Please enjoy this transcript of my interview with Jérôme Poirier. Jérôme is a half-French, half-Japanese travel & lifestyle content creator based in New York City. He's passionate about storytelling and goes the extra mile to get a unique perspective and create the most visually attractive imagery. His videos have gathered over 30M views and he's worked with some of the leading brands worldwide, including Adobe, American Express, and tourism boards from international destinations.
In this episode, we delve into Jérôme’s fascinating take on TikTok, Instagram reels, and other video content. We also talked about European Football's massive profitability, social media's scalability, the psychology behind reels, virtual influencers, and Deepfakes.
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#65 – Jerome Poirier on Going Viral (13M+views) On Instagram, The Psychology behind Instagram Reels & TikTok, and the lessons from European Football
I highly recommend listening to the entire episode because Jérôme has a fascinating take on TikTok, Instagram reels, and other video content. We also talked about European Football's massive profitability, social media's scalability, the psychology behind reels, virtual influencers, and Deepfakes.
▷ Full show notes on https://ptl.fm/podcast
▷ Jerome on IG: https://www.instagram.com/jerometraveller/
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Pierre Lambert: Good morning podcast, and welcome to a new episode on the Pierre T. Lambert show. Today, we have a special guest that you might have seen in some of the videos. His name is Jérôme Poirier. Jérôme is a half-French, half-Japanese travel and lifestyle photographer and content creator based in New York City. He's passionate about storytelling and goes the extra mile to get a unique perspective and create the most visually attractive imagery. He's worked with some of the leading brands around the world like Adobe, Affirm, and tourism boards from several destinations. Jérôme is someone I've always looked at for his really creative take on a lot of content, or how he was actually helping others, for example, influencers and photographers, to get the shot. And that was something that really attracted me about his work. We've been in contact many times. We had photo challenges together in New York City, and I thought it would be a great place to bring him in on the podcast. And to explore a little bit about your background, Jérôme, how you got into that world? And also, I feel like there is something that no one talks about here, and it's not who David Beckham is because I've heard the thing that everyone knows, but it is simply what is happening with sports? Because you're such a big soccer football fan, and you've been working in that industry, and lately we haven't seen you there. So I'm super curious for diving into all that stories. And also, we'll talk a little bit about your crazy growth on Instagram lately. Not that it's a goal for everyone, but I think it can teach you so a lot about trends and how they work and how we should grab opportunities when it comes. So Jérôme, welcome to the podcast. I hope that was fairly accurate.
Jérôme Poirier: That was pretty accurate. Bonjour, bonjour. How's it going? Thank you for having me.
Pierre Lambert: Tell me a little bit about your sport? Like how do you go from sports to photography, and how does that bind together?
Jérôme Poirier: It's interesting that you mentioned this, especially early in this podcast, because sports, it is in a way what defines me and what I live for people on social media, obviously, because I post a lot of photography-related stuff and travel-related stuff thinks that photography and travel is my biggest passion, but it's actually not. Sports is my biggest passion. And I specifically remember this summer, we were in Tanzania together, and I was just sitting down at breakfast scrolling on my phone. And you told me every single time I look at your phone, it's football, football, football, football, all over the place. And it's true, my Instagram feed is filled with football, and I do have like regular photography stuff, but sports and particularly European football, not American football. European football is my biggest passion by far.
Pierre Lambert: I love how you put it, European football.
Jérôme Poirier: Yeah, I mean, being a European person living in the United States, I need to specify that because it's always a challenge having to explain to my friends the scale of what European football is around the world. But yeah, anyway, that's my biggest passion, and that's what I live for. I used to work in sports. That's where I started my career—and currently going through a kind of like a dilemma between whether I want to stick with sports or whether I want to pursue this content version of photography, because it's been doing pretty well since, maybe a little less than a year ago. So yeah, I like exploring the different possibilities.
Pierre Lambert: What was your job in sport? Were you like doing content for what exactly tells— sorry, I'm just gonna give a little context. When you were talking about the scale of football in soccer, around the world, it's, for me, it's like a thousand times bigger than American football can be, or like a million times because it reunites so many countries around the world versus American football is usually just the US. Here, you have to imagine you have Europe, you have Africa, you have South America, you have like Asia, there are so many people around football. So it's massive and even the European league, leading clubs, very famous around the world.
Jérôme Poirier: Yeah, a hundred percent. I mean, if you just look at the numbers, comparing the viewerships on TV, for example, between the world cup and say the Super Bowl or the World Series, or like any other American sports, there isn't even a match. But yeah, no, I'm absolutely passionate about sports. And initially, you know, at the beginning of your career, when you're young, you are not certain about which path to take. In school, I used to be much more of like a science-driven person. So, I was good in like math and science and life sciences. So when I went to university, I actually graduated in exercise and sports science, which usually when people get a degree like that, they tend to go into more like physiotherapy or like work directly with athletes in order to improve sports performance, because it's a very science-related field. So, it's studying the human body and how the human body reacts to a physical effort. And after graduating in that, I just told myself, you know what, for the rest of my career, I think it's a more viable option to go with a business-related field still within sports. Right after graduating, I actually got my first job in Singapore, working in the national stadium, it's called the Singapore Sports Hub, but it's a complex of different sporting venues. And I was basically doing marketing and sponsorship for the different events, gathering sponsors, and speaking of different partners in order to organize events. And I pretty much stayed in that field for like a good three years. In the beginning of my career. I worked in Singapore for a year and moved to New York, worked for a sports marketing agency over here doing sponsorship valuation. And then I worked for a little bit more than a year at Paris Saint-Germain, which is a football club from Paris, arguably one of the biggest in Europe, by far the biggest in France. But yeah, I was doing sponsorship. So, my job was really different to what it is now at photography, like getting in touch with different sponsors and asking them whether do they want to be official sponsors of Paris Saint-Germain, which I guess actually it's in a way in the job that we do nowadays, like getting in touch with different brands and pitching something and discussing about rates and discussing about how we could work together on a specific project, on a campaign. It has somewhat of similarity, but again, a completely different field. And I was doing photography on the side just as a hobby and slowly started to pick up a little bit. And then I told myself, why not try this out and see whether it works? And I struggled a lot in the beginning, but with the trends of the past year and with the shifts of the interests of people and how they like to consume content on social media, I managed to shift stuff a little bit and make this my full time for now. I mean, I've been exploring it a little bit, the possibilities of what I can do on social media, what I can do with photography, and evaluating whether or not I want to pursue photography, or I want to stick to sports.
