A dream pursued by people from all the walks of life – artists, photographers, models, DJs, politicians, and influential people all around the world – is something that social media users break their heads trying to figure out as a way to achieve greatness, to increase their popularity, and to jumpstart their careers.
And while it’s true that life is a number’s game, it turns out that hitting a 7 figure milestone on a social profile isn’t always what it seems.
Jean is a travel influencer with 1.2 Million followers on Instagram posting content from his trips around the world. He’s been to 30 different countries and worked with multiple desirable brands such as Lamborghini, Hublot, and National Geographic.
His lemma is “explore, don’t travel, get out of the comfort zone, walk off the beaten path, and discover new places to discover yourself”.
Who are you?
My name is Jean Mouret, I am a travel influencer established on Instagram since early 2014 as @explorer , and I shoot professional content for a living. At times I help social media agencies understand Instagram better, and I consult tourism boards and promote destinations around the world.
What steps did you take to build such a massive audience?
In all honesty, I never started my Instagram career with any set goal in mind, let alone to expect such a warm welcome from people all around the world enjoying the destinations and recommendations to places to visit.
In fact, it wasn’t until 2017 that my page started taking off and I realized not only that I could monetize it via promoting new destinations, but that I was ACTUALLY influencing people to book trips, see places, and to help them get out of their comfort zone.
What game-changer did you come across while shooting content?
I realized that branding means everything. You could shoot all the content in the world, but if there isn’t something that truly separates you to the rest, you’re not gonna make it.
I’m not speaking of taking dangerous selfies for likes. I’ve had friends that I considered very important to me go to extremes and unfortunately not making it through. Heartbreaking. Sometimes it’s not worth it.
How has having 1 million followers changed your life?
In all sorts. All the good things and perks that follow, such as getting brand deals and getting paid stays at pretty much any hotel in the world. But it has its downsides, as it’s like selling your soul to the devil.
Once you are active on social media and people demand to regurgitate your content, you pretty much can’t take days off anymore, and that includes of course posting content every single day, regardless of whether you have the time or the will to do so. I’ve had multiple nervous breakdowns from posting content in between flights, at family dinners, even during special days such as Christmas and New Year’s Eve. And that my friends, is tough! Just because you see professionals doing something, doesn’t mean you should replicate it.
Another negative from pressure on social media is the fact that you get surrounded by many people that want to become friends with you, because all they’re looking for is to learn your “secret” and want to get free mentions on your platform. Not a chance, my work’s cost me years of effort, blood, and tears.
Eventually you learn to live with the spotlight fixed on you. You keep the good connections and weed out the leeches.
Considering a million followers, just to put in perspective that’s a LOT of people, how does one influence such a massive audience?
Well, as I mentioned before, you have to account for that it is your indirect responsibility what you inform. Good advice, bad advice, recommendations, reviews.
Remember, people listen and will do as you say, so if you recommend somebody to climb a dangerous mountain and they get lost, you are partly to blame. Always give good, solid advice with foundations. And never encourage illicit activity such as trespassing or suggesting perilous activities.
What advice would you give people to reach success on social media?
To expect nothing. I prefer to be transparent with people, especially as a consultant, when I work with brands and I tell them that social media is a game to be understood in deep, transitional ways that don’t ever work the same.
The truth is, most people setting on an adventure to succeed on social media will never get there. Not with mainstream boring content at least. And definitely not from buying $497 courses from “online marketers” that can’t even call themselves successful.
As I said, you need to have no expectations, you need to devote your entire self to the platform, and you need to make a lot of sacrifices. Most people won’t be willing. Trust me.
If you could change one thing on social media, what would it be?
Probably all the stereotypes people have against other people and places, clashing cultures, sensationalist media speaking bad of specific countries, and negative thoughts regarding how dangerous a city is for X or Y person to even think of visiting there. There’s so much prejudice online.
The takeaway here is, NO matter what you post, there will be someone who will not like it. You have to manage the hate and never take anything personally. People will always be just people.
What are your final thoughts on the pressure people put on themselves to achieve internet success?
Life is much bigger than social media. A good photo can be shared online and reach 100K likes if you work hard enough. But nothing can nor ever will compare to living each moment, because EVERYTHING will eventually end. Even Instagram will see its own exodus at some point, and then everybody will forget about you.
But what you hold close in your memories – that stays with you and your loved ones forever.
Where can people find you on social media?
As @explorer on every platform. Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Telegram, TikTok, and others, although my main focus is and will ever be the ‘gram.