Now we’ve been through the main social media channels out there, it’s time to get down to how you really want to be using them, what the best strategy is and how you can optimise the time you spend on social media to get the best results you can possibly get.
Step one is research!
There are a few points you’ll want to look into before you get to work, the first is your target audience. As a creative, there’ll be two main reasons that you’re using social media:
- To find potential work
- To showcase your best work
Ultimately, you can use (b) to better achieve (a), meaning your overall strategy which complies with the two reasons can be merged into one. The key to a solid social media strategy is understanding your target audience, what will catch their eye across the platforms and how or what you need to do in order to reach them.
The best way to understand how to reach your target audience is to first define what kind of work you want to do. Is it wedding videography in the UK, is it online animation ads for startups, freelance PD for factual TV, or something totally different?
Who needs to profit from your skills: corporate businesses (micro, small, medium or large), or production companies (film, TV or photography), or maybe something else? Put yourselves in their shoes, study their channels and see what content they’re sharing and interacting with. Also, take a look at their website or online presence and identify what it is you can offer to add value.
Also, it may be worth taking a look at your competition to find some ideas, but don’t put full focus on them, rather focus on what you’re trying to achieve.
A valuable part of targeting any social media user is fully taking advantage of #hashtags. If you haven’t come across hashtags before then, they’re tags you add to your posts which make your content travel further. Hashtags vary from very generic names with a huge number of related posts to very specific hashtags with a much lower number of associated posts. Here are two useful links on how to use hashtags:
If we took some Instagram hashtags for example:
Check out Hashtagify for hashtag research!
The third consideration when reaching out to your audience is the time which you should be posting to maximise your posts reach. Social media platforms tend to have heavy traffic during 3 parts of the day, the morning commute, lunchtime and throughout the evening. The key is to make sure that your content is being distributed to get into one of these spots of high traffic.
General advice for social media platforms across the board is to post at (approximately) the following times:
- Monday to Friday – 7.30am // Midday // 5pm
- Saturday & Sunday – 11.30am // 3.30pm
Step two is to make the most of scheduling tools and start to build a presence!
Now you understand how to reach your target audience, the hashtags you want to be using plus the best times to post, it’s time to get yourself set up with a scheduling tool or two.
Scheduling posts may be the first step to generating some interest through your channels!
Step three, engage with your audience.
By now your posts should have started to pick up a few likes here and there, plus a couple of comments or shares. We’ve compiled a couple of hacks for a few of the top channels below.
Facebook, unfortunately, can be a bit of a slow burner when it comes to growth. However, you can speed this up by inviting as many people as possible to like your page in its early stages. Once you’re getting some interaction you can reach out to these people directly from your page, a great way to build relationships.
Twitter can showcase growth if you’re active and interactive, following other creatives, companies and individuals. Responding to tweets, messaging or thanking users interacting with your posts is another quickfire way to make a name for yourself in the community.
Similarly to Twitter, Instagram is a channel which when used efficiently can grow very quickly. Comparable tactics apply such as following, interacting with and complementing similar accounts on a frequent basis to put your name out there, then when posting quality content coupled with highly optimised hashtags! Here are a couple of them which I like to visit regularly: @onlyfilmmaker @camp4collective
Groups, pages and communities
Social media channels, particularly Facebook and LinkedIn, are home to thousands upon thousands of groups and pages of already existing communities. To find these groups, simply search on the platform for groups associated with keywords of interest and see what comes in your direction! Here are a few examples:
Most groups like the above require you to request to join. However, once you’re in, you’re privy to insights, questions, tips and more from a huge network of people. You always learn to crawl before you walk, so start with some gentle interactions, present yourself, offer your opinion on matters and give advice. The more you do this, the more recognised your name will become and the more credible your opinion will turn out to be – obviously with good intentions and genuine help (BS won’t take you far).
I’d also recommend you to explore niche groups and communities that you might want to integrate if your interests are industry-focused (say you’re a drama soundie, skateboard photographer, wildlife PD…).
We’ve touched on a few key aspects to your social media strategy, a few must-dos and I expect some must-nots! Here are your key takeaways:
- Know your audience and how to reach them.
- Understand the power of hashtags and posting times.
- Share good quality content!
- Build your social presence.
- Interact with your audience!
- Find pre-existing communities and be active within them.