Pierre Lambert: That's fascinating how you’re actually changing from one to the other. And then again, where you're like, okay, I studied the science thing. This is cool. Do you ever miss the science part?
Jérôme Poirier: Not really in the sense that, I mean, I was good at it. I was a very math-driven person, my grades and math were good, my grades and literature were not good. I don't think I really miss it in the sense that I was good at it, but then it's not something that I would like to do for the rest of my career in my life. Like it's not very fun in a way, whereas like doing photography and being able to share my work on social media, being able to do what I do now and travel the world and work with cool brands out there. That is something that is fun to do. It's motivating. And I am to be stuck in an office or in a lab show, and I would enjoy that as much.
Pierre Lambert: From that’s speak, where I often overlook, oh, I miss science. And then you're like, well, I don't miss being stuck in an office or in a lab in the whole day.
Jérôme Poirier: Exactly. You were an engineer. So I don't know whether you have the same mindset regarding to that. Like if you're happy doing the content creation.
Pierre Lambert: I was the engineer. I just wanted to be on the field. I was like, yep, I'm going on the travel, no, I need to go see those people. I need to go on that project. Sorry, I can't stay here. It's been three weeks in the office. It's too much. That's also why I changed job. Right. If it was great for me, I wouldn't have changed after five years. But I've seen you do workouts in Tanzania when everyone was very asleep, and you were like, okay, okay, could I do my workouts? So yeah, you're definitely living the sports lifestyle. You're not just like holding the beer, which is a big difference for a lot of people. And what I notice is that you are also very quick at coming up with things when you're shooting. And I mean, I followed you on Instagram. We've been friends for a while now, and lately, you've had a very, very interesting growth around your photography or like the content you create. And I would love for you to explain a little bit what happened, what triggered that growth, and how does it translate nowadays? What did it change? And did it actually have an impact or not?
Jérôme Poirier: Yeah, absolutely. So, I started photography probably four years ago as I moved to New York City, like four or five years ago. And I kept doing photography because it was fun. I kept improving because, you know, I had this curiosity of trying to improve my craft and also discover in New York City. It was a medium for me to just like meet people, to discover the city, and to do something other than just like relax and not do anything on the weekend. So I was having a lot of fun doing that, and I kept posting consistently on Instagram, not because of, you know, but just because I wanted to, but in terms of number, like I wouldn't really see any result. Not that I was directly looking for a result, but if you keep posting consistently and your craft is improving, but then you're not noticing any difference in numbers, then you might start asking yourself, am I doing something wrong or like, you ask yourself some questions.
Pierre Lambert: Isn't Instagram supposed to be about photography?
Jérôme Poirier: Like I was keeping up with the consistency and the good quality of work, but that wasn't translating into any specific opportunities per se, simply because I feel like, sad to say this, but a lot of brands would look at numbers, and that would almost be their priorities, especially if it's agencies because agencies look at numbers and when they come back to their clients, they want to be able to say like, Hey, we generated this kind of numbers and it covered it this much, blah, blah. But I was doing photography for a good three, four years. And it was basically just me posting on social media without any opportunities per se. And then last year, during the pandemic, a terrible year for everyone. But for me, especially got my camera bag stolen $6,000 worth of camera gear. And I was basically left with nothing. But at that time of the year, Instagram launched reels, which, it's their competitive way to try to take down TikTok or to offer some sort of competition. And so I told myself, okay, Instagram just launched a new feature, might as well, just like jump on it. So I was like, repurposing my best performing TikTok. And I was just uploading them on reels. And at the same time, I was also creating new content specifically for reels. So I would call my friends and say, hey, let's go out. And it's just the reels, I brought a couple of concepts that I want to do. And to my surprise, right off the bat, it started hitting good numbers and actually numbers that would convert. And I was surprised because it launched in August 2020. And I was about 20-ish, 25K may be at that time on Instagram. And by the end of the year, I was at 40K. I was like, okay, cool. That's pretty amazing. Interesting. In a couple of months, I gained like 15, 20K, and then by January, it was at 50K and then by March I was at 70K by May, I reached 100K, and now I'm 150K. And so ever since reels launched, I jumped on the wave of that social media trend, I managed to completely change up my numbers on Instagram to match up a little bit more, the amount of work and effort that I'm putting in photography, in social media, which again, it's not all about the numbers, but it does help to put your work out there and to get recognized in a way by some brands. So to your question, what did they change? It's not all about the numbers, but it does give you much more opportunities. And unfortunately, to the eyes of the clients and agencies, people tend to look at you as, someone who has better work, even if your work is exactly the same between 20K a year ago and 150K now. I can confidently say that I am making a proper living right now for social media, which would I being a little bit more complicated? And I say a little bit more complicated because it's not impossible. If you have 20K to make a living out of photography, social media, but your ways of reaching out to people would be a little bit different in terms of sponsorships. You would probably need to do a little bit more of like a traditional type of photography work. But now that I have an outlet for social media, I feel like reaching out to people and getting noticed is a little bit easier. Charging a higher rate is also easier, obviously, because, you know, people tend to forget that 150,000 people it's one and a half times a big, big football stadium, which is huge. Like when you think about like a stadium that's fully packed, that's like 70, 80, a 100,000 people and companies will pay a lot for that advertising space. I mean, there is a difference between 20K and 150K a lot of people keep saying that it's not all about the numbers. Yes, it's not, but it does help a lot.
