It’s no secret that Instagram has become one of the pillars for online businesses to market their services. The platform has more than one billion users and user engagement levels are sky-high. According to Reuters, more than 95 million photos and videos get shared each day – a lot of noise to break through if you want to get your message in front of your potential clients.
Jasmine Shea is very successful in doing just that. Also known as “Jazzy Things”, she is a food lover, adventure seeker, the founder of “Your Dinner Is Planned” and the host of the “Dinner Table Talk” Podcast. By sharing her journey to healthy food, she has grown a massive Instagram following. Here, she shares her most important insights and valuable do’s and don’ts on how to grow your Instagram account.
Jasmine opened her Instagram account five years ago. “My idea was to share my personal journey with food. I was posting recipes, shared my workout routines, really just moments from my day,” she remembers.
Her posts didn’t just consist of a product, like for example a post of a recipe. Instead, she posted who she was and how a specific recipe was impacting her life. “I wanted to be authentic. If it’s only about the product, no one can relate to that. It would be skipping an entire step.”
Jasmine didn’t think of monetizing her audience until a friend pointed out that she should create a cookbook. “I liked the idea, created my cookbook and put it on Instagram. It blew up completely!” That’s when Jasmine made it her mission to help people have a healthy lifestyle through food.
To market her product, tying emotions to it was key. “Instagram is a powerful tool to capture these emotions, because it appeals to the visual sense.”
And what if someone decided to not like her anymore? “I welcome all the unfollows. The reason I feel so confident saying that is because I know that if I’m showing up 100% as who I am, then I only want the people who are following me to be attracted to that.”
It’s important not to fit into a box and stop being truly yourself, because according to Jasmin, that’s when you start attracting the wrong people. “Stay authentic, stay you.”
Jasmine posts every day at least once, sometimes even up to three times. “There’s no magic number, but it’s all about consistency,” she says. “The more you make your audience feel your emotions, the more likely they will be to relate to your product. Once you share a product or an opportunity for them to change their lives, it doesn’t come out of nowhere, but it was part of the process of you being there from day one.”
Jasmine never cared that the captions underneath her pictures were rather long. “People know that coming to my page, they’re going to read a really long caption. I post a picture of enchiladas and it has a mile long caption, and you might think: How can you say so much about enchiladas? But I always liked to share my view of healthy food and include tips for others on how they can apply this to their lifestyles.”
Jasmine is sure she is breaking a lot of rules by doing this. “I bet there are people out there with guidelines on how to structure a caption. But I always ask myself: How can I add value to the reader? And then the length doesn’t matter anymore.”
It’s very important to get and create engagement around your profile. This can be liking and commenting on other people’s posts, using hashtags or responding to the comments people leave on your posts.
Jasmine is a firm believer of creating relationships through Instagram. “When people started sharing my recipes, my following grew. I believe that my growth has a lot to do with posting content that adds value and is replicable, something people can implement and talk about to their own followers. Along the lines of ‘Look how much easier grocery shopping was today thanks to Jazzy Things’.”
This is called creating posts with intention. It can be a tip, a recipe, a piece of advice – but it has to give the audience some value. It should be intended for people to apply in their own lives or share how it has made them feel. In short, it should engage them.
Type of Content
While you can schedule ahead some of your posts, Jasmine advised that if you want to stay authentic and really connect with people, you have to share posts about real life events that happen to you every day. “I share posts about what I’m living and feeling right in the moment. Of course, from a business perspective, you can batch and schedule content and write out captions in advance. But it helps a lot to just take something you’ve learned that very day and spontaneously post about it. People can relate to that more easily.”
Jasmine’s most popular posts were at the same time her most vulnerable ones. “I posted before and after comparison pictures, like ‘Here I am in the morning’ and ‘Here I am in the evening, and I look a lot different because I’m a real human being’. That’s when you start to draw in your audience, when you are completely vulnerable, open to share and transparent about yourself and your journey.”
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