How To Write The Perfect Caption On Instagram

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Over 95 million photos and videos are shared on Instagram every day, and 40 billion have been shared in total since the inception of the platform in 2010 (yes, it’s been 9 years, how incredible!)

When it first became popular, Instagram was known as the photo-sharing social media platform. Facebook was about giving your friends a live update as to what you were doing, Twitter was helping its users flirt with 160 characters at a time and no one was really all about the photos.

Enter Instagram.

But when Facebook brought the platform two years later in 2012, they slowly made changes to the algorithm that made it just as important to write good captions as it did to have good eye-catching photos.

After all, Instagram’s robots don’t have eyes, so they can’t actually SEE the photo, so you have to tell it what the photo is about.

Side note – when I was running ads in December for a hashtag training webinar, I had someone comment on my advert telling me that it was trendy not to use hashtags any more. I responded that it was cool that she thought that she didn’t need to use hashtags, but considering she had the same follower count as I did but had a quarter of the engagement, I wished her luck in a hashtag-less world, and proceeded to train business owners who want to learn!

There are 4 important steps to make a great caption on Instagram, here they are broken down.

1) The caption itself

Ever noticed how Instagram shows the user just the first few lines of text underneath a post? That’s your 2nd chance to entice the reader to click “more” and read on, the first being the image that made them stop scrolling.

The caption can be as long as you like (up to 2200 characters) but this is your chance to really connect with your audience by doing any of the following to build that know, like and trust factor.

·         Solving a problem that your target market have

·         Give advice that your target market would like to receive

·         Give insights into something about your work or a recent experience

·         Give your personal opinion

·         Tell personal stories

·         Teach new skills or give facts and figures that are relatable but interesting to your target audience

·         Be inspirational

2) Usage of emojis, font changes and line breaks

Although not proven or had the record set straight by Instagram officially, it’s said that the use of emojis can help your post stand out. Emojis can invoke emotion in a way that is usually quite funny and charming, which helps you better connect with your audience. Not an emoji user? No, me neither, but even something simple like using the camera emoji at the end of your post to depict who took the photo can work too.

Line breaks are always useful; it helps your reader split up the text in their mind, especially in this day and age when people skim read. It’s also great to use line breaks (or full stops) to separate the caption from the hashtags as that helps the human reader know when to stop reading. Anything that keeps the reader reading the caption will help your engagement.

Ever used different fonts? I’m betting that you are not familiar with this as not many people do it, or know that it’s possible. There are some font changes out there like Yay Text that can change your text into different fonts. I like the posts that only change a few words to make them stand out – I think it works really well.

3) Call to action

Even if you don’t want to be selling all the time (and why would you if you follow the 3, 2, 1 method of posting), you can still invite people to take action. Some examples are:

·         Comment below if…

·         Tag a friend

·         Check out the link in my bio

·         Ask me a question below in the comments

·         Double tap if you agree

·         Save this post so that you can come back and action what I have taught you (I will do a blog post on why it’s great to get your followers to save a post soon)

Without a call to action, you are not invoking an emotional response to your post. Chances are, if it resonated with your target audience, you will have made them feel like they belong reading your post, so they will gladly take action. Ever seen an IGTV or a story where you felt like the person was speaking directly to you, then you took action because it was totally you? That’s what you are trying to do with your followers.

4) Hashtags

Yes, I know, this is my favourite subject! Here’s just a few little tips to help you out with hashtags

·         Always try to use 30. If you can’t think of 30 (ideas for how to get over this below), then put at least 11

·         Don’t use the same 30 hashtags on each post; Instagram considers this spammy

·         Research hashtags in your niche in advance so that you don’t sit on the sofa trying to find the right hashtags for every post, trying to think of every word you can hashtag

If you want to make your hashtags work for you so that you don’t have to sit there before you post a picture wondering what hashtags to put on your posts, then download my free guide: 5 easy steps to improve your hashtag strategy on Instagram.

So there you have it, four different elements to your captions – the text, the emojis, the call to action and the hashtags. Which element of this do you have nailed already and which do you need to improve? Let me know by dropping me an email at


How To Research Instagram Hashtags For Your Niche

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Hashtags. A dirty word for you or are they just plain boring? I get ya, I’ve been there, sitting on my sofa on my phone, wracking my brain figuring out what kinda hashtag I should put next on my post.


The secret to having a great relationship with your hashtags is definitely not trying to magically think them up as you are posting. That’s something that I will help you get out of. Not only will you be able to sit back and relax once you’ve written your fab caption, but you won’t have to worry about hashtags for 2 months, or thereabouts.


