Do you ever look at popular Instagram accounts and wonder how they do it? What are they doing that you aren’t? How are they making this work?
The truth is that there isn’t just one magic trick – which is why I’ve put together a whole brilliant box of them. Advice and ideas that you won’t find elsewhere, because they are my own, tried-and-tested, hard-earned techniques, gleaned from study, analysis, interviews and experience.
This course is all of my Instagram & social media knowledge distilled, with all the noise of the rest of the internet filtered out.
Whether you’re an artist, a blogger, a creative or a business, The Insta Retreat will guide you, step by step, through all you need to do to create an engaging, popular and profitable account that represents all that you want it to, and becomes an essential part of your work. Using your voice, your style, to find the people who care about what you do. Finding new clarity and direction, to take your creative dreams to the next level.
My next class will be open for enrolment in January 2020.
Spaces usually sell out within the first hour, so hop on the mailing list to be the first to know!
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“Without Sara’s advice and guidance I would never have had the confidence to grow my instagram. This year I’ve grown from a few hundred followers to well over 16k. And my (engaged) followers are growing daily despite the changes to the algorithm.” – Helen (@abookishbaker)
“Full of little gems of information that seem so obvious, but I would never have thought of. My following has gone from about 30 to over 10k.” – Helen (@helenstephenslion)
“Working with Sara has been such an eye opener. She made me look at what I was already doing and then with only small adjustments I was able to start reaching a much wider audience. My Instagram following has increased almost beyond recognition, from just over 1500 to well over 20k now, and so much of this has been down to work I’ve done with Sara.” – Emma (@owl_emma)
Is this the right course for you?
You’re motivated, creative and open-minded
You’re keen to grow your Instagram for personal or professional ambitions
You like to know why things work, and not just how
You’re looking for sustainable growth without cheap gimmicks or dishonest schemes
You learn best with structure, likeminded people and a little bit of accountability
You’ve got around 2 hours a week available to dedicate to learning and improving.
You’re ready to dig deep and tackle the problems that have held you back before now.
Sounds like you? Then jump on board!
(prices are +VAT where applicable)
The full course cost is £350 for lifetime membership, including all future updates.
VAT is calculated based on individual country for anyone in the UK and Europe.
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Why take this course over another?
The only Instagram course you’ll ever need Instagram is not a static thing, so neither is this class. With every new change or feature I track, test, analyse and question, then update the course content with first-hand information exclusively for you.
Lifetime access means you can come back at any time to refresh and access the most up to date information for your account – at no extra cost.
Once you’ve finished the class you’ll also be invited to join our private graduate community – a place to ask questions, share experiences and get support. I pop in to do live Q&As from time to time too to make sure everyone is on track with their goals and dreams.
Real teaching strategies
It’s one thing to know a subject; it’s something else to know how to teach it. My background in education combined with tried-and-tested materials mean you get a course that is built for learning. Too many online classes are a glorified textbook at a terrifically inflated price. The Insta Retreat is an online school, with limited class sizes, an experienced teacher, and a trained and dedicated teaching assistant to help you learn.
Tried & tested
I wrote my first class on Instagram in 2015, and I’ve been developing this ever since. When you take a class with me you benefit from four years of online teaching experience (plus 5+ years of working in education before that), through the feedback of every prior student, and careful improvement, updates and development.
I’ve mentored 1:1, consulted to brands and businesses, and spoken at big events worldwide. But most of all I’ve done this: sitting at my computer, teaching a group of people, just like you. I’ve helped over 1500 students gain Instagram insight, growth and understanding, and to take their creative dreams to the next level. I know what works, where people get stuck, and the questions and exercises that really get things moving again. I know what doesn’t work, too – so your time and money is never wasted here.
Nerdy as f**k
If there’s somebody out there more nerdy and obsessive about this stuff, please introduce me because I haven’t found them yet! I read textbooks on algorithms in my spare time for pleasure. I devise new responses and strategies with every single update, because Instagram is my playground and finding the bottom of the sandbox is how I like to have fun 😆.
