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The Key To Instagram Success With Jasmine Star

Over the last few years I have taken lots of advice from the amazing photographer and business strategist, Jasmine Star. Jasmine’s advice has been valuable to the way I use Instagram and how I grow my account, changing the way in which I see the platform today. This week’s episode will look at exactly how you can do the same, learning as much as we possibly can about smashing one of today’s most difficult social media platforms.

 

KEY TAKEAWAYS COVERED IN THE PODCAST

  • Even though things are portrayed as very happy go lucky on Instagram, it’s important to know that often that’s not always the case.
  • Remember that everyone started with zero followers, the important thing is that even when they thought no one was listening, they showed up and invested their time into the platform.'
  • Do you only post when you remember? Do you only post when you have something to sell? Do you only post when you’re on vacation? This means you’re ON Instagram, not USING it. Using Instagram means you have a strategy, you categorise your photos, your respond to every single comment or DM and you start conversations yourself.
  • When it comes to IGTV, it’s better to get started when nobody is doing it, rather than when the market is saturated.
  • If you’re going to be creating IGTV videos, people do not want to turn their phone. This may mean you need to change the way you shoot or edit your video content.
  • If your content isn’t been seen, it’s not the algorithm, it’s you.

THE ONE THING YOU NEED TO REMEMBER ABOVE ALL ELSE…

It’s important to remember that Instagram isn’t an overnight success, it takes a lot of time and dedication to build a successful account. Social media isn’t something that will bring you quick results and if you’re not in it for the long run, find out what is better suited to your business.

HIGHLIGHTS YOU SIMPLY CAN'T MISS

  • Introducing Jasmine Star – 03:37
  • Using Instagram As A Tool to Grow Your Business – 11:55
  • Are You Using Instagram, or Are You on Instagram? – 15:20
  • IGTV – Is It Worth It? – 24:41
  • Jasmine’s Top Tip for Instagram Success – 34:20
  • What’s to Come for Jasmine Star -39:30

LINKS TO RESOURCES MENTIONED IN TODAY'S EPISODE

Transcript below

 

Hello and a really warm welcome to this week's episode of the podcast. How have you been? I hope that your week has started well, if it's Monday. Obviously, I know people listen on various different days, but obviously this does come out on a Monday. So if you are listening on a Monday, I hope that you're having a great start to your week.

So this week, I'm gonna dive straight in and talk about the interview we've got for this week's episode, because it's so good. And I know I say that every week, but honestly, I wouldn't bring them to you if they weren't good and this one is one of my favourites. Because this is just someone I've been trying to get on the podcast for a little while. She's been really busy. So I am so glad, I can finally tell you that I have Jasmine Star on today's podcast.

And Jasmine is such an amazing person to listen to, to take advice from, to hear her story. I joke during the podcast that Jasmine is an amazing storyteller and she sort of laughs and says, “Okay. No pressure then.” But she is and I've watched loads of her things. She does a lot on Instagram TV, she does a lot video-wise and Insta-stories and going live and she is a great storyteller.

So I knew this episode would be good, but also, some of the advice that I have had from Jasmine over the years. I've bought her course, I've watched her live a few times at different events, and the advice I've had from her has been absolutely invaluable, in terms of how I now manage my Instagram account and also how I've grown my Instagram account.

So you'll hear all that in this episode, but it's a really, really good one. And then, talking about Jasmine going forward, she's now doing lots of business strategy stuff. But anyway, I'm jumping ahead. Let me tell you a little bit about Jasmine.

Jasmine Star is a photographer and business strategist from Newport Beach, California. I mean, there are worse places in the world to be, aren't there? She dropped out of law school to pursue her dreams of becoming a photographer and in less than three years, she built an internationally recognised and award-winning business. Later, founding Social Curator, which I'm a member of and I talk about that in the interview and Social Media Marketing Membership for business owners.

She harnesses her hustle power and Jasmine empowers entrepreneurs to build brands, market them on social media and to create a life they love. Jasmine has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, and INC magazine. But most days, you'll find her in her sweat pants scrolling through Instagram and her favourite days are spent with her dog in her high school sweater eating Takis. Jasmine is charming and charismatic and entertaining. So I know you are gonna love today's episode. As well of course, as getting lots of great information about using Instragram for your business.

If you love this episode, then Jasmine and I would love to hear about it. Obviously, we are both full-time on Instagram. So please come and find us over there and tag us in a story and let us know what you thought. But I'm not gonna take up anymore of your time. Here is Jasmine. So I'm so excited this week to welcome to the podcast, Jasmine Star.

 

Introducing Jasmine Star

 

Well thank you for having me. I couldn't be more excited. It's been a while. This has been a while in the making but here we are.

Yeah. Oh we have, we've been talking about it for a little while. So it's finally lovely to get you on. And I am so excited to kind of introduce you to my audience because I'm fairly sure, a lot of my audience will know who you are, but I have been following you for ages. I was lucky enough to meet you last year in Santiago.

In fact, you hooked me up a great photographer, Tim King. He's done photos for me a few times. So we'd had a conversation about that. But it's so nice to get you on and hear about how things are going because I know that you've been doing some really exciting things haven't you?

