If you’ve spent time scrolling on TikTok or Instagram Reels, you’ve likely come across Jera Foster-Fell. Otherwise known as jera.bean on TikTok and Instagram, Jera is a social media coach who has created a community of over 170k on Instagram. More impressively, Jera managed to grow her TikTok community from zero to 1 million in under 12 months. I’m so excited to have Jera on this episode of Her Life By Design as she shares her tips and tricks for TikTok growth, personal branding, and content creation.
TikTok Growth, Personal Branding, and Content Creation
Jera is the self-proclaimed queen of pivoting. To give you an idea, she didn’t start her career with the intention of becoming a social media coach. In 2014, Jera graduated with a degree in graphic design from USC. From there, she began working for a number of startups while freelancing on the side. She was unhappy and stressed in her work environment. This led her to sign up for a fitness program. This decision was her introduction to Instagram, as she turned to the app in search of community and accountability.
Jera found happiness from fitness that she even pivoted into a career as a Soul Cycle instructor from 2015 to 2018. However, being immersed in the world of fitness became the spark that ignited Jera’s social media career. “I was just finding creativity. I was stoked to be taking pictures and writing captions, and so that began my Instagram career.”
After leaving Soul Cycle in 2018, Jera gained a newfound sense of confidence that she took into her next career as an influencer and content creator. She decided to leave her fitness job to step into her business full-time. It was a decision that made sense after running her Instagram account successfully since 2015. But it wasn’t long before Jera felt the urge to expand and grow her skills and repertoire. After investing in a business coach who has helped her realize her inherent social media skills, Jera went on to create her social media coaching business. Today, Jera wears two hats as a content creator and influencer, as well as being a magnetic social media coach who teaches her students how to use Instagram as a powerful and positive tool.
Feeling Stuck? Here’s How You Should Approach Your Pivot!
As someone who has pivoted myself, I understand the fear, anxiety, and limiting beliefs that come with the process of pivoting. “I don’t think it was necessarily easy the whole time. I know that I’ve probably lost a good chunk of people along the way,” Jera confesses about the pivots she’s made in her own business. It’s only natural to lose a few followers if a pivot is on the horizon for your business. But Jera also shares that the coolest part about pivoting is watching some people stick around for the long haul, no matter what you pivot to. “I’ll hear from people who’ll say ‘I don’t care what you post about, I don’t care what you pivot to, I am here for you regardless of the niche.’”
This is the difference that having a strong personal brand can make. However, it’s important to remember that “people are gonna come and go, and it’s not really a reflection of you. It’s their interest in what they’re drawn to. So we kinda have to take our ego out of it a little bit.”
You Can’t Establish a Strong Personal Brand if You Aren’t Aligned
“You have to be prepared, that not everyone is going to like what you do in general.” This is something that Jera reminds her students of constantly. When it comes to pivoting, not everyone is going to like your pivot, especially if they’ve become attached to your persona and what you bring to that specific niche. However, “you can’t stay in that niche and in that zone if that’s no longer who you are,” Jera reminds.
I’ve struggled with this dilemma, straddling the lines between being a travel blogger and an online educator. The longer I stayed between these two spaces, the more paralyzed I felt. But when I decided to pivot fully into the online education space, I found complete alignment. This gave me the energy and drive I needed to continue serving and providing value. Pivoting is hard, but you can’t establish a strong personal brand if you aren’t feeling aligned. And as scary as pivoting is, it is better than keeping people around when you’re doing something you’re not excited about.
How Alignment and Focus Led to Jera’s Explosive TikTok Growth
Pivoting allowed Jera to find complete alignment with her brand and her content. When she started focusing on creating content centered around social media and photography tips, she saw her TikTok growth go from 0 to 10k in just one month. However, Jera was surprised at how niching down and getting even more specific led to larger, more explosive TikTok growth. For example, one of Jera’s first videos that gained over a million views broke down the different steps behind creating a trend. After seeing how that video gained momentum, she decided to go in even harder in that specific area, focusing on TikTok and insider tips.
In case you’re wondering, Jera says it’s not too late to join in on the TikTok and Reels train. “We haven’t even had a year’s worth of reels on Instagram, so short-form video content is where people should be putting the bulk of their energy on social media.”
Jera’s Top Tips for TikTok Growth
Feeling inspired by Jera’s journey and you’re ready to dive headfirst into growing your community on TikTok? Jera has some incredibly helpful tips for you. Starting with…
- Getting ingrained with TikTok Culture: Jera points out that TikTok has a very specific culture. From stitching to dueting and video replies to comments, navigating these features can be tricky if you haven’t spent enough time scrolling through your For You Page.
- Figure out your niche and your specific point of view: You need to bring something to the table. If you have a service-based business like Jera, share what you provide and how you help people. But if you’re a content creator, finding your specific point of view can be tricky (but not impossible). Take a look at Rod’s account. He focuses on millennial humor, which allows him to adapt to trends by applying a shared millennial experience to them.
- Just start creating: Simple, but it needs to be said. If you don’t start creating, you won’t learn and grow. Your videos will suck in the beginning, but creating is part of the process.
- Quantity and quality: When it comes to TikTok, quantity is part of the game. Jera says that creating as much as you can is a great way to experiment and figure out what works. “Post two to three videos a day at minimum if you can. That consistency and posting multiple times a day is really how you’re going to figure yourself out.”
Jera’s Process of Content Creation
Jera is constantly posting a lot of content on social media between TikTok and Instagram. And if growing your business or brand on social media is what you’re after, creating a lot of content is on your to-do list as well. “I’m not gonna say that it’s easy, or that it takes no time at all,” Jera says. “Do I have a structure or content creation process in place? The answer is both yes and no.”
Having a system and process in place allows Jera to remain in proactive mode as opposed to reactive mode. “But I also say no because I’m not perfect. Sometimes I mess up my content plan,” Jera reminds. The one non-negotiable part of Jera’s process is having definitive content pillars under which all her content could fall under. Once you’ve defined your content pillars, you can brainstorm specific topics that would relate to each pillar.
“The beauty of content planning is that you don’t have to rely on motivation and inspiration every day.” Each month, Jera approaches her content calendar with a monthly birds-eye view. But the granular, nitty-gritty content planning happens on a week-by-week basis. This process gives her the flexibility and freedom for random bursts of inspiration, as well as having content ready on the days where she’s in a creative slump.
How Authenticity and Alignment can Impact your TikTok Growth, Personal Branding, and Content Creation
Growing a community on social media can feel overwhelming and stressful. But getting clear on your personal brand, showing up authentically, and having a process for creating content will make the journey more manageable. Jera is a wildly successful creator and social media coach who proves that pivoting is an opportunity to grow and serve in more impactful ways. She also proves that authenticity is key when you’re establishing a strong personal brand that your audience can relate to. If you’re nervous about pivoting, showing up, and doing what feels right and aligned with who you are, this episode is for you. Showing up as your authentic self will impact your TikTok growth, personal branding, and content creation. Don’t believe me? Jera’s story proves the power your authenticity has, especially when it’s backed up by an effective system and process.
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