I would love to say that Mhairi and I simply put up our freshly minted episodes online for all to enjoy and didn’t proceed to obsess, waiting for every like, share, comment and retweet to come in, like a dog waits for his bone, but that would be a lie. A big one. At least for me.
I spent endless hours clicking refresh to see how many people had watched. Who was liking our posts? Were they enjoying it? I even analyzed the stats to see how many of my Florida people were watching and for how long (by the numbers it looked like probably just my parents – yes I am watching you Florida people – ha!)
I guess the thing is when you create something you love, it becomes like your little baby and you just want everybody to look at it and love it too. Then when you add to that fact the very real pressure of knowing that if you don’t get those clicks and subscriptions up the industry folks will never consider investing in you, and you have a real pressure cooker of need my friends, one known all too well by all our fellow content creator friends.
You really don’t want to force your friends and family into watching and essentially doing your PR work for you, but at the same time you have this nagging truth breathing down your neck, and that is that in this new digital age of entertainment you really need them to. So you spend hours testing out ways to get people to click, trying to be endlessly fun, creative and clever, without being annoying (tricky dance), all in the hopes of that coveted experience of going viral (yes my friends, in 2015 going viral is a good thing).
When I say you can go down the rabbit hole, I mean you can go down the rabbit hole. It starts with a Facebook post here and then a Tweet there, and then, oh crap I forgot to post to Instagram, then, do I really have to create a Google + account too? Fine, what banner am I going to put up? Oh crap, now I need to put the google + link on my blog. The Blog!! Wait, who unsubscribed? Do the blog numbers really matter, or just youtube’s? Maybe I should just direct everyone to our Facebook page, oh but wait..the algorythms. Ahhhhhh!!!!
I spent months like this. I became a hermit and didn’t even know it because I was so busy being “social”. There were many days when I never even got out of my jammies because I had “so much to do” but at the end of the day I wasn’t even sure if I was accomplishing anything other than making myself depressed. The needle really hadn’t moved that much and this was no way to live.
Luckily salvation came through a realization of what actually does get results (which were witnessed first hand through watching my lovely partner Mhairi’s steady efforts and subsequent successes) and its an annoying little truth somewhat akin to the whole “if you want to lose weight, eat less and exercise more” thing that nobody wants to hear, but I’m going to share with you anyway, now…
Industry Tip #4
The best way to promote your show through social media is to be generous, be authentic and to make peace with the fact that its going to be a long haul.
Unless you are already wildly famous, a good, solid and engaged social media following doesn’t happen over night, it just doesn’t, and trying to rush it is only going to stress you out. So if you don’t want to go insane like me, you should just accept that fact right from the start, and then create a plan and work the plan. (meaning set a social media schedule of how many hours you’re gonna work on it each day/and also set a “I will not even look at my phone, I promise” schedule so that you can maintain sanity & keep your friends through the marathon that has become your social media life)
And then while you are on social media you should treat yourself like a guest who just showed up late to the party (because that party has been raging on long before you). Don’t just expect to pop in and start telling all your stories. You have to find out who is in the room first, say hello, listen to their stories for awhile and then you can share some of yours. (This is especially true of twitter, but if you think about it it makes perfect sense.)
If everyone is just talking and nobody is listening, then there are no conversations to be had, and therefore no genuine connections to be made. And if you don’t make genuine connections, there will be no engagement, so you will just be posting for no one.
And one last thing, you have to be authentic. People can smell a phony who is just supporting others in order to get attention a mile away, so if you’re not going to be authentic in your interest and support just don’t do it. The simple cheat to help yourself with this is to go ahead and find and follow all the people you would honestly be interested in listening to anyway. There are loads of amazing and interesting people sharing themselves on social media everyday, find the ones you like and create your online community by customizing your feeds using lists (If you don’t know how to do this, just ask, you’ll thank yourself.) This will set you up for a situation where you have endless info that you are quite happy to promote, share and talk about.
So that’s what I’ve got for today. And please let me know if there is a topic here I’ve touched on that you’d like me to go deeper with.
In the meantime, I will leave you with Episode 2 of Season 1 where Mhairi’s kitchen antics brought us treasured quotes like “Don’t just start punching your avocados” and “There’s really no point in learning to dice, just hack into it.”