I have been excited and when I'm excited I do exciting things. So yes. Yes, it's been a good year so far.

Awesome. So just as a kick-off, if you don't mind, in case my audience don't know who you are. It would be great to give them a bit of background of who you are, where you come from. And also, I want you to do this because I've also said in the intro that you are an amazing storyteller. So I know whenever you tell any story, it's just, I can't help to just sit and wanna listen. So if you could do that, that would be awesome.

Oh yeah, there's no pressure in this story at all. I was feeling none and all of a sudden I feel this abundance like I better stand on this stage and deliver and academy-award worth of story right about now. You know, I think that the more we converse throughout this conversation, the story will naturally unfold. But I think it's going to expedite where people or why people see my passion for creating a business and creating freedom, but also using social media as a vehicle for growth in a business.

Yeah.

So in 2005, I earned a full ride law school scholarship and it was the thing I was supposed to do with my life. I thought as a first generation immigrant daughter, first generation college student, first generation post graduate student. That this was thing that would define me and really help expedite my family into a different stratosphere of being American culture and at being American.

When I was there, I just realised how unhappy I really was. It just wasn't the best fit for me, but I thought, well this is what I'm gonna do. This is what I've worked for. And my first year of law school, my mom unfortunately had a relapse of brain cancer and it just really rocked everybody's world. Because it had been an eight year battle at this time and the doctors had said that, “Her time had come and we had to start making funeral arrangements.”

I think that, that reprioritized everything in my life. Like it forced you to have hard conversations and really say, “What do I want in life?” So I planned a wedding in three months to my long standing boyfriend. We'd met in high school. And I'm very independent. I was like, “I have to finish law school, this is gonna be the thing. I'm very driven.” And he was just waiting. He was like, “Great. I wanna marry you and we're going to get married.” I said, “Yes, just give me some time.” I had an Excel spreadsheet, colour coded. I was so annoying. It's like who was I back then?

And then all of sudden, I got that Excel spreadsheet and I literally was like, “Bye. This doesn't matter anymore.” All your plans don't matter if you're not surrounded by the people who love you and who you love. And so we planned a wedding in three months and against all odds, my mom and my dad walked me down that isle and it was the best day of my life.

I came back from the honeymoon and I had to make the declaration to go back to law school and I did not want to. So my brand new husband asks me the most beautiful question. He said, “If you could do one thing for the rest of your life and be happy, what would it be?” And I said, “Well I think I wanted to be a photographer.” To which he replied, “Well you need a camera first right?” And I was like, “Yeah. I probably do. I probably need a camera, that would help.”

Details. Details.

So then on January 1, 2006, I opened my very first camera as a gift from him and by 2009 my business was voted one of the top photographers in the world. And the business just unfolded and grew naturally, organically and then also, when social media came around in that 2010, 2011 timeframe. I really learned how to harness that power, create storytelling, conversations. That grew the business and it empowered me to teach and coach and walk other entrepreneurs how they could to the same for their business. That was a little bit of a long story, but we're now up-to-date.

No. No, not at all. And that's perfect and actually, I love your story. Because the fact, that you've had your life planned out and if I can make assumptions about you based on what I've seen, you are very driven. So I should imagine at that time, you were totally like, “This is what's gonna happen.” And then I guess it takes something as big and dramatic as obviously your mom being unwell for you to go, “Actually is that what I really what?” That's a hard thing to think about, isn't it?

It's a very difficult to think about, but I think it's a choice. I think we are all given a choice at the way we're going to look at a situation. And back then, I looked at it as a very difficult situation, but I was equally as empowered to look at that situation and think, my god, I've been given a gift.

Yeah.

And it's only years later, over a decade later, that I can look back and think that that moment was like the impetus. That moment was the catalyst that forced me to say, “Who am I and what do I really want?” And so it is a gift. And far greater than anything else, my mom at the time, was my North Star and I'm so happy to say that still to this day, she is my North Star.

Against all odds, she beat cancer and the doctors were amazed and she's a walking miracle and yes, I needed a jolt in the universe to wake me up and say, “What are you gonna do with your one wild and beautiful, precious life?” And I decided, it's not gonna be a lawyer.

Yeah. Yeah. No, that's amazing. I heard you … I can't remember what I was watching with you on, but you talked about the fact of you thought to yourself, You've got what, maybe 20 years left at that point. If the same thing was gonna go down the same road and then you said something like,” We shouldn't ever assume it's even 20 years. We might not even have 20 minutes left.”

Oh absolutely. So at the time, my mom was 50 years old when the doctors had said, “She has a couple months to live.” And at the time, I was 25 and I thought to myself, If I have 25 years left of my life, I don't wanna die a lawyer. And then the stark realisation struck me as like I'm not guaranteed 25 years, I'm not even guaranteed 25 minutes. None of us are.

So if we were to live under that as if today was like my last day, what kind of legacy do I want to leave? What kind of decisions do I wanna make? What kind of wild and crazy, beautiful, scary, amazing, brilliant life do I wanna live that's not under the shadow of expectations? That was a game changer for me.