Pierre Lambert: It plays a role like ignoring it would be basically trying to be blind. It's like trying to close your eyes with the sun, hitting your eyes. You still see light come through, whether or not you want.
Jérôme Poirier: If I make the relationship with sports, when we would sell sponsorship packages to companies in order to become official sponsors of a sports team, one of the main drivers is the fact that we have eyeballs on the stream, whether it's inside the stadium or it's on TV like we would pull out a specific stat from data measurement companies that would tell you how many viewership they have from different markets. And depending on the type of markets that the company is trying to gain access to, or to have like a proper market share to gain a market share or to target a specific audience, you know, we would change our pitch deck to those companies. So, I mean, numbers is numbers. If you have viewership, that's the reason why sports is a big business. There's a lot of money in sports because there's viewership as long as there's a fan base and people who watch the games, there's always gonna be opportunities for brands to have their presence over there.
Pierre Lambert: Okay. There are like so many directions we can go here, but I wanna talk about that parallel because, especially if some of us are listening and might be in that space, how do you find it? Because you worked on those sponsorships with those sports clubs, do you feel that the creative’s creator space, influencer the space is valued properly when you compare it to the sports one, if you compare the eyeballs or like the type of people from your point of view, do you feel like it's being like sold like way too cheap? Or how does it feel to you?
Jérôme Poirier: I think in the United States, it's been very valid, which is why there are a lot more people making the proper living part of doing social media, whether that be on YouTube, on Instagram, or any other social media platforms, but outside of the United States. And I'm saying this because I'm comparing sort of like how companies are seeing social media and the opportunities in like Japan or in continental or Europe. I do sometimes feel like the United States might be the only country, if not, maybe the UK, where you can make a proper living on social media without having to have millions and millions of followers. Like when we think about the YouTubers in France, for example, we think about those people who are up on the list that have like at least a million, but immediately you think about the people like Cyprien and Norman who are the behemoth of YouTube and France. And you tend to tell yourself if you're not one of those, then you can't make a living out of social media, but in the United States, like there's not only, you can make a living without having a huge following, but you just have like different categories of people that can make a living out of doing stuff online. So I do think that the influencer industry and the creator industry is getting valued in the US is cashing up in other countries, but I'm not seeing the same speed, for example, in Japan where companies would not have the same budget or would not have the same vision in terms of what value someone online can provide.
Pierre Lambert: Yeah. And you have that lens because you are half-Japanese and you do go back to Japan. You have a bunch of friends in that space too. So you understand that landscape. It's fascinating because we always see those, at least in Europe, when they transfer players, you see like those crazy numbers like this guy signed a deal and was transferred and got a sponsorship from Turkish Airline or whatever, or a Boss or brand of watch, and you see the numbers, it's usually in the five to $30 million to all like euros. And you're like, what are those numbers? It's insane, you know? So there is a sports aspect, but also the branding aspect is crazy behind it and sponsorship.
Jérôme Poirier: Actually good example is Cristiano Ronaldo, which arguably is the most famous athlete in the world right now. An interesting stat is last year, he used to play for a team called Juventus in Italy. And his salary as a football player was something around like 30 million euros per year. But his revenue from endorsement on Instagram— only on Instagram, no other social media platform was 36 million. So he would get paid more from endorsements on Instagram, as opposed to his actual salary as a football player, which is incredible. I think a couple of years ago when he just reached a hundred million or 200 million on Instagram, he was charging at least a couple of million euros per post. Obviously, you know, this number matches the number of followers that he has because he has like something 30 million on Instagram right now, all social media platforms combined, he has more than 600 million, which is like double the population of the United States. And that's why when I was saying earlier that a lot of people don't understand the scale of what European football is showing all of my friends, this TikTok that I came across of the most-followed people on social media, like everything combined. And so obviously you have a lot of the Selena Gomez, the Justin Bieber, some of the other athletes on the top of the list. But just to give you an example, Justin Bieber has something around 400 million followers across all the platforms and the people who are like on the third, fourth, fifth place, they're pretty close to that 400 million but Ronaldo is number one with 600 million. So there isn't even a competition. A lot of people see Ronaldo as like the marketing machine that he is, it is kind of true, but that just…
Pierre Lambert: Yeah, he can retire from football. No problem.
Jérôme Poirier: For sure. That just shows you how one, the scale of European football is huge, but two also, you know, the scalability of social media and what you can do with a fan base is absolutely huge as well. Yeah.
Pierre Lambert: I think that's something we tend to forget. And that's where I feel like a lot of eyeballs go towards the sponsorships, but no matter what country you are in, even if you have an audience of a 1000, 5,000, 10,000 people, even if it's a small audience, but you're very niche and you have a business model behind it. And one of my guests was Sean Li on the podcast. You guys there are like links in the description. You can check it out. But he was saying how he actually built an automative lights brand, for like he had it for seven years with a partner and staff. They built all that. Their marketing channel was YouTube. They were putting out tutorials. They didn't care about how many views. They didn't care about subscribers, but the videos would be searched. They would be found through those mediums. And then people wanted the light bulb to change the light bulb on their car because they watched the tutorial on how to do it. Now you need the light bulb. Well, you purchase the light bulb from the guy who told you how to do it, you know? So no matter what kind of space you are in, it's always a good reminder because people feel sometimes like, I need to hit 200K to get there, but let's say you had 10K and you are really into the science of sport. And everyone who follows you is really nerdy around that. And you have some expertise. Then you have just as much value as if you had 300K with an audience that completely spread thin, you know, around the world.
