If you’re in the online space and have yet to meet Jasmine Star, today is your lucky day! Jasmine is not only a good friend, but she is a fellow mastermind member and truly my go-to girl when it comes to all things Instagram. Today we are going to dive into Jasmine's personal Instagram strategy, how she is using the platform specifically, what changes she thinks may be coming soon, PLUS some big truth bombs! Ready for some Q&A?!
Do you have one main piece of content and repurpose on different platforms?
Jasmine: “Well, I refer to it as staggering content and there was a time that Instagram wasn’t as long-form video friendly but with the introduction of IGTV that completely changed. I feel like I’m the biggest fan of it right now. For example, I create a video and I post it Monday afternoon on my Facebook page and then Tuesday morning I’ll put it on my YouTube channel. Tuesday night I’ll put a link on Twitter linking back to my YouTube and then Wednesday I put the video on IGTV. Then, on Wednesday night I’ll do 3-4 Instagram stories pointing back to the IGTV video so people can actually stay in the platform and watch the long-form video.
So in that regard, yes! I haven’t been the Instagram user to get long form video, my videos are between 5-6 minutes. I haven’t quite yet mastered the art of taking a 6 minute video and bringing it down to 59 seconds because I feel like it’s losing it. I actually believe that if the IGTV format doesn’t take off in the same way people are hoping it will, I do believe that you can start uploading long form videos in the Instagram feed.”
Some people are thinking it’s not taking off. Their saying it’s just not working. Are you still a fan of yes, let’s go for it? And how do we know if we should keep up with it and stay consistent?
Jasmine: “Here’s the thing. I’m straight out thirsty! I’m one of those people that will do all the things in all the ways in order to service people the way they want to experience it. I can say obviously that the viewing experience on Facebook is going to be far better than it is in IGTV. But if people aren't on Facebook watching videos and they're spending all of their time on Instagram, I need to be able to connect with them where they are.
So I have to remove myself from all of my subjectivity, and at the end of the day if I have a video that will actually be connected on Facebook but how much more time does it take for me to upload it to IGTV? Very little!! So for me if I'm already doing the content and creating the content then it makes no sense not to. And so often here's the thing, I believe that many of us are short sighted. I see people constantly in Instagram Stories doing polls. Are you watching IGTV?? In the next one it’s like the results are in nobody's watching!
And I was like well…here's the thing. When Snapchat first came out nobody was using Snapchat and when YouTube first came out it took years before people understood the art of what they're doing. And do I believe that Mark Zuckerberg who's at the helm of Facebook who owns Instagram and is building a team at Instagram…like do I believe that they are going to be the people to elevate it and get it to where it needs to be?? 9.9/10, yeah, I do! I do not think it's a waste of time. I'm not breaking the bank with video views but I am averaging 5-6 thousand views on IGTV. Those are views that haven't impacted the views on YouTube or on Facebook. So people are still watching. I've just given them a different avenue to do it in a way that they like.”
I love that you're saying it hasn't impacted YouTube, it hasn't impacted Facebook because that would be my next question. So I feel like if you’re creating video, why not repurpose it on many different platforms. What does it hurt? How long does it take?
Jasmine: “Well for IGTV specifically I can say that the hurdle would be that when people get a video and they have it recorded in a horizontal format. People have definitely said that they don't like to watch horizontal videos on IGTV with a bunch of negative space above and below. And here's the thing, if that's what you can only do because that's where your time is, I believe it's better than nothing.
And people who actually want to watch video, will watch video. However, there are very cheap and inexpensive iPhone apps. I will get the video that's recorded horizontal and then bring it into an app called like Video Shop and you can add borders to it and you export it on your phone and upload it into IGTV. That does take a little bit more time but all of a sudden the viewing experience is enhanced.”
Now let's talk about Instagram Stories and the news feed. I'm hearing time and time again the news feed is gone, everything's dying, everything is over. But I know you still want engagement on your news feed. So how are you handling that? I'm sure you're getting a lot of people to question. Do I even keep up with this news feed??
Jasmine: “So, the fact of the matter is, Facebook owns Instagram and so whatever happens on Facebook, it’s not if, it's when it will happen on Instagram. Instagram can look like an 8 lane highway, and when Instagram first came out there were very few cars on the highway. Early adopters on the highway didn't go as fast as they wanted. And now that Instagram has crossed 1.1 billion users and is the fastest growing platform of all ages, there are so many cars on the freeway now that it's virtually harder for you to move at the pace that you want. Other people will see your car less because there are so many more options.
