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Top 5 Reasons The $1.80 Strategy Will Cost You Money


Unless You’ve Been Living Under A Digital Rock Or Are Very New To Online Marketing, This Strategy Is Not New To You.

I doubt there are many people who haven’t heard of Gary Vee. Most of Us have heard of his $1.80 Strategy for Engaging on Instagram (and now other platforms). But in case you haven’t, here’s the TL;DR for that:

Gary Vee's $1.80 Instagram Engagement Strategy
You Follow Top Hashtags In Your Industry
You Comment (or Drop Your Two Cents) On The Top 9 Posts in 10 Of Those Hashtags
Do This Daily

He breaks it all the way down in this post on his website.

Here’s a video if you want to watch him explain it:


Now that we got all that out of the way, let’s talk about why that strategy sucks balls for small biz

  1. Too general
    This Engagement Strategy is super general despite it sounding niche. It doesn’t take into account the size of the business, type of business, or any of hundreds of other factors. However, when you have a wide array of business, you think like a generalist.
  2.  Works best if you have a team or social media manager
    When you’re digging through posts to leave a meaningful comment, checking the profile, and then leaving the comment.. yeah. Most small businesses just don’t have the brain equity for all that plus all the other content they need to handle, all the other engagement, all the other marketing… all the other hats we wear in one day both in business and personal arenas.
  3. Must already have a comprehensive social media plan in place
    The crux of this strategy is to use hashtags. Which makes absolute sense. But if your social media plan is “throw it at the wall to see what sticks” (guilty here!), then this strategy is not going to bring in ideal clients. You’re more likely to bots and other spam accounts.
  4. Relies on other Instagrammers to have used good caption practices
    I’m going to try not to rant here. So many users drop hashtag only captions. Or, even more fun, totally blank captions. Nothing there to engage with, even if it is a quote or other meme. I can’t say something meaningful to YOU the poster if you give me nothing to work with. Often, these are the same people who have bios that are vague as fuck. See the problems here?
  5. Takes too much time
    With all the issues above, if you even hit 10 hashtags in a day, you’re going to be sick of Instagram. You will likely have wasted most of a day. Especially if you hit a lot of those captions that are absolute shit. I don’t know a single small business owner who has time for all that. Maybe if they’ve grown enough to outsource. Maybe.

Now, before we go fix this Buck Eighty mess, you can give a listen to how Gary is adapting this for LinkedIn. Not my jam. I didn’t listen to much of it, but maybe it will help someone.

Here’s Five Ways To Use This Instagram Engagement Strategy Better As A Small Business Owner

  1. Make it time-based
    Instead of focusing on the number of posts or hashtags, focus on the time you’re spending on this engagement strategy. With limited time in the day, you want to ensure you get your highest ROI tasks done as well. Engagement and social growth are important, but it doesn’t help if you don’t have offers or lead magnets for those ideal people you’re interacting with.
  2. Comment on recent rather than the top
    I recommend this (and so do some others) for the simple fact these are the accounts most likely to still be online to interact back. Having a conversation, especially nearly real time, is much more memorable than a simple comment. It also gets you into each other’s feed if you interact a good bit in a short time.
  3. Update hashtag research at least once a month
    Instagram is constantly updating what hashtags it likes and what ones it is “shadow banning”.  I wouldn’t go any longer between double checking your hashtags. If you can find time to check every two weeks or more, that might be ideal. This is a personal theory, your mileage may vary.
  4. Follow your most important hashtags in order to engage with posts in your feed
    I hope you know you can also follow hashtags just like you do people. If not go search out your top industry/brand/niche ones and follow those babies. Don’t follow too many, I’d say maybe 5-10. You then start seeing top posts in those hashtags in your feed as you scroll. This gives you the opportunity to interact with new people in those communities while you’re actively engaging with your audience and those you follow. Talk about massive win-win!
  5. Only engage with posts and accounts who are your ideal customer, of interest to your ideal customer, or someone you would want to collab with.
    Well, mostly. Only is kind of strict. The reason is similar to why interacting with accounts you don’t follow can be beneficial. And with hashtags. You’re teaching Instagram what content you want to see. So you want to be careful about what you interact with. I’m saying not you need to be douche and stop interacting with friends and family and random people who follow you to support you. I AM saying to interact with those more targeted types of accounts more.

Okay, Super Stars. Do you think Gary Vee had it on the money for small business with his $1.80 strategy or does it make more sense to modify it? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!


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