3 ways to grow your Instagram audience with comments

3 ways to grow your Instagram audience with comments

Are you fed up with the slow growth of your business Instagram account? Would you in on a few tips to take your audience size up a notch? In this week’s episode of The Whin Big Podcast, we do just that. Grab a notepad, and let’s get started!

This week’s episode is sponsored by our Instagram MOT

Grab your free 20 point checklist and training which takes you through everything you need to get your account motoring in the right direction. 

In this episode of The Whin Big Podcast, Katie shares more insight on growing your business Instagram account. This is a recurring theme on the podcast, but as you know by now, there are lots of different ways you can make a difference on your audience numbers. When you combine a few of your favourite techniques you can make a real impact.

How to scale your audience without burning out

Whether you’re posting three times a week, or three times a day – how can you scale your content in an effective way?

“Adding more content isn’t the solution to growing your account faster. Good quality content takes a long time to prepare – ideas, images, captions, hashtags all take time.” – Katie

If you’re a time-poor, enthusiastic business Instagrammer, working on your own social media (of you have someone else helping you do it), our advice is to spend your time connecting with people through comments.  

Why use comments to grow your audience?

  • Unlike doubling up on what you post, comments on IG are scalable. They take so much less time to do more of, than creating double your posts for your feed.
  • Commenting on accounts, rather than creating more comments, means you’re not taking  up more space in people’s feeds. You’re making great connections without overwhelming lots of people at once
  • Commenting doesn’t require preparation and forethought because it’s reactive. You can get more out of small chunks of time by focussing on this area.

The best way to use comments for your business

Are you in a consumer-based business (B2C)? If so…

  • Find 10-30 large accounts to follow. Influencers, or businesses that share a similar customer profile to you.
  • Comment on everything they post (don’t worry about bugging them. They get so many comments they won’t notice a daily comment from you)
  • Make sure your comment adds to the conversation. Ask a question or comment on the lovely picture.
  • Eventually, other followers (who match your customer profile) will take notice and follow you. You might even get a shout out on the influencer’s stories to reach an even wider audience.

Do you provide services for other business owners (B2B)? Then try this…

  • Find other businesses with the same customer profile as yours
  • Look for complementary accounts – who will also be potential customers. So, if you’re a graphic designer connect with web developers or photographers who compliment the work that you do and whose followers will have an interest (and could be looking for) your services.
  • Create meaningful connections with the account you’re following and their followers – who are your potential customers.  

Using Stories and comments for your own growth

Whether you’re B2B or B2C, another great way to grow your audience is to share other accounts on Stories.

Have a day of the week where you share saved posts from other accounts. Talk about why you like 

Don’t forget to tag the original account, so they know you’ve shared it. They may connect with you to say thanks, they may even share some of your content to their own audiences.

This can lead to collaborations over time, as well as strengthening connections and building relationships.

Katie’s final advice for using comments in Instagram

Using comments is a great way to connect, endorse, build rapport and strengthen your own audience.

It’s important to remember that all Instagram users are people too. Comments can become an autopilot activity if you forget about the importance of networking and adding value to conversations. When you’re commenting or messaging always:

  • Be kind and gracious
  • Greet people in a friendly way, and use their name, if you know it
  • Imagine they’re standing in front of you
  • Treat the experience like a networking opportunity 

Using comments is a fun, interactive and effective way to get more out of your business Instagram account.

Get started today by commenting on The Whin Instagram account and asking a few questions you’d like to see featured in future podcasts.

You can also email us. We love answering listener’s questions in the Whin Big Podcast so don’t be shy!

Tearooms, influencers and seizing opportunities, with Sophie Barham

Tearooms, influencers and seizing opportunities, with Sophie Barham

How important are the behind-the-scene stories of your business and can authentic influencer marketing opportunities open up when you make genuine connections with your customers? Find the answers to this and more in the latest podcast.