My driving force has always been this: sharing what I’ve learned, what the others leave out, what you need to know to make things really start happening for you. I write what I wish I had read when I was new to all this.
Please note that The Insta Retreat is not affiliated with, maintained, authorized, endorsed or sponsored by Instagram – although if they’re reading this, I’m totally open to offers <wink>
“My average like per post has doubled, I am achieving the followers goal that I set myself for each week and I am getting messages from people with accounts of 30k+ followers enquiring about my products and collaborations.
But most importantly I’ve “met” a lot of lovely people who have helped me along the way and given me more confidence as a maker/designer/instagrammer.”
“Sara is without a doubt the biggest Instagram know all out there – in the best possible way! I’ve done all three of her courses and they’ve not only helped me figure out my personal aesthetic and connect with my right people but they’ve pushed me creatively too. Thanks to Sara I’m taking photos I’m really proud of, my engagement has skyrocketed and I’m part of a supportive community who genuinely cheer each other on.”
“In the 6 weeks of The Insta Retreat I’ve already seen tangible results from my improved Instagram feed. My follower numbers have gone from 1000 to 2000+ [now over 14k] and growing every day and my engagement has grown in line with those. I’ve had 4 approaches from brands (up from zero!) and am being found by the big Instagrammers I’ve always looked up to – and they love my feed!
More than these things, I’ve grown so much in confidence. I’ve always been inspired by Instagram, able to see the opportunities that can come from it, but felt lost and without direction. What the course has undoubtedly given me is clarity – I feel like I know what I’m doing, that I understand how everything is connected and what can lead to success. I now feel drunk on possibility, and excited that this is just the beginning for me.”
When does this class start and finish? Our next class will be on sale on Tuesday 1st October and will begin on Monday 14th October, running for 7 weeks (6 weeks of classes plus a ‘rest week’ mid way.) . If you buy on the first day of presale, this means you have three weeks to get organised, to get to know some of your classmates in the community and access some of the pre-course material.
Who is this course for?
This course was written based on my 1:1 client work with bloggers, small businesses, makers, photographers and artists. It’s specifically for anyone looking to grow an audience for a purpose on Instagram, and for people who want to overhaul their account and fix any problems they’ve hit along the way.
If you’re not interested in strategy and prefer to focus on your creative instagram output, you might find my other classes, Bloom & Grow and Gloom & Glow a better place to start.
How is this different to your other classes? Can I take them both together? B&G and G&G are like The Insta Retreat‘s little sisters. There’s no overlapping content between any of my courses, and each is designed to deliver results on its own terms, without needing anything else. The Insta Retreat gives a comprehensive look at everything you need to know to run a successful Instagram account, from photography to growth, and helps to fix any issues or snags you might hit along the way. The shorter courses place more of an emphasis on creativity, and are less technical and heavy on strategy.
If you’d like to do both, I recommend only working through one at a time to see the best results. If you’re not sure which is right for you, drop me an email or tweet & I can help you decide :).
I’m brand new to using Instagram. Can I still take this course? Absolutely. If you like to plan ahead and do things with clarity, then taking this course first is a great way to arm yourself in advance. You’ll be required to complete certain tasks on Instagram as you go along, so you’ll need an account set up and ready to begin at the start of the course.
I’ve been using Instagram for a while already. Will I still learn from this course? Yep! I’ve worked with a wide range of clients from beginners to Instagram pros, and I’ve found we are all always learning. I’m sharing insight and ideas I’ve developed through years of professional instagramming, and I’m confident there’ll be content you’ve never considered or heard about before. The earlier modules might cover ground you’re already confident with, but it’s a great opportunity to solidify and take stock before concentrating on growth in the later lessons. Even having written this myself, I still find myself coming away with new reflections and improvements to my own work each time I run this course!
Will this make me insta-famous? Can you guarantee I’ll gain followers? If your goal is to be “famous” in some way, this probably isn’t the class for you. The Insta Retreat is for people looking to make a dedicated creative commitment, and not for a quick and easy fix. I can give you the tools, but ultimately how successful you are comes down to your talent, commitment, perseverance and insight when applying them all.
