This is an excerpt from Please Like Me, BuzzFeed News’ newsletter about how influencers are battling for your attention. You can sign up here.
Ally Love is a Peloton instructor who has turned her platform as one of the workout company’s most well-known faces into a truly impressive business and social media empire.
Not only does Ally have more than 750,000 Instagram followers on her personal account, but she also has more than 76,000 on her Instagram account for Love Squad, her fan community turned business venture. On the squad’s website, you can buy branded merch (a limited-edition crop tee runs $68, but a tank is only $32) and sign up for webinars. Ally also has some high-profile side hustles, like serving as a host for the Brooklyn Nets and as a global ambassador for Adidas.
If you’ve ever wondered how Ally got so popular, she showed the world how this week. The secret? Ally is really, really, good at personal branding and content creation. She executed a truly epic Instagram event: her five-day wedding extravaganza in Mexico.
Ally crafted her social media strategy for her wedding flawlessly. On July 22, she hosted a “wedding celebration ride” on Peloton. She wore a “bride” T-shirt and rode to a playlist made up of songs submitted by her followers, to which they had either danced or walked down the aisle at their own weddings. By making her Peloton riders feel as if they were part of the celebration of her big day, Ally subtly drew them into her inner circle, creating a parasocial relationship with her community that the best influencers have mastered (more than 75,000 people have taken the wedding Peloton class so far).
Even if you weren’t a member of the #LoveSquad before, if you’re anything like me and you took the ride, you’d probably be curious enough to follow Ally on Instagram before the big day(s). But right before her wedding week, Ally did another brilliant move: She went private on Instagram, so you HAD to follow her in order to watch.
“Taking it all in with my friends, family, and community 🧡,” Ally wrote. “Reminder that I will be going PRIVATE on IG 🤫 to make this time to remember extra special to those who have supported me and is a part of my community!!”
Some people may assume I am shading Ally by saying she went private as a business strategy rather than to exclusively provide content to her community, as she claims. But I’m not at all, and I think her motivations were probably both. I also think influencers often get shamed for doing things that make business sense when there’s nothing wrong with them. By providing her followers with an exclusive experience, Ally gets to reward them for their loyalty and continue cultivating that parasocial relationship.
Finally, this week, Ally pulled her smartest move yet. She had all her Peloton coworkers who attended (all influencers and celebs in their own right) wait to post content from her wedding at the same time. After getting married, reportedly on July 31, Ally went back to a public account and began posting her wedding content on what appears to be a schedule. For example, one night was Carnival-themed, and each instructor in attendance posted their pics from the night around the same time (some also included more pics from the other nights of the wedding as well).
Watching Peloton instructors all post about the same thing at the same time is kind of like watching the Avengers assemble. It made the entire viewing experience like a game. Each instructor had their own perspectives of the event, their pictures and videos, and, of course, their lewks.
By crafting her content and her friends’ content, in this way, Ally turned her wedding week into an entire Instagram event. If you’re a fan of the Peloton gang, you can spend an hour going down the rabbit hole of who wore what, who got invited, who didn’t get invited (and is that shade in the comments?). When discussing the wedding with my husband, he said the rollout reminded him of another master class in social media content: Taylor Swift’s star-studded 4th of July parties.
Some people may snark on caring about workout instructors or a stranger’s wedding, but I think it’s fun! It’s taking something mundane in life, like working out on a spin bike, and turning the experience into an entire character-driven event on multiple platforms. How many media companies would kill for that? Peloton’s brand loyalty is unmatched, and tons of people are talking about it.
I’m sure others will say how awful it is that Ally turned a special life event into content, that she’s too calculated, blah blah blah. To them I say, welcome to content creation. The industry has been around forever, and it is here to stay. Ally has mastered how to grow a community around herself and have a ton of money and success. It may not be for you, but you can’t argue it isn’t working for her.
Plus, Ally is doing a great job at one thing: keeping her actual relationship private. Her husband isn’t even tagged in the posts, and he seems to live a normal life out of the spotlight. Fame, fortune, and keeping her personal life private? We stan a content queen.