Updated: Sep 18
In case you didn't already know, social media - is a truly fickle beast. I'd been perusing Facebook at some point the other day when I came across a post in one of the many Podcast groups that I am a member of. While there are a lot of truly helpful people attached to these groups, they're also seemingly filled with self-proclaimed experts who pretend to know all the answers to every question being asked! It's comical to be blunt; however could be devastating to the careers of budding young entertainers, podcasters, entrepreneurs and anyone else seeking the help of a qualified professional. I've personally interjected myself into threads after reading through them and cringing at the awful advice being offered! Normally, the culprits realize who they're dealing with and allow me to right their wrongs; however occasionally... I get that keyboard warrior who attempts to 'discredit' my input, claiming they're experts in the industry. Little do they realize that I, in fact am. I'm considered an expert in a variety of skill-sets including; but not limited to the ones listed earlier in this article.
Now, in this specific question that was asked - the writer wanted to know people's thoughts on social media, if it was useful, does it convert followers into listeners and what people thought of 'follow for follow' chains that plague those groups who allow it. First... I'll tackle the 'follow for follow' question for all of you reading along at home. I mentioned 'comical' earlier and with good reason - nine out of ten times, the thread will have HUNDREDS of links for people to go through on a liking parade; however they're left feeling disappointed and unsatisfied because nobody actually followed back! Why is this reality? Simply because most people who join these groups are there for self-promotion only and will step on every Tom, Dick and Harry to get it! They see a quick opportunity to force feed their wares to how ever many people will be looking at that moment... you can't blame them; but it's a useless attempt. If some of the honest people follow back - the average of them actually engaging on any of your posts are slim to none. They don't mean to disengage after their initial 'supportive' motion... you're just not on their radar - and let's be honest... you never bothered to like or interact on their posts either!
In the grand scheme of things... more followers could be good or bad. Potential sponsors and advertisers are especially keen on dealing with influencers who have solid numbers; however too many followers who don't actually engage on posts (IE: Like, Comment or Share) could essentially destroy your algorithm and cause your actual engaged following to NOT see your posts. So it becomes a catch twenty-two for people who have fair-weather, lackadaisical or uninterested people following them. Many people rely on growing a large number that looks nice; but what they should primarily be focusing on - is strategically building their audience in an organic, authentic and engaging manner. This isn't necessarily a simple feat; but it can be done over time. Looking to get on board with a 'follow train' is just ineffective and frustrating while offering no real benefits. On the flip side - interaction within the groups could certainly garner you some new listeners or viewers who may decide to check you out and legitimately fall in love with your show or what you do; but that's more so accomplished via one-on-one interactions as opposed to random posts or threads with six hundred thirsty people seeking quick likes! I hope I'm making sense here...? Overall - social media is a necessity! If you're NOT on the big three (Instagram, Twitter and Facebook), you're doing it all wrong. Aside from it being an outlet for your content - it's FREE marketing of your brand. It would be foolish to not be utilizing its power... regardless of if your numbers are abysmal or not! Another frequent question is when people ask if Facebook advertising actually works. Again, the long and short of it is yes and no. Yup, it really IS that confusing. Preferably, as with anything that you are looking to promote and build – there should always be a marketing budget. That being said, some people have larger pockets than others, therefore – their dollar is stretched further because they can invest more. Essentially, you could also ‘cheat’ the system by exchanging cold-hard-cash with know-how. I suggest reading up on multiple articles to discover the best practices in posting, as well as ad content before investing in an advertising campaign via social media.
Here are a few tips:
Who, to be exact - is your audience?
This is simple, yet the most important piece of your proverbial puzzle when it comes to building your business, brand, persona, etc. - If aren’t truly aware of who your audience is, it will be impossible to give them what they want.
What demographic is your target market?
You’ll want to get as specific as possible in order to best engage them.
Decide which platforms will maximize your investment.
Research goes a long way when determining which social networks deserve your hard earned cash spends. Each network has a different demographic that they cater to – that being said, it’s important that your audience aligns.
· 1.4 billion Daily users and 2.13 billion monthly users.
· Majority of American users fall between the ages of 25 to 34.
· 75% of American users’ income falls within the realm of $75,000 annually and up.
· Owned by Facebook, therefore some crossover.
· A billion users with 500 million of them active daily.
· 71% of Americans who use Instagram are between 18 and 24.
· American user demographic: 43% Black, 38% Hispanic, 32% white.
· 330 million active monthly American users.
Plan it out.
Make sure you have a strategy beforehand. Walk before you run – know what you are looking to accomplish and adjust accordingly as you navigate.
Don’t re-invent the wheel!!!
Always pay close attention to what your competition or peers are doing. You can save learn a lot from what others are doing; but don’t pay ‘too’ much attention to what’s on their plates – otherwise you’ll never eat yourself. Know this about your social media competitors:
Who are your competitors?
What are they currently doing?
Where are they located? If local – is this your direct market?
What have they done that has been successful?
What social networks are they heavily using?
How often are they posting on each network?
What content are they posting that seems to be receiving engagement?
What does their audience look like?
How much do they actually engage with their audience?
Competitors can offer great insight into how you should be conducting ‘business’ on your own social platforms.
Find people who are like-minded who could enjoy what you offer.
Seek out content on social media using tags and keywords in order to find people who may have an interest in what you have to offer. Make sure to take note of the successful keyword so that you can utilize them in the future. Engage with these people by offering a like or leaving a sincere comment on the person’s post. This authentic engagement and social monitoring could be a game changer in building a quality following.
Be sure to identify influencers, businesses and others who may have something to offer and have similar interests. You risk nothing by having a discussion about collaborating with them. Even if you don't wind up collab'ing, it never hurts to make new friends and acquaintances. Remember… the worst thing they can say is no!
Keep your finger on the pulse of your industry (and business).
You need to keep a regular finger on the pulse of your brand within the market you’re in – as well as the market itself. Develop specific and strategic hash tags that identify with yourself and your brand and put them in motion. Also, be diligent on the hash tags and such that begin trending in your industry… again; remember to always be in the know.
Design your soapbox and stand on it.
Build your brand and understand that your public postings are a full extension of such. We as entertainers, entrepreneurs, influencers and so on – are walking, talking billboards. People are paying attention to you whether you think they are, or not! Design your soapbox with care as it will be judged vehemently in good ways and bad. Remember, you can’t make one hundred percent of people happy one hundred percent of the time… it is impossible – so build your brand with the understanding that you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t – post with conviction. That being said, social media is the place to be authentic – but also to convey to your audience what you want them to see… each post should carry your message in a way that your audience will understand.
Always make sure to respond!
It is imperative to respond to all comments and mentions as efficiently as possible – it is your direct manner of connecting with your audience! Social media allows us as public figures or business owners a unique way to connect with the people who support them. Whereas an entertainer, your account may be about you… you want to ensure that it is NOT all about you – there needs to be that connection and communication that is welcoming, encouraging, empathetic and appreciative.
I’m hoping that this information helps you out when navigating the wasteland of the social networks. My biggest and most sincere advice is to not get frustrated. Stay diligent and remember… the squeaky wheel gets the oil – work for it and it will come. What I will also tell you from experience that may or may not make you feel better – listeners or viewers are just that... listeners or viewers. Regardless of your reach, following, listenership, viewership - many people don't engage simply because they are happy just being a fly on the wall.
Happy hunting! - Brim