Can Queer Eye Make Me Insta-Famous?

Let’s Talk About Sauce

Fans of Queer Eye were ecstatic when Season 3 premiered on Netflix last Friday. Over the course of 2 incredible seasons and a flurry of intermittent social media activity, it was easy for the world to fall in love with the Fab Five. Each of the boys specialize in a particular area of wellness: Tan curates fashion, Antoni advises on food and wine, Bobby does interior design (arguably the most impressive of the lot considering they only have 5 days), Karamo helps with culture, and Johnathan is a skilled hairdresser (and motivational speaker at points, to be honest). Together they really are a fabulous, handsome bunch with wicked personalities.

I haven’t gotten around to starting the new season (actually shoot me), but after I heard about the Instagram MIRACLE that was Jones B-B-Q, I had to watch the episode. This season is interesting because it features women too, and Episode 3 centred on two sisters from Kansas who run a BBQ joint, based on family recipes and traditions. The exterior of their stall betrays the immense queue that snakes outside (in the hot sun!) everyday. The sisters–Shorty and Little–are lovely, personable, strong, and immensely talented. The beautiful thing about the show is that while the goal is to spruce up the Jones BBQ business, it doesn’t take away from the beauty of the women in any measure; in fact, it exemplifies their light.

Anyone who’s visited the @jonesbbqkc Instagram page at any point since the first week of March would have had to pick their jaws off the ground. There are only 10 posts on the account since March 6th which, might I add, was 13 days ago as of today. In a mere 13 days, the Jones sisters have gained 23.9K followers on Instagram. I honestly don’t know who parallels this, if this mythical person even exists, nor do I know where to begin looking.

This was such a massive increase in such a short period of time that it was impossible for analytical platforms to track the growth. But we want numbers!

This screenshot from the @jonesbbqkc Instagram Story reveals that the account only had 639 followers when Season 3 dropped on 15th March. I crunched the numbers and realized that this amounts to a 3609% increase in audience over just 4 days. Bamboozled? We all are.

23.9K is honestly not too far off from the number of followers that Antoni and Tan had at the start of their careers on Queer Eye. In terms of engagement rate, the Jones sisters are also privy to an immensely high rate of interaction on their posts. Take their first post, dated 6th March: this garnered an 8.8% engagement rate, which is almost 3 times the average engagement rate of accounts in the US with less than 100K followers. If you think that is impressive, their most liked post, in comparison, garnered a 95.5% engagement rate.

This post, in full dress by Tan, post-renovation by Bobby, got 21.8K likes. That’s almost 100% of their total audience.

In just 3 days, the Jones sisters sold 11,000 bottles of their BBQ sauce. That is an average of 1.7 bottles per minute.

How insane are these numbers?! And if that wasn’t enough, here we have more screenshots from the @jonesbbqkc Insta-Story regarding their sauce orders.

The order number went from 5525 to 6875 in a matter of 10 hours before they finally needed to add a disclaimer to the page. Of course, this was definitely motivated in part by the fact that both Jonathan (@jvn) and Bobby (@bobbyberk) gave Jones BBQ shoutouts on their respective IG stories. That is at least 3 million people who may very well have been redirected to Shorty & Little’s Instagram page.

Majority of the account’s followers (62.56%) are from the US, which is natural since that is where they are based. But a good 10.57% are actually from the UK. This is likely owing to the fact that Tan and his wonderful accent come straight from Britain, so I wouldn’t be surprised that his influence has rubbed off on the viewership.

This episode made me cry and I am not ashamed to admit it. It was beautiful to see Shorty and Little shed their doubts and insecurities and be empowered to share their sauce with the world. Fingers crossed that they ship internationally soon.


Written by Deesha Menon

Influencer Marketing at Popular Chips. Interested in social issues, narratives, books, social media, and machine learning.

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