Social Media, Strategies

How to Make Your Instagram Algorithm Proof with Melissa Camilleri of Compliment, Inc

Episode 175: Show Notes

Today on the podcast we have Melissa Camilleri of Compliment Inc. Melissa is a high school English teacher turned CEO and Founder. She owns a lifestyle brand that encourages, inspires and educates. She also sells jewelry and has an Instagram course! This woman is all over the place and she is one hardworking mamma!

Today on the podcast we have Melisa Camilleri of Compliment Inc. Melissa is a high school English teacher turned CEO and Founder. She owns a lifestyle brand that encourages, inspires and educates. She also sells jewelry and has an Instagram course! This woman is all over the place and she is one hardworking mamma!  |  The Strategy Hour  |  Think Creative Collective

Instagram has gone through a lot of changes over the years and if you’re still on the fence about utilizing the platform, Melissa is here to make it easy for you. Melissa really knows her stuff when it comes to Instagram and in this episode, she shows us how we can beat the Insta-algorithm so you can nurture your audience, bring in those dollar bills and enjoy the platform – rather than letting it freak you out. Melissa shows us how to create compelling stories, enhance engagement, create a formula for posts and take advantage of those captions to find new audiences and gain more followers. She also shares some helpful tips and tricks on the hashtag phenomena, likes and comments. #takealisten

Melissa Sums Up The Current Instagram Landscape

There have been a lot of recent changes on Instagram and about a year ago, the first big change happened when things started being chronological, which caused a lot of people to freak out! Since then, there has been an elusive “shadow ban” that people are not sure whether it’s real or not real. Even though Melissa teaches about Instagram, she stopped getting sucked into the drama of it. No one from Instagram was confirming anything and bloggers were making a big racket. Yes, Melissa used to get way more likes and comments back in the day but hey, everyone is on a similar playing field! Everyone has been reduced and people with more followers don’t hear about those changes before anyone else! We don’t owe Instagram anything and they have to do what is best to protect themselves, as do we. So instead, we need to ask the question: What can we do to be strategic and work within the confines we’re given? The bottom line is that engagement is key. The more people that like or comment on your photo the more it is going to show up in the Instagram algorithm.

How To ENTICE Your Audience With Captions

What are our captions supposed to look like? How do we get the most engagement? Where do we start? The very first thing any business needs to consider is, who are your followers and what do they care about? If you’re posting content that nobody cares about, you’re not going to get likes and comments. You have to post what people will like and to know what people like, you have to study your algorithms and your audience.

Often if you are a service-based business, things that are always popping up are the pictures with an aesthetic that’s popular. But what is really going to take your pictures further is really what you write. Melissa advises you think about the caption first and then the picture that will fit with those words; this is a better route to take. Melissa personally likes to use acronyms (hello, she was a high school teacher after all) and she came up with the acronym ENTICE when it comes to writing compelling captions. The E is for Education: Can you teach your audience something in your caption? The N is for Nurture: Can you nurture your audience in some way. The T is for Think: Can you make them think about something? The I is for Inspiration: How can you inspire them? The C is for Connecting: Can you connect your followers with another brand, service or cause? The E is for Entertaining: If you have any sense of humor, use it! The posts that aren’t being affected by the Instagram algorithm are the ones who are doing at least one of those things in every single caption. The more you do it the easier it will become, so don’t be afraid of trial and error.

How Many Times Should You Be Posting on Instagram?

Remember, whatever you are selling has to come after your nurturing (the N in ENTICE). The absolute minimum Melissa advises is three nurturing posts, to one sales post. Because let’s face it, no one wants to be too sales-y and no one likes anyone who is too sales-y either! The truth is people are not on Instagram to buy. Sure, they might buy on Instagram but it’s not an online shopping website. They have to know, love and trust you before they buy from you. So how many times should you be posting on Instagram? Melissa used to be the three posts a day person and has now moved to one post per day. If you post too frequently it doesn’t give everyone long enough time to see them and you end up competing against yourself. So no more than two posts within a 24 hour period is a safe bet. But don’t post for posting’s sake. Ask yourself how many valuable posts you can put out and if you can’t do one a day, then hold back until you have a great post. (But at the same time, don’t go ghost on your audience okay?)

Hashtags, Likes and Comments and How They Boost Posts

Melissa likes to think of hashtags as a tool for learning about her audience rather than getting more likes on her stuff. She will check out the common hashtags related to her network or audience such as the hashtag, #teachersfollowteachers. She will then click on that hashtag and engage with people who are posting under that hashtag in order to get more eyes on her stuff and see who her potential and current audience is.

