Recently I was asked to talk to MA Documentary students about the opportunities which social media might offer them.
As the former Social Media Lead at BBC Television from 2011-2014 I’m regularly called on to talk about social media and video. I still provide my expertise to the BBC through the BBC Academy, having recently written one of their core social media training courses, and also delivering their Big Impact course around getting the best reach you can around short videos via social media.
Whether you’re a student, working for a company or charity, or just trying to get your own voice heard, the things you’ll need to think about for social media success are often very similar.
Start by making a plan:
- Think about your audience – who do you want to reach out to? How will you speak to them? What are they interested in?
- Think about what you want to achieve – perhaps it’s traffic back to your website? Or reaching new people? Or getting people engage with your content? Whatever it is, think about how you can measure it so you know how well you’re doing.
- Design your online content to be as shareable as possible – making content that people want to share is the number one thing that will help propel your content towards the new people you want to reach. It’s not a dark art though! People share content moves them, that they find useful or funny, which grabs their attention and which defines something about themselves.
- Design your content to be discoverable – this is especially true if you’re investing time, energy and money into video to share online. Make sure that your title tells people what your video is about.
- Be human. Relationships that develop via social media are really no different to those in real life. The key to making your account feel human (after all nobody wants to be friends with a brand) is simply transferring your real life social skills into the online world – reply to people, ask questions, involve people. Make people feel like a member of a community and you and your content will feel much more relevant to them.
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And for those working in and around TV, broadcast and filmmaking here are a few of my favourite examples of involving your audience around your content:
Rick and Morty’s Rickstaverse is a brilliant Instagram account that lets you explore a fictional universe. The idea behind it is totally transferrable though, to whatever world (real or otherwise!) you want to share with people.
Channel 4’s Persona Synthetics Product Recall for Humans is a wonderfully innovative campaign which breaks through TV’s forth wall and brings the robotic characters alive in new ways.
One of my all-time favourites in regards great use of social media, Springwatch. They continue to grow their online community after 10 years on air. Their fantastic Flickr group constantly provides assets for the production team, their Twitter account is active throughout the year when the series isn’t on, they feature user generated content all the time (especially in their spin-off shows) and they create a real sense of a club of people all interested in the same thing.
If you’re interested in social media training or expertise, do get in touch – firstname.lastname@example.org.