If you only have limited time, choose one platform and do it really well. If you have more time, go for two platforms, and cross promote them. This leads to another question; how do you choose the best platform for you?
It really depends on your line of work, who you are looking to reach, and if you already have an engaged following that would make no sense to walk away from, but generally I would say:
Visual artists, photographers, architects and crafters should consider Instagram and/or Facebook plus Pinterest or YouTube (for ‘how-to’ videos if this made sense for what you’re trying to achieve)
Musicians and actors should consider YouTube and/or Instagram plus Twitter or Facebook
In terms of your audience, if you are looking to reach folk on the Isle of Man Twitter is not as useful as Facebook. If you are looking to reach people in the UK or globally Twitter can be equally as useful as Facebook, and if done well can be powerful. More and more folk are using Instagram all the time, and it is useful for both local and UK audiences. Again, done well, it can be powerful.
There are some general rules which cover all three platforms:
Plan, plan, plan – be strategic!
Be patient – social media is not a quick fix and can be a very ‘noisy’ place; it can take you a while to find your groove and to get your voice heard.
Tone of voice - Think about your audience and plan what tone of voice you will use.
Audience - Think about your audience and design a content strategy which will bring them value, with your work at the centre. The idea here is that you don’t just sell, sell, sell; you build an engaged community with more meaningful relationships by adding value to your followers’ online experience. Aim for 5-8 content subject areas and:
o Curate and share other people’s content. For example, an artist may share articles about ‘art in the community’ initiatives, local workshops, a peer’s work they admire and why, info around how to improve artistic skills etc alongside images of their own art work.
o Think about clever created content: Musicians: behind the scenes shots, tutorials of how to sing/play something you’ve written, visual diary for a week, late night song writing ideas (vino on table next to guitar, candle or fire etc) etc
o Consider writing a blog! Highlight your expertise, passion, experience, sneak peeks at future works, thoughts on the industry etc.
o Look out for ‘days’ to get involved with – National Drawing Day etc
Be consistent – to save time and ensure consistency you can schedule posts. You can do this directly on Facebook if you have a Page, but for Twitter and Instagram you will need to use a content scheduling tool like Buffer.
Be social – this is key! Don’t just broadcast from your page. Engage with your audience on their pages/profiles and research some key influencers to engage with.
Test, measure and refine your activity - don’t keep doing stuff if it isn’t working.
Stats - Keep an eye on your audience stats and ensure you post stuff they will be interested in.
An image of Glen Wyllin beach from Instagram: @mannsocial
Here are a few tips to get the most out of the following platforms:
Post consistently - Every page is different, so experiment with different numbers of posts and different times. Generally, at least once a day is good, but if time is an issue go for consistency e.g. post every Sunday evening, Wednesday morning and Friday afternoon.
Engagement is key - Encourage it and start conversations, reply, be social! If your content receives engagement on posts, especially between audience members, the algorithm will push your content into more people’s newsfeeds. Also engage with other pages relevant to you.
Video - Video posts are favoured (but not links to YouTube or other external video apps as Facebook sees them as competition), so experiment with ‘behind the scenes’, clips of concerts, films of you working (if you’re an artist/potter you could do a time lapse every now and again), tutorials etc.
Go live! - Be brave and try it! Easier said than done I know…. ;-)
Images - Try to use a good quality image with your post – this will have more impact.
An image of Hango Hill from Instagram: @mannsocial
Post consistently – at least once a day, but if you’re struggling for time and content then consistency is key, and less can still work well.
Engagement is key - Liking, commenting, @ mentioning and being supportive. This is true for your potential audience and influencers.
Make the caption interesting – don’t just use it to say what the picture is; weave in a little bit of back story, or something interesting that happened today, or a thought you’ve had etc.
Use hashtags - Use hashtags on each post to make you ‘discoverable’. Do some research by looking at good example accounts in your area, follow Instagram suggestions and use a tool such as Smarthash.
Mentions - Geotag your post and @mention people if appropriate (but don’t spam them!)
Editing - Beauty is key on Instagram, so spend some time getting the shot right, and use tools such as Snapseed or VSCO to improve your shot if required. Also, use the edit tool on Instagram itself to fine tune.
Use ‘Stories’ – great for a behind the scenes, live and don’t get too hung up on it being perfect. Geotag and add hashtags here too for enhanced discoverability and make it fun.
Instagram Takeover - If you run a gallery you should consider an Instagram Takeover – let an artist who is exhibiting take over your Instagram feed for a day or two.
Find great feeds to follow for inspiration. On the island we have @grainnelikenarnia of course, but also check out @nina_brooke_artist (she also does good Insta stories), @thephotographersgallery (they do a lot of takeovers), @thejealouscurator, @cass_sculpture. You can google ‘best artists on Instagram’ or similar to find more. Music wise @firstaidkitband is good.
Look out for events you can get involved in eg ‘March Meet the Maker’.
Sunset over Peel Castle
Post consistently – at least 4-6 times a day.
Engage, engage, engage! - You can start a conversation with anyone on Twitter! Find potential audience members, and influencers and start of by liking, then commenting, then follow. Don’t forget DMs once you have built up a relationship.
Look out for ‘trends’ - You can join in with and share around.
Use 1-3 hashtags - On every tweet you make use 1-3 hashtags to help you be ‘discoverable’. Do some research by looking at good example accounts in your subject area and use a tool such as http://hashtagify.me
Mention - @mention people when you can (but don’t pester!)
If you have time to create a fair amount of video content as a musician you should consider YouTube and if you have time to be active on Pinterest you should consider it as an artist.
If your market is the younger generation you should consider getting your head around Snapchat…good luck!
Kirsty’s background is in music teaching, project management and business development. Kirsty recently completed a 6 month fully immersive Social Media Management course with Digital Mums, who are a company upskilling Mums with a view to them finding interesting and rewarding flexible work. In order to facilitate her social media training, Kirsty ran a community campaign called Know Mann’s Land across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram which has provided her with loads of hands on experience. Kirsty is now a freelance Social Media Manager working under the business name of Mann Social.
Kirsty also keeps herself busy playing various bits of music, namely with the string quartet 4issimo or on Facebook @4tissimo, playing trad music (usually with her sister Katie Lawrence), performing in the ‘pit’ for the occasional Gaiety show and playing with the Jeff Jepson Band, @JeffJepsonMusic on Twitter and @jeffjepsonmusic on Facebook.
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