When I first started sharing on Instagram, I remember how excited I was. Finally, I had a forum where I could see my work, tell my stories, share my life and get inspired by others. It was all about imagination and art and The Job, it was fair and ethical and it was just brilliant! Since then things have changed a lot and now, I still feel sick to my stomach when I need to post a new photo!
Instagram is now the latest way of advertising over the last few years, money has gotten in the way of making a game of toxic numbers, and getting our work seen without playing this game is becoming more and more difficult. What used to be about material and originality has now been reduced to some pointless complexities of the algorithm and who has the time and the cash to trick this method wins.
I'm sure that many of you don't know what's going on behind the scenes and I'm sure even less of you know some of us use Instagram as a business tool to help us make a living.
I write this with a heavy heart, because I know that I'm a huge hypocrite. For the last six months, I was playing the game and it made me miserable, miserable guys! I tried to play it as ethically as possible but sometimes you have to put ethical aside if you want to live when you're pulled to a corner gasping for air. But surviving does not mean living and I'm desperate for the artist to feel alive again.
I'm really trying to do things right. And I think it's time to pause the nonsense and get clean and tell you exactly what's going on. I owe that to you, because if I get to live my life today, if I get to do what I love most — which is to work, compose and make art — thanks to you guys as well!
So, here's the facts, the whole truth and nothing but the reality, a no-nonsense guide to what's actually happening!
WHY NUMBERS MATTER – INFLUENCERS AND ADVERTISING There's serious business behind Instagram in some of us.
Over the last few years, IG has become an advertising platform, with more people spending time on the web than they do now in front of a tv screen. The advertising landscape is changing and we (influencers) are now essentially walking billboards for companies and firms as they can meet customers (our followers) even more honestly and efficiently through us.
I can only afford to be on the road as I work regularly with hotels, tour companies and brands. And if I didn't spend time building a solid portfolio and committed follow-up on IG, this relationship couldn't be feasible.
Yet to most brands, strong quality and a real culture are not enough. They want to see the numbers! The larger the brand that has to be the higher the numbers.
Typically it works like this: High followers count + high engagement = good sponsorships, endorsements, gigs, and even money $(big money if you have more than a few hundred thousand followers) Sadly most of these brands and corporations are oblivious about the fact that some of these figures they look at are extremely skewed with the tricks and shenanigans we pull to play the game.
A lot of so-called influencers today have those high numbers because they have cheated their way up, but since their numbers are hollow, they have no real control on their audience, they are the product of a scummy scheme designed to win the game of numbers. [I'm also guilty of some small crimes and I'm going to tell you exactly which ones.] This game isn't just straight down unfair, but it's actually fucking a lot of people on both sides, influencers (especially honest ones who work hard to create something positive to useful and have real impact on their audience) and advertisers. They've got to stop!
HOW IT ALL STARTED Around a year ago, the IG world changed everything! In the old days Instagram used chronologically to function. It was a fair game, whoever posted first appeared in chronologically organized feeds of people whether you had 2 or 200 K followers. If you posted at 3 pm, and a guy posted at 4 pm with 1 M followers, you'd see your pic first.
But instead, to follow the example of their FB buddies, Instagram decided to stop it, and display posts in an order "based on the probability that you'll be interested in the material, your relationship with the posting user, and the timeliness of the posting."( ... Bullshit!) That's when the new algorithm scheme came into play and everyone began to freak out. People were no longer seeing our tweets, numbers rapidly fell and some of us, panicking, started to come up with 'creative' ways to circumvent this evil algorithm and keep our work seen by our followers.
This is when the game of numbers started to get really dirty!
HOW TO PLAY THE GAME – Tricks to get followers and high engagement So here it is, no more lies, no more nonsense, that's how it really works, that's how many of us trick the machine!
WE BUY Fans, Shares, COMMENTS Of course isn’t a cool way to do it is to buy your way up to the top. There's a number of websites today like RealFollowers.Guru where you can buy Instagram followers, Likes, Comments, Views, just about anything to make you look insta-famous! Who cares if those accounts are hollow and don't carry any interest to the right table?! I have never been able to go that far fortunately but I have seen so many people doing this shamelessly in all sectors from the very beginning!
WE FOLLOW / UNFOLLOW, LIKE & COMMENT ON RANDOM PEOPLE (partially guilty) One of the most successful methods to attract followers is to capture people's attention by liking and commenting on their pictures so that they can come to your profile and maybe begin to follow you (I did that before). Another way that's even more immoral is to follow people so they'll follow you back and then you'll only unfold them like a total shower bag (I've never done that, not for that reason, the only time I'll unfold anyone is if I'm stopping to like their content).