Welcome to episode 35 of The Whin Big Podcast, where Katie chats with Sophie Baram co-founder of the much loved Dingle Hill Tearooms and Dingle Marsh Barns Cottages on the Suffolk coast. As well as talking about stories and influencer marketing they discuss the benefits of founding a business with your parents and Sophie talks about her love of being able to give back to her local economy.

Today’s episode is sponsored by my Instagram MOT. This 20-point checklist will take you through all the most important things you need to get right in your Instagram marketing. Head to thewhin.co/mot to sign up for the free training and download the checklist. Now, let’s get into the episode.

The road to starting your own business

How ready were you to jump into the grown-up world of work? This week’s guest – Sophie Baram – wasn’t sure she wanted a “normal” job when she finished her Business Management degree at university. 

Instead, she took herself to the US where she worked at Disney World and delayed ‘real’ working life in a job that combined fun, lots of hard work and make-believe. 

Returning to the UK, her working life in recruitment couldn’t have been more different. Recognising it wasn’t a good fit, she started to look around for new opportunities. 

Leaning into the unexpected

Around the time Sophie left the world of recruitment, a local teahouse went up for sale. Unusually, it was the same tearoom Sophie worked in as a 14-year-old dishwasher. Her mum had also worked there in the past. 

Without lots of capital to invest, or experience of running a tea room, Sophie and her mum bought it.

“As with all the best things in life – going into business was all a bit of an accident, but we’re a really good example of hard work paying off.” – Sophie

Building on hard work and seizing opportunities

The family have owned Dingle Hill Tearooms for 8 years. They’ve taken it from a bankrupt business to one that’s booming. In the height of the season, the tearoom can serve up to 450 people in one day.

Three years ago, the family bought the connecting cottages and set up Dingle Marsh Barns, three stunning self-catering cottages. They have plans to renovate the cottages into B&B accommodation in the coming months and have a longer-term plan to set up glamping accommodation in the paddock.

Supporting the local community as well as the economy

Sophie and Katie discuss the need for freedom as a driver for many people setting up a business. As someone with a (self-confessed) terrible work-life balance, Sophie doesn’t have much freedom from work. Instead, her driver is in the people in her local community.

Dingle Hill Tearooms prides itself on being a fair and well-paying employer in the community. They are rewarded with loyal, hard-working staff. For Sophie, this is her favourite thing about having a business.

The geographical area is expensive to live in, with few work opportunities for local people. Sophie loves being able to pay a good wage and help people afford to stay in the area they love, without the need to travel far for work.

“If you’re in a position to, I think giving back to the community should be a priority. And I don’t feel enough people do it.” – Sophie

Marketing tips from Dingle Hill Tearoom

Serving 450 people a day means there’s less time to concentrate on digital marketing. The family post to social media twice a week (per business) and make use of Trip Advisor, Airbnb and SEO on their website to grow their audience.

In this episode, Katie and Sophie also talked about the benefits of:

  • Making connections with local businesses and talent
  • Staying authentic on social media
  • Having real conversations with customers

“From a consumer’s perspective, influencer partnership works well when it’s an authentic match. When they are already a genuine customer of the brand.” – Katie

By taking time for genuine conversations and making authentic connections, Sophie’s businesses have featured in lifestyle blogs and tourist magazines across the country thanks to the growing success of influencer blogs.

Sophie and Katie agreed that with influencer marketing, it’s vital to keep an eye on the authenticity of the collaboration. Anything else would alienate the tearoom’s core audience and work against them.

How bright does the future look for Dingle Hill Tearooms?

Sophie might consider herself to have a terrible work-life balance, but she’s a glass-half-full kind of person. She’s feeling optimistic about the future, despite the issues around coronavirus and lockdown.

