Image by Paola Peralta, via Wikimedia Commons.
By now you should know how to set up your social media accounts and who your target audience is. But once you’ve created that Facebook page or Tumblr blog, your presence needs to be more than just your film’s teaser or a selection of production stills.
A good rule of thumb to follow is the 80-20 rule of social media sharing: 80% of your posts should connect to interesting content that’s applicable to your audience—this sparks the magic “engagement” that most marketing folks talk about (more on that in the third part of this series). The remaining 20% should focus on promoting your project.
Here are a few suggestions on how to populate your pages to keep your followers engaged and coming back:
- Be an authority. Talk about what you know best and share related info with your followers. You’ll garner more retweets and likes if you regularly post information that they find useful. When I worked on a financial program for PBS, I would share company research, updates from recent guests, and articles from leading financial blogs and other reliable sources. Reliable sources are key—if you’re consistently doling out trustworthy advice, you solidify your status as an influencer in your field.
- Be authentic. Don’t be afraid to occasionally talk about yourself and the trials and tribulations of your project. It’s personality that really endears your social media followers to you. If you’re posting for an anchor or TV personality, as I did, check in with them regularly to see if there’s anything non-work-related that they would like to share—lunch dates with fellow industry leaders, for example, and interesting takeaways from those lunches. You can also share holiday wishes with your followers or congratulatory remarks to people sharing good news on your feed. And remember that everyone loves photos—share them!
- Post often. It’s an unfortunate fact that a single Tweet or Facebook update can get lost in an overpopulated news feed. Visibility, without compromising quality, is important. With the 80-20 rule in mind, a Twitter user can easily retweet a few interesting posts throughout the day. If you run a blog, you can contract out or share existing content. Many content creators are happy to have their work shared (and properly credited, of course) on other sites. If your original content doesn’t draw much attention when you initially post it, don’t be afraid to repost once more later in the day with a “in case you missed it” note. Making time to regularly update your accounts leads me to my next point:
- Use time hacks if you can. Save yourself from stress and information overload (I’ve been there!) with some time hacks, especially if you’re just one person managing several social media platforms. If it makes sense for your content, connect your Twitter/Facebook/Instagram accounts so that you can log in to just one account at a time and crosspost your content. Use a tool like TweetDeck to schedule posts throughout the day and monitor who shares them, all from the same display. Buzzfeed recently shared its own list of social media hacks that’s worth a read.
- Most importantly, engage your audience. Even on my busiest days at work, I always made time to like comments on Facebook or retweet someone’s positive feedback about the show. People love being acknowledged, so don’t underestimate the power of a simple thank you. Pro tip: If you’re posting lots of images, visit http://pinterest.com/source/domain.com, replacing “domain.com” with your website domain. You’ll see who is pinning your content and you can thank them for sharing.
Embrace dialogue—it’s the essence of social media. Consistently respond to both positive and negative feedback in a thoughtful way. Spark conversations by asking questions at the end of your blog posts or when retweeting an article. And if you can, get interactive with your audience. Setting up a Google Hangout is a great way to introduce your team to the public, as are live chats (I’ve used CoverItLive for chats, but there are many platforms out there). You can also live-tweet panel discussions to followers that are unable to attend a conference.
In the last post of this three-part series, we’ll go over how to measure all your hard work.
Teresa is a freelance broadcast and content producer who moonlights in social media management.