So, would you rather have more likes or more comments? Melissa chooses comments because they are the queen of the algorithm! They show that people are really invested in what you have to say and asking questions is a really good way to get more comments because people respond back to you, which in turn can boost your posts more.


The road to a thousand followers seems like the longest, it does for everybody.
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How To Use Your Analytics To Help You Decide What To Post

Having taken a look at her analytics, Melissa noticed her product shots had a higher rate of sales conversions and her inspirational posts had a higher engagement rate. Melissa often feels her account is under a microscope because she is teaching others how to use Instagram.

Although her product pictures might not have a lot of likes or comments, they are still working to do what she needs them to do – and that is sell! This is important to know that likes and comments matter but they are not the only thing that matter! With TCC, our following has remained stagnant and our engagement has decreased on Instagram but our sales have gone way up. So often times, Instagram is not a reflection of sales, but it can help you to gauge your audience and what they like to see.

Insta Stories: How To Engage Your Audience and Show Them That You’re Human

Melissa is almost ready to re-launch a rewrite of her Instagram course on story strategy. The best advice Melissa has on the topic of stories is to think of your story as an actual story that has a beginning, a middle and an end. You have to walk people through some sort of journey. Melissa has noticed that people are scrolling less and clicking on stories more. Melissa gets way more views on her stories than she does on her photos, almost five times more engagement!

The truth is, as important as captions are, fewer and fewer people are reading. It’s a lot easier for people to consume media using a video and of course, there’s that personal aspect that a video has. They can see your face as opposed to a stagnant photo that is not you. Videos give really cool access to you. People want to know you and engage with you and see what you have to say, rather than look at a photo a lot of the time. So stories are a great way to connect with your audience and show them you’re human!

Melissa’s Advice For Someone Starting Out On Instagram

Melissa has conversations with people are who are just starting on Instagram almost every day and she tells them all the same thing: “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago and the second best time is today. Just start.” So if you are nervous about starting on Instagram, just start and make a commitment to yourself to be consistent, posting once a day. If you don’t have time in your schedule to post then sign up for a scheduler like Hootsuite or Planoly. If you don’t have a following yet, take into consideration who you want to be your following and speak to those people as if they are already in front of you.

Do not trip yourself out if you are not getting likes and comments right away, nobody does. Start out utilizing your friends and family. Tell them you’re starting this thing, tell them it’s important to you and ask them to do you a solid by liking your posts and commenting if they can. The road to a thousand followers seems like the longest, it does for everybody. It usually takes about a year to get to 1000, so don’t be discouraged. Once you reach 1000 it usually starts snowballing. So, get the ball rolling!


  • Melissa Sums Up The Current Instagram Landscape. [0:04:20.1]
  • How To E.N.T.I.C.E Your Audience With Captions. [0:07:50.1]
  • How Many Times Should You Be Posting on Instagram? [0:14:20.1]
  • #hashtags, Likes and Comments and How They Boost Posts. [0:18:25.1]
  • How To Use Your Analytics To Help You Decide What To Post. [0:25:00.1]
  • Insta Stories: How To Engage Your Audience and Show Them That You’re Human. [0:33:15.1]
  • Melissa’s Advice For Someone Starting Out On Instagram. [0:41:15.1]

#TalkStrategyToMe [0:48:45.6]

  1. ENTICE: Write compelling captions and ask questions.
  2. Be social, respond, leave a compliment and a question.
  3. Use GEO tags to find out where your people are.



Melissa Camilleri

Compliment, Inc.

Website | Instagram

Facebook | LinkedIn

Melissa Camilleri is a high school English teacher-turned-CEO and founder of Compliment, Inc., a lifestyle brand that seeks to encourage, inspire, and educate. Though it started off as a college scholarship fundraiser for Melissa’s students, Compliment has grown to be an online destination for people seeking “gifts that uplift,” and give back. Since founding the company in late 2011, Melissa has set aside 5% of all product sales to the Compliment Scholarship Program and has raised tens of thousands of dollars in educational funding for girls who dare to dream big and break the cycle of poverty in their families through education. Ever the teacher at heart, Melissa is the founder of the 21-Day Instacourse (helping others gain massive exposure on Instagram on a shoestring budget) + many other workshops and trainings, where she helps people with the audacity to dream a little bigger, find their unique gifts and talents, and spread their messages to the world. She lives and loves in Northern California.


  • Instagram.
  • Hashtags.
  • Comments.
  • Insta story.
  • Algorithms.
  • Followers.
  • Instagram strategy.
  • GEO tags.
  • Writing captions.




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