“We’ve worked so hard to build up our businesses. We have loyal customers. The countryside is still here and people still want to come.” – Sophie

Links to other resources & websites

Blogs and resources for business owners

Book recommendations:

Further resources discussed in the episode:

About Sophie Barham, Dingle Hill Tearooms and Dingle Marsh Barns

In 2012, Sophie and her mum bought the local tearoom. The building sits in acres of farmland with views out to sea and alongside the stone cottages next door made up part of a traditional farm. Both Sophie and her mum had worked in this very tearoom many years before, so buying it and lovingly building the business up made perfect sense to them.

Now, 8 years on, they’ve bought the cottages and surrounding acres. They run two businesses from the site – the tearooms and self-catering holidays and the family have plans to grow the business even more in the coming months and years.

Find out more about Sophie’s family businesses here:

Dingle Marsh Barns

Dingle Hill Tearooms

Dingle Hill on Instagram

4 lessons I learned from failing at blogging

4 lessons I learned from failing at blogging

Do you find it impossible to write blogs consistently? Do you wish it could be an easier task or find an alternative to blogging altogether?

This week on the Whin Big Podcast, Katie shares the reasons behind her own blogging failures and looks at how she worked around them to succeed at content creation in other ways.   

As always, the Whin Big Podcast is a positive and inspiring place for you to tackle issues around improving your small business marketing. 

Jump into this week’s episode for ideas to turn your blogging failures into content success.

As always the show notes are a guide to the episode – make sure you hear the full conversation for even more inspiration and advice on marketing in today’s sometimes-uncertain climate.

Today’s episode is sponsored by my Instagram MOT. This 20-point checklist will take you through all the most important things you need to get right in your Instagram marketing. Head to thewhin.co/mot to sign up for the free training and download the checklist. Now, let’s get into the episode.


Embrace failure – you never know what you’ll learn!

As business owners, it’s easy to shy away from failures and just concentrate on the good stuff – we certainly don’t shout about them. It’s even harder to talk about what we do wrong when everyone else seems to get it so right. Right?

Here at the Whin Big Podcast, we got to thinking about this very subject and thought it was important we talked about our failures with you. After all, if we don’t talk about what we’ve failed at, we can’t share what we learned as a result – and that’s important!

“When we make a mistake, we turn it into a learning experience.” – Katie

After several failed attempts at starting a blog on The Whin website, Katie accepted it wasn’t the right medium for her business goals.

What she learned from her blogging failures now feeds into everything she does with her digital marketing – her podcast, email newsletters and even Instagram.

If you can’t get your blog off the ground, don’t dwell on your failings. Learn from them instead.

Lesson 1: Find something new to say

When I first started blogging, I followed all the traditional advice. I researched keywords based on my customers’ searching habits and tried to write blogs around those subjects.

“I ended up creating blogs with the same titles and content everybody else writes. There was no way for me to add personality or share my experience. It felt like I wasn’t contributing anything valuable.” – Katie


Flip traditional advice on its head. Don’t look for ways to appeal to search engines and keyword research. Instead, look to how you can add value for your audience. Ask yourself:

  • What do they need to know?
  • What would they like to read?
  • What content did I wish was out there when I started out?
  • What do I want to read about?

When I stopped blogging, I started podcasting. At last, I’d found a way to share the stories I wanted to hear. So, if blogging doesn’t do it for you – look for an alternative.

Lesson 2: Have your audience hold you accountable

After posting a blog, I was often frustrated at having no sense of who was reading it. I struggled to find a connection as there was no sense of relationship and no way to build one.

Finding a form of content where you feel accountable to your audience is essential.

“When you create content, you should feel a sense of accountability – think about people in your audience. They are sitting, waiting to hear from you. That’s an important mindset shift… a connection to your audience makes it easy to be consistent.” – Katie


  • Try switching the focus from blogs to email newsletters. Seeing names of real people as they sign up makes it easier to imagine them when sitting down to write
  • If you use an email system like Convertkit you get a feel for the numbers – you will see where the connections work well, and which areas could use more attention

Lesson 3: Do-it-yourself has its downsides

For me, blogging was a huge task to complete as I did everything herself, and I didn’t always enjoy it. Researching, writing, promoting (rinse and repeat) became overwhelming.