How is that possible? By spending 60 to 90 mins today researching hashtags in your niche. Once you do the research, you can separate your hashtags into sets and use an amazing app to put them together for your post.


So are you ready to forget hashtags for a bit?!

Let’s do this!

Step 1 – Instagram Search Bar

I do advise doing this on a desktop, but only because it’s more comfortable to type. Open up two programmes: Instagram on your browser and a notepad (or Word doc). On Instagram, type the hashtag symbol followed by the main thing that you do – so #yoga #businesscoach #homemadejewellery #fitnessinstructor etc. Before you press return, take a scroll down the list of hashtags and start typing some of them out onto your notebook. Try and choose ones that are relevant still to what you do – so for example if you are a Yoga instructor and teach in classrooms, don’t use the #YogaOutside hashtag (unless you then do a post of you doing Yoga outside).

My best advice when doing this is to only choose hashtags that have more than 1000 uses of it, but less than 1m.  Too few uses means there won’t be many people searching for that hashtag, but too many and you won’t be found in all that competition.

Try this with a few more keywords from your niche until you get a healthy bank of hashtags written down.

Step 2 – Find Instagram Influencers

Now find an influencer or two in your niche who has great engagement. Look at their profile and their posts so that you can see what hashtags they are using to gain traction on their account.  You may find that they aren’t using any, so just move onto the next account when that happens.  By looking at hashtags that others are using, you can see whether they work for you too.

Step 3 – Get Planoly

Planoly is an app for Android and iOs; there’s so many scheduling apps out there for Instagram posts, BUT I am recommending this one solely for the use of the hashtag sets. As you can see from the video below, you can create hashtag sets using your research above. Then when you come to post your pictures to Instagram, you can simply click what hashtag sets to add.

Et Voila, you no longer have to think about your hashtags!


At the beginning of this blog, I mentioned that you wouldn’t have to think about hashtags for 2 months. This is because it’s good to revisit your hashtag research every 8 weeks or so to make sure that you are not missing out on any up and coming hashtags that are now trendy, or that some of your hashtags haven’t been used too many times. Once they go over 1 million uses, you want to take them off your list unless you are growing your followers and engagement at a high rate.

How To Drive Traffic To Instagram Using Pinterest

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What’s that now? Pinterest? Why would I use my interior design ideas to drive traffic to my business Instagram account?

Well… let’s scrap the notion that Pinterest is for interior designers and food bloggers for a moment and break down the incredible traffic-driver that is Pinterest.

What is Pinterest

Pinterest is classed in the social media bracket. But here’s a crazy notion – it’s actually a SEARCH ENGINE. Yup, it’s for searching, not making connections and having conversations like all the other platforms out there.

Here’s another crazy truth bomb… it doesn’t matter if your target market are using the platform or not. It’s time to scrap what you know about Pinterest’s demographics being 80% females who like to repin their perfect pillows.

So with this new information, let’s attack why Pinterest is great for driving traffic and why every online business owner should have a Pinterest account.

Driving Traffic

Whether it’s to your website, blog, funnel, landing page or MLM website, Pinterest is the mother of all search engines. Get your keywords and your pinning strategy right, and you could be soaring above your peers in website hits. You can see pins show up in Google search, but not many other social media platforms can do that. Twitter does sometimes, but you’re not going to write a tweet in 160 characters or less with all your keywords are you?

The lifespan of a pin is also a lot longer than a tweet, Facebook post or Instagram image. Your pin is still searchable years down the line and you can still generate website hits from that 2016 pin, but I doubt anyone can find your 2016 Facebook posts!

During the first 3 months of using a solid Pinterest strategy (that I learned from an absolute Goddess of a Pinterest guru, Rachel Ngom), I starting getting 1000 hits on my blog per month. Because I had only started out with my business 3 months prior to that, I was only getting 15 hits per month. So whilst 1000 isn’t a huge number, it IS a huge increase from 15.

Why Drive Traffic to Instagram?

With a solid Pinterest strategy, your pins will incorporate URLs to various landing pages and blogs that you create over time. You can link to anything that has a URL – You Tube videos, Facebook groups, and even your individual Instagram posts.

If you are fed up with your engagement on your IG posts, why not use Pinterest to drive people from the platform to your Instagram feed? More eyes on your content means more clicks, more reads, more leads and more clients. Simples.

How to Drive Traffic to Instagram

1)      Firstly, get the Chrome extension, or if you are using Tailwind (and I absolutely recommend that you do), you can schedule through that

2)      Open your Instagram account on a desktop computer (or something other than a mobile device)

3)      Click onto a photo that you want to share

4)      Click the pin icon and it’ll ask you which of your Pinterest boards to save it to

5)      The URL to your specific Instagram post will be used in your pin.

