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EXECUTION Adventures of an Instagram newbie

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Andy Black

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(This could be a very short lived progress thread!)


Background:
  • I’ve a personal Instagram account and follow maybe 3 people. I’ve never posted. Ever. I wouldn't mind getting my head round Instagram as another marketing channel though.
  • I’ve been meaning to drop all my favourite business quotes somewhere for quite a while, but didn’t know where.
  • This seems like a good opportunity to kill two birds with one stone, and I might as well document it as I go along.
  • I wanted to launch quick and see if this was something I could do regularly, maybe even daily.
  • If it’s too fiddly or I get bored then it gets a swift bullet.
  • I’m not going to link to the account. I want to see how I can grow it from scratch, with zero knowledge of Instagram.
  • So this could be a fun side project, and could be very short lived. If it starts getting traction I may move it inside.


Completed over the weekend:
  1. Brand new IG account created unrelated to my personal FB or IG accounts.
  2. Brand new matching .com domain purchased.
  3. .co.uk domain purchased to prevent squatters and redirected to the .com domain.
  4. Email address andy at domain dot com created.
  5. ActiveCampaign list created.
  6. Initial IG profile image created. Just a background colour and the name of the account/domain. We have ideas for an icon logo but won’t implement until we’re getting visitors.


To complete before I publish my first ever IG post:
  1. Implement the Email Capture Page, plus Thank-You page.
  2. Set one email up in the auto-responder.
  3. Figure out what other pages to create (and create them). My default are Privacy, Terms, and Disclaimer pages.
  4. Figure out this GDPR stuff.
  5. Optin/out popup on the site if we’re tracking cookies.

Later:
  1. Install Google Analytics.
  2. Install AdWords and Facebook retargeting pixels?
  3. Install heatmap software?
  4. Turn the site into a blog where each IG post is also posted to the blog (with some copy below each quote explaining what it means to me - the same copy that I’ll put in the IG post in fact)?
  5. Create the icon logo.
  6. Have a play with some follow/unfollow tools?
 

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Midas

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I too am an Instagram neophyte. I got 30 followers and one email in a couple of days using the follow method. I know terrible. I look forward to following your updates. I'll share whatever I learn along the way.
 

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Subbed, because I like the way @Andy Black approaches things.

It's always the same angle.

What angle you might ask?

It's Andy doing things his way.

You do.

You move.

You get results FAST.

You pivot.

You are Lightning McQueen. (“I am speed”)

If Andy does Instagram, it is completely different than somebody else doing Instagram.

You don't hack systems, but you come from a very simple, human approach.

...

"These people are all humans. So what do I have to do to interact with these humans on Instagram?"

This could be running through your head.

"The algorithm picks me up if I get 100 likes on average, so I'll use MAGIC STRATEGY 1 and take it from there."

Could be going through the rest of the world's heads.

Do you know what I mean?
 
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Andy Black

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Made my very first Instagram post (ever!)

Was completely baffled on my PC as to how to make a post:
upload_2018-4-20_12-38-38.png


Then a bit of Google showed this workaround on Chrome:


I then realised I'd posted without adding any text or hashtags. I couldn't figure out how to edit the post so deleted and reposted.

I then wanted to edit the text and realised I couldn't do so from my PC. (Argh!!!)

But could on the app on mobile. (Go figure...)

But on my mobile I can't add carriage-returns and create paragraphs. (Sheesh.)

Aha, but I can copy/paste into a text editor and edit it there, and copy/paste back into IG.

Nice. Except some of the carriage returns aren't recognised, so I went with the workaround of adding a "." between paragraphs.


While I'm doing all of the above I get three likes of the post. (Huh?!)

So I check them out and try and do my usual of message them and thank them. But can't (from my PC). But can if I follow them on my app. (Sigh... I'm seeing the pattern).

I'm curious if they're genuine likes, or "auto-likes" if there's such a thing.

Sooo... I send them all the following message: "Thanks for the like on my first ever IG post. Curious how you found it though?"

Let's see if anyone answers. That could well tell me all I need to know.


Thoughts:
  1. It's a mobile app so maybe I should figure out how to use it from my mobile exclusively.
  2. Except the app won't let me do anything unless my phone is connected to Wifi. (Wut?!?)
  3. I can follow and message people? Without the other person allowing messages from me? I bet there's a lot of message-spam going on.
  4. I suspect there's also "like-bots"?
 

Envious

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Made my very first Instagram post.

