Hacking Instagram to Get Free Meals in Exchange for Positive Reviews
This is a fascinating hack:
In today’s digital age, a large Instagram audience is considered a valuable currency. I had also heard through the grapevine that I could monetize a large following—or in my desired case—use it to have my meals paid for. So I did just that.
I created an Instagram page that showcased pictures of New York City’s skylines, iconic spots, elegant skyscrapers —you name it. The page has amassed a following of over 25,000 users in the NYC area and it’s still rapidly growing.
I reach out restaurants in the area either via Instagram’s direct messaging or email and offer to post a positive review in return for a free entree or at least a discount. Almost every restaurant I’ve messaged came back at me with a compensated meal or a gift card. Most places have an allocated marketing budget for these types of things so they were happy to offer me a free dining experience in exchange for a promotion. I’ve ended up giving some of these meals away to my friends and family because at times I had too many queued up to use myself.
The beauty of this all is that I automated the whole thing. And I mean 100% of it. I wrote code that finds these pictures or videos, makes a caption, adds hashtags, credits where the picture or video comes from, weeds out bad or spammy posts, posts them, follows and unfollows users, likes pictures, monitors my inbox, and most importantly—both direct messages and emails restaurants about a potential promotion. Since its inception, I haven’t even really logged into the account. I spend zero time on it. It’s essentially a robot that operates like a human, but the average viewer can’t tell the difference. And as the programmer, I get to sit back and admire its (and my) work.
So much going on in this project.