6)      Each time you post a picture to Instagram, post to Pinterest too and watch your traffic increase!

The next step

Although this is just one part to your Pinterest marketing strategy, it’s good to get going with all the other elements to Pinterest, especially the use of Tailwind. Tailwind is an independently designed platform, but as it’s an official partner with Pinterest, you know it’s safe to use. Tailwind helps you schedule pins, set up smart loops so that your best pins can be repined over the course of several months, and you can also join Tailwind Tribes. Tribes are a large network of other people in your niche that share and reshare your content as you do the same for them. It’s the main way to drive traffic, so I will write another blog post on this soon.

If you fancy trying Tailwind for a month for free, then here’s a gift to you as a reader of my blog!

In the mean time, if you are interested in finding out more about Pinterest and getting going with an awesome traffic-driving strategy, sign up for Rachel’s Masterclass: How To Double Your Leads And Sales In The Next 30 Days Using Pinterest. It’s free! You can register here.

7 Reasons Why You Need An Email List As Soon As You Start Your Business

(Or ASAP If You Have Already Started)

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There are so many ways to do business online; you can sell through social media instantly these days by adding a store so what’s the point of the time, money and hassle of a website and an email marketing system.

I mean email marketing is what we did back in the 00’s before social media was a thing; why would we still be doing it today, in 2019?

Well here’s 7 damn good reasons why, if you haven’t already, you should get yourself an email marketing system and start writing emails to your customers.

1)      The Know, Like & Trust Factor

If you speak to anyone who was a marketing or sales manager in the 80s, they will tell you that it took 3 points of contact usually to make a sale, perhaps a phone call, a meeting and a follow up call. However these days, with all the times you can be put in front of someone on social media, email, calls, texts etc, some people reckon it can take up to 21 points of touch to convert a potential client.

Social media posts, whilst targeted to your audience, isn’t personal or one on one. But email is, or can certainly be written in such a way that the recipient thinks it is.

Email is a great way to nurture your audience; they get to know you and over time you can show them that you understand them – their pains, their frustrations, and you can help them. Nurturing also works not just in the service based businesses, but with product based ones too. It’s the classic psychology of “out of sight, out of mind”. So if you are not in front of them, they are not thinking of you. Email is just one more way to get in front of your target audience.

Also, because social media is so public and open, you may not feel that you can necessarily open your heart and be vulnerable. In email, you can.

2)      Drives Website Traffic

Although social media does the same thing, the fact that you are nurturing your contacts by seemingly one-to-one emails does in fact drive traffic to your website – it’s just another avenue.  I send a newsletter to my contacts every Monday and you can see from this chart that there are spikes in my website traffic during the 24 hour period that my email marketing systems is sending the emails out.

It alerts your contacts to new contacts, which can also be done via social media, but because you have to fight with the algorithms to get your content seen, with email you don’t. You just have to get a subject line so good that as many people as possible open the email.

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3)      Targeted Messaging

On social media, everyone can see it, and although you are trying to make sure that only your target audience follows you, there will be your mum, your family and your friend’s dog’s account following you too. Let’s face it, they don’t always want or need to know what your latest blog post is because they aren’t going to buy from you.

With email, especially with the creation of different lists, you can curate content based on how your contacts found you and send them content and offers based on this. For example, I had 3 sales funnels at one point, one with a free guide, one with a free webinar and one with a free start up training package.  Each autoresponder I sent was targeted to each list. You can also set up autoresponders like this for your business too; perhaps if someone brought a particular item from your shop, you can encourage them to buy it again 2 months later when they are likely to have finished using it.

4)      Higher ROI Than Other Marketing Tools

Due to points 1, 2 and 3 above, your return on investment is higher on emails – more people buy through email marketing than social media (although this depends on industry).  But let’s face it, if you spend $15 per month on the starter package on Get Response, you would only have to make one sale a month to get your return!

5)      New Age Marketing

As I mentioned earlier, it can take up to 21 nudges to get a potential client to convert, and only then if it’s at the right price at the right time. With social media, you don’t know who you are reaching, but at least with an email list you know your audience, you can track what they like and how they work, and you can hit them up as many times as you feel necessary to have them convert.

If you have ever joined one of my email lists by taking, let’s say because you downloaded my 5 Easy Steps to Improving Your Hashtag Strategy guide you will know that I email you nearly every day, once a day for 2 weeks.