Jérôme Poirier: Hundred percent. Yeah. If your audience is really dedicated and they follow you for one specific reason, and you're known for an expertise in a certain field, then you have much more trust from those people. And if you can, for example, when you're pitching a brand, instead of focusing on, oh, I have like this many followers, if you can provide value and explain properly that your audience is very dedicated to your craft and what you speak about, it would bring value because of this and that reason. And it would convert because of how dedicated your audience is. Then that is the added value. Instead of having a hundred thousand followers that are just half interested in what you're doing, like it's better to have a very smaller audience that knows you for what you are in the value that you provide.
Pierre Lambert: Absolutely. There is a good blog post called the 1000 True Fans. It's more like a little essay. I highly encourage anyone to read it. So it's basically a Marketing 101 excerpt, if you want because it just highlights how important it is to have that true fan base where it's not about how many it's about like how deep in a way. And we all see it. I mean, you go to a soccer game and you see the true fans. They're burning the stadium there because they're lost. Not that you want those kinds of fans, I'm telling you right away, because if you mess up, they'll come after you. But it shows like the depth and the dedication of some people around it. So what is your psychology behind reels? How did you think about it and why do you think it worked beyond the fact that Instagram is pushing it out there, obviously, what do you think, like good reels or good content on that space? Because I feel like it's getting shorter and shorter. Why do you think it works?
Jérôme Poirier: It's interesting because I do get a lot of questions from people asking me about how to improve their reels or a bunch of questions surrounding the process of creating a reel. And I think like there's like several factors that go into what makes a good reel or what makes a reel that has potential to reach an audience that's outside of yours. But I think the one most important aspect that people tend to overlook is to be able to understand people's psychology. And what I mean by that is there's a specific consumer behavior on what type of content people like to consume on what type of social media platform or what type of device. And so if you wrap your head around how to tell a story in a short, concise way, because short, concise because nowadays people's attention span is so short that people like to tend to scroll through social media. And if in the first couple of seconds, it's not interesting, then they're gonna scroll past. So understanding how to create a reel and tell your story in a very short, concise way, have a hook in the beginning, and provide value throughout your reel that's gonna convert into a better performing reel or something that's a little bit more compelling. And when I mentioned provide value, it doesn't necessarily mean it could mean a lot of stuff, it could mean like doing educational stuff so that people feel like, oh, I learned something from this reel, let me check out the other work that he has, or it might be entertainment. Some people do a lot of comedy and stuff like that. If you can make people laugh, if you can make people smile, there's a lot of people just doing jokes and sketch comedies on TikTok, on reels, on all those platforms. That's another added value. If you can inspire people to do whatever, for example, like pick up a camera and start doing photography or inspire people to go to a specific location, to shoot or inspire people to just get them like motivation in life or whatever it is. That's another added value. It's important to be able to figure out what type of value you want to provide to your audience, but also translating that message that you want to send into the most compelling story of your reels. And it's interesting that I use the word story because it's only like a 12 to 15-second video on social media. So can you really tell and talk about a story? My answer, I think is yes, because, throughout that 15 seconds, you would properly think about how you introduce your reel in the first one or two seconds, how to have that hook. And then, visually telling the story of the core of your reel. So, say, for example, I've got this, photography tips series going on on my reels. How do I make sure that my audience keeps watching past the first few seconds that I have like an intro saying photography tape part nine, this is how you do this. This is how you do that. So that first couple seconds people will be interested in keep watching. And then even visually afterward, I need to make it as short, but with as much information as possible so that people would keep watching all the way to the end and potentially share it with their friends and say, “Hey, look, I saw this interesting photography tip online. Let me share with you or let me save it for later in case I wanna do it as well, or replicate it.” So yeah, it's not easy, but understanding what would perform well and what would be received as like valuable information is important. I think that is more important than what people would tell you about like using the trending sounds or like jumping on trends because there's a lot of people jumping on trends, but they're just plainly jumping on trends as in, they're not bringing their own added craft to it and they don't customize it. They just copy-paste what everyone does. Yeah.
Pierre Lambert: It's like, oh, I'm a photographer. Ooh, this makeup trend is working. Let me do it, I totally understand what you mean.
Jérôme Poirier: The thing is sometimes on social media like you can just jump on trends and stay consistent and do what everyone else is doing. And you might get lucky. It might work because on social media, sometimes it does have that random effect where you don't know exactly.
Pierre Lambert: It's not random, it's the algorithm.
Jérôme Poirier: But for me, my formula is if you don't bring your own sauce to it, then nobody's gonna proper buy-in or nobody's gonna see you as a different person or a different branding. People are just gonna be, oh yeah, it's just another photography that does everything the same way that everyone else does.
Pierre Lambert: And it's so interesting because in a way it shows that we are trying to be the same as the thing that works yet. We want to be seen as unique, but we don't really match our words with our actions. You know? It's like, yeah, no, but I'm unique. You don't get me, but everything you put out is a copy.
Jérôme Poirier: I think that's another debate. I feel like we are always talking about how much a craft like, regardless of how unique it is. How much of that was partly inspired by something else.
Pierre Lambert: Everything.
Jérôme Poirier: I've got this post and say concept that I've been doing on my Instagram, which basically for the people listening, it's taking my phone, putting it on a mobile gimbal and putting that mobile gimbal on the tripod and extending that tripod high in the air and running around with that tripod which makes the footage look very smooth and still, and it almost makes it look like a drone, which is a thing that I've been using in locations like New York City or Tokyo where you can't use a drone, but I haven't seen anyone doing it the same way before I started doing. And also one of the reasons why I feel like this is my own craft is because there isn't that many people out there who can run full speed with a huge tripod extended in the air. And so maybe I'm using my athleticism to its full potential. I think that's one of the unique ideas that I came up with and that not many people are doing it out there, but it was partly inspired by some of the work that I've done with like other people before like, I didn't like fully come up with it, even though I still think that I'm the only one or maybe one of the only ones doing that out there. So uniqueness, but an idea that was born out of brainstorming from previous content and from other stuff that I've seen before, but brainstorming from that and then bringing in a whole new idea. So again, how new is it? It is new, but a mix of something else.
