Life in the Instagram engagement farming mines

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

Here’s a look at life inside the Instagram “influencer” bubble — and it’s not pretty:

Unfortunately most of these brands and companies are clueless about the fact that some of these numbers they look at are incredibly inflated by the tricks and shenanigans we pull to play the system.

A ton of so-called influencers today have those high numbers because they cheated their way up, but they have no actual influence over their audience because their numbers are empty, they are the result of a scummy strategy designed to win the number game. [I’m guilty of a few petty crimes too and I’ll tell you exactly which ones.]

Basically, you create the appearance of influence, through a number of “tricks” to create the impression of high follower with high engagement, and then live off the partnerships with brands that clueless agencies throw your way. What a hollow approach to “content”.

The list of tools and tricks to manipulate your “engagement” levels and thus drive the Instagram algorithm to promote you more is particularly damning.

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.