How long does the course last? There are six modules, released one per week, with a ‘rest week’ midway through (to give chance to catch up). Most students read one module per week, so it generally takes seven weeks to complete the learning. You’re welcome to spread the work however fits best for you – some people find it helpful to take two weeks to apply each module’s learning, or more.
As you’ll have lifelong access to the course, including all my future updates, you can work through it at entirely your own pace – and restart as many times as you like!
When can I take this course? When does it start & finish? This course will next enrol at the date indicated above. Places are offered first to mailing list subscribers, and generally sell out within a couple of hours.
Once you’ve secured a place, you’ll be invited to the members-only community and have an opportunity to chat informally with your course mates before the lessons begin a few weeks after that.
How much time will I need to spend on it? I recommend around a minimum of 1 hour per week for reading and completing the course materials, plus extra time for photography and Instagram engagement. There’s also an optional Live session each week which usually lasts around 60-90 minutes. We’re all juggling busy lives, so if that sounds difficult, remember you can spread your learning out over several weeks to fit it all in. You also get audio versions of each week’s lessons so you can listen on the go instead of reading, if that suits you better. Past students have listened during their commute, whilst walking the dog and whilst cooking for the family!
What equipment do I need? To get the most out of the course you’ll need a camera (anything from a DSLR to a smart phone camera is fine), a smartphone running on Android or IOS, and printer or PDF editor to allow you to complete worksheets.
You can access the course online through any device.
How long do I have to work through the course? You get lifetime access to the course, including any future updates, so take as long as you like! Many students find it helpful to retake the course every year or so as Instagram evolves and the content changes to reflect this. Your membership allows you to run through it as many times as you like, including all future updates, at no extra cost.
I’m a competitor. May I take this course as research?
No. This course is designed for your personal use only, and information and content contained cannot be shared outside of the course, or used for commercial or business use. You agree to the full t&cs of the course by enrolling, and any violation of these is treated accordingly.
When will I see results? This can vary depending on how quickly you work through the course, how well you action the advice shared and how skilled you are when you begin. Although the course lasts six weeks, it can take a few months to work out the exact styles and techniques that work best for you, so expect to work at it for longer than the course duration.
That said, many many students have found they achieved their initial objectives during the six weeks of the course itself – gaining followers, comments and likes, attracting brand work, growing their customer base, etc.
When will you next be running this course? I tend to offer it quarterly, once per season, and subscribers to my mailing list will be the first to hear about upcoming dates.
Why do I have to pay VAT on top of the price? This is dependent on where you’re located – if you live in the UK or EU, VAT will automatically be added to your total when you check out via Teachable. This is due to EU rules about digital products – please see here for more information. It sucks, I know!
Do you offer free places or scholarships?
Yes! Each class has several reserved spaces that are free of charge for charitable organisations, and individuals who might otherwise be unable to access this kind of class. If you would like to join the waitlist, just drop us an email!
I have accessibility requirements. Is this class suitable?
This class requires reading of on-screen text and instructions, plus use of a smartphone and camera for photography and editing. Audio lessons are available to support written learning, and each week’s Live teaching session is mainly audio-based with some on-screen visual accompaniment. If you’d like to discuss your accessibility requirements, I’m always happy to talk confidentially in whatever form is best for you.
I have a question that’s not covered here. No problem! Drop me an email, tweet or message via Instagram, and I’ll do my best to get back to you right away!
“Working with Sara was such a relief after putting so much effort into my Instagram feed for so long, and never understanding why I wasn’t getting anywhere.” – Freya
“Full of little gems of information that seem so obvious, but I would never have thought of. My following has gone from about 30 to over 6.5k”– Helen
“I love the way you teach! I should know…I’ve only signed up to a bazillion courses in search of Jedi tricks (and the real Obi Wan), and have never had so much as an ‘aha’ moment but with each lesson I read in here I can hear my little brain going ‘aha’, ‘aha’, ‘aha!”