So, your objective is to create the coolest looking car on the freeway that will get attention. And when we actually bring this out into practical terms, you want to make sure that the content you're creating isn't just cool, isn't just pretty, isn't just fabulous. It has to ring all bells which is what do people want to see? Because your people want to see something different than my people and that's a beautiful thing. If people can like, comment and share our stuff then that is quantified as engagement. I cannot say, oh post memes of dogs under rainbows and cupcakes and you'll win!! It's not something that can be hacked. It's literally what do your people want to see. And can you do that?
If you do not know what they want to see you're going to have a really hard time sticking on the algorithm. That really book boils down to 100% is understanding who your serving. That's it. And when you do that it game It's a game changer for people on Instagram.”
I think what you just described was that people are getting worried that it's getting more saturated. There's a lot more competition. If that happens in your business, you're not just going to give up when it gets more saturated. You have to go, how do I differentiate myself from my competitors? I think we have to really realize that if the game is changing like always, we just have to really pivot when they're making some tweaks.
Jasmine: “Absolutely. And when you understand that you can use Instagram as a place of service for your followers. I firmly believe and this is like a twist on a Dale Carnegie quote, but I firmly believe that your Instagram account will go farther with 1,000 genuinely interested and engaging followers than 10,000 people who just passively scroll by your content.
Your objective isn't to be the most popular. Your objective is to create stuff that will position your business as the unique solution to their needs. You do not need 10,000 clients. You need a few. And if a few result from your 1,000 followers who are engaging, you're winning the game. We can't, we shouldn't and mustn't look at vanity metrics like, oh, if I have 10,000 now I have the swipe up, I'm so legit.
It doesn't matter if you have the swipe up if people aren't swiping up! That's just the truth of the matter. So our idea is to be interesting and engaging with people who will engage with our account and service them in a way that they believe our business is the unique solution to their desired results.”
I think it's like we always want those milestones, we want the 10,000 followers and then you get it and it's not even that cool. People can still D.M. you, you're still doing things. So I think we have to let go of I need this, I need that.
Jasmine: “I'm going to say something that a lot of people will think is trash crazy! At the time of our recording I have like 273,000 followers on Instagram and I do not have a business account. So I do not have the swipe up feature.”
That was just my next question is business versus personal. So let's talk about that because I did not know that, that intrigues me!
Jasmine: “Ok. So and again, I have to say that I know that first and foremost this works for my business. Not all businesses. And I don't even propose this for others. I'm just saying let me walk you through my process and then you can decide whether it's a good fit for you. So I have decided to keep my account personal instead of having a business Instagram account. And here is why…
Business Instagram accounts were not introduced until Facebook bought Instagram. You are only allowed 5,000 people on a personal Facebook account and anything beyond that you need a Facebook page. At the time when Facebook pages and when business pages and personal pages on Facebook were one and the same, everybody's getting the same engagement. Then all of a sudden Facebook got to 2.2 billion users and then Facebook said, ‘oh, we can't be giving the same amount of free “freeway” space to business pages, we're going to truncate how many lanes they can take on the highway.’ So, if you want to have a faster route then you've got to pay for it.
I saw that and when that came up on Instagram I was like oh, right now there might not be a little mis-step in engagement but once Instagram hits that 1.5-2 billion users, what do they think they're going to do with the business account? They're going to make you pay to play. And I saw that and I was like, do you know how bad I want that swipe up feature!! But you know what? I haven't switched and I don't think I will because what I'll do is instead of having this swipe up feature I will use vanity URLs.
So it's like when I want people to sign up for a freebie I try to make the freebie email just as easy as possible like, Jasminestar.com/branding or jasminestar.com/freestockphoto. I tried to make it as easy as possible for people who really want it. For people who really care, they type it in. And for people who don’t I'm like that's OK! I'm just not going to sacrifice the organic reach that I think could be truncated in the future as a result of a feature that people may or may not even use.”
So first of all, if you have less than 10,000 followers, what's the point of even switching to a business account?
Jasmine: “I think there's zero. Unless you have a physical location because if you have a business Instagram account and let’s say I had a donut shop, it might make a lot of sense for me to have a business account because people can call within the app, they can get directions within the app. Maybe that would make more sense. And to be fair if I had a weekly podcast and if I was a fashion influencer and I had affiliate links and if I had products and the swipe up feature was such a pivotal thing to getting people to get where they needed to go then I might make it.
I actually reserved the right to change my mind next week! So there's that!! I have open enrollment for my membership site. I don't need people to go take an action at this very second right now. So it works for my business to be that way. But again I have no dog in the fight. I just want people to make the best educated decision for their business because if you have less than 10,000 people and you do not have a physical location there is no reason you should be a business account like at all.”
Now can you still be running ads as a personal account on Instagram?
Jasmine: “GIRL YES!! You create your Instagram ads in Facebook ads manager and you run them to Instagram from the business page.”
