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'Surprise' Instagram engagement: What it says about influencers

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The "surprise" engagement of Instagram influencer Marissa Casey Fuchs and her fiance Gabriel Grossman has been labelled a carefully marketed event.A report by The Atlantic suggests someone approached brands to sponsor the engagement, which involved the couple travelling around the world to celebrate their marriage plans.One publication asked if it was "the most extravagent proposal ever."The 30-year-old was seen in shock on her Insta story as her fiance proposed.But The Atlantic shared a "deck" that had been sent to various companies, detailing every location the couple would visit and what they would do while they were there - including certain things she would share on her social media.
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Can’t sleep in anticipation of tomorrow A post shared by MARISSA CASEY FUCHS (@fashionambitionist) on Jun 19, 2019 at 1:25am PDT
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In marketing, a deck is a series of slides that describes a proposal of why someone might want to work with you and how a collaboration could benefit another organisation.
'You'll see this happen more and more'
Marissa has almost 200,000 followers on Instagram and is the director of brand partnerships for Gwyneth Paltrow's business Goop, so knows how this industry works.But it's not just high-flying branding experts like Marissa who are doing things like this with their social media.It's happening at all levels."I've never received a deck that lengthy, but I've absolutely received decks from influencers just this week where they are pitching what they can provide to brands," says Alfie Green, a social media strategist who works with influencers in the UK at Creative Nerds.Marissa's Instagram story, at the time of writing, names and tags hotels she's staying at, stores she has been shopping in and emotional videos about how overwhelmed she's been by the experience.
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... STILL NO RING!!! Was completely shocked when I walked into Prime112 and Gabe’s family was NOT there and mine too!!!! A post shared by MARISSA CASEY FUCHS (@fashionambitionist) on Jun 20, 2019 at 8:22am PDT
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Alfie says that in a crowded market, influencers are becoming more business-minded and sponsorship opportunities around life-events become more common."I think you're going to see more and more influencers starting to become more business savvy," he adds. "You can sell yourself in the same way you'd sell a product or run a business and I think we're going to see more of that happening with influencers."He says influencers are also cutting out hiring agents to promote themselves - instead choosing to approach companies directly, like Marissa and Gabriel seemingly did.
'Be wary'
There are all sorts of opportunities out there - even Sherif Lanre, who was kicked out of this year's Love Island within a matter of days, has signed a deal to promote a brand of car freshener on his Instagram.In the UK there are now strict rules around how influencers and celebrities promote things on their social media accounts.That's why you'll see people using the hashtags #ad or #gifted on posts about what they claim are their favourite new brands.
Reality TV star warned over Instagram ad
But that's something Alfie says followers need to be wary of when they're scrolling through their feed."It's really key to remember that these influencers make money and survive because of these brand deals," says Alfie. "Be wary of the content they're promoting. Just because they're sitting there and they've promoted it, doesn't always mean that they like it or that you would like it."Alfie says that for many social media strategists and their clients, authenticity is important. When it's not, mistakes can happen - like when Little Mix copied and pasted instructions into a post promoting their own perfume.
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But whether it's a girl group or an influencer getting engaged, Alfie says it's important to remember there's always a distance between the famous people and their followers."It's really important to remember that you're not actually friends with them in real life," Alfie says. "It's not a real life relationship where you can actually say you take something away from it."Radio 1 Newsbeat has contacted Marissa for comment.
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