“My average like per post has doubled, I am achieving the followers goal that I set myself for each week and I am getting messages from people with accounts of 30k+ followers enquiring about my products and collaborations. But most importantly I’ve “meet” a lot of lovely people who have helped me along the way and given me more confidence as a maker/designer/instagrammer.” – Alicia
“The Insta Retreat is not your average e-course, it is an inspirational journey. Sara’s knowledge, wisdom and encouragements are not only practical, they are creatively enlightening. For anyone looking to grow in every sense of the way.” – Marion
“Without Sara’s advice and guidance I would never have had the confidence to grow my instagram. This year I’ve grown from a few hundred followers to well over 12k. And my (engaged) followers are growing daily despite the changes to the algorithm.” -Helen R
“Not only have my followers increased from around 500 to just under 74k, but I’m now receiving regular jewellery commissions and filling workshop spaces from amongst my Instagram followers.” – Emma
“When I first chose Sara as a coach it was from a curiosity driven approach where I wanted to see how people create truly engaging and inspiring content and how they build communities around their own personal brand. This expectation was almost immediately met. However what I got out of the coaching was so much more than I expected. Sara has an ability to think great and see potential in people. She opened the door for me to reflect over my talents and how to weave them into a meaningful life journey, something I wasn’t expecting would happen. Sara is a great coach for hard working people who feel that they have something within that they want to shape and set in motion, a vision or a calling. Sara words the coaching as Instagram mentoring but I’d say that she’s more of a creative coach who will help you stretch yourself, with the clever questions that require reflection and by generously sharing her own hard learnings. What the course has undoubtedly given me is clarity – I feel like I know what I’m doing, that I understand how everything is connected and what can lead to success. I now feel drunk on possibility, and excited that this is just the beginning for me. “ – Melia
“More than any other e-course I’ve taken, this one is filled with practical and purposeful information I could action week by week and see results really quickly. The Facebook group feels like a real community and I’ve made some awesome friends through it too, plus Sara encourages you with bespoke, personal encouragement at every step. Beyond Instagram, it’s made a huge difference to my blog and given me my creative mojo back!” -Lucy
“In the 6 weeks of The Insta Retreat I’ve already seen tangible results from my improved Instagram feed. My follower numbers have gone from 1000 to 2000+ and growing every day and my engagement has grown in line with those. I’ve had 4 approaches from brands (up from zero!) and am being found by the big Instagrammers I’ve always looked up to – and they love my feed!
More than these things, I’ve grown so much in confidence. I’ve always been inspired by Instagram, able to see the opportunities that can come from it, but felt lost and without direction. What the course has undoubtedly given me is clarity – I feel like I know what I’m doing, that I understand how everything is connected and what can lead to success. I now feel drunk on possibility, and excited that this is just the beginning for me.
If you’re lacking in Insta confidence, you want creative inspiration or just a little more direction, I definitely recommend The Insta Retreat and can’t wait to take more of Sara’s future courses.” – Kayte
Hi I’m Sara, and I’m the UK’s leading Instagram analyst and expert. I’ve been coaching creative people just like you in Instagram and online magic for over four years. I’ve helped hundreds of clients grow followings in the thousands, launch successful online businesses and make their creative dreams come true.
I’m a photographer and creative with an (overly)analytical mind and a love for all forms of communication. I’m passionate about the internet as a gateway to human connection: that’s how I grew my Instagram following past 200k, built a blog readership of over 45k a month and was able to quit my job to follow my dreams full time. I’ve been featured by Stylist magazine, The Guardian, The Independent, Buzzfeed, BBC Radio and more, as well as talking about Instagram and social media for creatives at events and conferences around the world. My podcast, Hashtag Authentic, sits firmly in the iTunes top 30 business chart, featuring high profile guests and expert advice for creative business owners.
Whenever you work with me you will learn not only the how but also the why. We’ll focus as much on the creative process and producing beautiful, emotive, expressive content as any snazzy tips and tricks. Because I believe it takes both of these things – it takes your heart and your mind. That’s when the magic really starts to unfold, and dreams can start to come true for you.