And do you know what? From sort of looking in and don't get me wrong. You know we can talk about this, how we project certain things on Instagram and we don't necessarily put the awful times, but it does look like you are having the most phenomenal time, that you are doing the most amazing things.

First off, you live in one of the most amazing parts of the world. Obviously, you live in California and it's stunning and it's warm and it's sunny. But it does genuinely look as if … You know, I bet you must look back there and think, if I carried on where would I be compared to what I'm doing, what I wake up to every single day now?

Oh my god. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think that I could be living in alternate universe. Where I would be in the top floor of a downtown Los Angeles high rise building being a successful lawyer, because I do believe that success is a forgone conclusion. Not just for myself, but for anybody who puts their mind and effort and soul into whatever they do. And I would be that person and I would be at a place financially, where I could afford paying other people to live my life.

Instead of me making the active decision to live my life. And even if it was as simple as picking up my dry cleaning or spending a two hour lunch in the middle of the day with a friend. It's like I would be in exchange for time and money and somehow taking the risk to build the business that I want to live. I don't have to have those negotiations anymore, because I can still make money and be a wise steward of my time.

 

Using Instagram As A Tool to Grow Your Business

 

Yeah. No, that's amazing. It's awesome. So let's get back to Instagram about … Do you think that your business changed when you really took on Instagram or do you think it was inevitable that it was going to get there? It was just a tool that you happened to be using?

Well, I believe that the caveat was, there isn't a single platform that's going to make or break a single business or a single entrepreneur. I think that my journey on Instagram started around 2011, 2012 and I floundered. Even as a photographer and even as a storyteller, I didn't know how to harness the power. I was just using Instagram as like a box to check. Like, Oh I posted today. This is what I'm doing. And I floundered for far too long.

I mean, I have like examples. I often share examples of my Instagram in 2011 and then I [inaudible 00:12:41] that with my Instagram in 2014 and there looks like there had been no progress. I mean it still looks like a hot mess. Like, you look like you're a junior high … It looks like you are 12-years-old, trying to be cool on Instagram. Nobody's engaging with you.

And by 2014, I was an internationally recognised photographer with a worldwide brand and nobody looking at that Instagram account would ever think that. They would think I like wine, I like my dog, I like the beach. It looked ridiculous. And then in 2016, I looked around and I got so tired with my lack of hedspa dedication, strategy. Because I saw other people, photographers and non-photographers, using this amazing platform to build their business and I had all the tools to make it happen and yet I wasn't.

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

And so then in 2016, I put a stake in the ground and I said, “I am going to learn how to use this for my business.” So today, I often talk about my plans and my strategies and I could say that in retrospect. That yes, in 2016 was when I started my plan and strategy.

But in 2016 when I started doing it, it did not feel like a plan and strategy. It felt like a hot mess. I was just making the stakes every day. I was trying to figure out what worked. I was looking at other people. I literally … Oh my god, here I go again with my Excel spreadsheet. I kept an Excel spreadsheet. I love me some Excel. You know?

And me. And me.

Okay. I mean who does not love organisation and analytics?

I know. I know.

It just kills me, it makes me excited. Somebody sends me a color-coded spreadsheet and I'm like, “We're getting married next week. This is what's happening.” So I made an Excel spreadsheet, I listed the followers on Instagram who I enjoy as just like a personal friend and then I listed Instagramer's who I felt like were doing a really great job at harnessing the powers, specifically for their business.

And I wondered to myself, could I blend the two things? And again and again, I tested and I tried and when I started doing that, I had such a profound change in my business. And it was around that time, 2016, where I really stepped out on the scene as an authority in the field and ironically I didn't feel like an authority. Ironically, I just felt like, hey, I'm just trying to figure this out.

And then I got picked up by major news outlets and interviews and it has grown since there. And I'm still a firm believer that I'm actively refining my plan and strategy as the algorithm changes. But it has been a really great thing to learn from my mistakes and then share what I know with others and then see them be met with equally as amazing results.

Yeah, and I think you're exactly right. With the way these platforms are, they move and change so much that I don't think anybody honestly can sit there and say, “Oh, I've got it. It's all set. It's all done now.”

Oh no.

Because obviously tomorrow, they're gonna do an update and everything's going to change again. Obviously, I guess where you've succeeded is you've invested your time and your thought and you considered exactly what you were doing.

 

Are You Using Instagram, or Are You on Instagram?

 

You were deliberate, that's what I was trying to think of. Deliberate in doing it. You weren't just, like you said, chucking up a picture thinking, oh that will do. You were really thinking about, okay how can I use this?

So I saw you speak in Social Media Marketing World last year and you gave me the best advice. So prior to coming out I was on … You have a phrase. “Are you using Instagram or are you on Instagram?” Is that right?

That is.

Oh okay.

Look at you! I love it. Yes, apply that! Yes.