So should I be switching from business to personal or did it already hurt me because it's like I'm flagged as a business account? We just started to say DM if you want this and we stopped using the swipe up feature because we don't feel like it was really working well.
Jasmine: “I'm telling you, I'm telling you because the minute the swipe up feature came out people started using it with so much frequency that it lost its power. It's not as delicious to have anymore and that ability to DM, girl I am telling you!! That DM game kills on Instagram Kills. Kills. Kills. So I think you're doing it right!”
I'm so glad we just tested this out because this past week we're like let's just try this DM us if you want the link, which kind of sounds tedious, but now they even have those messages where you can quickly copy and paste the link or save things in there which is amazing.
Jasmine: “And when you think about it, let's put ourselves in the user behavior. When you say swipe up for this feature, people now know that they must swipe up and then they've got to put in their information. And when you say DM, it's the same thing. They click on the little paper plane and then they say I want it. It's like it's the same behavioral pattern that people feel like they’re being seen and it's highly personalized. That my friends is definitely where Instagram is going in 2019!”
Well what's nice about the DM feature of having them message us, it's like walking up to a reception desk and actually have somebody right there where you can say hey, so what about this? They’re asking questions, whereas before they're going to a page and no one's there. It's like the reception desk is empty and they can't ask anybody. So I feel like we're actually catching way more people and having a real conversation with them.
Jasmine: “I love that, I tip my hat. I couldn't agree more. I just, it just gives me all the warm and fuzzy’s specifically because you sell high-end items. When's the last time you walked into Gucci and they're like serve yourself, you know at target you can check out on your own!! At Gucci, you're talking to somebody!! So I love it. I love it”
So if somebody is just getting started on Instagram, I mean I haven't even been on Instagram that long, how much time should you be focusing on it? I spend my personal time on there so that just makes me excited to post and do things like that. But for somebody who's not yet on it, what kind of time commitment does Instagram take to really start to see traction?
Jasmine: “I am a firm believer in, it's like tending a garden, it's like going on a diet. You know that you can really grow fast if you put fertilizer in the garden and you're watering every day and you're tilling the soil and you could really lose weight quickly if you cut your calories in half and if you work out. There are things you can do to increase your growth but it takes time. I suggest if you want to get into Instagram and use it for an effective growth platform you have to be posting at least once a day.
Then when you post once a day, make sure that you are coming into the habit of responding quickly to your comments as soon as you get them because you're going to be training your early followers and how you engage. So, whenever I post, I try within the first 20-30 minutes to go back and respond to every single one of the comments for people who responded early, I want to start engaging with people early because what happens is the algorithm will measure early engagement and determine who do they want to show it more to.
When I can actually coach people, facilitate, to remind them the next time they see a post they should engage because Jasmine will respond quickly and I get a personal response from her. That's 100% where I want to be. I dedicate a post a day, a caption a day, I go into my DM’s and I catch up on my DM’s 2-3 times a day because DM’s are powerful mechanisms to actually facilitate. I believe that people who will DM me I have noticed, people will do it who I've never heard or seen this person, they'll DM me and the next thing you know I'm seeing their comments on my posts because people want to know are you a real person are you going to respond who are you? What do you do?
The minute you can have that receptionist feel, what you had just said, they will all of a sudden feel safe in your office or they'll feel safe with who you are. So every single day people who are just like well I'm brand new nobody's engaging, nobody’s commenting, my next question is well when is the last time you spent 10-20 minutes leaving thoughtful comments on other people's posts and liking other people's posts? You have to teach people how to engage with your account. So, if at all possible at minimum you should be spending about 20-30 minutes on Instagram every single day.”
I want to know how do we go from having a pretty curated feed to actually converting people. What are some tips or strategies we can be thinking about to not just having it look nice but actually converting.
Jasmine: “Well, I mean I know I'm probably going to piss off a lot of people but aesthetics don't convert. Copy converts. I just think that sometimes and I feel like honestly going in to 2019, people say, well how do you see Instagram changing? I see Instagram changing in that the perfect depiction of life and I saw 100%, is that pretty is now going to be polarizing. When life looks too perfect, people are going to be like is she real? Is she approachable? Is this in real time? People are starting to value it.
I'm a professional photographer. I literally take my camera everywhere. So now I just have to be really strategic. I'm like on the day’s I’m posting stories in that outfit I should be posting a picture in that. I'm trying to be as real as possible on this platform. But I do think that obviously a photo matters because that's what kind of catches somebody. You’ve got to hook them. This is like basic copywriting 101. It's what’s the hook? On Instagram your hook has to be in the first two lines of a caption, so you have to get your point across immediately for somebody to click on to read more.