Pierre Lambert: It's always something that I don't think anyone should beat themself up. I think copying is a great teacher. And you can learn so much just from trying to do the same thing. And then you add your own little sauce because your experiences in life are really different from the other person. So you might think of a movie that no one thought about before that you want to integrate into that specific thing that you are trying and that's where it's beautiful and there's no shame in my opinion. Now, if you're copying another artist, like literally someone who was downloading my YouTube videos and reposting them on YouTube. It's not gonna work, you know?
Jérôme Poirier: That's just called theft. It's not a copy.
Pierre Lambert: It's called plagia. I don't know if it were taught in school but they would check that.
Jérôme Poirier: Yeah. I do. There are like specific platforms to see whether you've written the same exact thing as someone else. But I do agree with you when you say that copying is a good teacher because I think we all start doing that when we start in photography, for example, when you're still getting to learn how to use the manual mode on your camera. You have no idea how to maneuver that device. You just start following tutorials and then you start looking at other people's work online. And then in my case, for example, when I just moved to New York City and I wanted to learn photography, I would look on Instagram, the work of people that I inspired me and I would be like, okay, cool. Let me go to the same exact location around the same time of the day around sunset, for example, and try to take like the exact same photo and try to edit the exact same way. I wouldn't make it my own, but at least it would teach me how to edit a certain style and how to make a compelling composition. And I told myself if I saw that photo on Instagram and I told myself, “Oh, that's a code for I want to do the same.” That's already given me some sort of direction of what I'm interested in and what I like and what makes visually attractive imagery. And then once you start copying or replicating that thing and you learn that skill, then that's when you can translate that skill into something else that you come up with your own.
Pierre Lambert: Yeah. Absolutely. I'm gonna jump. What is next in terms of a platform for you? How do you call that? The Instagram reel. I feel like they kind of changed a little bit. It's still being pushed, but I feel like they toned it down a little bit, or there's just a lot more volume, which is what they wanted. Right? Which is what made Instagram.
Jérôme Poirier: Maybe. It's a little bit saturated. But it's interesting. I don't know, I guess what's the next platform or what's the next trend.
Pierre Lambert: You don't have eyes on anything different right now?
Jérôme Poirier: Not really. No. Whoa. I mean, the rise of NFTs recently has been something that has definitely been catching photographers' attention because it's another platform. If you can say that way, that allows you to have, for example, a source of income like or to put your work out there and to be able to sell it to collectors that would buy in your craft, based on social media platform. So in terms of having a presence out there, it's certainly different, but it's difficult to say what's the next platform, what's the next trend. It's important to be able to like keep up with the different movements and identify trends as early as possible. Yeah. I've seen the value a lot from people jumping on trends or people jumping on certain social media platforms early, it pays off. If you're one of the first ones in a specific field, you're gonna have the advantage.
Pierre Lambert: Yeah. I'm a hundred percent with you on that. Especially if you have time and you don't have a main platform yet, if there is a new feature, you should be a hundred percent all-in on that new feature and try to become the person to use it.
Jérôme Poirier: Actually, when I think of that, I do have a couple of people in mind that were very good in the past couple of years in identifying trends or just like jumping on something new as early as they see it. Sam Kolder, I think, was one of them with his specific style of editing. Once he started doing that, everyone started copying him when FPV was just coming out, Sam colder was one of the first ones to jump in style. Jacob, he's another person who I think is very good at being one of the first people to jump on stuff like Instagram, even on the schedule, he was one of the first people to be like a travel photographer. He was very early in the NFT game right now. And he seems like he's doing well. Well, I don't know from the inside, but from the outside, it looks like he's doing well. And even locations, like when there's a new location that opens like the Vessel a couple of years ago in New York, he was one of the first ones to go there. I think there's a strong value in being the first one to be able to identify a new trend because you never know about a trend until it becomes a trend and it's always too late.
Pierre Lambert: Yeah. It takes a lot of like observation and understanding a little bit how the market moves and it's okay to experiment. Like some of them won't work out, but when it does it, I think it pays off big. You mentioned a few names clearly that made a good practice. I would say to say the least.
Jérôme Poirier: That also reminds me of another interview that I was listening to from Sam Kolder and he was asked the question if you were to do the same thing today, would you have done it the same way or would you have seen the same results? I can't remember quote-unquote his words that he used, but he said something around the words of it would've been different or I would have done stuff differently. So, it's situational depending on the different trends that are going on in the era in a way, again, Sam Kolder, I think he was one of the people who were able to identify certain trends a couple of years ago and jumped on those and did his job like really well into crafting and visually telling a story.
Pierre Lambert: Yeah. But I was wondering if sometimes they do try to identify or sometimes they're just interested and it just works out, you know what I mean? Where it's like— it's not necessarily evil strategy behind it, not evil, but you know, like the guy masterminding it. But I think if you were into RC cars or planes and you started to see the rise of FPV and you are slightly into videography, you obviously would be one of the first. Now, are you one of the first to make it look good? That's a different story. But then one of the first, like Johnny FPV and stuff, the first ones that we're playing with those at the beginning, I remember those crazy videos, with the trains and stuff. I think it takes a lot. That's why sometimes you don't have to force the process if you're not interested in something, it doesn't matter. Sam Kolder is a good example, he's just passionate about creating and visuals basically.