I make all the notes. I listen. I'm very good at doing what I'm told. I tell you. So you had said this and I sat there thinking, oh my god. That is me. I am literally just like posting an odd picture and I used to use the excuse … I honestly, you would have slapped me. I used to go into like businesses and go, “Well unless you've got a peaceful product, it's not really for you.”

And then I came to your session, I sat down and I was like, “What have I been saying? What an idiot.” You gave the best advice when you talked about having categories and the kind of … because there's a grid of nine. And I think you said, “Between 9 and 12 or 9 and 10. Think about those categories.” And therefore and one of yours, which is also one that I have is books, because I read a lot and I know you read a lot don't you?

Yes.

And so for me, it's like okay … And this is such a hilarious thing to admit, but I listen to a lot of books, but I physically buy them to take a photo for Instagram.

That's amazing. You are [crosstalk 00:16:56]

I know. I know. I'm not messing around here. This is serious stuff right? So coming up with those categories was such an amazing way to then A, realise that actually I didn't have to … I could be really strategic about it. Whereas I think previously I was like, Is there something beautiful I can take a picture of? No. Oh well, then I can't post anything on Instagram.

Whereas now, I'm super kind of like, Okay, what books have we got. Let's take three or four photos. And then I actually take flat lay photos. I've watched your videos where you've shown where you take flat lay photos and you know, now I do them as well. But I'm much more deliberate about that. So thank you, because that was amazing.

Oh of course. Now, for the sake of people who weren't at that presentation at Social Media Marketing World, would you mind if I gave a brief overview?

Yep, please do.

So that now, hearing your success and hearing how positive it worked for you. Again, this goes back to the plan and strategy that I spent years trying to refine and now I share it from a stage in 35 minutes and you're killing the game.

Yeah.

Okay, so for people who are wondering, this is a quick 20 second quiz, to know if you are using Instagram or on Instagram. Now you are just on Instagram when you post only when you remember. You're only on Instagram when you're on Instagram with regularity only when you're selling a product. You're only on Instagram when you go on vacation and you're posting three to four photos every single day for fives days straight, because your life looks so cool and then you return to gloomy England and then you don't post for two weeks.

Like what happens is that people, and this it totally okay and understandable, most people approach Instagram this way because it's a personal profile. It however, you've decided to use your profile for business, the objective isn't to show the cool and the amazing. The objective is to say, how can I position my business to serve you best? That is how you know you're on Instagram, when you show up every single day.

When you have a plan and strategy, when you've categorised, what is your business about and how can show that visually on the most highly visual platform to ever exist? You're not above the one on one connection until you're responding to every single comment, you're responding to every single DM.

And when you're not getting those conversations on your account, you're actually going to hashtags you are starting the conversation on other people's accounts that you want on your own. The only way you will start getting engagement on your account, is if you lead the charge on other accounts. It seems counter intuitive, but I promise you, this is the game changer.

Yeah. It's such good advice, because you know what often comes up? And I use you and Jenna Kutcher as examples. That people will go and I bet you hear this all the time. And James Wetmore talks about this all the time. It's all right for you. Look at your profile, look at how many followers you've got.

And then I actually say to them and I've done the math and it's gone out of my head at this point, but I actually say to them, “Well when I saw you talk, you told me that you post once a day. That's kind of, you worked out what worked for you and your audience and once a day works great.”

So you've got how many posts on your Instagram currently? Like four, how many thousand? It's quite a few thousand isn't it? That you've got on there now? I've got 4000 in my head, but I can't think whether that's right. But yeah, so you've got like loads of posts on your Instagram and therefore-

At the time of this recording, I just looked it up, because you know me? Numbers, analytics right?

Yeah, exactly. We've got to get that right.

I have 2646 at the time of this recording.

Okay. So 2246 posts right? So let's just say, you do one a day. So divide that by 365 days a year. So that's six years right? Some days you do more, so it might end up more than one a day, but it's just proving to people that you not gonna get this tomorrow. Like you know, I have people come to me saying, They want to do Instagram. They get a month or two in and then they're like, “It's not working.”

And it's like, honestly, it doesn't work like that. It takes time. So when people look at probably the number of followers you've got and they think, oh my god, as if people appear from nowhere. Well they don't appear from nowhere. You have said yourself, you know, you were posting solidly from sort of 2010, 2011 constantly and then eventually it starts to pick up and people start to see it. Or you get more strategic about it and therefore people start to see it. So it's not just a case of you suddenly decided to post and the next day you had 10,000 followers is it?

No. God no. I mean when I made the decision to actually show up with a plan and strategy, that was in 2016. We are now recording in 2019, and it was years. I mean, now, I mean we could just say, Oh it's been three years. No. It took me years to make mistakes to understand what it was about and then years to build that momentum.

And I often times think that there's this misnomer that social media is like a magic pill or something that's like quick and expedited. And I always tell people, If you are looking for quick results, social media isn't the answer.

Mm-hmm (affirmative) No, you're right.

That's just it. Like so, I think that when you can change your expectation around it and if you not are here for the long game, if you're not here to run a marathon on Instagram, then you know what. Find a place that you are willing to run a marathon and then go really deep there. Because you couldn't do your business a greater disservice than trying to have 15 micro sprints and never finish a race.

