I'm not sure, again, if this is from an influencer working with an influencer, us working with the influencer. I'll be a little more brief this time when I explain it. One, for us, we are not looking at engagement as much anymore because we're looking at reach and impressions numbers. If we saw that the engagement was low but the reach and impressions were where they needed to be, we would still work with that influencer.
If those numbers were giving us signals that that person was buying followers, we probably wouldn't work with them. In so far as doing an influencer collaboration or working with someone who you feel has bought followers or their engagement is all wonky, that's a personal decision.
If we're talking influencer to influencer, and you're asking, "Should I collaborate with this person? Should I hang out with them? Should I promote whatever?" In general, my advice would be there was way too many people worrying about what other influencers are doing. There continues to be this narrative that everyone else is cheating and I'm not, and there are unfair things happening in the world. There are unfair things happening in the influencer space. There's loop giveaways. There's people buying followers. There's people buying likes, yes. All of those things are real. None of those things are going to give you long term prolonged success. If you start looking at this as decades, years or decades, instead of months, you start looking at where do I want to be in five years instead of where do I want to be five days from now or five hours from now. That stuff matters a lot less.
Generally, the people who cheat or hack their way into success don't find long term sustainable success. In the end, those things sort themselves out. I just think there's way too much energy wasted in the space complaining and worrying about what other people are doing. Does it take away money away from you in the short term? Absolutely. I 100% get that, and I get that as unfair. Again, we talk about a lot of times people taking drugs in sports. You are stealing things from other influencers. They're stealing jobs from you, they're stealing money from you, they're defrauding brands. That is super frustrating, but there's enough opportunities to go around, and again, in the end, these things will figure themselves out.
Instagram has huge teams that are everyday getting rid of bots that are working on fake engagement problems. It is in their best interest to make sure you can't hack your way into success and to make sure that the platform is built on real numbers and authentic engagement. Those things will not be a problem forever. Just worry about you. I swear, it gets better.
- Influencer Selection, Engagement vs. Likes, Outgrowing Brands