The new era of Instagram earning

Trade shows – remember them? Before the world stopped we’d have attended a number of them throughout the year and be able to look down the list of recognisable guest speakers with their seminar titles. They were a source of great education which had been curated by the organisers to provide a spread of credible, engaging information.

A year later and we’ve had to endure a virtual substitute with seemingly endless numbers of seminars littering Instagram with a mix of independent and brand-led content. During the first wave of lockdowns a lot of it just didn’t seem that credible. Once you got used to people accidentally muting themselves or using bad camera angles it was mainly a load of bollocks about what you can make from the stuff in your kitchen cupboards. Well-known bartenders were even pretending they didn’t have a cocktail shaker in their home so they could “improvise” with other tools. It was all a bit silly and the novelty wore o quickly. 

Second time round it felt more natural because people genuinely had something to say, although I still feel a lot of content has been too dumbed down, which makes no sense when the majority of their audience are professionals – just because we’re at home doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten how to make a simple syrup.

There’s also a big difference between an online audience and a live one. It’s much easier to just put your phone in your pocket and carry on watching Netflix than it is to walk out of a room while someone is talking, even if it’s horribly boring. People also challenge the speakers in real life, calling them out if they have a dodgy fact whereas this doesn’t happen online, especially if the presenter can just choose to ignore a question they can’t answer.

Arguably the biggest issue, however, lies with Instagram’s curator, which comes in the form of algorithms. As intelligent as they are they will probably point you in the direction of brands or even sponsored content rather than independent bartenders or smaller producers which haven’t paid for the exposure. 

Perhaps I’m being a bit too critical. After all, the brand-led content has provided a much-needed source of income to bartenders who haven’t been able to work for 12 months. And there’s a lot of great content out there and it’s always fun seeing what people’s kitchens look like, but I can’t help feel selective book-buying may be the more effective alternative to educating yourselves at home.