Yeah.

In my mind, find what works for your business, where your audience is and then go so deep, because when you understand at least one platform, it becomes almost … I've often heard this with multi-lingual speakers, is that you teach yourself a different language …

Like if I taught myself French, there'd be a higher likelihood to me learning Italian in a less amount of time and then Portuguese in a less amount of time. So the more you master a platform, you could apply those same principles to other platforms. But my friends if you are not here for year and year growth in conversations, this is not the platform for you.

Absolutely. So I set myself a test. When I saw you, I thought right, I'm gonna be really considered. I'm going to put a strategy behind this and I'm going to make myself post every single day. And I came up with my categories and I followed everything you said.

And when I started that back in March last year, I had about … Because, I'd not long opened this account because it was a different one. I had the one I was using for the business and my own personal one.

And then this was a Teresa Heath-Waring one. So kind of more of a brandy one if you like. And I've got about 300 followers. It was new and I've been really strategic every single day posting. I've been doing some interaction, maybe not as much as I'd like, but I definitely respond to everybody and now I'm up to 1700 followers and it has-

Can you get out of here right now! Just get out of here.

Honestly.

I was on bated breath. I was like, what is she gonna say? I can not believe you picked up 1400 followers in what? What is it, 10 months? Nine months?

Yeah. Yeah, about 10 months, yeah.

Good god. That is incredible.

And do you know what? It's about being there every single day, showing up. Every single day, putting up a post saying some things. And don't get me wrong, you know, I drop a day sometimes and I don't post of whatever, but-

Of course. Of course.

 

IGTV – Is It Worth It?

 

It's about being absolutely consistent and going out there and interacting with people. And you know, I love Instagram. It's my favourite platform. I love watching its stories and I've wanted to ask actually, because you've been doing a lot of Instagram TV. You always come up in my discovery tab. So how are you finding Instagram TV? Is this definitely something that you think is gonna get bigger and better? Is it working for you? What's your thoughts on that?

Well before I share my thoughts on the matter, I always want to clarify that the decisions that I make are never about my thoughts on the matter. The decisions I make are going to be, how do people want to engage with my brand? And then, I serve them.

So my thoughts on the matter is this … I have been making videos on YouTube and Facebook and I never had an opportunity on Instagram to share the videos unless they were under a minute, because then it would go on my actual feed.

Yeah.

When Instagram TV came out, I saw this as a massive opportunity to serve an under represented audience. And number two is that, many people on this current platform were not creating long form videos. And Teresa, there is a reason why my Instagram TV videos are coming up in your feed, it's because not a lot of people are doing them.

No. Totally.

Well right now, the land is cheap. This is like me buying land in Malibu in 1934. Nobody wanted to live in Malibu in 1934. Like the land was cheap and yet you're on the water and now you can't even buy an acre on Malibu for less than six or seven million dollars, with no house on it.

Yeah.

So I feel like, whenever I see this opportunity and you know I do get more visibility on videos Facebook now. But I've been seeing these numbers pick up. So again, if we go back to analytics, I always think conversion determines and analytics is the way that I am going to determine the best use of my time. Now, on average if I post a video on Facebook. I will get on average around six or seven thousand views and that number hasn't changed since I started uploading videos to Instagram.

So it's not as if the viewers had been divided between the platforms. So on Instagram I'm averaging around 5000 views on a video, not as much as Facebook and not as much as Facebook an YouTube combined, but the numbers on the other platforms haven't dropped. Which leads me to believe that people are watching the videos on a platform that they are already in and algorithmically I wanna make sure that my bases are covered, because if I post a video on Thursday evening on my Facebook page and you are in England. There's a good chance you're probably not gonna see that but if perhaps, I post the same video formatted for Instagram TV on early Monday morning. Oh, there's a possibility that you could.

Yeah.

So this is me just playing the odds and trying to see where can I show up and have my business represented in under represented markets for my viewers? And then it's been an upswing since there.

And I think you're so right. It is such an under used facility at the moment. Actually, that always kind of the time to try and get in on those if you have the ability to. And actually for you, like you said, you had the videos anyway. So presumably, I could be being very naive here, but presumably it's just an editing thing?

Yes. It's not naïve at all. So often times … Okay, so let's go back. I'm a big believer … And often times, you'll have people say, “Oh Jasmine's such a lover of Instagram.” Well yes. I love Instagram, but I love wherever my audience is and I wanna serve them there. So there was a time where Snapchat was like the biggest up and coming growing platform and I was on there quite often trying to understand the demographic and how my business would fit in.

And I started doing a lot of research on what was working on Snapchat. And then, when Instagram Stories came around, it was basically just a copycat of Snapchat, which has been pretty successful for Instagram. Not so successful for Snapchat. But the research proved again and again that people did not want to turn their phone. Like it was some crazy number, like over 80-something percent of people said, that when they came across a Snapchat story, which is if you're not familiar with Snapchat, it's identical to Instagram Stories. That they wanted to view it in vertical format and not turn their phone and that if the story required them to turn their phone, they would pass the entire story.