Was completely baffled on my PC as to how to make a post:
View attachment 19170


Then a bit of Google showed this workaround on Chrome:
View: https://youtu.be/dcA4qK82Tl4


I then realised I'd posted with adding any text or hashtags. I couldn't figure out how to edit it so deleted and reposted.

I then wanted to edit the text and realised I couldn't do so from my PC. Argh...

But could on the app on mobile (go figure).

But on my mobile I can't add carriage-returns and create paragraphs. Sheesh.

Aha, but I can copy/paste into a text editor and edit it there, and copy/paste back into IG.

Nice. Except some of the carriage returns aren't recognised, so I went with the workaround of adding a "." between paragraphs.


While I'm doing all of the above I get three likes of the post. Huh?!

So I check them out and try and do my usual of message them and thank them. But can't (from my PC). But can if I follow them on my app. (Sigh... I'm seeing the pattern).

I'm curious if they're genuine likes, or "auto-likes" if there's such a thing.

Sooo... I send them all the following message: "Thanks for the like my first ever IG post. Curious how you found it though?"

Let's see if anyone answers. That could well tell me all I need to know.


Thoughts:
  1. It's a mobile app so maybe I should figure out how to use it from my mobile exclusively.
  2. Except the app won't let me do anything unless my phone is connected to Wifi. (Wut?!?)
  3. I can follow and message people? Without the other person allowing messages from me? I bet there's a lot of message-spam going on.
  4. I suspect there's also "like-bots"?
I’m have just signed up my business to Instagram, I’m using a program called Buffer which allows you to post and schedule from your pc or mobile.

It’s completely free and a lot easier than using the mobile app

Edit:Social Media Management Platform | Buffer
 
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Andy Black

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I’m have just signed up my business to Instagram, I’m using a program called Buffer which allows you to post and schedule from your pc or mobile.

It’s completely free and a lot easier than using the mobile app
Thanks @Paolo Rizzo.

I've heard of buffer and will check it out - later.

I prefer to do things by hand first and figure out the little nuances. Sometimes tools put a layer between you and what's going on. Sometimes they miss out functionality too.

I don't know if buffer allows you to put carriage returns in the text of an IG post. If it doesn't, then I've figured out a way to do it that maybe other folks aren't doing (I've no idea, not having read many IG posts).
 

Envious

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Thanks @Paolo Rizzo.

I've heard of buffer and will check it out - later.

I prefer to do things by hand first and figure out the little nuances. Sometimes tools put a layer between you and what's going on. Sometimes they miss out functionality too.

I don't know if buffer allows you to put carriage returns in the text of an IG post. If it doesn't, then I've figured out a way to do it that maybe other folks aren't doing (I've no idea, not having read many IG posts).
That’s true, especially with the functionality part.

What do you mean by carriage returns? Like URL?
 
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Andy Black

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That’s true, especially with the functionality part.

What do you mean by carriage returns? Like URL?
Ooops. A carriage return is when the text goes onto a new line.


So in the text in my IG post I have:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Proin aliquam turpis ac sagittis dignissim.
.
Donec nec massa et est dignissim interdum. Duis metus dolor, tincidunt ac porta vitae, aliquam eget tortor.
.
Etiam dictum erat aliquet ornare posuere. Quisque sit amet dui vitae odio aliquam faucibus sit amet eu lectus. Vestibulum elementum ex et quam cursus, quis pellentesque metus semper. Vestibulum vel malesuada purus.
.
Curabitur sed purus sed neque vehicula euismod.

Instead of:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Proin aliquam turpis ac sagittis dignissim. Donec nec massa et est dignissim interdum. Duis metus dolor, tincidunt ac porta vitae, aliquam eget tortor. Etiam dictum erat aliquet ornare posuere. Quisque sit amet dui vitae odio aliquam faucibus sit amet eu lectus. Vestibulum elementum ex et quam cursus, quis pellentesque metus semper. Vestibulum vel malesuada purus. Curabitur sed purus sed neque vehicula euismod.
 

jon.M

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You could use an Android emulator such as BlueStacks to have all possible mobile functions available, even on your PC.
 
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After post 1 yesterday I had maybe 9 followers and a couple of comments. I've no idea if they're genuine comments, or genuine followers.

Here's the post:




This morning I wanted to post my second quote, but got hung up on
.
.
.
(wait for it)
.
.
.
What background image to use?
(&*%!)


This wasn't right, especially considering the quote I wanted to post.

So I ditched the background, and knocked up the post below in Canva.