Jérôme Poirier: Yeah, for sure. I don't think when Sam Kolder got into FPV, I don't think it was necessary because he identified that as a trend, I think it was much more like he saw that as a new tool to be able to tell a story in a different way like to be able to visually create something that was different to the regular drones or like just to regular cinematography. And he saw that as like, oh, cool. It's just a cool device that I can use in order to film stuff in a different way and not necessarily, oh, this is gonna be the next trend. But because he saw that as something that's different that is usable in order to bring something different to his craft, he started using that. And then I think that paid off.
Pierre Lambert: For sure. And he defined a genre in a way because when you are still early, you're the figure that everyone looks at for it. I've been surprised I haven't seen him jump on any reel stuff at all. I feel like it appeals not to everyone. Also the very, very short form personally.
Jérôme Poirier: Maybe. Cause he's known for a lot of like more cinematic stuff, even though he did upload like a reel of him doing like a double backflip of a map of a ship and that got a few million views. But I don't think he was intending to try to create, I mean, he just does like epic stuff and for him, he just wants to upload whatever stuff and people would love it about.
Pierre Lambert: Yeah, that's true. Yeah. The acro yoga video when they were in Mexico that got so many views, it was insane. Yeah. Think it was 13 million in two days. A little bit like one of your real, one of your reels went crazy.
Jérôme Poirier: Yeah. Yeah. It did. I feel like when reels first launch though, like having I think they got 40 plus million views on that reel. I think that number was way more aggressive than if you get 40 million. I mean, if you get 40 million now it's very impressive. But I do see a good number of people getting those kinds of numbers. Whereas in the beginning, I wouldn't see anyone. Yeah, no, I did have myself as well, like a couple of reels that went viral with more than couple million views.
Pierre Lambert: Which explains the growth, right?
Jérôme Poirier: Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. If that one reel that got me 13 million views, converted into 20,000 followers in one go, I had a couple of other like post and say stuff that got like three views or 4 million views. And that combined with those two reels generated like 20 million new followers as well. So, the consistency in the numbers that I've been generating has been converting into the new numbers, which, coming back to what we're discussing, like it did change my career, to be honest.
Pierre Lambert: Yeah. We've seen people who had life-changing experiences, whether it's with reels or NFTs and I'll bring a few guests from that space soon. So, for you guys to listen and explore a little bit that space, but again, it's almost like investing, you don't wanna invest now that people made it, you want to look for the next thing that's gonna come up and be prepared for the next one. So you can play with that one with the reels. But if there is something called deals next time, you wanna be the first one on deals and get that boost because the platform is trying to push a feature. And so they will do anything possible to shove it up to people's throats, even if they don't want it.
Jérôme Poirier: Especially if there's competition, especially case reels, and TikTok.
Pierre Lambert: I tried doing the IGTV, it just, didn't never work. They were not able to push it as much.
Jérôme Poirier: Instagram has a history of testing out different features and some of them succeeding like Instagram stories or reels, for example, which were competitions to Snapchat and TikTok. But they also do have a history of bringing in new features that completely didn't work. IGTV was one of them. I think the shopping feature on Instagram is one of them, even though from a business standpoint like it does make sense to have a shopping feature on Instagram because a lot of people make purchasing decisions out of seeing stuff on social media more and more nowadays. And so offering that outlet for people who want to buy like new clothes or who want to buy prints or whatever it is, it doesn't make sense on Instagram. There's a market for that.
Pierre Lambert: Yeah. But it’s funny when you see like YouTube trying to copy and trying to do their own version of the same thing and trying to push it so hard. I'm like, no, it's just not going. We're going to jump back towards the sports field. I'm curious. Do you feel like based on those different experiences, you feel like you would be able to integrate your learnings and that photography and influence their space and integrate that into almost a new job you would create in that space for let's say your sports team or something?
Jérôme Poirier: I wouldn't necessarily create a new job if I am to go back into sports and continue doing social media and content creation, I think, there's definitely a huge space for that because nowadays every single sports team is putting a lot of effort into having a proper digital division. And within the digital division, they have a social media team. A lot of the teams out there have quite a number of people working just on social media because you know, it's huge when you have a huge audience and you have different platforms and you have to have different people creating a different type of content for those specific platforms that require a lot of manpower and just like workforce in a way of a number of people and people who are specified in different fields. So I don't think it would create like a new job, but I would definitely be able to transfer the skills that I learned from doing social media and building my own brand out there into doing social media and creating content in the sports field.
Pierre Lambert: Would you like to do so? Or would you feel like, “Oh, now I build my own, I don't want to build someone else?”
Jérôme Poirier: Well, sports is my biggest passion. So I would always go back into sports if I could. Now, the reason why I'm saying that I have a dilemma between like going back into sports and doing social media on my own is because when you work in a sports environment, you are working in the corporate environment. And so you are almost like stuck in that corporate ladder and industry standards, whatever your position is, whether you're an intern, associate manager, managing director, you're always going to be pretty much stuck to that industry standards salary for example, and for our social media, it's way more scalable to the next level. And the reason why like I'm saying that it's a dilemma is because he has to be able to make a living in life. It's supported to have a comfortable salary but some of my friends are telling me, “Would you still go back into sports knowing that you can make so much more on social media?” And the answer is yes, because if I am able to work for a big sports team, just like I was able to for Paris Saint-Germain that has so much more of a value for me in my life, whether that be like a sentiment value, a value of belonging to a group, belonging to like a family that's working towards something being immersed in a world that you are absolutely passionate about. If I am to work for a big team, again, I absolutely would, regardless of whether or not I can make so much more on social media. I wouldn't say, I don't care about making a lot of money on social media because I mean, it is important to make a living. As sports provide, at least for people who are passionate, it provides something that's a little bit different in terms of the sentimental value and the feeling of belonging somewhere.
Pierre Lambert: Yeah. And when it comes to making money nothing replaces it being happy anyway.
Jérôme Poirier: Yeah, yeah, exactly.