And I saw this and it was like thousands and thousands of people went through this study. And so when Instagram Story came around and people were still unfamiliar, like they would try to like shoot the video horizontally instead of vertically. I was like, Oh, this is not very good. Then IGTV came out and a lot of people were like, “I have horizontal videos that I'm just gonna have people turn their phone.” And I immediately was like, “Let me ask my audience.” And so I made a video, so still Meta right? A video asking about videos and I posted it and I said, “What do you prefer?” I mean the overwhelming response on my little bootlegged question and ask was vertical.

Yeah.

So because I know it's vertical, I've now taken my horizontal videos and formatted them so that they look vertical by having sometimes different B-roll or just backgrounds or expanding the whole screen. And so I just listen to what the market says and then I follow.

Yeah, absolutely. And that's so key as well isn't it? Because, it's no good just doing something that you think, well actually with no editing I can just get it on there. If no one's gonna watch it, you've got to-

Absolutely.

You've to at least do what you need to do to get them to actually watch it. And how fascinating, and I am like you, I am a numbers girl. I think in marketing, sometimes it's a bit weird because people don't expect you to be so numbers led by. I love it and it's so interesting that your views didn't drop anywhere else, because you would expect there to be some people or an overlap wouldn't you?

Absolutely. But then if we take … I mean, I'm probably the most boring podcast guest you've ever had, because I was like, Let's talk about math. It's just amazing. Who doesn't wanna talk about that? Okay. But actually, let's just get into the statistics and let's use my account … Well actually, yeah, let's just use my account because I can speak clearly to it.

Yeah.

So February 2017, sometime around that time. There was a big algorithm shift on Facebook shortly after the American elections. And then about eight, nine months later another big algorithm change. And Facebook had realised that these pages were getting an unprecedented amount of like free … So Facebook described its platform as an eight lane freeway and Facebook pages were able to say, take up four of those lanes on an eight lane freeway and then the other four lanes would be dominated by friends and family you follow.

But then they started realising the Facebook pages were just getting too much attention. So they narrowed it down to two lanes on eight lanes and had another big algorithm change that narrowed it down to one lane, highlighting friends and family posts above all else. Now what this resulted in specifically for fan pages over 200,000, which is where my fan page landed. Currently, at the time of this recording, I think I'm at 250,000 on my fan page. They said that what you will get in just organic reach would be 2.5% of your audience.

Crazy.

So … Which is crazy, because there wasn't that … Now, previously, about 12 months earlier, you were guaranteed somewhere around 8% and prior to that when Instagram first came out it was much, much, much higher. But if we were to take the 250,000 and only, let's see .25%. 6250 people would see that video, that post.

Yeah.

Now, that is who they are estimating will be shown to it initially, depending on that 6250 people's reactions. If they left comments, if they uploaded, if they shared it with friends. Ah, then you get a little bit more juice, because Facebook knows, Oh, it's interesting now.

So now at this point, let's just say I put out the video and even if it has 4%, that's still 12,000 people out of 250,000 by me putting the same video on a different platform. And at this point, Instagram is showing, for large accounts, it's showing about 4% to your audience outside of the … You know if it picks up virality, that's something else, but all things considered it's about 4%.

I definitely think that Instagram is growing so fast that it will absolutely drop down to the same 2% the way that Facebook is. That's just where it's trending. So please know that, that's the case and we shouldn't complain. The more people who are on the platform, the more that the attention is divided. So in my mind, all of that to say, this long winded answer, is that I'm just being highly strategic with where I am placing the video and how I am placing the video.

Yeah, and I think you absolutely have to be, because like you said, lots of people got really upset when Facebook made those changes. And for me I understood why they made them. And yeah, okay it's frustrating and now you're getting one thing and now you're getting something else, but I could understand where they were coming from.

And like you said, you just have to up your game, work it out, decide what's working, what's not working and keep moving forward. Because if we want to use these platforms and they are amazing platforms, then we have to be supple enough to move around with them don't we? As they change, we need to change.

Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean it is literally democratic. It's like the good posts are seen more for free. If your posts are not being seen by a lot of people and it's the traditional 2%. Doll-face, it's not the algorithm, it's you. It's your content. Like change the content. That's the message here.

Yes.

Your content is good, because your followers will vote on it whether it's good. It doesn't matter if you have 100,000 or 1000 people or 100 people. The percentage of people who it's initially shown to and based on their reactions, you then get more Facebook juice or Instagram juice. So put out good content and then the rest of it solves itself.

 

Jasmine’s Top Tip for Instagram Success

 

I love that. I love it. So you have obviously a really good following on Instagram and you have a great community, which I am part of. And I see people who comment and like and really engage with your posts and love what you do.

Do you think … What do you think the reason for that is? Is it your storytelling? Is it your types of posts? Is it your tenacious nature that you just kept going and going and going? What do you think, if you had to put it down to one or two things, could you do that, do you think?

I think as humans, the greatest gift that a friend or a peer could give you would be availability and consistency.

Yeah.

