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Part 5: social media

Here are 12 tips for doing social media right.

Tips

These tips have been adapted from the 2014 Digital Marketing Guide by Anthony Britten (Playmaker Digital).

  • Start early: The sooner you start engaging in the social media space the better. An established and engaged fanbase is a powerful thing but it takes times to build a community. Even if you are in the pre-production phase, set up your social media presence and share your production journey.

  • Less is more: Focus on the social media channels that best suit your production but don’t try and have a presence on every single one. Social media is resource intensive and managing too many channels is counterproductive. You can also investigate social media management tools like Hootsuite or Sprout Social, but each channel should be posting different content.
  • Pick your time: All social media platforms have analytics that show you the peak windows where fans are interacting with your content so use that data to inform your strategy. In general, most people are active on social media when they’re commuting, at lunch and at night. Be conscious of what you post in relation to time e.g. if you drop a video on YouTube at night, that gives the person the choice to watch it on their phone or on their TV at home, without having to worry about finding their headphones.
  • Be social: It’s called social media for a reason – remember to interact with your fans, answer their questions, and ask them questions! Don’t feed the trolls and if someone is being genuinely abusive, block them.

"Social media can not only deliver a fan base, but translate to views and eventually revenue. Getting your social strategy right is integral to your success as an online content creator." – Anthony Britten, Playmaker Digital

  • Bank content (assets): It’s a tired expression but ‘content is king’ and you’re a content creator. If you are in the production phase, try and hold on to bonus behind-the-scenes materials that you will be able to use further down the track to market your original. And if you are in a position to create bespoke content for social media then do so! Keep your profiles fresh by rotating profile and header images at every 4-6 weeks.
  • Maintain tone of voice: Ensure your tone of voice is consistent across all your social media channels and that it represents your title accurately. Fun fact: Aunty Donna rotates which team member is responsible for their social media every week.
  • Follow and engage media influencers: Identify and follow the personalities and companies relevant to your production. That includes influential journalists, bloggers and other creators. ‘Like’, ‘retweet’ and ‘share’ anything they have to say which is relevant to your audience, and engage with them directly and interact when appropriate. US YouTube superstar Colleen Ballinger launched her career by cleverly interacting with people as her alter ego Miranda Sings on social media.
  • Regulate self-promotion: Your audience has signed up to hear from you, but they don’t want to be spammed by you! Regulate how often you post and don’t just post about your title. Post about the topics your audience is likely to be interested in that might directly or indirectly relate to your content. Be genuine at all times.

  • Leverage talent: If you have established talent attached to your project who have an influential social media presence, you should look to capitalise on this. Encourage talent to share key content, photos and news from your production. This is a great way to attract new followers to your community and tap into an already active fan base who are likely to want to engage with your production. This follows on from the cross-promotion tips mentioned earlier.
  • Create shareable content: This includes everything from .gifs to memes to extracts to Snapchat filters to custom content.

  • Understand best practice and latest trends: Social media platforms are changing every month, constantly adding new features whilst others go out of favour completely (MySpace anyone?). Keep up with the latest social media trends by following as many like-minded titles and creators as possible to watch what they’re doing. Marketing industry publications like Mumbrella and Media Week also report on trends.

Most social media platforms do not provide 100% organic reach, meaning just because you post something, doesn’t mean all your fans will see it. The way around this is to ‘boost’ aka use sponsored posts explained previously. However the aim of the game is still to create highly engaging posts that drive up your organic reach. Use boosted posts sparingly and test different styles of posts to see what performs best before committing further investment.

Platforms

Your choices of social media platform will constantly evolve, but the big ones (as of August 2017) are listed below. Remember that although Australian audiences may be your initial focus, always consider what platforms overseas markets are using e.g. most of the audience for Aussie series Starting from Now are actually from the US. Also consider what specific audiences are using, for instance if your content would appeal to Chinese-Australians, consider Weibo.

  • Facebook: Over 16 million Aussies are on the platform so it’s hard to avoid. Note the Facebook feed preferences video posted natively on its own platform (as opposed to YouTube links, Vimeo etc). Excellent tagging and comment features make Facebook a fan favourite, although hashtags are still not widely used. A modest amount of posts are considered good etiquette, around 1-2 a day.
  • Instagram: Owned by Facebook, image service Instagram has a local following of 5 million users. It also includes video and Snapchat-like ‘Stories.’ There is a focus on imagery/video being curated and of a high quality. Instagram has the advantage of discoverability through hashtag use and by the service recommending similar content on the home screen.
  • Snapchat: Squarely aimed at the younger audience, Snapchat has over 4 million users in Australia. Snapchat is not broadcasting like a public Instagram account, as on Snapchat you need to sign up to follow a user – you can’t browse their account without doing so. Best known for its filters, Snapchat is good for disseminating instant news/messages to fans, but not as a destination for long-form video. You can post often, but if you’re replicating content for Instagram Stories consider whether you really need both.
  • Twitter: The 140 character limit has not stopped Twitter remaining a favourite for those commenting on live events (especially TV) and sharing news, thanks to its now decade-old #Hashtag format. Native video is limited to 2min 20seconds at a maximum of 720HD, so you’re more likely to use it to tease content and for cross-promotion, rather than it being the home of your content. Twitter might be small in Australia (around 3 million users a month), but it’s still big in the U.S. and lots of actors maintain a large presence, which comes in handy for cross-promotion. More frequent posts are acceptable on Twitter (1-4 a day).
  • YouTube: Facebook may be nipping at its video heels, but when it comes to a destination for screen content, YouTube reigns supreme with over 15 million Aussies using it every month. Although it probably won’t make you rich, YouTube has the advantage of allowing original creators to share in ad revenue, making it an enticing prospect for housing video. Your fans are also able to subscribe to your channel and get notifications of new content. YouTube is also owned by Google, meaning your videos are easily found on that particular search engine if you’ve tagged them correctly. YouTube videos can be embedded on basically any website or social network, meaning other people can share your content without having to post it natively.
  • Vimeo: Sometimes considered the ‘pretty YouTube', Vimeo has no distracting ads if you have a paid account and a much smaller, but devoted viewing community. Vimeo is often used for screeners (viewing link) because they can be password protected and you can replace the file without the link changing. Vimeo On Demand also lets you sell content for a set retail price.

Other sites to be aware of include blogging sites Tumblr, image site Pinterest, news aggregator Reddit (the platform behind many a viral hit!) and LinkedIn which is mainly for professional profiles of cast/creatives.


This guide is aimed at Australian online creators and is for educational purposes only, and does not replace professional advice. The guide cannot be replicated without written permission.