I want to do a post a day for 30 days. Not religiously, but just to get into a rhythm and see whether I like doing it, and what comes of it.

Day 2, Post 2
 

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I like the style of your posts - clean & simple.

One important thing to remember: A lot of people are uploading quotes to Instagram. While I know your's are valuable (because they've helped me before), how can you set yourself apart?

Think of the example in Unscripted about the fitness trainer: He has great knowledge and skill, but so does every other trainer, and he gets lost in the crowd of personal trainers.

Maybe it would help to write how the quote helped you in the caption? Or share a story that explains the quote with a real-life example? In some way or another you are already doing it here on the Forum, so you could just take the text, shorten it and use it as a caption to add more value.



I don't know what vision you have for the account, but if you are going to posts quotes about different topics, you could use a different color for each topic too.

General Entrepreneurship -> Purple
Service Business / Freelance -> Green
Sales -> Yellow

That way people can scroll through your profile and directly see what advice is in for them.

In a later time, it could be helpful to have a set schedule for each topic.
Sales on Monday, Mindset on Tuesday etc.


At this point I'm just rambling, but I'm interested to see where this is going!
 
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Andy Black

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I like the style of your posts - clean & simple.

One important thing to remember: A lot of people are uploading quotes to Instagram. While I know your's are valuable (because they've helped me before), how can you set yourself apart?

Think of the example in Unscripted about the fitness trainer: He has great knowledge and skill, but so does every other trainer, and he gets lost in the crowd of personal trainers.

Maybe it would help to write how the quote helped you in the caption? Or share a story that explains the quote with a real-life example? In some way or another you are already doing it here on the Forum, so you could just take the text, shorten it and use it as a caption to add more value.



I don't know what vision you have for the account, but if you are going to posts quotes about different topics, you could use a different color for each topic too.

General Entrepreneurship -> Purple
Service Business / Freelance -> Green
Sales -> Yellow

That way people can scroll through your profile and directly see what advice is in for them.

In a later time, it could be helpful to have a set schedule for each topic.
Sales on Monday, Mindset on Tuesday etc.


At this point I'm just rambling, but I'm interested to see where this is going!
Thanks for the feedback @Ika.

Yeah... I’m putting a short article into each post (not sure of the terminology here).

I’d like to start mixing the colour up, and will likely stick with one background colour for the moment, so I don’t get hung up choosing an image.

Good idea to theme the colours. I’ll try that, so long as it doesn’t slow me down.

I’ve not idea where it will go. I just thought I’d launch and learn.

If it gets traction then I might be able to do this for current clients and/or other verticals that are image rich (for my own ideas or for clients).

If people trickle through and onto my email list then I’ll figure out what to do with them too. Hmmm... I must check if anyone has signed up. I’d be surprised as I reckon most followers are bots.

There’s definitely a LOT of bots being used. I can’t work out which are real or bots yet, but judging by some of the names of followers then they are trying to sell services or setup a personal brand, rather than doing whatever consumers do on IG.

If this all ends up a damp squid then at least I’ve had a play on IG and have a better idea of how it can be used.
 

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Have a play with some follow/unfollow tools?
Not quite a follow "tool", but more of a method that I have used for my Instagram account.
  1. Search for an Instagram page that has more followers than you(that relates to your niche!)
  2. Go to their POST, click on likes, and it should show you a list of everyone who liked their photo.
  3. Follow the accounts that liked their photo.
There's one goal to this, follow people who engage with post(likes), because at the end of the day, engagement is what matters! Therefore you end up with a greater amount of followers who like to engage with post rather than followers who never like your photos.

These are just my two cents and they have worked for my account(hobby account). I am in no way claiming to be an expert!
 
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Not quite a follow "tool", but more of a method that I have used for my Instagram account.
  1. Search for an Instagram page that has more followers than you(that relates to your niche!)
  2. Go to their POST, click on likes, and it should show you a list of everyone who liked their photo.
  3. Follow the accounts that liked their photo.
There's one goal to this, follow people who engage with post(likes), because at the end of the day, engagement is what matters! Therefore you end up with a greater amount of followers who like to engage with post rather than followers who never like your photos.

These are just my two cents and they have worked for my account(hobby account). I am in no way claiming to be an expert!
Hmm. Clever. Follow people who engage (like or comment).

Can bots auto-like? I suspect they do. I post and get likes within 3 seconds. Surely before someone’s even read the post?
 