And I don't think … I mean, to be honest, I'll be very honest. I don't think that what I do is that amazing or that special. There are better photographers, there are better storytellers, there are better communicators. But the thing that I depend on, which I think makes me relatable to a lot of the people is, that you could be, dare I say, average or a little bit better than average.

Yep. Yep.

But if you show up and you care about people, you automatically fall into the 1% of people on social media.

Yeah.

And so I just go where I'm good. And often times people will say, “The victory is won on the field but the battle goes to those who continue to show up.” And they feel like the reason why I've been able to [inaudible 00:35:40] people, is like they know whey they leave a comment, I'll respond. Or if they send me a DM, I'll respond.

Yeah.

I think that that alone, like when you're human on social, which I think is a message that I'm really proud of. I would hate to sit here and tell you, “Well I am just so phenomenal at photography. Or like my storytelling, I'm coming out with an anthology.” It's like listeners hear this, it's like, “Well I'm not writing an anthology.” [inaudible 00:36:04] Listen, I am a girl who was raised in the hood. Like I come from immigrant parents, I didn't learn how to read until I was 11. I had an English professor my first year of college ask if I hailed from an immigrant family because my writing portrayed that and I was humiliated.

Right. I bet.

And I just thought to myself, oh my god, I don't belong in this school. I stick out like a sore thumb. I do come from a poor family. And I had a decision then, I had a decision to listen to what she said and crumble under the weight of her opinion or I said, “What free resources are located here at my college?”

And every day, for the entire semester, I had every single piece that I turned into her proofread. And I learned from what these tutors were teaching me and at the end of the day … I already told my husband, but when I write a book, not if, it's when I write a new book. There's gonna a specific section to Professor Pertro, who doubted me and questioned me and shook the foundation for all who I am because I had the decision to become weak or strong.

And in that moment, I decided to become strong. And now, on any given day, I have more people reading my content than most people have reading their books. And that to me, is the changing theme of social media. That the scales have changed and we are of the people, for the people and that resonates far more than perfection.

I love it and you're so right. And if people weren't interested in what you're saying or how you're saying it, then they wouldn't engage, would they? They would just switch off. But the truth is you are so compelling when you do write things, even if it's just your Instagram posts.

You do write fairly lengthy Instagram posts, it's not like just two words or anything. But even when you write a post, it's so … You can relate to it, you can understand it, and I can visualise it, and that is such a skill. So that is just all kudos on to you, because it's storytelling is a really, really big skill. I love it. I love it.

Well thank you. And I want to make sure that what people walk away from isn't like, “Oh, Jasmine's great at selling stories.” I think essentially, if we all can add a little bit of colour and make … You know, the way that you would tell a story to your best friend over brunch, is the same approach you should be taking as you write your captions. And furthermore, you Teresa, are part of the 1% of people who like the lengthy posts and will actually take time to read them.

Yes.

I write for the 1%, because I understand the people of the 1% want to know me. They're the people who will wait in line at Social Media Marketing World and will ask my opinion for a photographer. Who will invite me to their podcast. You my friend, are who I write for and look at what happened as a result.

Awesome. Thank you so much and you know, I do exactly the same. I write really lengthy posts. I say to people, I'm actually my most honest, not that I'm not honest but, actually if you wanted to know my deep dark secrets and my feelings, go and read my Instagram because that's where I tend to write it.

And I don't know why I write it there or how I feel I can write it there, but I do and I do like doing those longs posts. And I love nothing more than when it's evident that someone's read it and they comment back and they talk about it because you know, inevitably I'm asking a question or you know it's so good isn't it? So, so nice.

 

What’s to Come for Jasmine Star

 

So I know that your time is very valuable and I don't want to take up too much of it. So one final question from me. Now, I've been obviously watching your content and I've seen it shifting and changing a bit. You know, working more looking at business in general and business strategy and that sort of thing. So just what's to come? What are you working on? What are your aims and goals going forward?

Oh, I love this question. So I think Teresa, we kind of first initially encountered each other when I was at like this pivot point in my life and my business. Where photographer was the largest economic generator in my business, the largest arm of my business.

And then 2016, 2017, I made a big risk and said, “I'm going to double down on creating resources for entrepreneurs.” And since then, the way that I talk on social has been just so much more authentic, because I'm teaching and talking to people who have this wild and crazy dream that everybody doubts.

And I'm like, Hey, you can actually make this a profitable career. And so since then, actually since we have spoken in person, I have launched a very successful community called Social Curator and we create resources for business owners to show up on social media every day.

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

So Social Curator is a resource, it's a membership site, where every month you get 30 caption templates to teach you how to write about yourself and your business and build your personal brand. You also have 30 curated lifestyle photos to make sure that you're joining the social conversation. And then every month, we provide a social media marketing plan. And I think often times, like what we see online are these non-Instagram courses. I have created one too so no judgement , I'm just saying.

What happens is you take this course and you have hours and hours of content and you're like, “Oh my gosh, this is so overwhelming. I have all these things to do.” And Social Curator is like taking your dreams and breaking them down into bite size action steps every month. So you can actually see growth, you can actually see you being able to show up. The difference that it feels and makes for you to show up every day on social, like you're proof of it.

