If you’re wondering what it takes to maintain a social media presence, it takes money and patience with a dash of common sense.
It’s not easy being #HRFamous. Every month, I write a check for someone to manage my inbox. I also wire money to someone I don’t know for social media assistance. Then, I spend money on advertising my content to drive traffic back to my podcast and blog.
None of this is cheap or easy. I wanted a hack to a bigger audience, and the holy grail is Instagram verification. So, I asked my social media agency to help get a blue checkmark next to my name and they said — we can’t do it for you. Find another agency, get tall and pretty, or go to the black market and find someone on the inside.
Naturally, I fired them and went to the black market. It took a few weeks, but an individual said he had a friend inside of Instagram and could get my verification for the low price of $249. Could I send him that money via Western Union to a location in rural Turkey?
My husband tried to prevent me from flushing $249 down the toilet. The customer service representative at Western Union asked me if my computer was being held ransom or if he needed to call the FBI. Nevertheless, I persisted.
Hear me out. First, it seemed like $249 was an oddly specific number. Second, Sahib is going to Western Union and showing his ID for the money. That seems legit, right?
I gave myself a 50/50 shot at being scammed. But it was really 100%. That money is gone.
Not only did Sahib take my money, but he sold my mobile phone number to bots who are robocalling me and adding me to group texts on Whatsapp. I had to delete the app.
So, this is a friendly reminder that you can only hack your way to instant audience growth on Instagram if you’re a supermodel, a viral sensation, or someone who has an inside connection to a marketing agency that spends a lot of money. Buying something on the black market is always a bad idea.
But I learned a valuable lesson from this endeavor. Fool me once, shame on Sahib. Fool me twice, shame on my ego.