social media: taking the internet by storm
Social media. My little love hate relationship. It is essential for running a business and can bring in many new audiences that you wouldn’t normal reach… but wow is it time consuming! Thinking up new ideas to post, especially when you are not in the midst of a show can be draining. Which is why we have dropped off for the last few months. As I start a plan to get us back into the swing of things for what will be a busy end of the year, I thought I would reflect on some of the tips and tricks that I have learnt to help engage with people and free up time. I am by no means a whizz at this, but from one baby social media poster to another, these tips might help.
- Hashtags. To truly engage with people takes a lot of time. At first I used this tip below in a very cynical way, by only thinking about bumping up followers, and it killed me. It made me hate social media, but then I learned: if you are truly doing this tip to make connections, support and make people feel good about themselves then it makes this a very easy thing to do…
Have a bank of hashtags that you use on every post. I always use the same five around the theme of theatre and then add on a few more specific to that post. About five minutes before you publish your post, search for the hashtags you have used. Like and comment on the posts of the people using this hashtag, this way, when they look who has liked their stuff they will see your post about a similar topic and will be more likely to engage back and follow you. I also recommend doing the same thing five minutes after your post is up. Like I said, use this in a loving way and not a cynical one. Use it as if making a new fwend.
- Questions? Questions help engage more people and get replies, in turn this will boost how many people will see the post. Every now and then popping out quizzes and questions will give a surge in clicks to your page. I love to use the polling options on the stories section, it is an easy way to make your account fun and accessible.
- The perfect time to post. Each account will have a peak time to post. A time where the majority of your followers will be online and engaged. You can check which posts have received the most likes and what times you have posted them through your social media apps. You will likely start to see a pattern emerge. If you are just starting out, I would recommend searching on a browser “When to post on Instagram” and clicking on the images search. A graph will pop up of when people are online. You can then use this to post just before the peak times and figure out optimal days.
When I was experimenting with content frequency, there was a time when I posted things for a few days straight. People got bored. Engagement went down although effort and content was up. Don’t be afraid to have pauses as long as you come back with something strong to say… and don’t disappear for months like we just did. It’s going to be a slog to get going again!
I found the times I get the most consistent engagement is when I have posted Wednesdays and Fridays consistently every week. This gives enough breathing space in between and utilises the data on our social media apps.
- Who is this for? Every time you create content ask who you are posting for. Are you just promoting yourself/company, or are you trying to benefit others in some way. I read once that 20% of your posts can be self promotional and the other 80% should be for others. "Others" includes sharing others' work and building a community, through to putting up silly post and sharing tips. Just anything that will benefit your circle or readers. I have always tried to use this model and it feels good to follow.
- Don’t be afraid to engage. Make sure you are commenting and replying to people. Everyone likes a nice comment and it goes a long way!
- Marketing Apps. This saves so much time! I highly recommend using an app/site that can schedule social media posts. My free favourite is Buffer and my paid favourite is Hootsuite, but of course you can use any that floats your boat. It cuts out a lot of stress. This way you can dedicate a few hours to social media a week and step away from it the rest of the time. I have found using these apps creates a better work/life/social media balance. They’re also very user friendly!
Now let us all go forth and take the internet by storm! Let us know what you get up to and we will make sure to comment on your posts.