaid brand ambassador is taking the chance of being the chosen one: the person who gets hired and is paid by Bumble. This creative alternative application can be seen as easier and more straight forward than a structured application, which normally includes a cover letter, resume, and more. Yes, you are posting content for a company without working for them, but you could be the chosen one. And at the end of the day, if it’s a video to be filmed or an Instagram to be curated instead of writing a cover letter, these alternative applications sound way more exciting and relevant.
Despite these two factors, only one person is chosen for these two positions. So yes, while any one of these individuals could have been chosen, only one person was and this brings up the same important point from the beginning: 99% of these people end up working for free for companies as influencers and brand ambassadors, and the next time another job like this pops up, most of them will do the same for another company.