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Andy Black

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Maybe it would help to write how the quote helped you in the caption? Or share a story that explains the quote with a real-life example? In some way or another you are already doing it here on the Forum, so you could just take the text, shorten it and use it as a caption to add more value.
Yes, that's one of the big reasons I'm doing this. So far in TFLF I've 224 threads, 6,009 posts, and 1,998 PMs. Posts surface sometimes when someone likes them and I re-read something I wrote a couple of years ago that's long buried. I'll like to grab some of them, tidy them up, and then post them somewhere (or everywhere... lol).


Even this morning someone replied to one of my Thanks-For-Following PMs and mentioned they were struggling with analysis paralysis. I sent them a quick response and then copy/pasted it into post 3 which I then posted on IG:

Day 3, Post 3
upload_2018-4-22_20-52-10.png



And just before I sat down at the PC for an evening shift I had a cup of tea in the kitchen.
I whipped the phone out while the kettle was boiling and posted another one:

Day 3, Post 4
upload_2018-4-22_20-53-5.png





Current stats:
upload_2018-4-22_20-54-7.png

Post 1 (2 days ago): 26 likes, 3 comments
Post 2 (21 hours ago): 35 likes, 3 comments
Post 3 (12 hours ago): 17 likes, 3 comments
Post 4 (1 hour ago): 20 likes, 0 comments

Zero signups to my ActiveCampaign list so far (a more important metric given the number of bots out there).

I don't know how many people visited the website, so time to install Google Analytics...
 

castr131

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Can bots auto-like? I suspect they do. I post and get likes within 3 seconds. Surely before someone’s even read the post?
Yes, bots can auto like but I feel as if it's less rare if you follow accounts that seem real(have a profile pic, selfie, etc.).
Although, I feel as if no matter what you do, bots will never be completely avoidable. If you insist, you could follow accounts that engage through comments as it seems like there are less comment bots than there are like bots. Plus, from what they say in their comment, you can generally tell if its a bot comment or not(tagging their friends, relevant to the photo, etc.)
Following people who engage through comments is slower, but in your case it could be worth the extra steps as it could limit the amount of fake followers you receive.
 
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Andy Black

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Day 4, Post 5





Thoughts:
  1. Follow people who've liked posts? It seems to make sense to follow these more engaged users. A lot will be bots, but then will bots follow back? Unfollow those that don't follow back after a few days?

  2. Someone said these images could be taller rather than square. If they were taller could I put the quote at the top, have the author name, then the short copy below it - in the post itself instead of as a caption?

  3. Hashtags. I don't really know what I'm doing with these. I've been told to have a few that have a million plus posts with that hashtag (the broader ones), and have ones with less posts. I'm more likely to show up for the ones with less posts. Makes sense... and the more precise and targeted ones likely have more defined followers. (Kinda like short-head search terms at the start of someone's online search lifecycle, compared with the more specific ones of more educated searchers.)

  4. I'm keen for this to NOT be another motivational quotes channel. These are my favourite quotes and what they mean to me. I think about these all the time.

  5. I'm downing my IG tools till this evening when I'll check and see how things have gone, and post again.
 

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Thoughts:
  1. Follow people who've liked posts? It seems to make sense to follow these more engaged users. A lot will be bots, but then will bots follow back? Unfollow those that don't follow back after a few days?

  2. Someone said these images could be taller rather than square. If they were taller could I put the quote at the top, have the author name, then the short copy below it - in the post itself instead of as a caption?

  3. Hashtags. I don't really know what I'm doing with these. I've been told to have a few that have a million plus posts with that hashtag (the broader ones), and have ones with less posts. I'm more likely to show up for the ones with less posts. Makes sense... and the more precise and targeted ones likely have more defined followers. (Kinda like short-head search terms at the start of someone's online search lifecycle, compared with the more specific ones of more educated searchers.)

  4. I'm keen for this to NOT be another motivational quotes channel. These are my favourite quotes and what they mean to me. I think about these all the time.

  5. I'm downing my IG tools till this evening when I'll check and see how things have gone, and post again.
From what I've heard, the goal of like bots is not to follow you, but for you to follow them, so I wouldn't worry too much about like bots following you back. I would also unfollow those that don't follow back after some time.

It is recommended that you only use about 15-20 hashtags in your photos, and what some people do is they don't include their hashtags in their photo captions, but instead comment on their photo AFTER posting with the hashtags in the comment(This still works).