Then you will start receiving my weekly newsletters. So with an average open rate of 20%, I’m reaching 1000 people a week at the moment. Of course that number grows as my list grows.

6)      You Own Your List

Social media is owned by those who own the platform – you don’t own or control the data collected on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. It’s not yours to keep and if any of the platforms went down over night and were taken away from you, what kind of a business would you be left with?

If you have your own website, with domain etc, and your own email list, you actually own and control that data, it’s yours to keep as long as you comply with the data regulations of your contact’s country.

7)      Verified Identity

Some email marketing systems offer a double opt in, which means that if a user enters their email on your sales funnel or website, they then get an email from you saying you would like the user to confirm their email address as correct and that you want to join the data list. This means that you know these people on your list are real people who want the information that you are providing, not some spammy accounts that don’t help your business in any way.

So do you have an email list yet? If not, will you be starting the process of setting one up asap? If you feel overwhelmed with everything to do with online business, take a look at my Social Media Bootcamp which will help you get clarity over what you need to do to set up and grow your online business.


How To Beat The Instagram Algorithm

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First things first. When I say “beat the algorithm” I don’t mean use illegal tactics that go against Instagram’s terms and conditions. I mean how do you, as a genuine user, get the algorithm on your side to grow your account organically?

Let’s get back to basics for a moment. Before Facebook brought Instagram, the platform would show you posts from people you followed. Simply because if you followed them, it must be because you wanted to see their content.

But with the huge expansion and popularity of the platform, it’s not possible to show all posts of everyone you follow all the time.

A Basic Understanding Of The Algorithm

Let’s say on Facebook, you are friends with your two cousins. One male cousin loves motorbikes, but you have never been on a motorbike let alone wanted one, and your female cousin shares your love of cats. Based on your search history, who you follow & what you react to on social media, Facebook will probably show you more posts from your cat-loving female cousin than the motorbike fan of the family.

This is the same with IG – the posts you see are based on your previous internet history, not who you follow, necessarily.

Which is why, as a business, you need to be super clear about who you are, what you do and who your target market is. So that not only are your potential clients going to understand, but the Instagram algorithm will know what you are up to too.  If you haven’t already checked out my blog post on how to craft the perfect Instagram profile, check it out here.

This is the first part to understanding the Instagram algorithm. But how do you beat it?

Use all of Instagram’s features.

Instagram (and other social media platforms) make their money through businesses advertising. Other than the actual entity of advertising on Instagram, there’s no real benefit of advertising on the platform – for example when your campaign ends, the algorithm isn’t going to give you extra points just because you advertised at one point.

But if Instagram make their money through advertising, that means they want as many people to be using their platform as much as possible and for as long as possible. So where they DO start rewarding you is when you do things on Instagram that engage your audience and keep them on Instagram longer. So this list could include:

  • Post engaging posts that are relevant to your business and audience so that you gain likes & comments. These need to be consistent and preferably at similar times each day – once a day is preferable

  • Use engaging captions in your posts where you ask questions, or get people to tag their friends in. Competitions are also a good way to boost engagement

  • Use between 11 and 30 relevant hashtags that show Instagram what you are posting about and who it should show your content to. Don’t worry about using 30 hashtags each time, it’s not spammy. But what is spammy is using the SAME 30 hashtags for each and every post.

  • Use stories – the word on the ground is that you need to post 3 stories a day and using a variety of functions within stories is preferable – such as live streaming, videos, stickers, location buttons and hashtags. Using stories will keep your account popping up. If you are a local business, using geotag location sticker is the most important sticker to use for literally every story

  • Follow people regularly (although not too regularly because this tends to look like your account is a robot)

  • Use highlights to categorise your best stories

  • Respond to engagement on your account by liking and commenting on other people’s comments and adding any stories you have been tagged in to your stories

  • Watching stories has also reported to be healthy for your account’s engagement rate too

  • Posting video instead of photos in your feed. I know it feels like you have less engagement with them as it doesn’t show the number of people liking the post, but videos are far more engaging than photos, and that goes for all social media platforms. Some times a simple 360 degree shot of a product, or a timelapse of something going on is the simplest and most effective form of videos for your feed.

The Changes in 2019

It’s the end of February, and we haven’t had any algorithm changes yet in 2019.  It’s still the same; keep people on the platform by producing engaging and relevant content.

 So are you ready to beat the Instagram algorithm? Or are you feeling like you have so much more to learn about the online business space? Check out the social media bootcamp here where you will learn the 5 core fundamentals of running your online business.



