Engagement 2.0​​

Social Media Reimagined. The Truth About "Influencer" Marketing. Engagement Rate. 1000 True Fans.

Bro, do you even know your engagement rate? 🙄

It’s 2019. It’s all about engagement now. Likes & Followers don’t matter. That’s 2014 shit. Gotta get that gooooood engagement on your posts. Engagement, baby.

Engagement, Engagement, Engagement.

Thanks, “bro.” The core idea is on-point. We do want to “engage” with people, yes, but just like many other words of yesteryear (“amazing”) we’ve lost sight of it means — and we’re defaulting to the mechanical, data-driven definition we always see in articles about how to grow your social media following.

The most common, albeit simplified, way people think about “engagement” is easy to see in the way businesses vet “social media influencer” accounts before striking a deal. They want to be sure that their “influence” is legit.

… that they didn’t just pay Buzzdayz $400 for 60,000 followers.

At least they're "high quality." It says so right there.

They want to know that real people, with real money, are going see the posts.

… and they’ll often use a super-scientific mathematical formula to measure the quality of their “engagement.”

AKA their “Engagement Rate.”

It goes like this. Try it for your account and see what you end up with.  

Step #1

Look at all of the influencers posts for the last 30 days and add up the total number of likes and comments on each post (e.g. if there are 17 posts in the last 30 days, add up the number of likes and comments on each of the 17 posts).

Step #2

Divide that number by the number of posts there are in the last 30 days (e.g. divide the total number of likes and comments from above, by the number of posts – 17 in this example).

Step #3

Now that you have the average engagements per post, divide that by the number of followers the influencer has.

Step #4

Finally, multiply the number above by 100, to turn the numbers into a percentage (the percentage will usually be between 0 and 10). This is the engagement rate of the influencer on Instagram. 

The idea being that if they bought a bunch of Fake Followers – whom, presumably, wouldn’t be interacting with any content – would reflect an “engagement rate” that won’t line up with the expected number.


Given the sponsor’s goals, this makes perfect sense. Countless organizations have burned millions of dollars trying to ride the wave of “influencer” marketing, only to later realize that they gave their money to some random dickhead with 300,000 robot followers.

But I’m not telling you anything you didn’t already know — we’re all hip to that now. We know it’s a lot of bullshit — and so do the smart companies. They do their research, and all is well.

However, as an example of how this number can go wrong, I pulled this screenshot from an “influencer” friends page. It’s one screenshot from one post, and there were hundreds more just like it.

This does us no good.

(even tho it might look like "engagement.")

If we were in Las Vegas right now, I would put all of my money on “none of these people will ever give my friend any money.”

Now, I suppose if you’re playing that game – maybe this is ok. Perhaps it’s ok with you – and perhaps it’s ok with your sponsors.

But that’s not that game I’m playing. And I’m assuming that’s not the game you’re playing, or you wouldn’t even be here reading this right now.

  • We want to talk to people about the ideas we’re presenting.
  • We want to advance our thinking and legitimately engage with the people who resonate with our content.
  • We want to have direct, win/win relationships with these people and exchange things for money.
  • We want them to be INVOLVED. 

What we’re really looking for is to have maximum influence over a small number of perfectly matched people.

“The Others.”

Our “True Fans.”

“Whatever your interests as a creator are, your 1,000 true fans are one click from you. As far as I can tell there is nothing—no product, no idea, no desire—without a fan base on the internet. Everything made or thought of can interest at least one person in a million. The trick is to practically find those fans, or, more accurately, to have them find you.” – Kevin Kelly

  • The people who buy everything we produce.
  • And show up to our classes.
  • And come to our workshops.
  • And tell people about us.
  • And comment on our posts.
  • And do all the things that can be done.
  • And give us a…

I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear you. Did you have a question?


You don’t have to shout. But that’s an excellent question. I’m glad you asked.

If you can find who would be interested in buying what you produce, you can make enough money to live comfortably for the rest of your life.

Scroll down to continue to Part 3

Ghost Followers and The Upsidedown

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Continue to Part Three

Ghost Followers & The Upsidedown

  • WTF is a ‘Like’ anyway?
  • How to Lose Followers & Influence People

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