“When you run a business, there are 101 things you could be doing on any given day. Because I was responsible for all the things it was difficult to make blogging a priority.” – Katie


Wherever you can – outsource. Even if it’s one tiny element of the process at the start.

If you’ve committed to regular content creation, find someone who can take over the tasks you enjoy least. Ask yourself:

  • Which jobs are the biggest barrier?
  • Which tasks take ages to do?
  • Where do I feel most stressed?
  • What bits do I hate doing?
  • Who do I know who can help me with this?

Find an expert who can do it for you. The Whin Podcast has a team of experts behind it. Keith looks after the editing, Abi writes the show notes and Rachel looks after the processes and systems.

Without them, the podcast wouldn’t happen. I have the freedom to create podcasts I love, while the others take on the tasks I doesn’t enjoy or can’t prioritise.

Lesson 4: ‘Everyone says I should’ is not a good enough reason

I felt like I ‘should’ have a blog but found it unfulfilling and frustrating. If you don’t enjoy the process, it’s going to be a thankless task. When you make a commitment to creating content regularly, it’s important to find an enjoyable way to do it.

“I got into running my own business because I wanted to enjoy my own work. Because I’m the boss, I get to choose whether or not to do things – based on if I enjoy them or not! I didn’t enjoy blogging, so I couldn’t be consistent. So I found ways to share content that I did enjoy.” – Katie


What parts of digital marketing do you enjoy? Where would you prefer your energy to focus? If you can find a way to share your content and enjoy it at the same time – it’s going to be easier to stick to.

If you want to get away from blogging, try:

  • Instagram. Better to write excellent captions that people want to read every week than plugging away at long-form blogs a couple of times a year
  • Facebook. You can write longer posts on Facebook, like mini-blogs
  • Twitter. Start threaded tweets to engage people in a way that blogs never can – in real-time

Your failures can give you valuable insight

If you sit down to write a blog with a heavy heart, then focus on why that might bel. Is it really the best way to get your message out? Sometimes we do the task because we don’t want to feel like a failure, but now you know how failing can be great for your business marketing.

Get in touch

Do you have a question or story you’d like to share with the Whin Big Podcast audience? Is there an area of your own marketing you would love to understand better? If you have anything you’d like to share – Iwould love to feature you on a future episode.

Contact me on Instagram: @thewhinco or send us an email

Links to other resources & websites

Free guide: Give your Instagram an MOT

Meet the Whin Big Podcast Team

Rachel – the best assistant in the world

Keith – our podcast editor

Abi – our copywriter who creates the show notes

Getting Qualified vs Learning on the Job, with David Christie

Getting Qualified vs Learning on the Job, with David Christie

How many qualifications DO you need before you feel legitimate? Is learning from experience more important? And if traditional qualifications aren’t for you – what books could you read to give you the edge on sales and marketing for your own business marketing?

We discuss these themes, and many more, in The Whin Big Podcast this week where we meet David Christie of Camber Media. David and Katie chat about the similarities between racing driver and influencer marketing, personal self-development, finding a consistent voice online and future predictions about community in marketing. This week’s podcast is a thrilling ride, so let’s buckle up and get into it the episode!

As always the show notes are a guide to the episode – make sure you hear the full conversation for even more inspiration and advice on marketing in today’s sometimes-uncertain climate.

Today’s episode is sponsored by my Instagram MOT. This 20-point checklist will take you through all the most important things you need to get right in your Instagram marketing. Head to thewhin.co/mot to sign up for the free training and download the checklist. Now, let’s get into the episode.

What makes us take the leap from stability to uncertainty?

David Christie LOVES motorsports. He finds everything about the sport thrilling and exciting, so working for a Scottish racetrack in events & PR could sound like a dream come true. His was a varied role, one that combined his talent and skills in communications, sales and marketing with a sport he was genuinely passionate about.