6 Lead Magnet Ideas That Will Have Your Potential Clients Clamouring To Give You Their Email

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Lead magnets, or freebies, are undoubtedly the single biggest way to engage your potential clients in your business. They create intrigue – you can give away a small amount of your knowledge for free in exchange for an email address. Once you have provided them with that information, you are then gaining the ever important know, like and trust factor before they buy from you.

What is a lead magnet?

A lead magnet is a piece of information that your potential clients want that you can give away for free in return for their email address. The idea is that once you receive their email address, they can be nurtured by your emails and a percentage of these people will convert to any number of your products or services.

But before we begin on our 6 ideas, here’s a few pointers to think about

1)     Make sure your lead magnet is solving a problem that your clients have, so they are attracted to you enough to give your email address

2)     You should understand what the lead magnet is going to bring to your client, or how they will feel or benefit from reading/using it

3)     Chose the best way to deliver that lead magnet according to what you have to offer and what medium your clients would like to receive the freebie as


So here are 6 different types of lead magnets that you could chose from

1)     PDF guide, checklist or cheat sheet

Easily created on Canva if you are not good at design work, you can create a pdf sheet to download which comes in the form of a guide, training, how to, checklist or cheat sheet. For example, my lead magnet is a PDF guide – 5 easy ways to improve your hashtag strategy on Instagram. My potential clients struggle to increase their Instagram engagement and understand how hashtags work, so I have created a free guide to enable them to understand hashtags better and do the research to enable their accounts to grow.

2)     Quiz

This is a really good tool for engaging – if you call the quiz a question that your potential clients really want to know about themselves, their business or how they are getting on with everything, then this can really drive a lot of traffic to your sales funnel.

Check out Try Interactive to get an understanding of the types of quizzes you can create – you can edit any of their templates or start from scratch.

Imagine if you are a life coach and you created a quiz about finding out what type of anxiety do you have, then you can direct people to different pieces of content after collecting their emails. At the end of the content, you can offer them a free 20 min coaching session.

3)     Video training guide or webinar

Just like the guide from point 1, if you know that your potential clients are struggling with something, you can create a free video training on that subject. But don’t give too much away as you will want to keep some of your best kept secrets for your paid-for offer. If you don’t know how to create a webinar to increase your sales, check out this free high converting webinar script here.

For example, let’s say you are a Facebook Advertising guru, you could do a 40 min free webinar on how to start Facebook Ads, but lead them to an offer for your paid for course at the end.

4)     eBook or sample of your book

An eBook is more a story than a guide, so you can use this if you are looking to create a connection between people who want to become just like you. Lots of digital nomads use this to help people in 9 to 5 jobs understand how to quit their jobs, travel the world and work online.

If you are an author, you can provide a sample of your latest book so that people can read it to see if they want to buy. Of course, this can happen on Amazon too, but if you have an e-reader version of your book, or the physical copy to buy, you can charge the same as Amazon does for your book but sell through your website so that you aren’t paying your commission.

5)     Challenge

Challenges are a very good way of driving engagement in your business and creating that all important know, like and trust factor. Usually challenges take place in a Facebook group, so the lead magnet is all about getting people to join your group to take place with the challenge. At the end of the challenge (usually 5 days, Monday to Friday), you will have a) improved something for your members, whatever the challenge may be and b) increased your email list size and c) be in a position to sell people your next upgrade.

6)     Coupon Code

This one is for those of you who have a product to sell but can be used for service-based businesses too. You can offer a voucher or coupon code for % off your products, or save $10 when you spend $40.  That way, you can gain their email address and put them on your newsletter list for future offers, product launches or just general emails, so it’s a great list builder, plus you benefit from that extra sale. You can even make the client feel really good by telling that they are one of only 100 to receive the coupon or something similar.

The goals of the lead magnet

-        Give your potential clients a quick win

-        Give them simple and easy to digest information that won’t confuse or worry them

-        Wow them into thinking that you are the person they should work with

-        Gain their email address to warm them up for future sales

-        Gain the know, like and trust factor

How to create an opt-in that converts

Your opt-in page is the most important part of the lead magnet. Although you have spent a lot of time deciding how to solve your potential client’s problems and creating a beautiful freebie for them, the way in which you sell the offer is more important, otherwise you won’t get many emails on your list.

The biggest point that I can make is don’t get Google Slapped! What’s this? Where your offer and marketing are so explicit in what your freebie is, that people just open another tab and Google what you are offering and find the info for free. You need to create intrigue and show your USP (Unique Selling Point) to help your clients understand why they should opt for your freebie.

The best opt-in pages are the simple ones! I recommend that you get the Funnel Hackers Cookbook here.