So I work really hard at getting something captivating the first two lines having them click on the read more. People will give me a hard time all the time. Jasmine your captions are too long. Guess what? I'm not trying to be cool and I'm not trying to be popular. I'm trying to be profitable and I know that copy converts and the only way people can really get to know the real me, because I understand you go to my Instagram feed and it does look a little professional and so I have to make sure that the copy showcases who I am and how I come of service to entrepreneurs who want and need help on social media.
I'm really trying to leverage because I understand that conversion only happens by way of consistency honesty and unrelenting places of service. It does not come because you're cool and it doesn't come because you're pretty and it doesn't come if you're offers great. Guess what. There is a ton of great offers on Instagram. How you convert is going to be through consistency.”
Are you making sure that you do have stories every 24 hours or is it always pretty consistent for you?
Jasmine: “Yes. I mean to the best of my ability. There are times where I just give myself the permission to be like, it's a Sunday!! If God rested, I can rest! BUT the values are equally important. Any action within Instagram is an action on your behalf. So if you put a poll, if you do a slider if people DM you…I love getting a DM because there's a higher likelihood that my posts are going to show up in their feed so when I'm launching, I'm all about DM me because I want you to see my other posts that are going to ultimately sell you and convert you.”
Are you surprised when you see certain people turn off the DM feature?
Jasmine: “I'm baffled. I’m completely baffled. I mean I understand it. I understand that people are going to weigh like the pressure of somebody DM’ing them and not getting a response. So I get it, I get it but I also understand the same way that you abdicate responsibility for let's say customer service. When it becomes overwhelming you could bring in a social media manager and say hey, I'm not this person but let me help you out or let me direct you. It becomes a different way a point of contact that's fully manageable. I just think that turning it off is just an opportunity lost.”
I want to ask you about feeds and professional photography versus iPhone photos. I feel like I'm seeing more and more iPhone photos and I would love to know your thoughts on that. I mean I get you’re a professional photographer, so what's on your feed has to be at a certain level, but somebody else that isn't, should we be showing more of that to look more real? Or is that where stories kind of helps you?
Jasmine: “Both, actually, the answer isn't one or the other. But here's the thing. In addition to seeing an uptick in iPhone photos it's because the iPhone has gotten really freaking amazing!! It's beautiful! It's amazing! I once heard a quote from an early mentor, his name is Chase Jarvis, and he said the best camera you have is the one that's on you. And I do think that us as entrepreneurs, as business professionals, as people who actually just want to be in the game and be present at the same time, an iPhone is an amazing solution.
However just because you have and have the ability to take a photo, you should take the steps to make it a pleasant photo. I'm watching people and of course, I'm a photographer so I see these at nuances and I'm like why?! Just take two steps to the right!! When you're taking a picture of your food, clear the junk off the table! I think those are things that, absolutely if you have an iPhone and you have the ability to be posting and it's not like an absolutely awful photo, absolutely!
I think showing up is better than not showing up. I'm a firm believer that your that your grid, your feed is really only important to people who are followers. In my mind, if you understand that you're going to serve the people who follow you, like I always say dance with the boy who took you to prom, service the people who are there and they'll be the ones promoting you, telling their friends to follow you.”
Now, you recently did a revive your Facebook page challenge which I loved and I was kind of going wait a minute, Jasmine's talking about Facebook here not Instagram! Let me tell you…we did it and I only did it for the five days because then I left for Italy. But I did it for the five days and I couldn't believe how much engagement we were getting.
Jasmine: “I know that lately like Instagram is the transfer student in high school who comes in and she has a French accent. You know it's like, oh she's cool and unique need everybody to hang out with her! You know I always say like you never forget your 4th grade best friend. She's going to be the one that's with you for a while and I feel that way about Facebook. But here's the thing, I still feel that way about YouTube. I feel that way about Twitter. I'm really just saying how can I show up in places and spaces where people are?
When we decided to do this 30 days Facebook challenge it was so important to show people that Facebook is still alive, it is still powerful. I will say as a business strategist that my leads come in equal proportion on Facebook and on Instagram and that is regardless of the offer. I have a monthly membership and the content every month changes so we have promotions around different things. It's not like I have a single offer and this is the only thing that I know. There is a big audience and 2.2 billion people on Facebook is an opportunity to get your offers seen period. So I will absolutely still party on Facebook!! I know people think it's like the old grandma but I'm like, call it for what it is! There are still people on it and it is a powerful vehicle.
I will encourage people to stagger the content. So yeah I won't post the same post on Instagram and I mean people should have Facebook. I want to make sure that I'm respecting each platform. Putting a few days in between the post but yes, 100% there’s no sense for you to reinvent the wheel!”
So many takeaways from this interview!! If you are loving Jasmine be sure to connect with her on jasminestar.com and on social at @jasminestar. You can also check out Social Curator at socialcurator.com!