There was one element of his role that was missing. Freedom. Eventually, the need for agency became the driving force (pardon the pun) to leave behind a secure and enjoyable job to set up his own business – Camber Media.

“Everything I do now was based on the bits of the job I was doing that I liked. And I tried to subtract all the bits I didn’t like at all.” – David

Do clients look for real-world experience or university qualifications?

Almost one year in and David has a lot of success to look back on in that time. David and Katie discuss how their careers have evolved from lived experiences. Working practically throughout their career means they don’t have the industry qualifications many might expect.

In the podcast, they discuss if qualifications matter, and what is more important to a client these days?

How to get out of negative thought patterns when you’re self-employed

David does recognise that there are days when negative self-talk gets in the way. Katie and David chat about how negativity can spring from nowhere and the frustrations of imposter syndrome, a topic covered in last week’s Whin Big Podcast.

“I’m a perfectionist. But I have to deal with my self anxiety and imposter syndrome. I think everybody who works for themselves feels they have to validate themselves. To justify they have the right to throw their hat in the arena.” – David

Build your confidence by standing by the content you produce

Katie and David briefly discuss bad habits of marketing, with both admitting to struggling with consistency. In the podcast, he talks through the tools he uses to override his habits to become an authoritative voice in the industry.

His marketing takes place on Facebook mostly, and after a couple of months of resting while his industry was on lockdown, David decided to get ‘active’ on social media in the past couple of weeks. He’s produced a video with marketing tips for racing drivers and has plans to do more, despite the video having little engagement at the time of posting.

“People don’t want to see just one video from you. If they like the first one, they want to watch three or four more. So what matters is getting a volume of content up initially and don’t worry about the tiny details in single episodes.” – Katie

Marketing advice and rules to live by and the need for community and authenticity

David is a firm believer in self-development and takes inspiration from learning and growing. In the podcast, he discusses sources of inspiration and advice and his belief that consumers – and clients – need relatable content, stories to inspire and inform. As the world slowly unfurls from lockdown, David talks about the importance of community, in the real world and online.

The Whin Big Book Club

In the podcast, David shared three books that shaped his working life.

  • Seth Godin – All Marketers Are Liars  (Note from Katie: I searched really hard for a link to this from a but I couldn’t find it anywhere!)
  • Tim Ferriss – The Four-Hour Chef
  • Jordan Belfort – The Way of the Wolf

“Best marketing advice I’ve ever read: 1. Don’t be a dick. 2. Don’t look down on anyone. 3. The small talk is the big talk —advice taken from Tim Ferris’ 3 Rules. I try to abide by them every day.” – David

Links to other resources & websites

Previous podcast mentioned in this episode:

Instagram without Imposter Syndrome

Virtual Assistants & Instagram (with Rachel)

It can’t be a business; it’s a community group (with Jess)

The wood carving story, from Racheal Jackson:


About David and Camber Media

David Christie launched Camber Media in September 2019 following a varied career in sales, events, PR and marketing. Offering a one-stop fully marketing service to small local businesses, David works primarily in the motorsports industry – supporting drivers with their PR and sponsorship goals. 





Instagram without the Imposter Syndrome

Instagram without the Imposter Syndrome

How often do you leave Instagram feeling rubbish about everything in your business? 

When competitor research becomes comparison negativity, how can you claw back from the fatigue?

This week’s podcast is all about combating Instagram comparison chaos and embrace competitor research for the positive activity it should be.

Six steps to controlling your Imposter Syndrome

Competitor research is a useful and practical tool when tackling marketing. It’s a great way to work out how to position yourself in your area of expertise, and it can be inspiring to see the excellent ways other people use the platform.

Unfortunately – there is a darker side to competitor analysis. When it tips into competitor comparison, it can lead to feelings of imposter syndrome, anxiety and lack of self-belief and confidence.

