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Oh no! I hear you say. Not another Instagram influencer. Another vapid narcissist who won the genetic lottery and is getting paid to eat amazing food.

Well for one, that’s not what I am going to be doing, my pout is nowhere near good enough to make it through selfies alone. And secondly, I honestly think that Instagram influencers are currently undervalued and are only going to get more popular and paid higher. I believe they provide a very effective advertising channel for brands, at a currently cheap price.

So my plan is to try and become one. I will create a useful account that adds value to the viewer. Get some follower. And profit…? Well hopefully. Either way this should be an interesting experiment to follow.

And mainly I want to see if I can get free upgrades at hotels.

I shall start off by using pretty standard methods to get followers and see what works. And if all else fails resort to the dark arts of trying to manipulate Instagram’s algorithms with fake engagement.

So here is the plan:

The Account

Value Proposition:

A travel blog aimed at digital nomads* who are earning a decent wage and want to travel luxuriously.

Because most digital nomad* influencers and bloggers focus on the “live for $1,000 a month subset crowd”. Not on how good living can be when you are travelling and away from high-cost-of-living cities.

Posts will be predominantly food, hotels, workspaces and landscapes. With a description including price.

Because I am photographing those things anyway and it makes it much easier to post. Plus I am nosey and like numbers and would follow an Instagram account that is focusing on the above.

Posts will be once a day.

Because I am lazy and also don’t want to spam people.

I won’t be in any of the posts.

Because I’m not very photogenic and honestly I find it all a bit embarrassing. I can be more bolshy with an anonymous account.

*Digital nomads are people who work online and so can be based anywhere and everywhere. Read my post on the pros and cons of being a digital nomad.

Plan Of Attack

Ok, so that is what the account is going to show, but how am I going to get followers?

Stage 1: Passive Posting

Post regularly (once per day) just relying on hashtags to attract new followers. See how that works.

Stage 2: Interacting With Normal Instagram Users

Start interacting with other digital nomads and people within our niche. That will include a mixture of liking, commenting, followers

Stage 3: Interacting With Influencers

Get to know some already influential people. Make friends with them and get their help building my audience. Once I have my own following we will be able to do teamups to help share followers.

Stage 4: Fake Engagement – Likes & Comments

If none of stage 1-3 is working. Then comes some more iffy tactics.

The aim of this stage is to grow our real followers by trying to game Instagram’s algorithms by buying fake likes and comment on our posts.

Note that the key point here is to try and keep the real follower list as authentic as possible.

Stage 5: Fake Followers

If all else fails we will move on to stage 4 and just fake the whole account. Paid-for followers, paid-for likes, paid-for comments.

The aim of this stage is to see what happens when there is a very successful looking Instagram account. Do we get approached with offers? Do other influencers start to treat us differently?

This will be the last resort because I wouldn’t feel comfortable earning money from a fake account. It will be more of a social experiment.

My First Attempt

The plan isn’t very detailed yet because I have only just started and don’t know that much about Instagram. But my approach is to dive in headfirst and work it out as we go.

So here it is. My first week of posts, a lame description and a meagre 38 followers:

I am in stage one, just posting once a day with some hashtags and seeing if anyone decides to follow me. But hopefully you will be able to follow our meteoric rise to fame and fortune!

Here is the link to the Instagram account. Please don’t post the name in the comments as I don’t want this post coming up if anyone Googles it.