Pierre Lambert: It’s like, go back to social media, but do something you are half into, or maybe you are into it, but not fully. And now look at this passion you've always had, you'll make less money, but every single day you'll be like pumped and you'll only need to be on Instagram to see the player they'll be in front of your face.
Jérôme Poirier: Exactly. I mean, don't get me wrong. What I'm doing the social media right now, I love it. I love the creative process. I love meeting people. I love being able to travel the world and see beautiful destinations and have the honor to work with so many different, huge brands out there. But I also did absolutely love being immersed in the football world when I was working in Paris and being in this stadium all the time, feeling like I was part of like a specific project meeting the players as well. And just being in that environment that I absolutely loved it as well. So it's a good dilemma to have in between two stuff that I love. One being sports and the other one being creating content on social media.
Pierre Lambert: How can you blend those with your own personal brand?
Jérôme Poirier: I'm trying to figure that out as well. A lot of people told me why don't you do sports photography, for example, I'm not sure whether mixing sports and photography would be what I want to do specifically.
Pierre Lambert: No, not sports photography, sports social media photography influencer stuff. Let's say you take a pulse sensei and you run through the field in the middle of a game.
Jérôme Poirier: I wouldn't risk the legal implication for that.
Pierre Lambert: Yeah. It'd be really hard to get through the field, anyway.
Jérôme Poirier: I am planning and hoping that I can go back to Paris within before May, for example, to go back to Paris, I'm still in touch with my former colleagues and hopefully I'll be able to get pitch by the access and to shoot more for fun, but amazing. I've done that once before. It's amazing being like pitch side and being really on the field, looking at what are the possibilities a decent way just being on the field and telling yourself, okay, cool. I've got access to this location that not many people have access to. What can I do with this? And just being in that creative mindset.
Pierre Lambert: Yeah. Because we're gonna brainstorm here a little bit guys, but I think you also have the possibility to just because of how media shifted to becoming a spokesperson for a certain field. You don't have to be the PSG team or team digital social media person, but suddenly you can also be the guy that reports those news just like old media would report to their outlet, but you are able to report it through your own channels. And if you bring some uniqueness to that or something special, I think there is a massive amount of opportunities there, you know, like, you almost become the new commentators, but so you can almost become that person for the social media world where our generation, that it might be consuming more through social media instead of looking at the traditional just outlets, they'll be like, “Hey, I want to know from Jérôme how that game was or what was there or what he created during that game and what happened?”
Jérôme Poirier: Yeah, for sure. There are actually a lot of creators influencers in the field of football or sports. And in general, who actively get invited to big sporting events in order to document the experience from their perspective. And sometimes they do also get the opportunity to create content with the actual players as well. I think all the teams out there, whether that be European football teams will also be here in the United States with basketball teams and American football teams. They're really putting effort into making that connection because sometimes the creators, the influencers, they might be the bridge to be able to bridge this gap between a certain audience and a sports team. So, sports teams are definitely using that space in order to try to explore the different possibilities and whether or not they can bring in a new fan base or like they can create a different type of content to differentiate themselves. Yeah. There are a lot of opportunities out there.
Pierre Lambert: I'm excited. So yeah, I feel like you don't necessarily need to work for the one person or the one team you can actually, especially now you have your own experience. You could almost build your own thing in that space and be that, Jérôme's invited everywhere and it's with every player, you know? Oh no, we need to have Jérôme because X, Y has that reason, you know.
Jérôme Poirier: Very fun.
Pierre Lambert: Yeah. I think it could be because then you're still in the space, but at the end of the day, it's interesting actually, to talk to you when you're in that transition and then we can see what happens in the next five years and what you decided to go for and how it will move.
Jérôme Poirier: Yeah, for sure. This will be like a good log. Maybe in five years, I'm gonna listen again to this podcast and then was like, wow, five years ago, I was at that space. And I was thinking about that now stuff are completely different or now it's just, I'm still doing the same thing.
Pierre Lambert: Now you're a metaverse football player in the metaverse. Well, have you thought about that a little bit, the virtual worlds in the metaverse, or are you someone who's like I'm too grounded in the physical one?
Jérôme Poirier: I don't know. Generally, I just take stuff as it goes, and I'm not trying to think too much ahead. It's a bore to be able to anticipate and to plan in advance, but at the moment, I'm also trying to like focus on how I can improve my current situation in a way, like whether that be working on my social media, working on my actual photography or explore different or near-future opportunities out there that may arise.
Pierre Lambert: I see. I was imagining, I don't know if you've seen Ready Player One, highly recommend you to watch that one. It's a little bit of a lens into the future in a way of how maybe the virtual world integrates into daily life with the real world and how people are making a living in a full life, in a virtual space, and then coming back to real life. And that is merged, it's translated, you're not making, I don't know, FIFA coins, suddenly, your FIFA coins can be translated to the US or whatever currency is being used in this physical world. So it's very interesting. I highly recommend that movie, it's fun to watch.
Jérôme Poirier: This is a little bit related, but since you mentioned virtual stuff, did you know that there are virtual influencers as in people on Instagram for example that are posting content, they're not real people. They're like hit CGI and like just literally virtual people. They're not real, but they're posting content as if going around and posting like lifestyle stuff or stuff like that. And they have hundreds and thousands of followers. They're not real people. It's just CGI and virtual influencers. And a couple of them, some companies that manage those virtual influencers are trying to properly create the story around it and create like a relationship situation between two virtual influencers and people in the comments are just going crazy for that. They're like, oh my God, I didn't know this would happen, blah, blah. It's all, not real life.
Pierre Lambert: I've heard of it. I never looked into it. That's fascinating.
Jérôme Poirier: I'll send you a couple of links. It's fascinating how people are so engaged into the lives of not real people. It's incredible.