Sound familiar? Unfortunately, it’s all too common. So let’s look at some inspiring and easy ways to beat the negative aspects and get a shine back on your business marketing efforts.

Need to chat?

Imposter syndrome and competitor comparison fatigue can be really difficult, and at times you might feel very alone. Please take heart these feelings can come to anyone, at any time. If you want to talk to me or to someone else on this week’s topic, we’ve included links at the foot of the page. If you would like to reach out to me here at the podcast, please do so. We’re always here for you, and I read and reply to every email.

The world needs you. It doesn’t matter if other people do the same things you do 

If there were only one personal trainer in the world – we’d all be in trouble, wouldn’t we? We used this example and others from the art world to remind business owners everywhere to show up, add value and keep going. No matter what your competitors or similar businesses are up to.

“Your audience looks to different sources for inspiration. That could be you, or someone else. But, they’ll never find you if you’re not producing content and providing value.” – Katie

Say goodbye to competitors and hello to your peers

A simple change of language can make all the difference to our outlook. Instead of doing ‘competitor research’ how about looking at the same group of people as our peers? Remove the idea of competition and replace it with a more favourable position.

Look to your peers as inspiration, instead of frustration 

If you’re used to looking at your peers’ accounts and feeling deflated by how great their content is, it’s time to turn it to your advantage. Save the content you enjoy using the bookmark icon. You’ll soon have a swipe file full of great ideas, inspiration and motivation to get out there and create great content for you.

“If you find yourself wishing your content was as good as your peers, save it to a swipe file. In the future, you’ll have a saved folder full of great inspiration to create your own great content.” – Katie

Streamline your Instagram grid but keep hold of the inspiring stuff

If scrolling through your grid makes you feel negative, here’s a great way to keep hold of the content your peers share, without having to see it every time you go onto Instagram.

  • Find an account in your feed which makes you feel a bit demoralised.
  • Save a few posts you’d like to be inspired by to your swipe file
  • Unfollow the account
  • Repeat as required
  • Enjoy a positive grid that makes you feel good
  • The content that inspires you is still in your swipe file

When mindset and practical tools are still not enough – you’re allowed to stop

When peer research makes you feel rubbish more than it inspires you – you can stop doing it! The point of the practice is to inspire you, but if you feel bad and you don’t want to create any content – it’s counterproductive. Remove anything from your business strategy that doesn’t serve you.

“If peer research makes you feel bad, stop doing it. You didn’t need my permission but I’ve given it to you anyway.” – Katie

You. Are. Awesome. Don’t let anybody else convince you otherwise

You’re freaking fantastic. You’ve set up your own business. You’ve found your creative ideas. It’s awesome. And if there’s someone out there – in real life or online – telling you that you’re not good enough, get rid of that feedback.

  • Set boundaries – tell people you don’t like the way they speak about your business, and you’d like to change the subject.
  • Block online negativity – block, delete, unfriend, unfollow, remove email sign-ups. Whatever it takes – you don’t need to hear this. Just get them away from you.

When it’s your inner critic convincing you otherwise

Sometimes more work in this area is needed. Our negative self-talk can get us down. Every business owner can use a boost in confidence from time to time – so seek out the available help.

  • Download self-care and positivity apps
  • Consider counselling, or try business or confidence coaching
  • Affirmations, gratitude journals, meditation – find something that works and stick to it
  • Reach out to business groups with people like you – you’ll soon see others feel the same way

Big steps or little steps – be kind to yourself

We hope you enjoyed this week’s podcast and have found some ideas to help you feel better with your Instagram marketing experiences. Take time to pause and reflect on how you’re doing and always be kind to yourself – you really are doing a great job.

Links to other resources & websites

To find hashtags without browsing your peers’ posts: 

Display Purposes Only

Focal Mark

Counselling in Edinburgh:

The Next Chapter

Search for online counselling:

Counselling Directory

British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy