Hello, Creatives! Jay here. Earlier this month, I held my first ever free social media class in the City of Sunderland; “Social Media 101”.
If you live near Sunderland, UK, feel free to join – “Social Media 101” is every 2nd Wednesday of the month, held in Holmeside Coffee. It’s informal, and a change to learn from each other over good coffee & good food.
I’ve been teaching “Introduction to Social Media” at the University of Sunderland since January this year (given the opportunity to branch out from radio production), and it’s been a really rewarding experience. I’ve both learned [and taught] a great deal about the theories behind how to increase engagement across your social media platforms.
A very quick Google will help you pick up dozens of skills for getting the most out of services; Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. Here’s my first contribution to that online conversation.
1) “Reply All”
If you haven’t heard of internet heavyweight Gary Vaynerchuck, now’s the time.
This talk by Gary Vaynerchuck may be from 2011, but it’s probably one of the most important speeches you can ever watch about social media engagement:
If people are talking about you, your creative projects, or your products, social media exists for you to take advantage of that. We’re at a unique point in history where you can interact with people like never before. Take advantage of that. And if they’re not, join in those online conversations.
2) Vary Your Messages
Imagine how infuriating it would be for a company/person you follow on social media to always be telling you to buy their products. These social media posts would feel old, fast.
For Darren Jenkinson of DigiEnable, a digital training and web-traffic building company based near Preston, UK, advises that you sprinkle sales messages into an account that’s mostly shareable content. “We receive more engagement on the posts unrelated to our business. And we take advantage of that.
Take a look at DigiEnable‘s Facebook page; I scrolled all the way back to March, not a single sales post in sight. Instead of pushing sales messages, the company demonstrates effectively their understanding of social media by sharing articles, events & posts about social media itself. They even host a “Caturday” dispensing with the sales messages in entirety to share some cuteness to brighten up your day. And, far and away, these posts have generated more likes.
Should you post sales messages at all? This topic’s a tricky one; everyone’s got a different opinion. But at the very least, vary your messages.
3) If you haven’t tried TweetDeck, do.
TweetDeck is powerful. You can do all kinds of handy things with TweetDeck; schedule tweets in advance for specific parts of the day, run multiple accounts in sync, monitor activity, messages and notifications side-by-side, but for me one of the most powerful techniques to try on TweetDeck is a combined, multiple-factor search.
Let’s say you’re a TV runner in London, and you’re searching for TV running jobs in London; you could open a combined search for “London”, “TV”and “job”, which would filter all tweets containing these words. You could open a few searches like this, and leave them running; they’ll be ready for you next time you open TweetDeck. Handy!
4) Set up a “Social Media Schedule”
Growth, and only in exceptional circumstances will you instantly become popular overnight. Mostly, growing social media consistently is a hard slog, and requires a great deal of work to feel significant benefits. While, yes, it’s possible (and quite fun) to set aside whole halves of your days to invest in social media, here’s a tip to help shape your continued growth.
Let’s say you’re an artist, for instance, and you want to increase your popularity and networking activities with other artists in. Before you do anything else on your working days, tick off three or four simple social media targets. These could be…
- One Instagram post a day sharing the work of an artist you admire.
- Follow three new artists on Twitter.
- Retweet three artistic tweets by other artists.
- One Facebook Live video to show followers what art you’re working on that day.
Whatever you choose to put into your schedule is up to you, depending on what you want to achieve, and the audience you want to reach. But not only gives you a good feeling in getting a simple activity done and out of the way so you can focus on the rest of your work, following this schedule helps you to shape your growth consistently and reach more people than before.
5) Ask, and Ye Shall Receive (more social media engagement)
Facebook are constantly changing their algorithms (the numbers behind their sharing system which decides how many people see the different kind of content that pages post). Sharing video in your posts, for instance, is the best way to draw in more engagement, as Facebook are keen to get as many eyes on their video service as possible. Contrastingly, whilst sharing a link decreases the number of people who will be allowed to see this post significantly.
One of those tips to take advantage of Facebook’s algorithms is to find ways to encourage your followers to engage with you. reply to your posts on Facebook are more likely to receive
6) Engage in Twitter Hours
Twitter Hours a becoming a really big thing right now; and it’s a great way for people to grow together. For one hour a week (ours, for instance, is Tuesdays at 7pm GMT), creatives can use the hashtag #99PodcastHour and be shared by other creative people from around the world. This is all made possible because of people working together, helping each other to collaborate, not compete. Help others in those groups by sharing their content, and it’s more likely your tweets will be shared.
Far and away, I receive more engagements and retweets of both my @JaySykesMedia and @99P0dcast tweets during #99PodcastHour (our very own Twitter hour, Tuesdays at 7pm GMT) and #SunArtsHour (the Twitter hour I run for artists in Sunderland, Sundays at 6pm).
Be they for specific creative industries, or geographical locations, there’s likely to be a few Twitter hours you could take advantage of to reach more people with your social media marketing.
Phew. I’m going to take a breather and cook some gnocchi for my partner Andrew and I. Try out a couple of these tips over the coming week, see whether they work for you, and let me know!
And if you live near Sunderland, UK, and you fancy joining our “Social Media 101” sessions, do. They’re every 2nd Wednesday of the month, held in Holmeside Coffee. It’s informal, and a change to learn from each other over good coffee & good food.
And, as always,
Stay productive, stay awesome!
Executive Producer, 99% Perspiration