If you are struggling to find the best hashtags, here's a great website: Find and Analyse Top Twitter and Instagram Hashtags | Hashtagify
 
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Andy Black

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Stats this morning
  • I'm pretty sure I woke to a raft of new followers because I followed a few big accounts last night to see what they do.
  • I suspect they're bots following followers of big accounts.
  • I feel like I've landed in Westworld. Who's real and who's a bot?
  • Only 5 days in and I'm pretty jaded by IG as a platform. I'll have to check out the recipes vertical or something and see if all this botting is as rife over there.


Day 5 Post 6
  • I've put the hashtags into comment 1. Not sure if that makes a difference. I've seen others doing it.
  • I noticed I didn't get any likes until I added that comment though, and then they were almost instant.
  • I've also seen others adding hashtags without spaces between them?
 

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Envious

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Stats this morning
  • I'm pretty sure I woke to a raft of new followers because I followed a few big accounts last night to see what they do.
  • I suspect they're bots following followers of big accounts.
  • I feel like I've landed in Westworld. Who's real and who's a bot?
  • Only 5 days in and I'm pretty jaded by IG as a platform. I'll have to check out the recipes vertical or something and see if all this botting is as rife over there.


Day 5 Post 6
  • I've put the hashtags into comment 1. Not sure if that makes a difference. I've seen others doing it.
  • I noticed I didn't get any likes until I added that comment though, and then they were almost instant.
  • I've also seen others adding hashtags without spaces between them?
Adding hashtags will increase your engagement because it will add you photos to the feed of that hashtag. It will display your photos to people(or bots) outside of your followers.

Looks like you’re growing though!
 
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Andy Black

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Looks like you’re growing though!
Lol. Yeah, numbers are going up.

But how many are real people? Like I mentioned, it seems like I've just stepped off the train into Westworld!
 

Envious

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Lol. Yeah, numbers are going up.

But how many are real people? Like I mentioned, it seems like I've just stepped off the train into Westworld!
You can generally tell which accounts are bots due to high following/low followers ratio, hardly any posts (20 or less) and inactive or new accounts.

But real accounts often use bots to follow or like you so you view their profile and increases their chance of gaining followers or engagement.
 
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After 5 days in the quagmire of IG reading some of the cr@p motivational quotes I feel a small mission developing.

... which I've just written in my IG bio:

"On a mission to move you from team consumer to team producer."​

It seems a bit weak but will do for now.

I'd like to login, post, then run.
The bots can follow, but I'll be gone.
 
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Andy Black

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Stats this morning
  • (Taken after post 7.)
  • Less followers than the 54 I saw last night. I presume bots are unfollowing now?
upload_2018-4-25_11-42-50.png


Day 6 Post 7
  • Was driving into Dublin for a meeting but it was cancelled. I stopped in a cafe for a cup of tea and did all this on my phone.
  • Copied yesterday's image in Canva and changed the colour, quote, and author.
  • Created the caption in a text editor on my phone (so I can have carriage returns).
  • Loaded it up to the Buffer app that I installed on my phone.
  • The Buffer app popped up with a reminder to post it, which meant I tapped a button and it dropped me into IG with the image ready to post, and the caption copy in the clipboard for me to paste.
  • If I changed the IG account to a business account then Buffer can actually do the posting for me - I believe I just schedule it and let it go. This is appealing. Not sure of the implications of switching from a personal account to a business account but will do it anyway.
  • I played with having less hashtags the first time I posted and we can see there's not many likes compared to when I had different hashtags. I'll edit the caption to have previous hashtags and (I think) this will pop the post up in those "feeds".
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Observations
I saw this interesting post in my feed. It's smart because I'm on IG and who doesn't want to "skyrocket your instagram following"?
I screenshot this very simple funnel:

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Here's the bio URL btw: The Instagram Checklist


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Andy Black

Andy Black

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Some of the advice in that PDF above about hashtags is as follows (I'm not posting the content in it's entirety as that's not right):

upload_2018-4-25_12-0-17.png
So let me do some "hashtag research" (I presume that's what people call it?)...


Oh, and a nicely written autoresponder email came through for being on his list. Sure, there's grammar issues because he's not a native English speaker, but good content over-rides that.
 

Xeon

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Just wondering, Andy....are you using everliker?
 

LoneWolf21

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This is cool, The path I’m trying to go requires a lot of social media posts. I didn’t even think of purchasing a domain name ASAP. To much faith in humanity I guess. I’m curious how you set up an email capture feature on IG? Best of luck. And love the thread.
 

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