This is an excerpt from Please love me, the BuzzFeed News newsletter on how influencers fight for your attention. You can register here.
Ally Love is a Peloton instructor who has transformed her platform from one of the best-known faces of the practice company into a truly impressive business and social media empire.
Ally not only has over 750,000 Instagram followers on her personal account, but she also has over 76,000 on her Instagram account for Love Squad, her fan community turned into a business enterprise. On the team’s website, you can purchase branded merchandise (a limited-edition cropped tee costs $ 68, but a tank costs just $ 32) and sign up for webinars. Ally also has high-profile side activities, as host for the Brooklyn Nets and global adidas ambassador.
If you’ve ever wondered how Ally got so popular, she showed the world how this week. The secret? Ally is really good at personal branding and content creation. She pulled off a truly epic Instagram event: her extravagant five-day wedding in Mexico.
Ally has perfectly crafted her social media strategy for her wedding. On July 22, she hosted a âwedding celebration rideâ on Peloton. She wore a ‘bride’ t-shirt and took to a playlist of songs submitted by her subscribers, which they had danced to or walked down the aisle to at their own weddings. By making her Peloton runners feel like they were a part of celebrating her big day, Ally subtly draws them into her inner circle, creating a parasocial relationship with her community that top influencers have harnessed (over 75,000 people have taken the Peloton class marriage so far).
Even if you weren’t a #LoveSquad member before, if you’re anything like me and got behind the wheel, you’d probably be pretty curious to follow Ally on Instagram before the big day (s) ( s). But right before her wedding week, Ally made another brilliant move: She went private on Instagram, so you MUST follow her to watch her.
âTake it all with my friends, family and community ð§¡â Ally wrote. “Reminder that I will be PRIVATE on IG ð¤« to make this moment very special for those who have supported me and who are part of my community !!”
Some people may assume that I’m masking Ally by saying that she went private as a business strategy, rather than to deliver content exclusively to her community as she claims. But I’m not at all, and I think his motivations were probably both. I also think influencers are often ashamed of doing things that make sense for business when there is nothing wrong with it. By offering her followers an exclusive experience, Ally rewards them for their loyalty and continues to cultivate this parasocial relationship.
Finally, this week Ally pulled off her smartest move yet. She made all of her Peloton colleagues who attended (all influencers and full celebrities) wait to post her wedding content at the same time. After getting married, apparently on July 31, Ally returned to a public account and began posting her wedding content on what appears to be a calendar. For example, one night was carnival-themed, and each instructor in attendance posted their photos from the night around the same time (some included more photos from the other nights of the wedding as well).
Watching the Peloton Instructors all post the same thing at the same time is a bit like watching the Avengers come together. This made the whole viewing experience like a game. Each instructor had their own take on the event, their photos and videos and, of course, their thugs.
By creating her content and her friends’ content in this way, Ally turned her wedding week into an Instagram event in its own right. If you’re a Peloton Gang fan, you can spend an hour finding out who wore what, who was invited, who wasn’t (and is it that nuance in the comments?). When discussing the wedding with my husband, he said the rollout reminded him of another masterclass in social media content: the July 4th parties of Taylor Swift.
Some people may worry about workout instructors or a stranger’s wedding, but I think it’s fun! It takes something mundane in life, like training on a spin bike and turning the experience into a fully character-driven event across multiple platforms. How many media companies would kill for that? The loyalty to the Peloton brand is unmatched and tons of people are talking about it.
I’m sure others will argue how horrible it is that Ally turned a special life event into content, that she’s being overly calculated, blah blah blah. I tell them, welcome to content creation. The industry has been around forever and is here to stay. Ally has mastered how to build a community around her and have a ton of money and success. It might not be for you, but you can’t pretend it doesn’t work for her.
Plus, Ally does a great job at one thing: keeping her real relationship private. Her husband isn’t even tagged in the posts, and he seems to be living a normal life out of the spotlight. Fame, fortune and keeping your private life private? We are a content queen.