Mastering Instagram for Financial Gain: Insights from Sammie Ellard-King at the Alt G Conference

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If you’ve ever doubted the power of Instagram as a serious business tool, Sammie Ellard-King’s recent presentation at the Alt G Conference might just change your mind. It certainly did for me.

As someone who has transformed Instagram from a mere visual platform into a robust revenue generator, Sammie’s strategies have really solid insights, especially given his background and unconventional entry into the finance niche.

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Comprehensive Growth Strategy: From 5K to 110K Followers

Sammie’s Instagram journey is not just about impressive numbers but also about strategic engagement and content excellence.

In a mere 81 days, his follower count skyrocketed from 5,000 to 110,000, driven by meticulously crafted content designed to go viral. Here’s how he achieved such staggering growth:

  1. Focus on Viral Content: Sammie concentrates on crafting posts that have a high potential to go viral. He achieves this by ensuring his content includes compelling hooks and visually appealing elements that grab attention immediately. This strategy is crucial because viral content naturally performs well with Instagram’s algorithm, which favors content that generates a lot of engagement quickly.
  2. Watch Time as a Key Metric: Understanding that the Instagram algorithm prioritizes content that keeps users on the platform for longer periods, Sammie aims to create videos that viewers would watch through to the end. He mentioned that the algorithm now values watch time highly, so by producing content that people watch longer, the likelihood of it being shown to more users increases.
  3. Engagement Through Comments: Sammie encourages active viewer participation by prompting them to comment on posts. For instance, he will ask viewers to comment a specific word to receive more information or a link via automated responses (using ​ManyChat​). This strategy boosts engagement, which in turn signals to the Instagram algorithm that the content is engaging and worthy of broader distribution.
  4. Strategic Content Delivery: He also mentioned the importance of posting content regularly while keeping each post highly targeted and relevant to his audience. Consistency in posting keeps the audience engaged and interacting, which helps maintain visibility in followers’ feeds due to the algorithm’s preference for accounts with regular engagement.
  5. Utilizing Personal Stories and Relatability: By sharing his personal journey and connecting it with the content, Sammie made his posts more relatable and engaging. Personal stories tend to hold viewers’ attention longer, contributing positively to the metrics that the algorithm considers when promoting content.
  6. Targeted Audience Interaction: Leveraging the Instagram algorithm, Sammie’s content reached a vast majority of UK-based users, aligning perfectly with his niche in personal finance. This strategic alignment ensures that his messages are not just seen but are also highly relevant to his audience.
  7. Strategic Content Planning: Each post is crafted to appeal directly to his ideal customer persona—a well-defined character named Dave, who represents his core audience. This deep personalization makes each piece of content feel bespoke and increases engagement rates.

Actionable Takeaways for Your Strategy

Drawing from Sammie’s insights, here are detailed strategies you can apply to harness the true potential of Instagram, whether you’re promoting a personal brand, a startup, or an established business:

  1. Leverage Existing Content: Analyze your current content assets (blog posts, videos, guides) and brainstorm how they can be adapted for Instagram. This could mean breaking down a complex guide into multiple short-form videos or turning a case study into a series of engaging infographics.
  2. Enhance Your Editing Skills: Invest time in learning basic yet effective editing techniques to polish your content. Sammie recommends ​DaVinci Resolve​ for its professional capabilities and user-friendly interface, which can elevate your content quality without requiring significant technical expertise.
  3. Optimize Engagement Techniques: Experiment with different engagement triggers in your posts, such as asking thought-provoking questions or using interactive captions. He uses ​ManyChat​ to automate responses to comments, turning casual interactions into leads by guiding users toward high-converting sales pages.
  4. Develop a Monetization Framework: Think beyond traditional advertising; consider digital products, affiliate marketing, sponsorships, and direct sales. Sammie’s approach involves using Instagram to direct traffic to various revenue-generating channels, effectively turning social media engagement into financial gains.

That is the most important takeaway that I got from Sammie’s presentation: he’s figured out how to monetize his Instagram audience.

Why This Approach Works

Sammie’s methodology underscores the importance of understanding and harnessing the mechanics of social media platforms.

By focusing on viewer retention (through engaging content) and strategic monetization (through direct and indirect revenue streams), he demonstrates that Instagram can serve as a powerful tool for business growth and not just brand visibility.

Steps to Implement These Insights

  • Audit Your Content: Review your existing content with an eye for Instagram compatibility. Identify potential for repurposing and adapting your material for visual storytelling. I’ve started doing this for one of my sites, and my eyes have opened a bit.
  • Skill Up (is that a term?): Commit to mastering a video editing tool. Even basic proficiency in a tool like DaVinci Resolve can significantly boost the quality of your Instagram content. I’ve never used this tool, but I have it on my list to look into.
  • Test Engagement Strategies: Use your next series of posts to test various hooks and engagement strategies. Analyze the data to understand what works best for your audience to refine your approach continuously.


Sammie Ellard-King’s experience with Instagram is a really great reminder of the platform’s potential as a diverse tool for business growth. It’s NOT just a tool to get more visibility, which a lot of us might be a bit “stuck” thinking.

Sammie has an Instagram course that he offered to the Alt G Conference. I was able to take a peak this weekend, and it’s pretty darn helpful. It’s a 21-module course that outlines a 21-day process for business/niche ideation, setting up the Instagram account properly, filming content following the Viral Reel Formula, building a digital product, and tying all of it together for sales. It also comes with a 7-day money-back guarantee.

You can ​learn more about the course here​.

I hope this detailed breakdown of Sammie’s strategies offers you actionable insights and inspires you to rethink how you can use Instagram to not only reach but engage and monetize your audience effectively.

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Jared Bauman

Jared Bauman is the Co-Founder of 201 Creative, and is a 20+ year entrepreneur who has started and sold several companies. He is the host of the popular Niche Pursuits podcast and a contributing author to Search Engine Land.

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