Here are some brilliant examples of optins that have made me put my email address in.

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Of course if you feel it’s time to start building the fundamentals of a long term profitable business, check out the Creation Mode course here. Dig deep into your “why”, tell yourself why you really want this for you and why you want to change your future

  • Create a life you love

  • Create a boss free life

  • Create a better future

  • Create change

What is an Instagram Engagement Pod?

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There are many legitimate ways to grow your account on Instagram, and hopefully we all know by now that engagement is a much better factor to work on than followers.

This post will take you through IG engagement pods; what they are, are they legitimate and whether you should use them.

What is an engagement pod?

Essentially, a pod is a group of people, sometimes in the same broad niche, who support each other with engagement on each other’s accounts. You can have many types of engagement pods; some focus on likes & comments and others are about increasing your following.  The rules of each pod differ so you just have to read the pod rules when you join one.

The way pods work

Time specific threads

Generally, the way the pod will work is that the admin of the group says that they will do a thread at a certain time, and at that time, a thread appears in the group with its rules. So you link your latest IG picture into the thread –which is the first (and easy) part! Now there’s the arduous task of reciprocating the engagement. So your next 20 mins, depending on how many people join the thread, will be spent liking all the other photos that have been linked. So at the end, you have given 100 likes and gained 100 likes (or comments, whatever the thread is for).

From what I can see in these types of pods that I have been part of, the admins are very hot on the case and ask you, as the user, to be too. That means no one wants to be called out for not reciprocating and make every effort to reciprocate (and not link drop and run).

*NB this type of pod works really well for IG’s algorithm if you time one of your posts to come out just before the thread starts, because IG will see it’s an engaging post and show it to more users.

Link Dump and (almost) run

Sometimes, engagement pods can be link dumps; you drop your link to the post you want engagement on in the thread at any time.  Depending on the rules, you will have to reciprocate the last 24 hours worth of posts, which means the people who link drop in the following 24 hours will have to like your post. The downside with these pods are that you may have to reciprocate 10 posts but only get 5 likes back, and the admins might not be checking to see if everyone is playing fairly.

Link Dump

The last type of groups I have come across are literal link dumps. You post your link in the group at any time you want, and people follow you, comment to say they have followed you, and you have to follow back. The admins are definitely not checking up on anyone here, and most groups like this aren’t niche-specific so you could get 3 followers overall, but none in your niche. Who probably unfollow you 3 days later.

Pods are usually on the following platforms:

Example of a timed thread in a Facebook engagement pod

Example of a timed thread in a Facebook engagement pod

Facebook groups

Seems silly to have a Facebook group that creates Instagram engagement, but Facebook does provide a really good tool for this type of activity.

The better groups to go for are ones that drop threads at specific times, everyone comments on those threads and you reciprocate.

More information below on how to search and find Instagram Engagement Pods on Facebook.

Telegram group messages

Instagram Engagement Pod on Telegram

Instagram Engagement Pod on Telegram

Telegram, if you haven’t heard of it, is a messaging tool like WhatsApp. If you get invited to a telegram pod, you will have to download the app on your phone and you will be put into a group with others. 

Instagram messenger groups

Just like with Facebook Messenger, you can have multiple people in a group on the messaging system of Instagram.  This is the least popular way of creating engagement groups because of the limited functionality of the message system.

So everything you’ve read so far sounds pretty good, right?

Let’s delve into the negative side of pods

  •          Although time-sensitive pods can be very good to show IG your latest post has some great engagement, the concept of engagement pods is a little frowned upon by IG. However, it’s not something they can easily detect to penalise you for, especially if you use Telegram.

  •          It’s hard to find a good engagement pod that works for you. In an ideal world, it would be great to have a pod that is full of people posting in your niche – but there aren’t many niche-specific pods out there. A quick search on Facebook reveals there’s pods for travellers, fitness gurus and photographers, but I haven’t found a pod for pilates instructors, cat trinket sellers or jewellers yet!

  •          Some engagement pods are invite only, meaning you won’t even be able to find them online. Start asking some of the smaller influencers in your niche, or perhaps some of the more active people in your favourite Facebook groups to see if they know of any pods or use them themselves.

  •       Depending on how good the pod is, the reciprocation might be poor. As mentioned earlier, you might get less likes back than you gave out, or if people aren’t motivated to use the pod, you will find that it’ll be just you and 3 other people sharing likes with each other all the time. My advice when you try a pod is to try it for a week, and if it’s not getting growth in engagement for you, politely leave and move onto the next.

How do you find engagement pods?

Start by searching on Facebook. Type in your niche name, followed by the search term “Instagram engagement pod” and switch the results to “groups”. If you can’t find anything for your niche, try something similar, and see if you can find a group with more than 200 members and less than 2000 in it. Read the “about” page which should have the rules in it, and see if the pod resonates with what you want. Some can be country specific too, which really helps in this situation so that you know people are in your time zone and you don’t get confused with the time of the threads.

If you know enough people in your niche, you can create your own, and find others to join you!

So there you have it – the ins and outs of Instagram engagement pods. Now it’s up to you to decide whether to find a couple to use, or whether it’s not really for you.

If you want to learn more about Instagram and how you can build your engagement legitimately, join my Facebook group: Instagram Myths Debunked by Charlie Garnham.

How To Get Legit Followers On Instagram

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I get it. You’re fed up of people that follow you then unfollow a few days later.

I first noticed this happening a year ago, on my personal account. I was taking some yoga classes at my gym and figured I’d get inspired by some of IG’s most beautiful yoga poses on the beach, so I started following some larger yoga accounts.

I woke up the next morning to 70 new followers. I thought at the time that people had just liked my recent post but 3 days later they all disappeared. I hadn’t followed them back because they didn’t interest me, so their bot told them to unfollow me.

In truth, you will never stop this from happening, but you can slow it down by not following large accounts. And that’s my first tip to getting legit followers:

1)      Understand bots and follow apps so that you can spot accounts that use them.

Bots and apps that follow accounts are often set to target followers of large accounts that are in the same niche  For example, If you are  PT, you can set a bot to follow all accounts that follow @kayla_itsines because she has 10.9m followers all wanting to be healthier and fitter. The way the bots get around the issue that they are a bot is that they are programmed to act like a human, so they will only follow a few accounts at a time so that they don’t get blocked.

Turn this around to think about who you should target to gain more followers.

  • Accounts with less than 5k followers

  • Accounts with a proportionate number of followings.  If the followings is greater than the followers, this is a legit person because they are not using an unfollow app so likely not to unfollow you.

  • Accounts that have stories up constantly. Because of the nature of IG stories, built like Snapchat to take a snapshot of your life and what you are doing, it’s likely that an account that has stories up is a legit account.  So when you click on an account, check the stories! Also the fact that your account is engaging with other’s stories helps the algorithm give you points too!

This account looks legitimate because they are following many more accounts than are following her, plus there is the circle of Instagram colours around the profile picture meaning she currently has a live story.

This account looks legitimate because they are following many more accounts than are following her, plus there is the circle of Instagram colours around the profile picture meaning she currently has a live story.

2) If you really want legit followers, then be legit yourself.

To be legit yourself, do not:

  • Use follow / unfollow apps

  • Don’t ask people to follow you on comments etc

  • Don’t use the hashtag #follow4follow

  • Don’t use a bot to autocomment on other people’s posts

3)      Play to the Instagram algorithm

If you understand the Instagram algorithm well enough, you can understand where you will be able to “gain points” with it and make sure that you don’t do things to “lose points”. Here are 6 general things that you need to be aware of to stay in Instagram’s good books.


As with all social media, posting consistently gives you points with the algorithm. Instagram wants people to stay on the platform, so you if you play to the algorithm, your account will be rewarded

The prefect profile

Your IG profile is your shop windonw and when someone comes across your account, you need to give them a reason to follow you. So you need to tell people who you are, what you do and who you want to follow you. Being an international woman of mystery doesn’t work in business I’m afraid! If you would like some more info on how to craft the perfect IG bio to attract your ideal followers, click here.


Oh this is a long subject! Here are my 5 golden rules of hashtagging.

1) Always post 30 hashtags. This is the maximum that IG allows, so use your capacity to reach as many people as you can with each hashtag.

2) Never keep using the same 30 hashtags again and again – IG considers this as spammy

3) Never use hashtags that are outside of your niche, because if you are reaching “everyone” then you will sell to no one. IG will penalise you for using tags that have nothing to do with your account or photo.

4) Don’t use banned hashtags. Sometimes a particular hashtag gets banned by Instagram and your post will only be shown to very few people. For more info on banned hashtags and where to find a list of them, take a look at this article here.

5) Don’t post your hashtags in the comments after you have posted – new research in 2018 shows that hashtags in the post are the way to go!

Be yourself

So that you can attract people with your personality. If you are trying to be someone you are not, human nature means that you will get tired of that person and it’ll show on your account.

Don’t be negative

If you do feel like being negative, tell people how you have overcome or are planning on overcoming that negative situation. No one wants to connect with a negative or sad person.

Engage with your target audience once a day

Find accounts that are in your niche and leave real, valuable comments on their posts. Not only is this great for the IG algorithm (lots of points for you), but it’ll get people interested in what you do because you are being personal.

Publish Stories

Instagram likes it when you use all of it’s features, so as well as posting once a day in your feed, commenting on your niche’s posts and liking pictures in your feed, make sure that you add stories to your profile when you can. These can be snapshots of your day so that people can understand who you are so that they get to know, like and trust you.

If you are looking for more training and help with your Instagram account, plus all aspects of growing your business online, check out the Social Media Bootcamp here.

The 3 - 2 - 1 Method of Posting on Social Media

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If you are always posting pushy sales posts and telling everyone to buy your stuff, then you will run the risk of people unfollowing you and never clicking buy.

If you are just posting about your lifestyle, what you are having for breakfast, what you are up to today, you will never get any sales because people won’t understand what you sell and will just get confused as to why your breakfast is on your feed.

So the 3 – 2 – 1 method is a balance of both worlds, and a strategy that is used by most online marketers who make 7 figure incomes.  It’s a tried and tested model and you are about to learn how to do it!


Your next 6 posts

For this exercise, we are going to have you think about your next 6 Instagram posts; who they are for and why content they should contain.

3 out of 6 posts

So 3 out of your next 6 posts should be all about YOU. What you are doing, where you are going, what you are working on today, what your life is about etc. These are lifestyle posts that get your target market interested in your life, and how you manage to live this way – for example going out for brunch with your Mum on a Wednesday morning, or picking the kids up from school every day because you aren’t tied to your desk 9 - 5.

This is called attraction marketing.  It means you are not pushing sales to your audience, you are attracting them to you.  You are giving them an indication of what life is like for an entrepreneur such as yourself. It’s helping them understand what you do in your business and how you do it. Most of all, it’s telling them that a regular person like them can become an entrepreneur like you.

However, make sure that the content you post is still relevant to your audience.  If they are following you because they want to learn about knitting their own hats, it’s probably not relevant to post about what you had for breakfast this morning.

I personally love healthy food and going to the gym, but if you look at my Instagram account, you will see NOTHING to do with food or working out on my account. So I am sharing my lifestyle, but only where relevant to my target audience.

Remember, the more niche you are in your social media posts, the more of the correct people will follow you.

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From these 3 photos above, one is about me taking some time out of work at 2pm on a Friday afternoon to take a train trip to the nearest town and walk along the coast. This is a lifestyle post that gets others interested in how I live my life!

2 out of 6 posts

Two of your next 6 posts should then be a little more geared towards your business; perhaps some behind the scenes photos of what you are working on, plus telling people to download your lead magnet, or freebie, or take an action that will bring them closer to you.

Here’s some examples of what a lead magnet or “freebie” is:

  • If you are a dietitian helping people with diabetes, you could create a free sugar-free dessert recipe book for your followers.

  • If you are a business coach, you can create a 5 day game changing business plan template.

  • If you are an author, you can give your potential readers a free sample.

Whatever you have for your audience, make sure you get their email address in return for the free guide – more about the rule of reciprocity soon.

The call to action in your post should be clear and concise. I usually say something like “if you want to learn how to step your hashtags to increase your engagement on Instagram, click the link in my bio here @boundless_social to get it for free.

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One of the above posts was to invite people to join my free Facebook group, using the advice that most entrepreneurs will give - to never set up and run a business feeling isolated. This is a non-salesy post but inviting my followers to connect with me on a higher level than just following my Instagram account.

1 of your 6 posts

The very last post of your next 6 posts is your sales post. So this is where you ask your followers to buy from you. It can be a picture of your product, or simply just another image that fits in with your brand, but with a caption that sells whatever you are selling.  Remember to use a clear call to action, just like your lead magnet posts, otherwise people won’t know where to go to buy.

One of the below Instagram posts was a sales post. Can you take a guess at which one it was? See how I have hidden my sales in the guise of an inspirational post again.

So there you have it. Out of your next 6 Instagram posts, 3 will be about your lifestyle, 2 will be about your freebie and 1 will be a sales post. Just remember to mix them up so that the lifestyle posts don’t appear altogether, meaning that the more salesy posts don’t appear together also. Alternating them is the best course of action to follow the 3 - 2 - 1 rule.

If you want to learn more about making money online and how to get started, check out the Social Media Blueprint course here. It covers everything from entrepreneur mindset to affiliate marketing to social media engagement!