Pierre Lambert: Well, there is one of the, I think it's, Google's supercomputer AI couldn't remember, what is it called deep? I can't remember the name, but you can actually have it write articles for you. You just tell them what kind of topic. And then it, because it read the whole internet, it can like produce a whole piece or speech or whatever, like completely. And that sounds like a human wrote it, it sounds good also. So I imagine your virtual influencer and now you plug it into that. And the machine is just creating stories and people are just like really into it. They're like, oh my God, look at what happened. Basically, you imagine you have the machine learning program that read all the posts that were on social media and all the photos and then gathered the information, which one got the most engagement. And what would the keys, what was the wording? What was it about, et cetera. And then they basically crunched that and posted on those.
Jérôme Poirier: I mean, it's almost scary.
Pierre Lambert: It's scary. It's almost scary. It's almost scary if you on something else that's right here now can be scary. Is now when you edit podcasts, you can actually just see your transcript version, delete the words that I don't want to delete the audio automatically. So I'm like, “Oh, I don't want that word. So it deletes all the words in that transcript and it automatically does that in the audio file.” And if I want to replace the word with something else, if I train my voice, I can replace it. I don't know if I said chicken, I wanted to say, baby, I can replace the word chicken I type baby instead. And it's gonna read baby in my voice.
Jérôme Poirier: Oh my God. That is scary.
Pierre Lambert: Deepfakes.
Jérôme Poirier: Scary. Yeah. Deepfakes. I was thinking about that. Deepfakes are very scary.
Pierre Lambert: That's what scares me about having so much YouTube content out there in voice. You can create a replica of me, a virtual one, and have it literally and post whatever. Almost hopefully no one listening to that is creepy enough to go after me. So thank you guys for your love. Okay. We going to not make it too creepy, but yeah, it's something you think about. And I was hearing on a different podcast with Eric Schmidt, who is someone working at Google from almost the beginning, helping the company grow and doing a lot of if I understand well, like technology strategy and development, and what they were saying is that they are able now to create conversations between dead figures because they have enough content about a dead person. For example, like let's say a famous writer or famous journalist who was asking questions like the program would ingest all that information and then would be able to replicate how he would speak, how he would ask questions. And you do that with two people and you create the dialogue between dead people, basically.
Jérôme Poirier: Wow. That's so scary technology
Pierre Lambert: Technology, fascinating word. Jérôme, I want to be mindful of your time. I want to thank you a lot. So I have a few questions that we can part on. The first one is like what gear has most impacted your maybe one year life going back one year, and that is not too expensive. Was there a piece of gear that you really think about and it can be in any domain that doesn't have to be photography?
Jérôme Poirier: Interesting. Well, I'm not sure whether there's one piece of gear that really changed everything. I do think my current A7III body, I know you said, something that's not too expensive, it's just under $2000, but I think, we hear a lot of people mentioning about switching to Sony. For me, switching to Sony did change up my gear, my contents, because I shoot a lot of stuff in low lights at blue hour sunset in the harsh life conditions. And Sony is known for their ISO performance and their low light capability, their dynamic range as well. So yeah, if I am to name one piece of content that changed my work was having this Sony A7III and I was lucky enough to have my hands on the A7IV when you and I were in New York. But I plan to switch to that one as well.
Pierre Lambert: Oh yeah. Did you preorder?
Jérôme Poirier: I didn't pre-order it yet, but I probably should.
Pierre Lambert: You should, because it's going take a while.
Jérôme Poirier: Yeah. I just don't know where I'm gonna be when it comes out. I'm probably gonna be in Japan. And then after that, I might be somewhere else.
Pierre Lambert: Yeah. I mean, if it's like there’s this three, it takes a while to ship because even though it's three is still backlogged, so yeah. We'll see. Okay, that's cool. And what would be the one piece of advice you would give for a parent with a kid trying to really get into that social media, slash photography, creative space? It doesn't have to be photography, but what piece of advice would you give it? You could give it to your own parents. Imagine if you were younger.
Jérôme Poirier: A couple of years ago, actually I heard someone saying that they want to be an influencer. And I told myself, I think that's a bad mindset to have, you don't want to be an influencer. You want to potentially be known for a specific craft or something like a skill set that you have. So, if you want to be known for your photography work, then like focus on working on your photography work and then maybe potentially use social media as an outlet to put your work out there. But if you are a parent and your kid is interested in something that's related to social media, make sure to tell them to focus on that piece of craft, to that piece of work. If they're doing sketch comedy, then like focus on sketch comedy. Don't focus on trying to do something that's mediocre and trying to get visibility through social media. Work on your craft. And if your craft is good, then people would see it and recognize it rather than focusing too much on numbers or on who's following you or on the feedback that you're getting. As long as you are focusing on the craft, and you're improving your craft, then you can see the results.
Pierre Lambert: I think that's a great message. That's actually really good. Yeah. Because a lot of we hear it like YouTuber is job number one now for teenagers or like TikTok, maybe it's changed now it means nothing. You know, like you want to be a car light changing YouTuber or do you want to be a sport guy? Or what exactly is it about, do you want to throw balls at people, could be so many things. So, great. Yeah. I love that one. I'm right. I'm pinning it down. Thank you so much, Jérôme. What do you want to send them over?
Jérôme Poirier: I'm gonna keep it simple. Instagram. My handle is @Jérômetraveller, traveller with two Ls because I created my account when I was living in the UK, so spelled the British way: @Jérômetraveller and yeah, I mean, I do have other platforms as well, but Instagram is my main outlet, so I'm just going to keep it simple.
Pierre Lambert: Cool. Awesome. Thank you so much, Jérôme,
Jérôme Poirier: Thanks to you, Pierre. It was a pleasure being on this podcast and having this very deep conversation about social media, about photography, about all this stuff that's surrounding the topic.
Pierre Lambert: Thank you, bye!