But you my friend, had got it and ran with it. Social Curator is for the people who are like, “I'm running in 10,000 different directions and I don't really know how to show up. Or I'm not good at photography. Or I don't have the money to buy a book and then take a photo and have the time.” So what we are is like an ace in the pocket. So it's $30 a month. So I always say, for $1 a day, that's not even a pound. For $1 a day-

Yeah. That's cheap for us.

It's cheap. It is. I'm like [crosstalk 00:41:29] I would actually between us, much prefer to say it's 30 pounds, but you know, with [crosstalk 00:41:34] and all. You know, for less than a pound a day, will you show up and have this resource?

So this has been, like honestly, the happiest marriage because I am able to take photos, I'm able to write captions, I'm able to write marketing plans. I just feel like, oh dear god, everything in my life led me here. All the ups and downs and the trials and the journey brought me here and it's just so fun and so exciting.

Do you know, I am part of Social Curator. It's a great, great membership. I will link up to it in the show notes. And what I use it for, is filling gaps in terms of okay, I wanna plan these things, but today I haven't got a picture or today I haven't taken something or got a picture of me.

So actually great, I have this resource that's there, ready for me. It inspires me with ideas. It's definitely the captions because sometimes it's hard to kind of … Assume that you can say and believe me, I like to talk. And I know you joke about the fact that you like to talk too, but you know, it's not like I'm every short of something to say. It's just the fact that sometimes I need a bit of inspiration.

Yes.

Then the other thing that I've done, which is really helpful to me, is because I like to be so authentic in terms of I like them to be my images, being able to see your images and going, “That's cool. I think I could recreate that.” You had a great image once-

Oh, I love this. I love this.

But it does, because you had this image once of this chair with some books on it. And I looked at my chair and my lounge and I thought, God, that's really similar. If I put my books there and I managed to re-create it.

I was so pleased because you had given me that inspiration, but it was still my stuff. So it was great. So for me, and whether I'm using Social Curator the way that you want it to be used or you know, but for me-

No, no, no. I have to stop you there. You're using it in my wildest dreams. You are the next iteration, where are current members are that need to understand it. And you got it immediately. The greatest gift anybody could ever tell me is that Social Curator is their inspiration. Holy mother of god. If I could not be happy about that, then when could I be happy? Amazing. I love you. I wish I could crawl through the internet and just fricking hug you.

We'll save that one for Social Media Marketing World. We're saving that one.

Okay. Okay.

It's gonna be a big hug, there's a lot of time between now and then but it's-

Yes it is. Very awkward. I hug too long. I do.

I love a hug. I can't help myself. I'm very touchy-feely and sometimes it's like if you have to shake someone's hand, it's like, oh, this isn't quite right. So I'm always straight into the hug. Always love a hug.

Right.

Jasmine, this has been such a pleasure talking to you. I love talking to you. I loved watching you on Social Media Marketing World. You had this great thing where you said, “I don't talk fast, you listen slow.” And I love that because I talk fast too.

No, we don't. People listen slow. People are gonna have to listen to this podcast on slow. You know?

Yeah. I happen to know that there's noway that anybody could listen to my podcast on a slightly higher speed because they wouldn't keep up, I swear. But Jasmine, thank you so so much. It's been such an honour having you.

Oh thank you. Thank you. You bet.

And I can't wait to see you in Social Media Marketing World in March. Is it March? It is March isn't it? Yeah.

It is March.

And catch up with you again then. So thank you so much for being a guest on the podcast.

It is an honour. Thank you. I wish you all the best.

That was such a fast paced awesome interview. I loved interviewing Jasmine. She was so, so good. Most often, after I've interviewed someone, I like to listen back to what we've just said. I know it's sounds daft because I've literally just had that conversation with them. But when you're interviewing someone, my brain is doing different things. It's obviously taking in what they're saying, but more from a to have a conversation point of view. So I can mention something back, then necessarily just listening.

Anyway, I've gone in and listened back and ah, there was so much good information in there. She talks so fast as she says, “You listen slow.” But I love the fact that she talks fast. And she talks fast, gives you so much information, she drops these amazing analogies in there. I love the one about the algorithm on Facebook and the lanes. I'd never heard that one before and I think that is such a great way of describing it. So I might have to borrow that one from her and obviously credit her when I use it, but that's a great analogy. So yeah, I really, really enjoyed that episode.

Now obviously as always, I have linked up to everything in the show notes. You can find all the details about Jasmine. I do recommend you go and follow her, because she is such a lovely lady and so, so good and full of knowledge. So definitely go and check her out. And like I said, if you enjoyed this week's episode, then we would love to hear from you.

So please come and find us on social media and also, if you wanted to and I would be most grateful if you would. If you would go and put a review on iTunes or Stitcher or wherever you're listening, I would be so very grateful. I'm loving the podcast. I love seeing all the messages, all the reviews. It really spurs me on and I really, really do appreciate it. Anyway, I'm gonna leave you for this week. Thank you so much for listening, as always and I will see you next week.