What Influencers Don’t Want You to Know

Really delicious foods triggers all those feel good hormones as serotonin rushes through your system. It’s your body’s way of saying “hey thanks for keeping me alive!” But food isn’t just about eating, it’s about the experience around it. From ordering through charades and pointing in Asia to going on epic taco crawls through New York, some of our best memories have taken place around a table.

One year ago, Jeremy and I decided to share this love of food in a stereotypical millennial fashion:

a blog and an instagram account.

Entering the online rat race filled with thousands upon thousands of wannabe influencers hoping to become internet famous has been quite the experience. It’s kind of like American Idol. Thousands of hopeful foodies create accounts hoping to make it to the top to get fame and fortune. They create elaborate stories and project a persona they think hungry viewers will love in hopes of more air time. 

The prize? Coveted sponsors, restaurant freebies, and the power of getting to influence millions of people

Only a few Idol contestants make successful albums, and only a few food influencers make real money. 

Nevertheless, I wanted to dive in with The Frugal Foodies to see what it was all about to get a better understanding for this odd online world. Not to mention, it has been a great excuse to eat some awesome food.

Here are some fascinating Instagram strategies and tactics the influencers don’t want you to know.

1.Follow for Follow

Follow for follow is when someone follows you purely for the goal of being followed back. More followers means you wield more influence, and the goal is to lure brands and restaurants into giving you free food or even cold hard cash to post a drool-worthy picture that will be seen by thousands of people. So, aspiring influencers will go through and follow thousands of related accounts, use software to see who returned the follow while unfollowing all those who didn’t. 

I’d guess that 70% of my followers could care less about my content, rather, they just want their own follower count to be higher. Yet, they make my follower count higher, so I gladly follow back any account that has content I want to see in my feed.

2.Save and Like Groups

Instagram is all about beating the algorithm to have your posts show up first in your follower’s feeds and on the explore page. While this algorithm is ever changing, likes, comments, and saves play a key role. Pods of accounts in “save and like groups” have an agreement to comment on, save, and like all the photos by everyone else in the group. 

A  fellow foodie account invited me to join one of said groups a month into The Frugal Foodies, and after going through the process for 2 days, I quit. I couldn’t accept the inauthenticity of giving false admiration for yet another photo of a cheese pull I actually didn’t care about. Plus, it took far too much time. 

3.Commenting too boost interactions, not because you care

The number of interactions you have also plays a role in the ever allusive algorithm, making the practice of scrolling through and mindlessly commenting quite common. I may get 70 comments on a photo, but they are all more or less the same and are along the lines of “Yummy!!!!”, “wow nice shot”, “You’re making me hungry!”.

In fact, I have made a caption with information on how disappointing something was, and people still posted “OMG did you save some for me?” and drool face emojis. 

4.It’s all about aesthetics

You eat a picture with your eyes, not your mouth. As a result, it’s what’s visually appealing that gets the likes, comments, and interactions.

Some dishes taste as good as they look, and that’s all well and good, but this “eat it for the gram” has some unintended consequences.  I dive into this in Is Instagram Ruining Food?, so check it out if you’re interested!

“Wow Katie, why are you part of this all then?”

The world of social media is fascinating, and while I have spent more time scrolling, commenting, and liking than I care to admit over the course of the past year, I’ve had fun! I love food, and I love going on expeditions to find the best mega cookie in New York and the best pizza, and I love learning about what makes meat red and all the cool ways to brew coffee.   

I tend to transform my hobbies into income, but The Frugal Foodies has remained a pure passion project (unless you count the whopping $3.87 I’ve made off of ad revenue of around 25,000 ads). I like to have a reason to write and an incentive to push myself to learn something new. It allows me to escape from the realities of life, which has been particularly important in the firestorm of 2020. 

While things like Katie vs Instagram are frivolous and fun, I have used the platform to post articles of more sustenance and meaning.  I get a sense of satisfaction that I have added information to challenging conversations and hot topic issues. 

I realize it’s self-indulgent. Who am I to add my voice to issues such implicit racial bias and the misinformation of Covid-19 among the experts with PHDs and years of experience? 

But then again, who cares?

I get a thrill out of learning something new and synthesizing meaningful pieces of evidence into something palatable to the general public gives me a seratoin rush almost as big as what I get from Mama’s Too pizza. 

So cheers to one year! Stay tuned for the next one.

There are already a few surprises in store….

One Comment Add yours

  1. congrats on a year, I really struggle with all the social media stuff, although i do it. not so much insta though i find it annoying but i need to try I guess.


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