Launched in 2016, INTO says its “making cities a better place for agencies, agency-signed talent and exceptional venues.” The app is free to use, and is available to those in London, New York, LA, Sydney, Melbourne and Hamburg. Next to follow in its footsteps in Miami, which will launch next year, followed hot on its heels by Milan, Cape Town, Toronto, Hong Kong and Tokyo.
As for who can sign up, you’re going to have to show your worth in order to bag a spot on the app, as its users are limited to big names in the social media influencer game and models signed to an agency. In fact, only 12,500 people have made the grade when it comes to being accepting into the INTO fold. “In order to join the INTO community, you either need to be signed with a top talent or model agency, or represent yourself as a self-managed social media identity,' explains Co-Founder Maximilian Arasin.
The idea of a secret app reserved exclusively for the upper echelons of society is not a new idea, of course – dating app Raya was launched in 2015 with the USP that only celebrities and those high up in the media industry are allowed access to, gaining it the moniker ‘Illuminati Tinder’. The premise is similar here: prove your worth, and we’ll let you in.
So, free stuff is big business these days. The beautiful and well-established among us are walking into the world’s top establishments and coming out with a whole host of goodies – all they need to do is open the app, view the list of offers around them and present the ‘redeem now’ icon. The staff will tap the icon and voila! They’ve got themselves a free drink/hair cut/PT session.
There are, however different tiers to the app, meaning that influencers with smaller followings will find themselves offered free coffees galore, whilst major social media players will get unfettered access to dinners, drinks, workouts and haircuts.
But how exactly does this business relationship work when it comes to the influencer and brand? Essentially, INTO is an influencer marketing tool that is mutually beneficial to both. “The idea is to support those who create amazing content,” Arasin explains. “By supporting our members to discover quality places and allowing them to create organic content to help them grow their own audience on social media.”
Whether they 'check in', tag the venue's online handles or use their business hashtag, influencers provide organic promotion and noise to the business, creating social media traction and driving in-store sales, he added.
But not everyone’s playing ball: INTO users only post about an offer they’ve redeemed from the app 50% of the time – meaning the other 50% of the time, they’re literally getting something for nothing.
Despite this, influencer marketing is a booming business. A recent study carried out by the Association of National Advertisers found that around 75% of marketers were currently using influencer marketing and planned to increase their budget for this over the next 12 months.
Time to start getting those follower numbers up, we reckon…